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Spektrum module for Taranis

An electronic project

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Chris Bott - Moderator19/01/2014 21:32:08
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Having started to get to grips with the Frsky Taranis transmitter, I was struggling with too few frsky receivers.

So I looked for a way to utilise the external (JR style) module facility so that I could use my larger stock of Spektrum receivers.

The easy way would be to use a Spektrum DM9 - DSM2 module, or an Orangerx DSM2/DSMX module, but the first is ruled out as I want DSMX and there have been reports of less than perfect functionality from the Orangerx one.

I'm not one for doing things the easy way either, so a project was born to see if one could be built.

The very latest firmware update for the Taranis included menu options to select DSM2 and DSMX for the external module. This, apparently, outputs proper native spectrum serial data. The advantage here, is that latency issues related to a conversion to PPM and back are avoided. Model match is also preserved, and menu options for bind and range check are also provided.

So having found a few sparse details on 'tinternet of the circuit required, a search was on for suitable parts.

A case was needed. A working Corona module from Giant Shark was settled on, as this looked both ideal, and was very inexpensive.

spek1.jpg

Here it is having a test fit in the back of the Tx.

spek2.jpg

Chris Bott - Moderator19/01/2014 21:36:22
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Next a search was on for a Spektrum RF module. One from a DX4e was recommended, and the good folk on this forum came up trumps after a short appeal thread.

Many thanks Geoff, your help here is much appreciated.

The only part I needed from the DX4i was this.

spek8.jpg

It proved pretty tricky to unsolder and get out too!

Chris Bott - Moderator19/01/2014 21:50:13
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I've taken the Corona module apart.

spek3.jpg

spek4.jpg

There's one important part of the insides to keep. The connector block.

spek5.jpg

Chris Bott - Moderator19/01/2014 22:21:14
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So here now, are most of the parts I need.

spek6.jpg

and some of them, which make up a 3.3V supply for the Spektrum module, on a board that's shaped to fit the case.

spek7.jpg

Danny Fenton19/01/2014 23:41:06
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Brilliant Chris, this is to my mind the sort of stuff that should be in RCM&E. British engineering at its best wink 2

Cheers

Danny

Chris Bott - Moderator20/01/2014 10:50:33
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Haha! thanks Danny, that brings up unwelcome visions of flying with it, while a Tannoy system shouts "He's British you know..."

crook

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator20/01/2014 10:59:15
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A very interesting project Chris - unusual. Looking forward to seeing further developments.

BEB

Martyn K20/01/2014 13:39:07
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Very interesting Chris

Now if you could do one for Futaba S-FHSS......

Martyn

Kevin Fairgrieve20/01/2014 15:09:45
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Looking good.

I would like a Taranis, but like you I have too many Spektrum RX to be able to afford the changeover.

I do have a Spektrum DX7 converted to Frsky though.

Keep it coming. I have the old Spektrum RF module still so who knows.

Kev

Bob Cotsford20/01/2014 15:42:15
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Posted by Chris Bott - Moderator on 20/01/2014 10:50:33:

Haha! thanks Danny, that brings up unwelcome visions of flying with it, while a Tannoy system shouts "He's British you know..."

crook

now that made me giggle tea all over my keyboard!

Danny Fenton20/01/2014 16:03:19
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Chris brought his new Taranis around to my house the other evening to show it and the software to me. And to say I was impressed is an understatement. And I am not talking about the tx itself, its not much different to everybody elses, has sticks and switches etc. It actually feels good quality and is worth far more than the asking price. It also has functions that only some very high end kit can boast of having.

I have spent more than I would care to mention on a Tx that yes feels fabulous to use, and can do amazing things, if I could figure out how to do it crook

The thing that made me want to go and buy a Taranis immdeiately was setting up the thing, it was a piece of cake. The simulator software is awesome! in under two minutes Chris configured a mix that on throwing a switch the rudder stick altered the throttles for a twin. Thus being able to throttle/taxii on the ground. I would dread to think how long it would take on my Jeti........

Chris said to me he hadn't set up one model using the Tx, he said he had done it all via the software simulator on his laptop.

The other beautiful feature, and Chris is sharing it here is great if you have Spekky Rx investment and want to use the same Taranis Tx to fly all your Spekky and Taranis equipped models.... If I hadn't got the Jeti I would have one of these in the blink of an eye.

To really see the power of this system you really need to think outside of the box. The only thing it wont do is allow you to mute "taranis" on power up But I am sure Chris will crack that given time...

