Super Cub Upgrade to Spektrum DX6

This weekend I upgraded my HobbyZone Super Cub R/C plane to use the Spektrum DX6 radio. I started by tearing out all the proprietary HobbyZone electronics. This includes the big black box (which is a receiver and speed controller), and the slow, huge ParkZone servos. To replace them, I used two of the four servos that came with my DX6 radio, the AR6000 receiver that also came with the radio, and an Electrifly C-7 speed control.

I mounted the AR6000 receiver on the side of the cockpit with a bit of velcro, like this:

Read on for details…

Two cool things to note about the new Spektrum receiver:

1. It is super small. Compared to the HobbyZone proprietary receiver, it is a feather weight.

2. Its antennae is only a couple inches long. There are two antennae, but they are both so small that they can live entirely inside the cockpit.

The Electrifly speed control is also very small. So small, in fact, that you almost don’t even notice it. I didn’t need to fasten it to anything, so it just floats like a piece of wire. The battery is connected directly to the speed control, and the speed control connects to both the motor and the Spektrum receiver. Here’s a shot from the top of the cockpit to show you:

In that picture, you can also see the two sub-micro servos. These servos are smaller than the HobbyZone servos, so I glued two pieces of cardboard behind them in the hole. That made a nice, snug fit for the servos. With a little bit of epoxy, they are nice and secure. The other cool thing about these servos is that they have quite a bit more travel than the HobbyZone servos. This means my tail and rudder get to move a lot further than before. This should make for better aerobatics (though I haven’t gotten it in the air with all the snow yet).

I ran the servo cables along the other side of the cock-pit and taped them to the wall with a bit of duct-tape to make sure they don’t get in the way of anything. Here’s a shot of the cabling:

The last thing I did was cut off the battery connectors and change them to Deans Ultra Plugs. These are pretty awesome connectors according to the internet at large, but don’t make the mistake I did by leaving the male and female plugs connected while soldering. I did this with my first one, and I could never get them separated again. Here’s a picture of the battery box without the battery. You can see the Deans connector in this shot:

All told, I am very impressed with the Spektrum DX6 so far. I’ve been fiddling with the programmable features, like servo travel, and it’s really cool. I even hooked it up to my computer’s sound card and I can fly planes in FMS with it. It’s pretty awesome.

23 comments to “Super Cub Upgrade to Spektrum DX6”

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  1. Nice work Dave, I can’t wait to hear how she flies with the new upgrade.

    Did you have to buy a separate device/cable to connect the radio to your sound card for FMS use?

  2. To connect the radio to FMS, I used a standard headphone extension cord, with male connectors on both ends.

    I also had to install a DLL file in the FMS directory. The DLL can be downloaded as part of the SmartPropoPlus package.

  3. Dave…
    Going to order some Dean’s Ultra plugs for some projects down the line. Just wondering if you ran across a “standard” for which polarity goes to which angled pin…?? I have nothing around here with Dean’s on it… so I have no idea if there is even a “standard”..?? I assume the female would be the battery side since it would insulate the contacts… but I can’t find any info on which pin should be what in the pos/neg sense. The main reason for this question… is to have them already correctly polarized (if there is such a thing?) should you buy or trade for other items that already have Dean’s plugs on them in the future. Battery packs… etc.

    I hope this made sense…??

  4. The Dean’s plug instructions that come in the bag tell you which polarity is standard. Use female for your batteries so you don’t accidentally arc-weld something! :)

    –Dave

  5. I was told the one that is located horizontal, (flat) on the bottom as opposed to the one standing up in the middle of the connector is the Positive connection. That’s how my LHS wires all his in the shop

  6. A bit late, but there’s a + and a – sign on the Dean connector itself in the molded red piece.

  7. Oh and forgot to say Dave – been enjoying your blog about your super cub adventures (though it’s dead now, poor SCub.. :) ). Thanks!

  8. Dave…
    Can’t find this info anywhere..?

    Finally getting around to re-vamping the SuperCub and a Art Tech Predator (with cam in belly) that my Son got me for Dad’s Day… to the mini Spektrum Rx’s. I can see where the Spektrum AR6100 Rx is rated at 3.5 to 9 volts for a flight pack battery… but can’t find any voltage limit info on the AR6000 Rx. I’m assuming you ran up to 9.6 volt packs with the SuperCub and by the time you got to your Formosa build..?? Since I have never done this conversion and have been running 9.6 packs (NiMh) in both stock planes… just wondering what you may have run into (meaning Rx and ESC problems) when you (I think?) jumped from the stock 8.4 to the 9.6 flight packs with the AR6000. Is it that critical on the “extra” .6 volts to maybe border-line fry the AR6000/6100…??? At around 50.00 a pop for the smaller Rx’s… I just wanted to make sure I’m not making little paper weights for my desk.

