Jumper T18 Review

Jumper T18 radio transmitter and FrSky R9 receivers

One of the advantages of the Jumper T18 over its competition is the JP5in1 Multiprotocol Module compatibility not only with 2.4GHz FrSky and FlySky receivers but also with Long-Range FrSky 868/915MHz R9 system. At least in theory, because when I got the radio, I could not bind and use any of my R9MM or R9 Mini with the Jumper T18. However, to make it work, all that is required is to update the firmware of Jumper T18, JP5in1 Multiprotocol Module and, in some cases, in R9 receivers.

Jumper T18 Multiprotocol Radio

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ImmersionRC Ghost 2.4GHz long-range radio system

ImmersionRC made a surprise and showed a new RC radio link called Ghost. And trust me, this thing, if it will get adopted, will revolutionize the FPV we know today. Why? Because it's a combination of two worlds: 2.4GHz band and LoRa technology known from TBS Crossfire and FrSky R9 systems. All the details of Ghost are not public yet, but based on the manual, specification, and other external sources, I've been able to compile a list of essential things about IRC Ghost.

ImmersionRC Ghost radio system

It is a LoRa system

ImmersionRC Ghost works in 2.4GHz band, but it's into the same technology as existing 2.4GHz radios from FrSky, Spectrum or FlySky. Instead of "traditional" FSK only RF chipsets like Texas Instruments CC2500, it uses Semtech SX1280/SX1281 (I have no solid proof which one exactly but I suspect it's a SX1281) that support both FSK modulation and LoRa. Yes, the same LoRa technology that stands behind TBS Crossfire and FrSky R9.

I will not go in details what LoRa is, but it's super clever Chirp Spread Spectrum modulation that has high sensitivity and can pick up signals that are below Noise Floor. So yes, it can do Long Range for dozens of miles, and you will sooner lose FPV feed than 2.4GHz LoRa signal!

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Radiomaster TX16S

Radiomaster TX16S Teardown – let’s see what’s inside!

Radiomaster TX16S is one of the most exciting premieres of the first half of 2020. Not only it establishes itself as a second most wanted radio transmitter on the market (right behind radios made by FrSky), it brings a few very interesting features to the table as well. Some of them are:

  • Built-in multiprotocol module
  • Hall effect gimbals available as an option
  • USB-C for communication with the radio
  • USB-C charging of the 2S LiIon (18650) battery
  • Color LCD with a touch option
  • Two serial ports
  • TBS Crossfire compatible

Today, let’s open a Radiomaster TX16S multiprotocol radio and let’s see how it is built inside. Does the quality match the price?

the best rc radio transmitters

The best RC radio transmitters for Q2 2020

The last year was a good year in terms of new radio transmitters. It’s no longer a choice between FlySky and FrSky. We have new players and new products. Below is my, very subjective, overview of the most interesting radios on the market.

Still the best – FrSky X10S Horus

FrSky X10s Horus

In my very personal opinion, FrSky X10S Horus is the best option out there. Some might argue that the shape is not the best, or gimbals are not in the “perfect” place. Perhaps. On the other hand, I do not find those things an issue and I use my X10S for 2 years now. Amazing gimbals, good layout, great LCD and ergonomics. If I would have to find a real-life problem with the Horus, it would be a small battery. You really have to charge it after every trip to the airfield. Besides that, perfect! Continue reading “The best RC radio transmitters for Q2 2020” »

FrSky ACCST 2.0.0 “important” firmware update for all receivers, radios and transmitters

FrSky does not sleep, or rather woke up, and after years of not touching the topic, released an “important” update of ACCST 2.4GHz protocol for all the compatible 2.4GHz receivers, transmitter modules, and radios: X9D Taranis, Q X7 Taranis, X10/X10S Horus, X8R, X4R, X4R-SB, XM, R-XSR, XJT and so on.

What changed in ACCST 2.0.0? According to FrSky, they fixed some kind of a bug with uncontrolled servo movement in ceratin conditions (probably almost never) and improved “correction and verification”.

What does it mean in the real world:

  • ACCST 2 is not compatible with previous ACCST
  • if you decide to upgrade, you will have to upgrade receivers and transmitters. All!
  • any 3rd party ACCST compatible receivers and transmitters stop to work: including multiprotocol modules and 3rd party D16 receivers

Consumer advise? Do not update! There is no need to update from ACCST to ACCST 2.0.0. Looks like there is no gain for end users at all and the cost is substantial!

frsky r-xsr pinout

FrSky R-XSR pinout

FrSky R-XSR Pinout

  • GND – ground wire
  • +3,5-10V – positive voltage supply. R-XSR is rated up to 10V and powering it from 5V is the best option
  • SmartPort – inverted S.Port pin (standard) – can be used directly with STM32F3 and F7 series
  • SBUS – SBUS protocol output
  • SBUS Input – for redundancy function only
  • Uninverted SmartPort – uninverted S.Port pin (standard is inverted) – can be used directly all flight controllers on any serial port
  • Uninverted SBUS – uninverted SBUS protocol output (standard is inverted)

Radio modules FS1000A and XY-MK-5V – pros and cons

When looking for radio modules for your next Arduino project, you might have come across the couple named: FS1000A and XY-MK-5V. At first glance, they might look like the next best thing, but it’s not that simple.

FS1000A and XY-MK-5V

Before you start hacking anything with FS1000A and XY-MK-5V, read the following pros and cons:

Pros:

  • simple – to send a signal you do not need much. Only to power them up and set LOW or HIGH on the data pin
  • cheap – true, they are not expensive

Cons:

  • pretty much everything else, including the same things that are their pros…
  • too simple – they are just too simple and offer no other functions than transmitting a wave through the void. No CRC, no packets, so SPI or serial, no bidirectional communication
    everything has to be done in the software, including encoding and CRC.
  • transmitting and receiving devices have to use the same libraries and support on some platforms like Raspberry Pi might be problematic at best
  • the frequency can not be changed!
  • no frequency hopping or spread spectrum
  • you have to get your own antennas
  • range is poor at best and depends on things like voltage of the transmitter
  • build quality varies a lot and you can not be sure that TX and RX are really tuned to the same frequency

Verdict? At leat be very careful when choosing hardware for your next Arduino RF project…