Cheers Chris and thanks for bringing it round thumbs up

Edited By Danny Fenton on 20/01/2014 16:14:26

Edited By Danny Fenton on 20/01/2014 16:15:17

Chris Bott - Moderator20/01/2014 19:24:04
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Kevin, I'm afraid I have no clue whether the DX7 module would work. I assume it's pre DSMX?

If you have Frsky in the old Tx, then you must have receivers? These will work with the internal RF module in a Taranis.

Bob - all part of the service - we aim to please

Danny - it's pretty impressive isn't it !

Note though, that I don't think it's for everybody. To use it with the PC software requires a good feel for PC files etc and there are a number of very easy ways to screw up all the model memories in one go.
Because it's so flexible, programming a simple model takes a bit more than on a more mainstream Tx.
But the options do seem endless, it certainly appears to do everything I could ever dream up.

Now, if everyone could refrain from buying one, there might just be some receivers and telemetry sensors left at the suppliers!

Chris Bott - Moderator20/01/2014 19:50:53
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Now then, the Spekky RF board is fixed to the unit, a bit more board needed cutting away, as the pitch of the pins didn't match at all. Three wires have been brought from the RF module, to the board.

spek9.jpg

And it all fits nicely in the case.

spek10.jpg

The Spektrum aerial cable had to be swapped with one from Giantshark, the new one has a tiny connector one end and a screw on aerial connector the other. The tiny one was very hard to snap onto the circuit board, but it went on in the end.

Then it's into the back of the transmitter.

spek11.jpg

Kevin Fairgrieve20/01/2014 19:57:39
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Chris. The DX7 module is a DSM2 one.

dx7 dsm2 module.jpg

I have a DX7 which this came out of converted to Frsky using the "hack unit".

I also have a DX7s which I use with DSM2 and DSMX.

I was hoping for a one TX system, albeit switchable.

Kev

flight120/01/2014 20:25:36
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Hi Chris in your opening post you mentioned that there were issues with the orange module please could you tell? as I have got a orange module plugged in and have only used it n one plane so far but it has worked faultlessly so far. The one thing I do know is that you must not power the module up with out the aerial plugged in as it mucks up the rf out put.

Cheers Rich

Edited By flight1 on 20/01/2014 20:26:03

Edited By flight1 on 20/01/2014 20:27:41

Paul Marsh20/01/2014 20:42:06
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Sorry to be a spoilsport, but was wondering where we stand when mods are done on a transmitter like this? If a model goes in and causes damages to people or property and the equipment examined, where does one stand, when modifications to a transmitter outside changing a module are concerned.

Is is wise to try and do it on the "cheap" when it's just as easy to buy a dedicated transmitter and use both protocols and play safe.

DG320/01/2014 20:49:31
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Great mod. This stuff should be in the mag. It puts the E back into RCM&E

Phil Green20/01/2014 20:53:29
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Posted by Paul Marsh on 20/01/2014 20:42:06:

Sorry to be a spoilsport, but was wondering where we stand when mods are done on a transmitter like this? If a model goes in and causes damages to people or property and the equipment examined, where does one stand, when modifications to a transmitter outside changing a module are concerned.

    (private joke with Chris)  

 

 

Edited By Phil Green on 20/01/2014 20:55:45

Chris Bott - Moderator20/01/2014 20:57:21
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Kevin, it may well work - but unfortunately I just don't know. That module in your photo is likely to accept either spektrum serial data, OR PPM data, and we don't even know what voltage supply it needs. I'll try a few forum searches and let you know if I can find anything.

Rich I wouldn't worry, and you can probably answer the doubts I have?

I had read a couple of things on other forums, but you never know if there's any substance to them.

One was that the orange implementation of DSMX isn't the same as Spektrum's, and it was the theoretically more reliable DSMX link that I was after.

An other one, probably more important, was that if you have a mix of receivers, some DSM2 and some DSMX, then every time you switch between the two protocols, you have to rebind. This just sounded very inconvenient.

Also, the signal has to be converted to PPM pulses to drive that module, and in theory at least, this adds a tiny delay (latency) between moving the sticks and a servo responding. Although I doubt we'd actually notice.

Otherwise, the OrangeRX JR style module is a good solution.

Doing it my way, not only am I enjoying the challenge, but I know for sure that I'm getting proper Spekky DSMX, latency is minimised and I can do Bind and Range Check directly from the Taranis software.

flight120/01/2014 20:57:27
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wink

Edited By flight1 on 20/01/2014 20:59:04

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