Spektrum DX5 Pro 2021 5-Channel DSMR Transmitter Take control of your surface vehicles

spektrum-dx5pro2021-transmitter

Written by Jay Smith
Take control of your surface vehicles
As seen in the Summer 2021 issue of Park Pilot

Navigating the transmitter’s programming is done using the scroll wheel that is located on the side of the transmitter, just below the LCD screen. Several trim tabs are within reach behind the wheel.
Navigating the transmitter’s programming is done using the scroll wheel that is located on the side of the transmitter, just below the LCD screen. Several trim tabs are within reach behind the wheel.

Specifications:
Band: 2.4 GHz
Battery: Four AA or transmitter pack (not included)
Channels: Five
Frame rate: 5.5 ms
Input voltage: 4 to 8.4 volts
Model memory: 250
Modulation: DSMR
Programmable: Yes
Range: Full
Rate positions: Three POS
Receiver: Can be purchased with or without a receiver
Resolution: 2048
SD card/AirWare capable: Yes
Technology: Smart
Telemetry: Yes
Price: $289.99 for transmitter; $349.99 transmitter and Spektrum SR2100 receiver
Info: horizonhobby.com/spektrum/

Features:
>>  Upgraded RF module for stronger signal and improved output power
>>  Five fully proportional channels
>>  Smart technology compatibility out of the box
>>  DSMR 2.4 GHz technology
>>  5.5 millisecond frame rate with compatible receivers
>>  Built-in telemetry
>>  250 model memory

The Spektrum DX5 Pro 2021 is the only transmitter you’ll need for your cars and boats. It is packed with features, including increased range and telemetry.
The Spektrum DX5 Pro 2021 is the only transmitter you’ll need for your cars and boats. It is packed with features, including increased range and telemetry.

>> After adding the ARRMA Notorious truck and Axial SCX10 III Jeep to my garage, I was interested in upgrading to a more advanced radio to allow me the ability to drive all of my vehicles with a single transmitter. I was also looking to have telemetry data right at my fingertips.
When the Spektrum DX5 Pro 2021 appeared on Horizon Hobby’s website for preorder, I eagerly read all of the details, and some of the features made me decide to wait for it. Because I have some Smart batteries and a Smart charger, I wanted a radio to take advantage of those features.
Another thing that interested me with this radio was that it included Spektrum’s latest RF (radio frequency) module, which is engineered around DSMR 2.4 GHz technology. This promised a stronger and more robust signal with increased telemetry range. That is always a plus, right?
The DX5 Pro 2021 is available just with the transmitter or paired with an SR2100 receiver. If you need a receiver, selecting this option will save you $30 over buying the receiver separately.
Because I was looking to add existing vehicles, I chose the radio only. Inside the box, in addition to the transmitter, I found some extra grips to customize the feel of the radio. Both 10° and 15° steering wheel wedges are included. One of the wedges can go between the steering mechanism and the drop down, allowing you to angle the steering wheel if you prefer it that way. Also included is a smaller wheel. Both wheels are comfortable, but because I have larger hands, I opted for the larger wheel.
I appreciated finding these extras in the box because it wasn’t clearly listed on the product page that all of these ergonomic accessories were included. In fact, they are listed as optional in the manual.
My initial impression with the transmitter after taking it out of the box was that it was comfortable but felt too light. After adding four AA batteries, which require a 1.5mm wrench, the transmitter felt more comfortable. When it comes to batteries, I have switched to Li-Ion because they have a longer life, but more importantly, they are guaranteed to not leak.
An optional 7.4-volt 2,000 mAh 2S Li-Ion transmitter battery (SPMB2000LITX) is available for the transmitter for $26.99.
Although I have plenty of experience with Spektrum air transmitters, this was my first advanced Spektrum surface radio, so I spent a decent amount of time with the manual to understand the myriad options that are available.
When it came time to register the transmitter on the Spektrum website, I ran into a small issue. The DX5 Pro 2021 is not an option when selecting the radio model in the list. You must select DX5R/DX5R Pro. Also, I entered my serial number twice and it came up as invalid. I exported my serial number to the micro SD card that I purchased separately and imported it during the registration process and that worked. At the time I registered, no updates were available for the transmitter because I was using version 1.09.

The micro SD card reader slot is located behind the small rubber door on the back of the transmitter. Spektrum recommends limiting the size to 32 GB or less.
The micro SD card reader slot is located behind the small rubber door on the back of the transmitter. Spektrum recommends limiting the size to 32 GB or less.

The manual states that the micro SD card must be Class 6 or lower and 32 GB or smaller, formatted to FAT or FAT32. With an SD card, you can import (copy) models from any compatible Spektrum RaceWare-equipped transmitter, export (transfer) models to any Spektrum RaceWare transmitter, and update firmware in the transmitter. The micro SD card reader slot is located behind the small rubber door on the back of the transmitter.
In navigating the transmitter’s programming, you use the scroll wheel located on the side of the transmitter, just below the LCD screen. Turn the scroll wheel to move through the screen content or to change the programming values. Push down on the scroll wheel to make a selection.
Use the Back button to go back to the previous screen and use the Clear button to return a selected value on a screen to the default setting. The Main Screen appears when you power on the transmitter, and you can depress the scroll wheel once to display the Function List.
Every model can have up to five drive modes programmed to a switch or button for on-the-fly adjustments. Once a drive mode is selected, changes can be made to various functions from a single switch selection. Functions are normally limited to one switch at any time, when a drive mode is enabled. Multiple functions are tied to a single switch and let a driver make quick changes. Individual switch selections are ideal for initial tuning, but once settings are found, the Drive Mode function lets drivers group settings for specific conditions.
Setting up a “Trainer Mode” is a perfect example. Using the radio included with my Notorious truck, I could select the power output on it from 50%, 75%, and 100%. Using Drive Modes, I can designate a switch on the transmitter then set different rates. This could be setting the throttle to 50%, 75%, and 100% like the included transmitter. I can also adjust the steering, braking, exponential, and traction.
For my Notorious, I like having three settings—with the first setting being best for beginners, an intermediate setting, and an expert setting to take full advantage of everything the Notorious has to offer.
Although there are far too many features to discuss in this review, the telemetry options were the features that I was most interested in, along with the 250-model memory. In the days of NiCd and NiMh batteries, we would run our surface vehicles until they slowed rapidly. Obviously, with LiPo batteries you don’t want to overdischarge the cells. Most ESCs will notify you when it is time to make a battery swap, but knowing your voltage at a glance, as well as many other pieces of data, is worthwhile.
The Spektrum DX5 Pro 2021 has 11 telemetry slots to allow for monitoring, and you can select the options that are important to you. I currently have Smart Battery, Smart ESC, RPM/Speed, Main Pack mAh, Volts, RX Voltage, and RF Quality selected. I have also set up alarms to notify me when my batteries reach a certain voltage.

The telemetry screens on the transmitter put a lot of data at your fingertips. There are 11 telemetry slots that allow you to choose what you monitor.
The telemetry screens on the transmitter put a lot of data at your fingertips. There are 11 telemetry slots that allow you to choose what you monitor.

The Function List is where you will find all of the available menus on the DX5 Pro. Scroll to the selection you want and push in on the scroll wheel to select.
The Function List is where you will find all of the available menus on the DX5 Pro. Scroll to the selection you want and push in on the scroll wheel to select.
System settings allow adjustments to the following transmitter settings: Display, Trims, Sounds, About, and Calibrate. Once you select About, you can see your transmitter’s serial number, which you’ll need to register it.
System settings allow adjustments to the following transmitter settings: Display, Trims, Sounds, About, and Calibrate. Once you select About, you can see your transmitter’s serial number, which you’ll need to register it.
Jay Smith has switched to Li-Ion batteries because they have a longer life, but more importantly, they are guaranteed not to leak. An optional 7.4-volt 2,000 mAh 2S Li-Ion transmitter battery (SPMB2000LITX) is also available.
Jay Smith has switched to Li-Ion batteries because they have a longer life, but more importantly, they are guaranteed not to leak. An optional 7.4-volt 2,000 mAh 2S Li-Ion transmitter battery (SPMB2000LITX) is also available.


The DX5 Pro 2021 is a feature-rich transmitter that will happily fulfill all of your surface vehicle needs when you are ready to go beyond the transmitters that come with many cars and boats. It also allows you access to Bind-N-Drive vehicles, similar to Bind-N-Fly aircraft. I highly recommend this transmitter for those who are looking for a surface transmitter with which they can grow.

Article: 
Facebook Twitter Share

Add your thoughts to the article

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.