    Thought I’d ask somebody who has already been there… and probably figured this stuff out.

    Still scratchin’ my head on exactly which AR6000 or AR6100 Rx pins the ESC goes to…?? The battery pins…. or the throttle pins…?? If the throttle pins… what (if anything) goes in the battery pins….?? Stuff like that. Just not sure what to order yet.

    Thanks…
    -Stan OKC

  9. Stan,

    When I hook my battery to the AR6000, there is an ESC (Speed Controller) between the battery and the AR6000. The ESC moves the voltage down to the range that the AR6000 wants (I believe it’s 4.8V or so). You do NOT want to plug an 8-cell NiMH pack directly into the AR6000. I’m guessing it would fry it. I don’t know what the right answer is though… Sorry!

    –Dave

  10. Thanks Dave…

    The ESC in between battery and Rx answers the power question. Does the ESC plug into the throttle pins…. or the battery pins on the Rx…?? I’m assuming the “throttle” pins. Without one in front of me as yet, and never having played with a “real” ESC in any of my adventures… it’s rather difficult trying to wire this project in my imagination. That makes it hard to know what to order. I keep going over this older section of your SuperCub Spektrum update on your blog and that’s helped alot.

    Will probably all come together when I actually have the gear in hand. Just trying to figure WHICH gear to throw money towards.

    Thanks…
    -Stan

  11. The ESC plugs into the Throttle connector. If you had a separate battery for the receiver (around 4.8V), you would plug that into the Battery connector on the receiver. That being the case, you would have to have an ESC without a BEC (Battery Eliminator Circuit) so you wouldn’t have two power sources on the receiver.

    You see, the ESC takes a regular battery and steps the voltage down to something the receiver can deal with. The receiver can get power from any of the connectors, but it just works out to plug the ESC into the Throttle connector since it also controls the speed of the motor. :)

    Good luck!

    –Dave

  12. I was just wondering what the amprage of the ESC was.

  13. I think it’s about 10-12 amps, but it depends on your battery. An 8-cell nimh battery, for example, will provide more amps than a 7-cell, which I learned the hard way. If you’re looking to upgrade the ESC, get a 15-amp ESC to be safe.

    –Dave

  14. Dear Dave,

    First, thank you for the pleasure to read your interesting blog. I am another proud SC owner.

    Recently I purchased Spektrum DX6i. I have a question: what cable should I use to connect my transmiter to my computer in order to practice on FMS? Where did you get your cable from? I know that different Tx’s have propriatary plugs and I am not sure what type is the plug on my Spektrum.

    Do you plan to anstall ailerons in the future?

    Thanks :)

  15. The cable is a 1/8″ stereo headphone cable, male on both ends. Don’t expect it to work very well though. I never got it to work all that well. Good luck!

  16. Hi, just wanted to ask. I am also thinking about changing the insides of Super Cub so that I can use it on 2,4 GHz. The reason is that I really like the plane, but I have issues with the supplied 27 MHz RC – seems it performs poorly and that the plane therefore looses signal, causing the throttle to die for few moments and plane loosing altitude and sometimes also control. Anyway, finally the question. :) If you do this upgrade, are you still able to use X-port? Thank you very much. Michal

  17. iam burning out speed controls in my super cub.i have not had this problem until i started using the recomended after market 8 cell battery pak by hobby zone/park zone.is this a common problem?how can i fly this pak safely? jk

  18. john burnfield says: -#1

    what did you do with the ricever if you still have i will buy it from you?

  19. John: I don’t have that receiver anymore. Sorry! :)

  20. if you want to ad more servos I’d get a better esc. the electricfly c-7 can only handle 3 micro servos safely

  21. antihero138: Yes, that ESC is junk. Definitely get a more powerful one for this application.

  22. Hi Dave,
    Love the blog, got me thinking about upgrading my SC. What ESC would you recommend?

  23. Hi,
    I just bought a DX6i to use in a Cessna Art TEch which was in 27Mhz, with Brushed motor.
    I succced to plug the Spektrum received, and all control work well Except the Power engine control.
    The ESC give the electric power to the receiver, but I can’t control the electric motor, It does not turn.
    Is it a problem of compatibility between ArtTech ESC and Spektrum receiver ?
    Does someone know about it ?
    (with the old 27Mhz control, the motor works well.
    Regards
    Dominique

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