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New FrSky EU firmware - an unwelcome surprise

Taranis and X series receivers.

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PatMc27/01/2016 14:27:14
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3409 forum posts
453 photos
Posted by flight1 on 27/01/2016 12:12:59:

Also i have just seen on hobbyking new full range rx compatable with frsky acsst and you thought frsky rx were cheep

Bangood sell these & these Frsky Rxs that are probably cheaper or as cheap after P&P is included. I'm pretty sure Bangood also recently sold the one you've linked plus the 8 channel one for around the same prices as HK but inc P&P, however they don't seem to be listed now.

Edited By PatMc on 27/01/2016 14:29:01

Peter Christy27/01/2016 14:39:28
800 forum posts

To clarify the position on the EU firmware: The ETSI specification allows for two ways of operating at 100mW on 2.4 GHz - "adaptive" and "non-adaptive".

"Non-adaptive" just transmits blindly, without making any attempt to determine if a channel is occupied or not. The theory (and it generally works in practice) is that any collisions that do occur will be so brief as to be imperceptible to the end user. This is how all the early (pre-ETSI-1.8.1) frequency hopping systems worked. However, under ETSI-1.8.1 such systems are limited to a "Media Utilisation Factor" of 10%. In plain English, that means that they can only actually transmit for 10% of the available time. This is how the original FrSky EU firmware worked - and also some other manufacturers. I *think* (but I'm not sure) that this is how the JR DMSS stuff works as well. However, the DMSS system does transmit a much wider bandwidth signal (1 or 2 MHz vs 200 KHz or so for FrSky).

"Adaptive" means that the system will take positive measures to avoid interfering with an existing signal. One way of achieving this is to "Listen Before Transmit" on each hop. If the channel is already occupied, it will skip on to the next channel in sequence. "Adaptive" systems are not constrained by the 10% MUF, though because of the telemetry, there is a practical limit on how long the transmitter can actually transmit - probably around 50%. This is how the LBT firmware works.

Before ETSI-1.8.1 came along, the only system of which I am aware that listened before transmitting was the original DSM-2. However, this only did it at switch on, whereas ETSI-1.8.1 requires a system to *continually* check a channel is clear before transmitting, if it is to qualify as "adaptive".

The advantage of an adaptive system under ETSI-1.8.1 is that the transmitter can transmit for much longer, giving a more robust signal. However, since the whole point of spread spectrum is to provide immunity from interfering signals, it does appear to be a case of regulation for the sake of it, rather than for any practical purpose.

Before ETSI-1.8.1, the only interference cases of which I am aware on 2.4 GHz were caused by people using analogue video transmitters at illegally high powers. ETSI-1.8.1 would appear to only make legitimate user even more susceptible under such circumstances......

--

Pete

Frank Skilbeck27/01/2016 16:21:53
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3789 forum posts
91 photos

Pete, that's as I understood it too, I've seen several comments suggesting the new standard wasn't needed and it's just the EU bureaucrats job creation, is this the case, I always thought these standards were written in consultation with industry so it does seem strange that they would make the standard more difficult to comply with.

Peter Christy27/01/2016 18:29:37
800 forum posts

Frank, I don't have any inside information on this - only what I've heard on the grapevine, so I can't vouch for its accuracy! I believe that the bulk of the consultation was with major network suppliers - Cisco and the like - with RC very much on the side-lines.

Without wishing to sound like a conspiracy theorist, I did hear a rumour that the major German car manufacturers were trying to build a network covering all the major roads, through which their cars could report back to base any breakdowns or accidents. The plan was to use 2.4 GHz, because its free! They wouldn't need a license, any more than we do. However, they were worried that mere "domestic" users might interfere with their system, hence a request for tighter controls on what was permitted.

I stress that this is all rumour, and I have no hard evidence to back it up. But it does fit in rather neatly with a sudden tightening of the regulations for using 2.4 GHz!

Do I need to buy a tin-foil hat??? wink

--

Pete

Andy4827/01/2016 19:06:16
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1144 forum posts
65 photos
Posted by PatMc on 27/01/2016 14:27:14:
Posted by flight1 on 27/01/2016 12:12:59:

Also i have just seen on hobbyking new full range rx compatable with frsky acsst and you thought frsky rx were cheep

Bangood sell these & these Frsky Rxs that are probably cheaper or as cheap after P&P is included. I'm pretty sure Bangood also recently sold the one you've linked plus the 8 channel one for around the same prices as HK but inc P&P, however they don't seem to be listed now.

Edited By PatMc on 27/01/2016 14:29:01

The X4R is only £18, the X8R only £26. Your first link is an older series receiver, the second does not have telemetry and has odd servo connectors. For less than £8 is it a worthwhile saving it considering what the rest of the plane costs?

Frank Skilbeck27/01/2016 19:06:39
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3789 forum posts
91 photos

pete, no tin hat neededlaugh

I suppose you could say that the intent of the regs is to provide some degree of future proofing.

Stuart Ord27/01/2016 19:49:21
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51 forum posts
11 photos

Posted by Martyn K on 27/01/2016 11:40:59:

Hi Stuart

Is that the latest EU-LBT Firmware (December 2015)?

M

Hi Martyn,

Yes, I think so. Files XJT_LBT_build151223.frk, X8R_LBT_build151118.frk and X4R_LBT_build151118.frk

S

Andy4827/01/2016 20:59:26
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1144 forum posts
65 photos
Posted by Peter Christy on 27/01/2016 18:29:37:

Without wishing to sound like a conspiracy theorist, I did hear a rumour that the major German car manufacturers were trying to build a network covering all the major roads, through which their cars could report back to base any breakdowns or accidents. --

Pete

Ha! Germans finally recognising their cars are not really that well built. He he.cheeky

 

Can I borrow your tin hat Peter?

Edited By Andy48 on 27/01/2016 21:00:19

Mark Elen29/01/2016 09:20:27
243 forum posts
418 photos

A quick post to detail my findings.

I bought a Taranis Plus new in October last year, it came with 2.0.17 and EU firmware. It also came with a X8R with EU firmware.

As i'm going to need another receiver for my Ballerina build, I have just purchased another X8R that has come to me with the new EU LBT firmware.

So, yesterday, I set about upgrading the Radio to 2.1.7 and flashing both the radio and the old receiver with EU LBT.

Firstly, after backing up the radio, I kept getting the 'Firmware is not compatible' message when using Companion 2.1.7 so thinking I may be going too many versions ahead, I downloaded 2.1.0 and tried to go to that first. Strangely, using 2.1.0 it flashed the radio, but when I checked version, it had flashed 2.1.7. ??

I then flashed the EU LBT firmware to the radio from the SD card (the main reason to upgrade from 2.0.17 to 2.1.x was because 2.0.x does not let you flash either the radio, or, via the Sbus lead to a connected RX from the SD Card)

With that done, I was expecting to be able to bind to the new RX...... Well, that didn't happen. And now I couldn't bind to my original RX either, no surprise there.

So, first off, I connected to the new RX and flashed the EU LBT firmware, and on trying to bind, I was expecting to see D16-EU as my only option. Guess what. I've now got the old D16, D8 and LR options to bind with.

I went on to flash the old RX and all seems to be working great.

Setting up the Telemetry again was a bit of a pain, but not too bad, its just different in 2.1 as opposed to 2.0

I hope the above makes sense and it helps somebody.

Cheers

Mark

Mark Elen29/01/2016 09:29:18
243 forum posts
418 photos

I forgot to mention, I found this: **LINK** invaluable.

Cheers

Mark

Peter Christy29/01/2016 10:08:04
800 forum posts

After installing Companion-2.1.7, did you check that you had the right radio type selected? (Taranis, Taranis Plus, X9E, etc). That can get reset when you upgrade Companion, and might explain your error messages.

I did mine when 2.1.6 was the current version, and it went smoothly. However, I no longer flash the radio using Companion, preferring to put the firmware on the internal SD card, and then flash directly from there. You do need to be careful that you have chosen the right firmware with this method, though! From 2.1.6 to 2.1.7 was straightforward.

Yes, upgrading from 2.0.X to 2.1.X required some faffing about with the telemetry settings - and telling the Tx what to display on the front screen - but it is now even more flexible than before. It just keeps getting better and better! smiley

--

Pete

Mark Elen29/01/2016 10:33:54
243 forum posts
418 photos

Hi Peter,

Yes, I checked and double checked that. It just didn't want to know. When I tried with 2.1.0 it went straight through. I agree about the telemetry, once you know where to look to set it up, it's much more powerful. I've been looking through the Open TX university, and apparently, the RX battery low voice warnings are now not set as default, if you want a voice warning, it has to be set up as a logic switch.

That's tonight's job sorted. smiley

Details are here: **LINK**

Cheers

Mark

Andy4829/01/2016 10:44:15
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1144 forum posts
65 photos

I've been upgrading my two trannys and receivers to the LBT software, and I did have a lot of problems binding a new receiver. Turned out to be a faulty battery pack I'd plugged in with the voltage not high enough, although the light on the receiver came on. Most odd! The main problem however seems to be having the tranny too close to the receiver.

Actually using the link from the back of the tranny to the receiver and the onboard updating system is simplicity itself, and with existing models, no rebinding is needed.

MattyB20/02/2016 08:56:09
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1548 forum posts
25 photos

Intriguing news from Germany... It seems FrSky are going to actively prevent user made RF firmware upgrades to TXs and modules moving forward. Nothing decisive on RXs at this point...

English translation of the key post courtesy of Google...

"Hello everybody,

We as importer had these problems and have therefore begun today to deliver again. There were two problems with the last delivery from the beginning of February.

1. Software flash (of OpenTX) not possible with the first part of the delivery. In the second part of the delivery but already.
2. (RF) Firmware flash is not possible in two deliveries

The problem with flashing the new software could be solved by re-uploading the bootloader. Here seems something went wrong at FrSky.

The problem with the firmware we could not solve, and had to wait for response from FrSky. Today we now have the final say. The problem is not a problem as equating the new applicable from 1 July new radio standard ETSI complies with the LBT 300 328 Version 1.9.1. Thus, a customer can not change any more firmware.

According to current knowledge, it is for the Premium Dealer be a possibility in the future to make firmware updates.

Thus FrSky already meets the latest requirements.

Best wishes
Andreas Engel
Engel Modellbau & Technik"

Peter Christy20/02/2016 10:10:46
800 forum posts

I think that lost something in translation, but the gist of it is to be expected. There is a European directive about to be enforced that is intended to prevent flashing with "non-EU compliant" firmware, and also ETSI is due to be "upgraded" to 1.9.1 late in the year.

I had a quick look at 1.9.1, and at a first glance, most of the changes seem to be about how various parameters are measured, rather than a change to the parameters themselves. Clearly this is important to test houses, but of little relevance to end users.

Far more important is the EU directive about restricting the ability to flash with non-EU firmware, which I think is what the Germans are referring to, rather than ETSI itself.

However, none of these regulations apply to equipment manufactured before January 2015 (NOTE: That's *manufactured* - not purchased!). On such equipment it is still legal to run the international firmware.

However, I can understand why FrSky don't want to get bogged down in this nightmare of pointless regulation, and have said "Enough! *WE* will do any RF firmware updates in future!". Its the simplest way out for them.

I don't believe this affects the flashing of OpenTx, which has nothing to do with the RF protocols. Its only flashing the RF modules that is restricted by the new regulations.

Incidentally, its not only RC being affected by this, and not only in the EU. There are a number of WiFi routers out there that can be flashed with open-source firmware to make them more secure. Naturally, the powers that be don't like this, so in the US (and coming shortly to Europe), you won't be able to flash your WiFi router either.

As an aside, Frsky have already started geo-blocking downloads of non-compliant firmware to EU countries, much to the annoyance of the Swiss, who are not EU members! What will happen if we vote to leave the EU is anyone's guess, but Ofcom seem to take a much more relaxed attitude to these things than they did in the bad old days of the GPO!

Now, where's my tin-foil hat.....????

--

Pete

GONZO20/02/2016 11:23:44
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1066 forum posts
13 photos

Usefull info. So, can anyone confirm that the firmware copy I have for the X8R is the one required for changing an EU 2015 X8R Rx back to the rest of the world(international) setting. Got two that need changing. I've kept my Taranis and all other Rx on pre EU change firmware. Firmware copy I have is X8R_131105.frk

Peter Christy20/02/2016 12:09:28
800 forum posts

Gonzo: Looking at the FrSky firmware website, under the X8R/X6R link, there is a non_EU version 150115. (Scroll down a bit to the previous versions)

It might be a mis-translation, or whatever, but if the website is to be believed, it is the most recent non-EU firmware for the receivers.

--

Pete

GONZO20/02/2016 13:19:57
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1066 forum posts
13 photos

Thanks Pete, it looks like their already doing the geo-blocking because the version you quote is all that I can see that is international. My version of the .frk file has a date of 13/2/2014 but the one you quote has a much later date. From the comments it would appear that the change was to address a problem with SBUS, something I dont use.

Sean Cull20/02/2016 14:30:38
3 forum posts

The distributers like T9 are going to be overwhelmed with people wanting modules flashed if the recent poor performance by FRSky is not improved upon, How many versions of the "new" firmware have there been now ?

And if we the comsumers have to pay for this it will be another dent in FRSkys' reputation. I now longer recommend them to friends - even the geeky ones.

Peter Christy20/02/2016 16:38:49
800 forum posts

To be fair to FrSky, they are trying to keep up with an ever changing regulatory regime. At least you have the option to upgrade if you want to, and no-one is forcing this on anyone.

Personally, I've not had any issues with any of the firmware releases, EU or not, but I do think the current LBT release is probably the best of the lot. For the EU, anyway.....!

--

Pete

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