Jump to content


Photo

ER9X Hacks

FlySky/Turnigy - FrSky

  • Please log in to reply
121 replies to this topic

#61 Kilrah

Kilrah

    RC-Cam Mentor

  • Trusted Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,079 posts
  • Location:Switzerland
  • Interests:Modelling, electronics, computers

Posted 17 March 2012 - 01:30 PM

Good news :)

Fix status is good! I don't have any other idea right now...

I'd be very open to a small PCB with baro that fits in the RX's case! Heck I could maybe even fit the GPS in there - not sure it wouldn't be jammed by the transmission though.
If possible, maybe also have appropriate wiring for easy connection to the D4RII?

#62 Kilrah

Kilrah

    RC-Cam Mentor

  • Trusted Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,079 posts
  • Location:Switzerland
  • Interests:Modelling, electronics, computers

Posted 17 March 2012 - 01:31 PM

And on my side:

As I plan to sell all my other R/C TXs and keep only the 9x, I got myself a 20€ 2nd hand Graupner synthesised 35MHz module for occasional reuse of some 35MHz receivers I have - for example if I need to fly with 2.4GHz video gear.

As the new 9x has no more integrated antenna, plus I have reused the module antenna pin for serial FrSky comms, plus I use the antenna hole to attach a video recorder, I needed another way to put a 35MHz antenna.

I simply made a little 2-piece mount that I glued on the module case. Even with the weight of the deployed antenna the module hooks seem to hold well enough. Just hope the glue will hold too :mrgreen:

Of course the PCB trace going to the module case pin has been cut, and there was a nice little pad available to solder a wire to go to the antenna. The antenna was scavenged from an old MHz TX.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Edited by Kilrah, 19 March 2012 - 03:56 PM.


#63 Mr.RC-Cam

Mr.RC-Cam

    RC-Cam Mentor

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,683 posts
  • Location:USA
  • Interests:R/C video and photography.

Posted 17 March 2012 - 07:10 PM

I'd be very open to a small PCB with baro that fits in the RX's case!

Sounds like a plan. The baro altimeter function needs a couple pins for I2C and about 2K of code space. So I will keep that in mind during the final PIC selection. It will take a few weeks for me to design a PCB and get them fab'd. Do you have any soldering issues with really small parts such as QFN IC packages or 0603 size resistors?

As I plan to sell all my other R/C TXs and keep only the 9x, ...

Wow, the 9X must really have made a new friend. I have to admit that with FrSky telemetry and ER9X firmware, it works amazingly well and looks good too. :)

My LCD backlight arrived a few days ago. So I get to open up the 9X again and install it. Just another thing on the hack project to-do list.
- Thomas

#64 Kilrah

Kilrah

    RC-Cam Mentor

  • Trusted Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,079 posts
  • Location:Switzerland
  • Interests:Modelling, electronics, computers

Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:55 PM

Do you have any soldering issues with really small parts such as QFN IC packages or 0603 size resistors?


0603 is a piece of cake, but I don't have any hot air equipment, so the things with no pins might be another story... If the pads stick out enough to accomodate the iron's tip it should be possible...


Wow, the 9X must really have made a new friend. I have to admit that with FrSky telemetry and ER9X firmware, it works amazingly well and looks good too. :)


It really has. I'm going to sell a $2500 TX and buy 2 more $60 TXs :)

I bought my T14MZ 5 years ago because it was the only one that really offered the total programming flexibility that was so useful for FPV, but the main functions that were important for me were free channel number assignments, flexible trainer input (use the transmitter's settings, choose individual channels, reorder channels,...) and multiple D/Rs. To have this I had to put up with a pricy and heavy TX, while the big screen is nice the interface is slow, the 2s/2200mAh pack has 2 hours battery life and a spare costs $100... the list goes on.

Actually with open9x I can do all these much more conveniently (it takes me about 1/4th of the time to program a model on the 9x... no need to go back and forth between slow menus, no need to have to put up with predefined mixes that sometimes aren't exactly what you want or are so complicated with 10x the number of options you need that you spend 10 minutes just finding the one that will do what you want, no need to look at the screen to find the +/- touch screen zones - yeah, sounds stupid, but truly annoying, some menus like the end points are ridiculously annoying to set), AND I can do more, i.e. telemetry, Spektrum, power my goggles straight out of the TX,...

