Futaba's flagship of surface radios, the 4PK, is an impressive looking and high performing native 2.4GHz spread spectrum system. That means there are no modules to worry about because it's all contained inside. Those familiar with the 3PKS 2.4GHz will recognize the 4PK's interface, but with a few added features. One of my favorite "features" is the reduction in weight when compared to the 3PK. Add in a 40-model memory and all the benefits of futaba's FASST system technology and you've got a radio system that will be the bane of the competition.
Everyone from racers to those who drive for fun will benefit from the 4PK's laundry list of functions as well as it's easy to navigate menus. And if thats not enough, you can even change the color of the pilot lamp 7 different ways, record your best lap times and averages, control sliding with A.B.S. controlled braking, and even switch over to boat mode for outboard tilt control.
In this review, I will cover the main features of the 4PK and briefly touch on it's functions. The detailed instruction manual is required reading when it comes to fully understanding the potential of the 4PK and I'll leave that up to you.
Name: 4PK 2.4GHz surface transmitter and R604FS receiver
Price: $499.98 for transmitter and one R604FS receiver. Servos are not included.
Type: Pistol grip
Number of channels: 4
Band: 2.4GHz Spread Spectrum
Battery: 1700mAh 6 volt NiMh
Charger: 120 volt ac wall charger
- Light weight
- 4 channel 2.4gig technology
- More than enough buttons and knobs for assigning functions
- NiMh battery pack lasts alot longer than the previous NiCd
- Easy to read instructions
- Many functions included with the racer in mind
- Easy to learn even if you've never owned a computer radio
- 40 model memory
Required:Futaba servos (digital or analog)
- Other Helpful Items
- Hard case
The 4PK is an impressive transmitter to say the least. The screen is easy to read while operating your car, truck, or boat and the buttons are setup in a no nonsense manner. Once you familiarize yourself with the button functions, you can easily navigate throughout the 4PK's interface at blistering speed, and almost every function included in the 4PK can be accessed with just a few actions.
Lets say you want to change from your car to boat, just press the jog button to enter the menu, then scroll over to M-SEL to select your model and press the center of the jog button, which serves as the enter button. Choose your model and press the + and - at the same time to confirm, and your done. It doesn't get any easier with a high-tech computer radio and every function on the 4PK can be accessed in the same manner. Now, I would like to briefly touch on some of the great features the 4PK has:
2.4GHzSS (Spread Spectrum) radio communication system. Frequency channel setting is unnecessary. Channel shifting takes place within the 2.4GHz band automatically and minimizes interference from other 2.4GHz systems.
40 model memory. Model names can use up to 10 letters, numbers, and symbols. A model memory with different setups can be created by using the model copy function.
Menu customizing. Function menus can be customized as desired.
Brake mixing for large cars (BRAKE). Brake mixing of the front and rear wheels of 1/5 scale and other large vehicles can be adjusted independently.
Anti-skid braking system (A.B.S.). This function applies the brakes so that the tires of gasoline engine cars, etc. don't lose their grip on the road even when braking at corners.
Throttle acceleration (ACCEL). Gasoline engine cars have a time lag before the clutch and the brake become effective. The TH-ACCEL function reduces this time lag.
Start function (START). Sudden trigger operation on a slippery surface will only cause the tires to spin and the model not to accelerate smoothly. By setting the throttle speed function, operation can be performed smoothly and easily. It also suppresses battery consumption.
Steering speed (STSPD). When you sense that the steering servo is too fast, etc., the servo operating speed can be adjusted.
Racing timer (TIMER). The lap timer can record 99 laps, total time, and average lap time. it can be started automatically by trigger operation or assigned to any button. The race time and audible alarm can be set. Target laps and refueling times can be indicated by the audible alarm.
Digital trim with reset function. The current trim position is displayed on the LCD screen. Trim operation has no affect on maximum travel of the steering and throttle servos.
Function select dial function (DIAL). This function assigns functions to dials (digital trim, grip dial, knob). The step amount and operating direction can be adjusted.
Function select switch function (SWITCH). This function assigns functions to 3 switches. The operating direction can also be set.
Wheel and trigger position can be changed. The wheel position can be offset by using an optional APA wheel position offset adapter. The wheel angle can also be adjusted. The position of the throttle can be moved forward or backward up to 7mm for the most comfortable feel.
Left-handed support. The left and right installation direction of the wheel selection can be reversed.
Tension adjustment function. The tension of the steering wheel and throttle trigger springs can be adjusted from the outside. The throttle position can be moved foreward or back up to 7mm for comfort.
Vibrator build into the grip. The vibrator can be operated at racing timer lap navigation, time-up, and low battery alarm.
