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Futaba R617fs Channel Assignment





Unless you’ve been living in a cave with no contact to the outside world it’s a pretty good chance that you’ve heard about the new technology of 2.4 Ghz Spread Spectrum radios. With all of the capabilities of the Spread Spectrum radios it’s pretty easy to understand what all the excitement is about with this new technology. Spread Spectrum radios have all but eliminated interference created by other radios in use at the same time. This means that a Spread Spectrum radio can be operated and will not be interfered with if someone else turns on a radio. No more keeping track of frequency pins, no more walking the flight line trying to find if anybody else is on your frequency, and no more worrying that somebody flying a park flyer 2 blocks from your field will knock your plane out of the air.

With any new technology many will be worried that there are going to be “bugs” with it and will decide to wait before adopting the technology. Often, manufacturers will release a radio and work out the bugs as they come up. But when it comes to 2.4 Ghz technology Futaba is different. All of Futaba’s 2.4 Ghz FASST (Futaba Advanced Spread Spectrum Technology) radios are fully tested, well-engineered, totally reliable products. Futaba has hands-on experience with 2.4 Ghz technology that stretches back 15 years, long before anyone considered its value in hobby application. That’s when Futaba’s industrial R/C division – designers of radio-control tools for construction, civil engineering, and similar uses – began employing and perfecting their own 2.4 Ghz equipment. Now Futaba is bringing that experience in 2.4 Ghz Spread Spectrum technology to the RC hobby market to provide us with a fully test and completely reliable product.

To speed development in this technology many radio manufacturers are converting their current radio systems to the 2.4 Ghz Spread Spectrum technology. This speeds up the time it takes them to release radios as they are not reinventing the wheel by developing totally new radio systems. Futaba’s latest release is just that; one of their most popular radios converted to Spread Spectrum. Futaba’s latest release is the 2.4 Ghz Spread Spectrum T7CA, a 7-channel system capable of controlling both aircraft and helicopters. It’s a system that offers much of Futaba’s 9C set-up versatility matched to 4-channel ease of use. It’s a great radio for those flyers who want the technology of 2.4 Ghz but don’t want to spend extra money for a more expensive radio with more channels than they need. I think that the 7C will be a perfect fit radio for a large majority of flyers that need a 2.4 Spread Spectrum radio.

So, let’s dive in and take a look at what the T7CA has to offer….




  • 2.4 Spread Spectrum eliminates the need for a frequency pin
  • Now controls dual elevator servos
  • Well laid out and designed transmitter
  • Price is easily affordable to a large segment of pilots
  • Easy to program and setup
  • Small receiver size is perfect for smaller aircraft such as Park Flyers




  • LCD screen seemed small and crowded
  • Manual jumps around
  • Transmitter battery a bit small




Futaba T7CA 2.4Ghz 7-Channel Radio System



Price: $319.98* (Tower Hobbies Part # LXSEJ8)


  • Futaba’s FASST (Futaba Advanced Spread Spectrum Technology) shifts every two milliseconds virtually eliminating signal conficts and interruptions unlike other 2.4GHz systems that only stay on one or two frequencies

  • Dual antenna diversity enables FASST system to automatically and seamlessly select the best reception between the two antennas built into the receiver ensuring that the aircraft stays under constant control of transmitter regardless of altitude

  • Newly designed Dial-N-Key jog dial allows cursor movement in four directions for very user friendly navigating through menus and programming


  • Futaba 7C 2.4GHz Transmitter R617FS FAST 7-Ch Receiver

  • NR-4J 600mAh 4.8V NiCd Receiver Battery

  • FBC-19B(4) 120V Battery Charger

  • Four S3004 Standard Ball Bearing Servos

  • NT8S600B 600mAh 9.6V NiCd Transmitter Battery

  • Heavy Duty Switch Harness w/Charge Cord

  • Black Transmitter Neck Strap

  • Servo mounting hardware and instruction manual



  • Available with 4 S3152 digital high-torque servos

  • (FUTK7000/7001); 4 S3004 ball bearing servos (FUTK7002); or

  • 4 S3001 ball bearing servos (FUTK7003)

