Archive for October, 2013


I am working on an exciting project. I am converting my Turnigy 9X radio to FrSky. In my other post I wrote about what parts were needed to do the conversion. Now I am trying to give a short summary of how I managed with the actual work.

As it turned out the DIY kit of FrSky is somewhat different of the one that RC Model Review tutorial uses. He used the old module, that was available by that time he made his review. The new kit has a switch for telemetry mode and firmware update.

FrSky DIY kit switch

I had to find some space for that switch. I drilled a hole on the back of radio under the metal support.

3-way switch (telemetry and firmware update)

3-way switch (telemetry and firmware update)

I faced some complication when I wanted to use my epoxy glue to fix the small circuit board with the bind switch and status light. The epoxy got wrong it the bottle, I had to discard it. Placed an order on new epoxy from local hobby shop but it will arrive only in a couple of days.

I followed the instructions when I installed the small programming board from Smartieparts. Rather easy to do. The small board that has USB connection has perfect fit in the radio back, in the battery compartment. Just slides into a cavity without glitch. This board enables even backlighting of screen, I haven’t ordered that though. So far I haven’t felt the need for lit screen.

Smartieparts USB connector 9X board Smartieparts 9X board Smartieparts board in place

Another important part was the battery upgrade. I left the original connector in the radio and cut the wire to the AA-battery compartment. Then I soldered on a servo connector to be able to use the matching connector on the Li-Fe battery pack. I not only double-checked but triple-checked the polarity. Did not want to perform inverse polarity failure.



Double heat shrink Ready to connect

I had the most trouble with the radio antenna. In the original review from RC Model Reviews that old FrSky module does not have a small washer on the antenna sleeve. The new one has. It is there for having a better mechanical connection. However it was more difficult to push through the plastic feature of my radio. I think the reason is that my radio was already modified once by its previous owner, so some of it parts were already altered. It should work most probably fine on a brand new unit. After some gentle violence I managed to get the antenna in place.

When I made the holes on the top of the radio to be able to get access to binding switch and status light I did not use any template. I just drilled one hole, put the small unit there and marked the next hole by eyeballing it. Then drilled it. And it went all right. I did not use a battery drilling machine, I only have a big machine, so was rather careful not to drill too deep into the radio. Went OK.

I received my glue so I can finalize the position of binding switch. I need to do the most tricky part of the build, the actual soldering of the DIY kit connections. When that is ready I can proceed as RC Model Reviews shows in his tutorial and build together the radio.

Soldered and added heat shrink to protect leads

Soldered and added heat shrink to protect leads

Used velcro to secure module

Used velcro to secure module

Velcro to secure module

Velcro to secure module

Module in the middle to not block metal contacts.

Module in the middle to not block metal contacts.

Bind switch "spacers"

Bind switch “spacers”

Bind switch spacer glued into housing.

Bind switch spacer glued into housing.

When all the building part is ready on the transmitter I need to refresh the software to er9X firmware as well. That will be a major leap for the radio software interface. Then I also need to change the radio receiver to FrSky on my Easystar plane. A lot of work is left actually.

As for today I checked if the radio can be turned on. It works, I did not make any fatal mistake yet. Good news, I was afraid that the “magical smoke” might get out of the radio… 🙂

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot



I was participating at Winter indoor flights earlier but never could fly for real. I made some practicing with my Lama v3 helicopter and watched the others fly with their special indoor planes.

Now the time has come for me to join as a flying participant. I ordered a nice indoor plane and some matching electronics.

The plane is an Extra 300 made from EPP material. Has 830 mm wingspan and a high visibility colour scheme.

ap-e300-epp-3_9628 ap-e300-epp-1_9626

According to the description this can take some crashes without being converted to confetti. In my case this is not only a good plus point, it is more or less a basic requirement. I think I will need to get some good practice in simulator.

I found a clip where a really expert level pilot flies such a plane indoors. Amazing piece of piloting.

I will be happy to just fly around without touching the walls or other hard surfaces.

As for the electronics I went for the following list of components.