7-color LED pilot lamp. Your favorite color can be selected.
The features included with the Futaba 4PK are quite impressive. Now, I would like to list all the functions and tell you what they mean. A detailed explanation of each function is available in the instruction manual.
EPA: End point adjustment
STEXP: Steering curve adjustment
STSPD: Steering servo delay
THEXP: Throttle curve adjustment
THSPD: Throttle servo delay
A.B.S.: Pumping brake
ACCEL: Function which adjusts the rise characteristic from the throttle neutral position
START: Throttle preset at the start function/ engine cut off by switch
BRAKE: Front and rear independent brake control for 1/5 scale cars
IDLUP: Idle up at engine start
TIMER: Up, down, lap, or lap navigation timer
LAP-L: Lap timer data check
PMIX1: Programmable mixing between channels
PMIX2: Programmable mixing between channels
BOAT: Boat, etc. brake operation stop/outboard engine tilt mixing
SUBTR: Servo center position fine adjustment
REV: Servo operation reversing
F/S HRS, PCM: mode fail safe, battery fail safe
M-SEL: Model memory call
M-RES: Model memory reset
M-COP: Model memory copy
NAME: Model memory name set, user name set
DIAL: Selection of function operated by digital dial and digital trim
SWTCH: Selection of function operated by push switches
D/R: Steering angle adjustment while running
ATL: Brake side adjustment
CH3/4: Channel 3 and 4 servos operation position set/check
RXSYS: Servo response mode and receiver type
MENU-T: Function menu type selection
SYSTM: Battery type/back light/LCD contrast/buzzer/LED display color/initial screen display mode/power off alarm/2ND condition/2.4GHZ band adjustment and setting
DTTRN: Data copy from one 4PK to another 4PK
SERVO: Displays servo operation on a bar graph
MCSLNK: Link software setting function
ADJST: Steering wheel and throttle trigger correction
VIBRA: Vibrator setting
THMOD: Neutral brake and throttle servo forward side and brake side operating rate setting
So you see, the 4PK comes with ALOT of high tech functions to fully adjust almost every parameter of control you can think of. For rc boating, I personally like the IDLUP setting which allows my gas engine to warm up for a few seconds before it idles. You can also setup any nitro or gas vehicle/boat with a kill switch by assigning it to a button. When you press the button, the servo will move to a predetermined position, which in this case is just enough to close the carb. The kill switch is done through the START function and is very easy to setup.
The possibilities are endless with the 4PK and reading the manual will quickly familiarize you with its capabilities, even if you've never owned or operated a computer radio.
Throttle, and steering trim buttons. The buttons on the right are unassigned
Adjustable throttle trigger
Menu buttons. The large round one is the jog button
4 channel receiver
1700 mAh NiMh pack
The 4PK includes the R604FS 4-channel receiver. If you've ever owned a 2.4GHz system, the first thing you'll notice is the small antenna wire. It's only about 4-inches long and can be slid in a small antenna tube or run without one, but it is recommended to use a tube to protect it from damage. The R604FS receiver must be bound to the transmitter before initial use. Once it it bound, it will remain bound until unbound. To bind the receiver with the 4PK, bring them close to each other, turn on the transmitter, then turn on the receiver. Next, push the tactile switch on the receiver and wait for the LED to turn solid green. Your system is now bound and ready for use.
The 4PK's comes programmed with 4 preset menu options. Menu preset number 1 is what I consider an essentials only preset and includes 22 of the available 36 functions. Menu preset number 2, which is the default setting from the factory, includes 30 functions and in my opinion has the greatest level of usable features for the sport driver or weekend racer. Menu preset number 3, which is called Big Car, includes functions that would be used when operating a large-scale gasoline powered car. Menu preset number 4 is the final preset and includes all 36 functions available.
The 4PK can switch between standard and high speed servo modes to take advantage of the latest digital servos. This allows a faster response time, higher resolution (less deadband, more accurate servo positioning), constant torque throughout the servo travel, and increased servo holding power. Keep in mind that you must use a digital servo to operate in high speed servo mode, called HRS on your 4PK.
The 4PK is a computer radio with some serious capabilities. There are many features and functions of the 4PK that were created with the racer in mind, but it's easy to navigate interface makes it beginner friendly as well; only after a few days of use was I able to navigate confidently through the 4PK's menus and know what I was doing every time. It's light weight, long battery life and unsurpassed 2.4GHzSS technology make the 4PK the best choice on the market for the racer, boater,or backyard basher. Thanks for reading my review of the Futaba 4PK.
4PK 2.4GHz 4-channel pistol-grip transmitter and R604FS receiver
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