  • Dial ‘n Key programming

  • Airplane/heli software

  • Assignable switches/functions

  • Up/down timer

  • Mode 1-4 selectable (modes 3 and 4 available via transmitter software)

  • Large 72 x 32 LCD screen with adjustable contrast

  • 10-model memory

  • 6-character model naming

  • Digital trims, trim memory, EPA, subtrims and servo reversing (all channels)

  • Dual/Triple rates – aileron/elevator/rudder. (Note: Available when used with 3-position switch)

  • Exponential (aileron/elevator/rudder)

  • Adjustable throttle cut

  • Fail-safe

  • NT8S600B 600mAh Tx NiCd w/dual-output charger

  • Trainer system (cord required)

  • Flap switch

  • Retract switch

  • Variable rate knob (channel 6)




Airplane advanced menu

  • 3 programmable (P-Mix) mixes
  • Flaperon
  • Flap trim
  • Air brake
  • Elevator-to-flap mixing
  • Flap-to-elevator mixing
  • V-tail mixing
  • Elevon mixing
  • Aileron-to-rudder mixing
  • Snap roll
  • Dual elevator servo mixing

Helicopter advanced menu

    • Governor select makes it possible to match

rpm/blade speed to maneuvers

  • Swash to throttle mixing helps heli pilots keep their rpm steady

  • 3 programmable mixes

  • Throttle curve (5-point normal, idle up 1 & 2)

  • Pitch curve (5-point normal, idle up 1 & 2)

  • Revo mixing

  • Gyro mixing

  • Hovering throttle

  • Hovering pitch

  • Throttle hold

  • Trim offset

  • 6 swash plate set-ups (5 CCPM options)



* Note: This price is for the package listed above. Also available are two packages with the radio and receiver only, no servos are included

Futaba 7C 7-Channel 2.4 Ghz (Air) with no servos, $279, FUTK7004
Futaba 7C 7-Channel 2.4 Ghz (Heli) with no servos, $279, FUTK7005

Futaba R617FS 2.4 Ghz FASST 7 Channel Reciever






Note: For this review I did not receive the entire radio setup. I received the radio and receiver only, and did not receive the rest of what would normally be included when this system is purchased. Not shown here are all accessories such as the receiver battery, battery charger, servos, servo mounting hardware, power switch, and neck strap. In addition, I did not receive a production copy of the users manual, but rather a printed copy of the final draft of the manual.



Anybody familiar with previous Futaba radios will immediately recognize the T7C since the exterior of the radio is identical to Futaba’s older 7C radios. The radio gimbals and sticks are of high quality and are laid out so they are comfortable and easy to use. Each of the four axis has an associated digital trim tab for fine-tuning of the plane in flight. The biggest difference between the T7C and older radios is the antenna. The antenna is made of a hard rubber and is about 4″ long. The antenna needs to be placed in a position perpendicular to the radio while in operation.



Located on the upper left of the radio are 4 of the radio’s switches. Directly above the left control stick are two 2-position switches. As with all of the switches on the T7C radio these switches are user programmable and can be set to almost any functions that the radio is capable of performing. The inner of the two switches is longer than the outer switch to make it easier to find while flying the plane. Located on the top left of the radio are two more switches. One switch is a two position switch and the other is spring loaded, which would normally be used for a trainer function or a throttle kill. Directly above the right stick are one 2-position switch and a variable rate knob that can be used for such functions as controlling the throw of flaps. On the top right side of the radio is one 3-position switch.

Located on the back of the radio are the battery compartment, a trainer cord connection, and a radio status indicator. While it is kind of difficult to see in the pictures, the indicator is located in a recessed hole below the antenna. Contained here is a red and green LED, which indicates the proper operation of the radio signal when binding the receiver.



Programming and setting up the T7C radio is facilitated by a LCD display, 4 navigation buttons, and Futaba’s “Dial ‘n Key”. The buttons and the Dial ‘n Key allow for moving through the radio’s programming screens and for changing the information in each screen. I found it very easy to move through the screens with the controls provided and setting up the radio was accomplished with very few problems. One of my only problems with the radio was the LCD screen. I felt that it was a bit small and that the screens it displayed all seemed a bit “crowded”. But this did not take away from the functionality of the programming setup.

The radio comes with a 600 Mah Nickel-Cadmium battery to power the transmitter.



The Manual


I’ve included a few shots of the manual that I received with this radio but I really can’t make any comments based on this as the manual that I received was a copy of the working draft from Futaba. From the draft I could tell that the manual was very informative and did a good job of explaining the operation of the Futaba T7C 2.4 Ghz radio. It covered all the functions of the radio and gave a short step-by-step explanation of how to program each step in the radio. It also did a good job of covering the installation of the FASST receiver as well as binding the receiver to the transmitter.


The Receiver


One of the first things that will strike most people when they see this system is the receiver. Immediately most will notice the size of the receiver. The receiver is approximately one and a half inches by 1 inch, and only about a third of an inch thick making this receiver small enough to fit into even the smaller park flyer systems that are becoming more popular every day. As you can see, when shown next to other Futaba receivers, the R617FS receiver is quite a bit smaller. But don’t let the size fool you; this receiver is more than capable of handling the needs of large planes with huge servos. This receiver should be more than enough for just about every pilot out there.



The next thing that most will notice is the antenna, or more accurately, antennas. Most people who are used to olderradios will notice that the 3′ long piece of wire used as an antenna is gone. In its place are two wires that are used as the antennas. To be more specific the antennas are only the last 1-1/4″ of the wire (the clear wire portion) on each side. The other 4″ of the antenna structures is simple coaxial wire that allows for placement of the antennas inside of the plane for best reception. Futaba has chosen to use the two antennas to achieve what they call Dual Antenna Diversity. The signal for the 2.4 Ghz is a much shorter wavelength than older radios, and because of this it’s entirely possible that the antenna could become shielded by items inside of the fuselage which could include the engine, muffler, or carbon fiber parts. With the dual antennas used for reception one antenna should still be able to receive a signal if the other antenna becomes shielded.



In order for the Dual Antenna Diversity to operate properly the antennas need to be properly installed in the airplane. The two antennas need to be installed so that they are mounted 90 degrees from each other. When I installed them in my plane it was a simple matter to position the antennas. Two small pieces of tubing glued in place in the fuselage keeps the antennas in place. As with other radios, care must be taken when positioning the antennas so that they are not near RF noise producing items such as engine ignition units and electronic speed controls (ESC).




NOTE: This information is provided by Futaba’s 2.4 Ghz website





Setting up the T7C

Note: The radio that I received for this review was the package that contains only the radio and receiver only. I didn’t receive any servos for use with this radio during the review, and because of this I had to use my own servos. Some may notice that the wires for the servos in my review plane are “the other guy’s” equipment. They are the servos that I already had installed in my plane and I used them simply because they were already in place. This is actually good because it does show that this radio will work with any brand servo the end user may have with no issues. My servos had the standard “Z” connectors on them and they were able to plug directly into the FASST receiver without needing any further modifications.

To try out the Futaba T7C radio I decided to use my tried and trusted Kaos 60. This plane has been with me for quite a while now and has turned into quite a little test bed for items that I try out or review. Installing the radio in this plane was a very simple matter. I placed the receiver in foam and then positioned the dual antennas so they could be positioned on the top of the fuselage. To place the antennas I used a tip provided by RCU reviewer Minnflyer when he reviewed theFutaba 6EX radio. He glued small pieces of tubing in place and used those to keep the dual antennas properly positioned in the plane. This made a quick, easy, and neat installation of the receiver. With the antennas properly positioned it was an easy task to connect the servos to the receiver and finish packing foam around the receiver.

As with most Spread Spectrum radios in order for the receiver to work properly with the transmitter it must be “bound” to that transmitter. Normally the user will not have to bind the receiver to the transmitter as this step should have already been done at the factory when the radio was packaged. The transmitter and receiver will be ready to go when the user opens the box. But if for some reason they two are not bound together it is a very simple procedure for the user to perform. To bind the receiver to the transmitter first turn on the transmitter and then turn on the receiver. Located between the two antenna wires is a small button recessed in the receiver case. Press and hold this button to bind it. While binding, the LED’s in the transmitter will flash and finally change to a solid green when the receiver is bound. The button can then be released. Next up was getting my plane set up on the new transmitter.

Programming the radio for the setup needed on my plane turned out to be a very easy task. It took me about 10 minutes to have my plane completely set up on the new radio. It was very simple process to set the throw direction and end points for all of the control surfaces, including the throttle.

While not “technically” a set up step, I want to discuss range checking the radio here. With older radios range checking was done by walking 30-50 paces away from the radio and lowering the antenna while working the controls to see if the radio still works properly. Of course that’s hard to do with a 2.4 Ghz radio because you can’t lower the antenna. Futaba has taken care of this by providing a means of “powering down” the radio so that it transmits with less power than normal. This will allow the pilot to check the radio for proper operation before flying. To put the radio into “Power Down Mode” (P.DN) the user needs to turn on the radio while holding down the Dial-N-Key button. The radio will power up with the symbol “P.DN” in the lower portion of the LCD display, and will emit a beep every 3 seconds while in power down mode. The radio will stay in this mode for 90 seconds before returning to normal operation. The user can return the radio to normal mode by pressing and holding the Dial ‘n Key button for about two seconds, or the user can simply turn the radio off and then back on again.



Programming the T7C

While I have heard some say that it’s difficult to program the more advanced Futaba radios, I was pleasantly surprised to find that wasn’t the case with the T7C. Once I was into the programming modes I found that it was very easy to move around to the different functions of the radio. I was able to figure out a good bit of the functions of the radio without referring to the manual, and the points that I didn’t understand were easy to find in the manual and get figured out.

While I don’t want to try and replace or rewrite the Futaba manual here, I do want to spend a little bit of time and go through the programming and screenshots so that you can get an idea of what this radio is capable of.

As we get started let’s take a quick look at the controls used for programming the T7C radio. The LCD display is centered on the radio and measures 7/8″ x 2-1/8″. Located on the left side of the display are two push buttons labeled Mode/Page and End. On the right side of the display are two buttons that control the selection or the cursor, one button for up and left and the other button for down and right. To the far right of the display is the Dial ‘N Key for further programming choices. This control is turned to navigate through choices on the screen and then pressed to select the item. One great example of using the Dial ‘N Key is when naming the model in the radio. For each letter in the name the Dial ‘N Key is turned to scroll through the alphabet and number, and then when the proper selection is found pressing the Dial ‘N Key will make the selection.



Basic Airplane Menu Functions
Model Sub-menu

Model submenu: includes three functions that manage model memory: Model Select, Model Copy, and Model Name.

    • Model Select: This function selects which of the 10 model memories in the transmitter to set up or fly.

    • Model Copy: copies the current model data into another model memory in the transmitter.

  • Model Name: assigns a name to the current model memory.

Dual rate / Exponential Sub-menu

Dual/triple rates and exponential (D/R,EXP): assigns adjusted rates and exponential.

  • Dual/Triple Rates:reduce/increase the servo travel by flipping a switch, dual rates affect the control listed, such as aileron,

  • Exponential:changes the response curve of the servos relative to the stick position to make flying more pleasant.

Endpoint Sub-menu

End Point of servo travel adjustment: the most flexible version of travel adjustment available. It independently adjusts each end of each individual servo’s travel, rather than one setting for the servo that affects both directions.

Sub-Trim Sub-menu

Sub-trim: makes small changes or corrections to the neutral position of each servo. Range is -120 to +120, with 0 setting, the default, being no Sub-trim.

Servo Reversing Sub-menu

Servo reversing: changes the direction an individual servo responds to a control stick motion.

Trim Sub-menu

Trim: resets and adjusts effectiveness of digital trims.

Throttle Cut Sub-menu

Throttle cut: provides an easy way to stop the engine by flipping a switch (with Throttle Stick at idle).

Fail Safe Sub-menu

Fail Safe (loss of clean signal and low receiver battery) submenu: sets responses in case of loss of signal or low receiver battery.

Parameter Sub-menu

Parameter submenu: sets those parameters you would likely set once, and then not disturb again.

  • Model Reset: completely resets all data in the individual model you have currently selected.

  • Model Type: sets the type of programming used for this model, either airplane (acro) or helicopter (heli)

Timer Sub-menu

Up/Down Timer functions: controls an electronic clock used to keep track of time remaining in a competition time allowed, flying time on a tank of fuel, amount of time on a battery, etc..