Turnigy 19 gram brushless motor.

2S 370 mAh battery.

HXT900 servos.

10A ESC.

GWS propeller. A lot of them to have spares 🙂

I planned to use my existing Turnigy 9X v2 radio with it. I have 4 extra receivers, got them together with the radio. Then I have got some second thoughts.

I was watching a lot of reviews about FrSky radios earlier and started to be interested. Rc Model Reviews had some great reviews of FrSky. They just launched a new transmitter, it looks like a very capable piece of kit. Maybe a bit too much for me right now, but I keep it in mind as a possible upgrade for later. My current knowledge and experience does not really need such a high spec radio.

Then I came across a nice review of Turnigy 9X radios and how they can be upgraded to a much more flexible system and also software. The original firmware of 9X radios is a bit cumbersome to use. Rather illogical menu system and some limitations. The receiver is huge and heavy for a foamy plane (18 grams). However it is possible to modify it with some cheap items. The result is a very capable radio unit that still has an exceptionally low price.

With FrSky DIY kit you can actually convert your 9X radio to FrSky protocol. A more robust protocol with great range and features.

With a clever little programming card called SmartieParts 9X it is possible to reflash the radio to er9x firmware even.

This will enable unlimited swith mapping. Anything can be assigned to any switch on the radio. Also it extends model memory to 16 planes (originally 8 memories). And with er9x software you get a more logical menu system.

To be able to fly my Easystar with FrSky radio protocol I need to retrofit it with a compatible receiver. So I purchased a receiver with telemetry. A nice feature, I could for instance see the battery voltage while flying. As I understand I can set a warning even for low voltage. Will check how this works.

For the indoor plane I bought a small 5-channel receiver. It weighs only 2 grams (!!!)


This unit is so small that I will need to solder micro servo connectors onto the servos.

To really upgrade my radio I also bought a LiFe battery specially made for transmitters.

Transmitter battery pack

This battery will replace the current array of 8 AA cells. Charging 8 pieces of Ni-Mh AA batteries takes ages and they are hard to maintain on the long run. A TX battery on LiFe will give true voltage reading for the radio and it provides 10V against LiPo batteries which would overdrive the radio circuit board.

I will have a major upgrade when everything will be ready. First I need to get hold of the packages. Chinese celebrations mean that hobby parts are delayed. Now the celebrations are already over, so hopefully next week my package will get posted and travel to Sweden from Hong Kong. Exciting it is.

Weather is turning into Autumn, so indoor flight season is soon to be started. As I understand from 1st of November we can fly again at the school sports hall. Not much time left to build my plane.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot


I need to start with an apology, my blog activity was plumeting to new depth since my last post. As you can see the title I try to summarize what happened since February.

Last time I talked about the Ladybird quadcopter. I did a maiden and several fun flights with it since. It is a bliss to fly when weather is not allowing outdoor flights. You can fly it in the flat easily. I checked whether the propellers can be any harm. They aren’t, I tested them on my own palm, it doesn’t hurt the skin. My cats are very keen on catching the copter, but I keep it a bit off of their proximity. As I know that the prop cannot hurt them it is more like a precaution for the sake of the small copter. No animals were hurt during the making of this clip:

The 16th flight of my Easystar. Some Ringebu RC style landing even:

17th Easystar flight:

18th Easystar flight:

19th Easystar flight:

20th Easystar flight:

21th Easystar flight:

I am getting more and more used to the Easystar and fly it faster and lower. So far I had some hairy moments in combination with wind gusts, but did not crash it yet. I think that I am getting more and more interested in extending my flights to other models as well. Easystar is a great plane to begin with, it can show you many different flight types. It can glide, it can do loops. It can fly rather fast. It is easy to land and it has a forgiving character. Maybe this latter is its biggest weakness after all, as it lacks “the thrill” when you are getting used to it.

I will keep my Easystar, since I really like it. A great allrounder plane with high fun factor. But I will purchase some other models soon. Which ones? I will tell in my coming post.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot