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“Thumb Steer

Hi Cubby,

I have an older Futaba radio but want thumb steering on it. What is the best way to convert it over to thumb steer?

Brewer B.”

Cubby- Yo hey ya Brewer, thank you very much for writing in to ASK Cubby. Please send me an email with your home address so I can hook you up with a sticker pack.

So, you wanna do one-handed thumb steering on your Futaba eh? To be honest, I have not “converted” a Futaba over to thumb steer, but here are a couple of ways that we’ve done it in the past while we were shooting reviews.

If we were out in the field and really hard up, sometime we could use a big, heavy, zip-tie. We would run the zip-tie around the foam on the wheel, snug it up, then make sure it was angled to where a thumb could push against the protruding end of the zip-tie. Needless to say, this was far less than optimal, but did work in a pinch.

If we were in the shop and had access to minimal tools and supplies, we would usually cut one piece of polycarbonate about a half inch wide, and about an inch long. We would then slightly fold the polycarb into a “V” shape, then place of the bottom of the “V” on the steering wheel foam. At that point, we would run a couple wraps of electrical tape around the tip of the “V” and the rest of the wheel, thus creating a spot that we could reach with our thumb to one hand steer with.

If any of you companies out there have thumb wheel conversion kits for various radios, let us know, we would be happy to pass that info along to our readers. Otherwise, if you are looking for a radio that comes with it, hit your LHS and grab a hold of a Spektrum DX5 Rugged to see if you like the feel. It has thumb steering from the factory that works quite well.

“Sanwa M17 vs Futaba 7PX


I currently have a Spektrum DX4r pro radio with a MR4000 receiver that I run in my Insane boats rc gas 2 stroke hydroplane. I was looking to upgrade radios in the future, and was going to choose between these two radios. Which is better overall for my application, which would you guys choose, and should I even upgrade?


Tyler B.”

Cubby- Hey ya Tyler, thanks for the letter. You know the drill, a snail mail for one of our sticker packs my man…

Ya know, it doesn’t sound like you are having any problems with your Spektrum radio, so you probably don’t “need” to get another radio. However, trying new gear is fun, plus you might find some new features that can make your boating experience even more enjoyable.

I have very limited time in with the Sanwa/Airtronics M17. All that time came at various tracks, driving someone else’s race rig. All the vehicles were high-end race machines, so no doubt the M17 felt pretty incredible. The most noticeable thing about the M17 to me was just how smooth it seemed to drive.

I’ve got tons of time in with the Futaba 7PX. It is simply top of the line for driving performance. Both its throttle and steering are quite linear and oh so buttery smooth. The screen is also Very nice, and it feels like it is worth a decent chunk of cash.

So while you may not “need” to upgrade, I think that both the M17 and 7PX will give you a noticeable improvement in your driving experience. However, when looking at the high-end for a radio, you can’t forget the Spektrum DX6 Pro which can do everything from surfing YouTube to dialing in 4 wheel steering, or the DX5 Rugged that also drives high-end like a high-end unit, but was also designed for the elements.

Shoot me an email some time and let me know what you ended up buying. 🙂

Have a crazy question? Need a crazier answer? Have a burning rant that you just have to get off your chest? Email me- thecubreportrc at gmail dot com.

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Posted by in Ask Cubby, cubby on Thursday, September 19th, 2019 at 11:12 pm