Trainer Sub-menu

Trainer: for training novice pilots with optional trainer cord connecting 2 transmitters. The instructor has several levels of controllability.



Advanced Airplane Menu Functions

P-Mixes Sub-menu

The 7C contains three separate linear programmable mixes.
There are a variety of reasons you might want to use these mixes. A few are listed here.

  • To correct bad tendencies of the aircraft (such as rolling in response to rudder input).

  • To automatically correct for a particular action (such as lowering elevator when flaps are lowered).

  • To operate a second channel in response to movement in a first channel (such as increasing the amount of smoke oil

  • in response to more throttle application, but only when the smoke switch is active).

  • To turn off response of a primary control in certain circumstances (such as simulating one engine flaming-out on a twin, or throttle-assisted rudder turns, also with a twin).

Flaperon Sub-menu

Flaperon mixing function uses one servo on each of the two ailerons, and uses them for both aileron and flap function. For flap effect, the ailerons raise/lower simultaneously. Of course, aileron function (moving in opposite directions) is also performed.

Flap Trim Sub-menu

Flap-trim allows the flap action to be set in a way that it can be adjusted with the VR dial.

Airbrake Sub-menu

Airbrake is one function that is really made up of a series of pre-programmed mixes all done for you within the radio. Airbrake simultaneously moves the flap and elevator, and is usually used to make steep descents or to limit increases in airspeed in dives.

Elevator to Flap Mix Sub-menu

Elevator to Flap Mix: This mix makes the flaps drop or rise whenever the Elevator stick is moved. It is most commonly used to make tighter pylon turns or squarer corners in maneuvers. In most cases, the flaps droop (are lowered) when up elevator is commanded.

Flap to Elevator Mix Sub-menu

Flap To Elevator Mix: This mix makes the elevator move whenever the flaps are moved. This mix is used to compensate for any pitching created by the flap.

V-Tail Sub-menu

V-Tail mixing is used with v-tail aircraft so that both elevator and rudder functions are combined for the two tail surfaces. The elevator and rudder travel can be adjusted independently.

Elevon Sub-menu

Elevon: used with delta wings, flying wings, and other tailless aircraft that combine aileron and elevator functions, using two servos, one on each elevon.

Ailevator Sub-menu

Ailevator: Many models use two elevator servos, plugged in to separate receiver channels. Benefits

  • Ability to adjust each servo’s center and end points for perfectly matched travel.

  • Ease of assembly, not requiring torque rods for a single servo to drive 2 servos.

  • Elevators acting also as ailerons for extreme stunt flying or more realistic jet flying.

  • Redundancy, for example in case of a servo failure or mid-air collision.

Aileron to Rudder Mix Sub-menu

Aileron to Rudder mixing is a pre-programmed linear mix. This mix is used to mix rudder operation with aileron operation automatically, to make realistic coordinated turns. It is especially effective when turning and banking scale models or large models that resemble full-sized aircraft.

Snap Sub-Menu

This function allows you to execute snap rolls by flipping a switch, providing the same input every time. It also removes the need to change dual rates on the 3 channels prior to performing a snap, as Snap-Roll always takes the servos to the same position, regardless of dual rates, inputs held during the snap, etc.







Basic Helicopter Menu Functions
Model Sub-menu

Model submenu: includes three functions that manage model memory: Model Select, Model Copy, and Model Name.

    • Model Select: This function selects which of the 10 model memories in the transmitter to set up or fly.

    • Model Copy: copies the current model data into another model memory in the transmitter.

  • Model Name: assigns a name to the current model memory.

Dual rate / Exponential Sub-menu

Dual/triple rates and exponential (D/R,EXP): assigns adjusted rates and exponential.

  • Dual/Triple Rates:reduce/increase the servo travel by flipping a switch, dual rates affect the control listed, such as aileron,

  • Exponential:changes the response curve of the servos relative to the stick position to make flying more pleasant.

Endpoint Sub-menu

End Point of servo travel adjustment: the most flexible version of travel adjustment available. It independently adjusts each end of each individual servo’s travel, rather than one setting for the servo that affects both directions.