It should really be the only TX everyone uses, I don't find any other offers something extra really - and if one did, it would just be a few hours of programming away to add it :D
For the moment there is one only thing that's missing, having an RF part with more than 8 channels. It should come soonish with FrSky, but in the meantime I just ordered a 2nd hand 12-channel JR-style FASST module for 60€. So I should get 12-channel capability with Futaba receivers (or 2 HK OrangeRX (FrSky really) TFR8S as one can be set to output CH9-14).

#65 ElectroPete

ElectroPete

    RC-Cam Visitor

  • Members+
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 19 March 2012 - 06:52 AM

Kilrah,

Your idea, using the 35 MHz module, is brilliant!
I realized that I have an old Graupner module - now I can use it together with the Turnigy 9x :) .

How are the connections made?
Can I just plug it in ? (of course connect the antenna externally). Are the voltages OK ? (Battery voltage and PPM level)

Regards Pete

#66 Kilrah

Kilrah

    RC-Cam Mentor

  • Trusted Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,079 posts
  • Location:Switzerland
  • Interests:Modelling, electronics, computers

Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:18 PM

Yep, just plugged in. I must say I haven't checked RF power and voltage dependency yet, that would be some homework I'll have to do at some point... It's possible my 2s supply could cause problems, the Graupner TXs were usually running on 9.6V.

At least it works fine at close range in the workshop with antenna collapsed at 7.6V battery voltage, so PPM is OK and it does transmit, tested with 3 different receivers (1x ACT4DSL, 1x Corona Synthesised 8CH , and... I don't remember the 3rd one, but all on different channels).
I did fly a quad indoors with it earlier today :)

If you haven't reused the antenna pin on the 9x' module connector like me, you could even mount the antenna in the TX.

Edited by Kilrah, 19 March 2012 - 03:57 PM.


#67 Mr.RC-Cam

Mr.RC-Cam

    RC-Cam Mentor

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,683 posts
  • Location:USA
  • Interests:R/C video and photography.

Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:24 PM

It should really be the only TX everyone uses, I don't find any other offers something extra really - and if one did, it would just be a few hours of programming away to add it

The hacking community really deserves the credit. For sure, the stock 9X would never have appealed to me. But take a economy priced 9X, toss in a FrSky upgrade, add open source software, and a bunch of hours with the soldering iron, and the results are very cool indeed.

I think some Far East R/C mfg's have been watching too. Walkera has introduced their DEVO-10 ($150 USD) and it is like a 9X with optional 2-way telemetry, plus it is 10 channels out of the box. They even bothered to install a backlight on the LCD. Their DEVO-12 has been out for a bit and it is $500. It has a color LCD interface like the very high end systems. Walkera is not a brand that has excited me, but their activity shows that there will probably be more low cost R/C systems with "high end" features. With luck, some of this stuff might actually work well. :)

Spent more time on the GPS Hub. PCB layout is in progress. It will be only 27mm x 20mm. There should be room for a 3.3V VReg too, so it will be easier to use it in a standalone installation.
- Thomas

#68 Kilrah

Kilrah

    RC-Cam Mentor

  • Trusted Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,079 posts
  • Location:Switzerland
  • Interests:Modelling, electronics, computers

Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:45 PM

I think some Far East R/C mfg's have been watching too. Walkera has introduced their DEVO-10 ($150 USD) and it is like a 9X with optional 2-way telemetry, plus it is 10 channels out of the box. They even bothered to install a backlight on the LCD. Their DEVO-12 has been out for a bit and it is $500. It has a color LCD interface like the very high end systems.


Well, from what I've read of people who have Walkera TXs they aren't any better than a 9X with stock firmware, and if anything would just be other candidates for a custom firmware... :D

Many are also holding up because Walkera have been good at releasing new, incompatible RF parts with every new TX generation, so investment in RXs is pretty much always a net loss.


Spent more time on the GPS Hub. PCB layout is in progress. It will be only 27mm x 20mm. There should be room for a 3.3V VReg too, so it will be easier to use it in a standalone installation.

Nice :)

BTW, the D4RII is now available here:
http://www.alofthobb...try-system.html

I ordered a couple with a few Futaba-compatible ones (2x TFR8S, which should be the only current and easy way along with the Robbe FASST module I bought second hand to get 12 channels sent out of the 9x, and a TFRSP for our big hexa).

Oh, and I ordered a 2nd 9x from HK last night using the trick to bypass the backorder restriction, and I just got a stock arrival notification which includes mine :)

#69 ElectroPete

ElectroPete

    RC-Cam Visitor

  • Members+
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 20 March 2012 - 06:11 AM

Kilrah,
That sounds good. I will test now. I use 8 NiNM cells for the Turingy Tx (the same number as the Grauper used) so there should be no problems with lack of voltage.
I will mount the antenna inside the Tx, and not use the module's antenna pin for anything else.

Mr.RC-Cam,
I will connect my FrSky module directly to the TX/RX of the Atmel processor (as you did).
But, just to check, is the brown cable connected to a ground point in the picture in post #1? (it is difficult so see...)

/Pete

#70 Mr.RC-Cam

Mr.RC-Cam

    RC-Cam Mentor

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,683 posts
  • Location:USA
  • Interests:R/C video and photography.

Posted 20 March 2012 - 07:33 AM

BTW, the D4RII is now available here:
http://www.alofthobb...try-system.html

Poop, just placed an order with them a few days ago and they didn't have it then. Most of my FrSky stuff is from Aloft Hobbies; Good prices and they ship fast. :)

ordered a 2nd 9x from HK last night using the trick to bypass the backorder restriction

What's the trick to workaround the backorder?

But, just to check, is the brown cable connected to a ground point in the picture in post #1?

The brown is ground.
- Thomas

#71 Kilrah

Kilrah

    RC-Cam Mentor

  • Trusted Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,079 posts
  • Location:Switzerland
  • Interests:Modelling, electronics, computers

Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:14 AM

Poop, just placed an order with them a few days ago and they didn't have it then. Most of my FrSky stuff is from Aloft Hobbies; Good prices and they ship fast. :)

Yep they have stock, have good prices, and postage is cheap even to Europe. Perfect :)

What's the trick to workaround the backorder?

Open the product page, disable javascript in the browser settings, add to cart, reenable javascript. That way the "This product cannot be backordered" popup can't run and gets bypassed :)

As most don't know about this the queue is very small, so you're (for now...) pretty sure to get one from the next shipment...

#72 Kilrah

Kilrah

    RC-Cam Mentor

  • Trusted Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,079 posts
  • Location:Switzerland
  • Interests:Modelling, electronics, computers

Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:40 AM

Yep, just plugged in. I must say I haven't checked RF power and voltage dependency yet, that would be some homework I'll have to do at some point... It's possible my 2s supply could cause problems, the Graupner TXs were usually running on 9.6V.

OK I've done a little test, and the Graupner module works fine down to 7V, then RF power will be slightly reduced but with stable behavior down to 6V. So no problem on 2s, my alarm is at 7V anyway.

I was a bit surprised by the low RF power of only ~14dBm. I checked my other Graupner 35MHz TX (an MX16s) and it's the same. My Futaba puts out a good 22dBm.

#73 Mr.RC-Cam

Mr.RC-Cam

    RC-Cam Mentor

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,683 posts
  • Location:USA
  • Interests:R/C video and photography.

Posted 21 March 2012 - 05:44 PM

I was a bit surprised by the low RF power of only ~14dBm. I checked my other Graupner 35MHz TX (an MX16s) and it's the same.

25mW is surprisingly low for a 35MHz R/C Tx. As a sanity check, a related test would be to compare *radiated* RF (field strength) of your various 35MHz transmitters with their stock antennas fully extended.

The Turnigy back light kit was installed in my FlySky 9X. The light panel only draws 60mA so it is on full time (I copied Kilrah). Hopefully this is the last time I have to open up the transmitter's case.

The FrSky GPS Hub PCB artwork is nearly done. I won't be able to finish it for a few days, but I expect to order the fab boards late next week. Here's a 3D drawing that shows the layout (subject to change):

frsky_hub_pcb.jpg

The board on the left is the GPS-Hub (with baro altimeter sensor IC). The one on the right is an optional add-on board for the G-top PA6B GPS module (a low cost choice). On the backside of the GPS board is the SuperCap for GPS battery backup. Keep in mind that these boards are only 27 x 20 mm, so the SMD parts are really tiny.
- Thomas

#74 Kilrah

Kilrah

    RC-Cam Mentor

  • Trusted Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,079 posts
  • Location:Switzerland
  • Interests:Modelling, electronics, computers

Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:37 PM

Nice board :)
So this seems to fit in the RX, nice! I guess you'll be making a thin board (0.8mm)?
Today's open9x revision added a custom telemetry screen where you can display 6 values of your choice, so it will be the perfect match :)

My 2nd 9X has shipped, after only 3 days :) :)
Futaba module is on its way too.

Edited by Kilrah, 22 March 2012 - 02:38 PM.


#75 Mr.RC-Cam

Mr.RC-Cam

    RC-Cam Mentor

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,683 posts
  • Location:USA
  • Interests:R/C video and photography.

Posted 22 March 2012 - 04:23 PM

So this seems to fit in the RX, nice! I guess you'll be making a thin board (0.8mm)?

If things go as planned, the Hub will fit inside the 8-ch Rx. The optional GPS board will be remotely mounted via a 4-wire cable so it can be mounted outside the model (direct view of the heavens). They will indeed be an 0.8mm (31 mil) thick boards.

Today's open9x revision added a custom telemetry screen where you can display 6 values of your choice, so it will be the perfect match

The ER9X does not have that ability (yet). Does open9X allow you to choose the GPS coordinate format too?

Edited by Mr.RC-Cam, 29 March 2012 - 08:43 PM.
Added info about GPS cable.

- Thomas

#76 Kilrah

Kilrah

    RC-Cam Mentor

  • Trusted Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,079 posts
  • Location:Switzerland
  • Interests:Modelling, electronics, computers

Posted 23 March 2012 - 12:10 AM

The ER9X does not have that ability (yet). Does open9X allow you to choose the GPS coordinate format too?

No, can't choose coordinate format AFAIK. It's DD°MM.SSSS

Bertrand is very open though (hope so, he called it open9x :P ), so that could be a worthy request if needed. The configurable telemetry layout is the result of some discussions we had 2 weeks ago :)

Edited by Kilrah, 23 March 2012 - 12:26 AM.


#77 Romolo

Romolo

    RC-Cam Visitor

  • Members+
  • Pip
  • 6 posts

Posted 26 March 2012 - 04:38 PM

Hi, the main reason we (Bertrand and I) do not customize GPS display is that coordinates are diplayed as received from sensor hub.
Changing display format normally require some calculations. and we are already doing a lot in order to calculate distance.
But as Kilrah as already told we are open to suggestion.
Regards,
Romolo

#78 Mr.RC-Cam

Mr.RC-Cam

    RC-Cam Mentor

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,683 posts
  • Location:USA
  • Interests:R/C video and photography.

Posted 26 March 2012 - 06:17 PM

I'm currently using the ER9X firmware so I would not request a GPS coordinate format change on your version. But I think you will find that the format used in the GPS's NMEA sentences is not the most popular for end users. Changing the displayed format requires simple integer math. So if you should receive requests for this then it should not cause too much grief to implement.
- Thomas

#79 Romolo

Romolo

    RC-Cam Visitor

  • Members+
  • Pip
  • 6 posts

Posted 26 March 2012 - 11:27 PM

Implementing at least a format like xx°N/S mm' ss".dd was already planned.
There is something else ?
Thanks for any advice.

Edited by Romolo, 26 March 2012 - 11:29 PM.


#80 Romolo

Romolo

    RC-Cam Visitor

  • Members+
  • Pip
  • 6 posts

Posted 27 March 2012 - 08:09 AM

No, can't choose coordinate format AFAIK. It's DD°MM.SSSS

Bertrand is very open though (hope so, he called it open9x :P ), so that could be a worthy request if needed. The configurable telemetry layout is the result of some discussions we had 2 weeks ago :)


Now it's possible to choose between NMEA and H°MM' SS.ccc''
Already committed both in open9x and in companion9x.
Regards
Romolo