Sub-Trim Sub-menu

Sub-trim: makes small changes or corrections to the neutral position of each servo. Range is -120 to +120, with 0 setting, the default, being no Sub-trim

How about setting up a complex 7-servo or 8-servo aerobat on the 9C with 2-each flap and aileron servos such as the Hanger 9 Ultra Stick?

A. First let's start with a blank model and set your type as ACRO. We will do this as if you have an 8 channel receiver. At the bottom (B) will be an explanation of the setup with a 7 channel receiver.

Servo setup:
Channel 1-right aileron
Channel 2-elevator
Channel 3-throttle
Channel 4-rudder
Channel 5-Blank
Channel 6-left aileron
Channel 7-left flap
Channel 8-right flap

  1. The first step will be to activate Flaperon setting your percentages as needed. Next you will need to activate Flap Trim at least by 5%.

  2. You will need to go into your Ele-Flp mix and activate it, when setting your rates this will be personal choice, and these may need to be adjusted later.

  3. Next you will need to set up air brake, go into the air brake menu, make it active and set the percentages as needed. You will want to assign this to switch C in the Down position.

  4. Now you will want to mix each flap servo so that it moves in conjunction with the air brake function by doing an "Offset" mix. Go into Pmix 1, make it active, with the master as Offset and the slave as Aux 1. Assign this to switch C in the Down position, set your desired percentage and close the menu.

  5. You will need to do the same mix as above with your second Flap servo, so go into Pmix 2, make it active, with the master as Offset, and this time the slave will be Aux 2. Again assign this to switch C in the Down position and set you desired rates.

  6. You will also need to do a Pmix 3, between Aux1 as master and Aux2 as slave, with Link ON, and the switch assignment Null, at +100% both ways if you are going to want your Flap servos to operate off your left slider. So let's do this one now and we will assign it to the slider in a moment.

  7. Once you have Pmix 3 set up and activated, you will want to move on to Pmix 4, which will mix your elevator to your rudder to prevent adverse pitch couple. Go into Pmix 4, make it active, and make Rudder the master with Elevator the slave, you will leave Trim and Link off and leave the switch assignment Null, on the next page you will again want to set up your rates as needed per your model.

  8. Next we will do a Rudder to Aileron mix which will help reduce adverse roll. Go into Pmix 5, make it active and use Rudder as master and Aileron as slave, with Link on and Trim off, assign this to switch H in the Down position, and then again set your desired percentages.

  9. Now we will get to the Full Span Aileron mix for you. Mixes 6 and 7 are Linear mixes, but will work well for this. Going into Pmix 6, activate it and set Aileron as master and Aux1 as slave. Put this on switch H in the Down position, and going to the second page, set your rates as either + or - 100% for the 1st rate, = or - 50% for the 2nd rate, 0% for the 3rd rate, then set 4 and 5 for the opposite of what you set 1 and 2. Below is an example. You may need to make these rates either negative or positive compared to this example, depending on the positioning of your servos in your plane.

    1st= +100%
    2nd= +50%
    3rd = 0%
    4th = -50%
    5th = -100%
    5th = -100%

  10. Your last Pmix 7, will be the same as above but you will have the slave as Aux2, put this to the same switch and your rates may need to be adjusted, if your servos are not moving in the correct manner, try using a negative rate instead of positive, or vice versa.

    Now for the Flaps on your slider...first you will want to make sure that you adjust your linkage on your servos so that the slider all the way up is zero flap and the slider down is full flap. From here you will just need to go into the Basic menu into Aux Channel and assign channel 7 to VRD. You can leave channel 8 null as you mixed this with channel 7, so just assigning one to VRD will be fine. Please remember though that accidentally moving the slider will move your flaps at any time.

B. If you have a 7 channel receiver, then your receiver set up will be as follows:

Channel 1-right aileron
Channel 2-elevator
Channel 3-throttle
Channel 4-rudder
Channel 5-right flap
Channel 6-left aileron
Channel 7-left flap

Now you will follow all steps above, substituting Channel 5 with AUX 2 (channel 8) wherever shown! Then to set your flaps on your left slider, simply go into the main menu into AUX-CH and assign both channel 5 and channel 7 to VR-D.

This set up is a suggestion only, you will most likely need to reassign rates as needed, or you are free to change switches or switch positions as needed. This is a guide only.

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