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FRSky Taranis Beginners Support Group

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Old 03-12-2015, 05:48 PM
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Default FRSky Taranis Beginners Support Group

FrSky Taranis Beginners Support Group



Welcome beginning Taranis users, experienced users and all others curious about the FrSky Taranis.

Recently on an RCU message board concerning Futaba radios, several fellow Taranis users agreed that the FrSky Taranis was under represented on RCU and a "Taranis for Beginners" thread might be helpful. So here it is. Of Course everyone is welcome but please lets keep it focused on basic programming and set up for the sport level modeler.

First let me say that I am not a Taranis expert! I'm just a long time sport modeler that started flying in the Kraft-Orbit-Ace days. I purchased one of these awesome radios about a year ago and love it!

Programming the Taranis was a little confusing at first but the basic concepts clicked pretty fast and it was only a few hours before I was out flying with my new radio. I am able to make the radio do what I need it to do, but it really has way more capability than I'll ever need. Still, it's nice to know I'll never be hampered by my radio when encountering something new. After a year I'm still figuring it out as I go, especially if I want to do something out of the norm.

So what is a Taranis?

The Taranis is an 8 channel, expandable to 16 channels (maybe even 32!), 2.4 ghz computer radio manufactured by FrSky and costs about $200 for the transmitter. Receivers run about $20 to $40 but usually when you buy a Taranis you get just the transmitter, battery and charger. Some dealers sell a combo package that includes the radio with battery and charger, spiffy aluminum case, receiver and neck strap.

Why is it unique? Or 10 really cool features.

1. The Taranis runs open source software called OpenTX. This means that FrSky does NOT own the software on the radio! The software is public domain software and constantly improved and modified by hobbyists like us that also like to program computers as well as fly airplanes. FrSky loads the software on the radio for you as a courtesy.
2. The OpenTX software on the Taranis has capabilities commonly found on systems costing many times more than the $200 or so commonly paid for the Taranis.
3. The Taranis is "Crowd Supported". That means that because FrSky does not own or produce the software. They do not support the software, instead the software is supported by enthusiastic users like US! There IS a Taranis manual but you won't get it from FrSky, you get it on line and it is written and supported by fellow users. So if you get stuck or have a question not addressed in the manual, message groups like this one are where you must look for answers.
4. Just about every Taranis part you can imagine is available for purchase from Taranis dealers. Drop your radio and bust the case? No worries, buy a new one for $20 or so.
5. The Taranis has an EMPTY slot in it's back for a Spektrum, Futaba or even another FrSky module! Have some "Bind and Fly" planes? Just buy a compatible module and now you are transmitting like a Spektrum, JR or Futaba radio depending on the module.
6. You CAN program the Taranis right on the radio, some even prefer it, BUT there is software available for your computer that runs on Windows and Macintosh systems that also allows you to program your Taranis, upload sound files, as well as update the Taranis software, and save all of your airplane files to your computer hard drive. This software also acts as a Taranis simulator allowing you to try different things out first on the simulator before loading to your Taranis.
7. The Taranis will talk to you! You can program the Taranis to announce in any voice (even your own voice), functions, settings, switch positions, flight conditions, battery voltage, signal strength, altitude, rate of climb, time of day, favorite song, or just about anything you want!
8. The Taranis has telemetry. Telemetry means that the RECEIVER has a TRANSMITTER that transmits back to your Taranis anything you want to know, depending on your installed sensors. Receiver battery voltage and received signal strength are built into most FrSky receivers designed for Taranis.
9. The Taranis & the computer software both have a "WIZARD" that assists you in setting up your radio by asking questions about your aircraft and then modifying the settings based on your answers.
10. If you have a module installed in the back of your Taranis, the Taranis can transmit from the built in Taranis transmitter system AND the module at the SAME TIME for 16 total channels and increased redundancy.

One more interesting note about the Taranis; It usually does NOT come packaged in a cool looking glossy cardboard box with an FrSky logo, also lacking is any sort of a useful printed owners manual. All that stuff costs big money and we want all we can get for $200.00, right? Besides you can download a manual, with color pictures, online that you can view on your phone at the field, your Ipad at home, even on your computer at work! Printed manuals are "Old School", everyone wants to be green these days!

A couple Taranis links to get you started:

A great place to buy a Taranis or Taranis parts and receivers: www.alofthobbies.com
Here is the manuals for OpenTX: http://www.open-tx.org/documents.html

Finally, the grand daddy of all Taranis message boards can be found on RCGroups, over 40,000 posts and 3.5 MILLION views! Hopefully our thread will be a bit more sedate and always sport flyer focused.


So that is it in a nut shell. Now you know a bit about the capabilities of the Taranis, why I have one, why this thread exists, and a couple Taranis links to get started.

Any questions?
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Old 03-12-2015, 06:40 PM
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Like 049 I bought the Taranis about a year ago. I purchased the package of Transmitter, 8Ch Receiver, Tx case and charger from Aloft. I bought it for the programming flexibility and the telemetry functions. I have since purchased 2 more X8R receivers, an Air Speed Sensor, A Precision Vario. a GPS and a voltage sensor. I have the Air Speed working in a Shoestring (60 powered) and the Altimeter (Vario) in a 1/4 Scale J-3 Cub. The 3rd receiver is in a Electric Powered P-47 with retracts and Flaps. I intend to use the Voltage Sensor in the P-47.

To date I have had no malfunction of any of the equipment. The built in receiver/servo telemetry probably saved the Shoestring about 6 weeks ago. As I was taxing out for the first flight of the day I got a verbal report that A1 voltage was low. I took the airplane home and ran a discharge check and the batteries checked at 250mah left in a 2300mah pack. I replaced the pack.

About 4 years ago I purchased a Weatronic Tx module and 12Ch receiver because I thought it was the best RF link available at that time and they promised Air speed telemetry. Weatronic was late in supplying English voice files for their telemetry so I decided to try the Taranis. My only complaint on the Taranis is the stick centering was too soft for my personal preference. I have fixed that by making metal centering arms for the gimbals. Aloft now offers metal centering arms as a after market item.

I am not a Taranis expert but will help where I can. I have been flying R/C models since 1952. I fly a range of models from large foamy to turbine jet. I also love to scratch build models and have my own web site: http://www.sidgates.us
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Old 03-12-2015, 06:52 PM
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Sid

All of my receivers are D series. I understand that the X series have a "Model Match" like capability. Can you comment on the difference between the two series of receivers? I'm thinking of buying a couple more.
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Old 03-12-2015, 07:03 PM
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049,
Sorry, I have only used the X8R so don't know anything about the D series. I am sure one on-line can comment.
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Old 03-13-2015, 06:07 AM
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I don’t have a Taranis, but I did some testing of FrSky FASST receivers along with my other Futaba FASST receivers using my Futaba 12FG. They have worked out well, so recently upgraded my old Futaba 9C with a FrSky telemetry module and FrSky D receivers.

I bought all my FrSky stuff from Aloft Hobbies and I’m very pleased with their service. From my past experience with radio gear, I think the retailer of the equipment can have a huge positive impact on your satisfaction with your radio. Aloft Hobbies makes it a great experience.
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Old 03-13-2015, 06:08 AM
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Deleted Double post caused by the RCU site being slow.

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Old 03-13-2015, 06:55 AM
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Sid

I think the D series receivers don't have "model match" and also need a sensor hub if multple sensors are used. I believe that the X series have "model match" and have a daisy chain type of sensor capability, whereby you just plug the sensors in end to end with the last one plugged into the receiver.

I believe these are the major differences but have no actual experience with the X series so can't confirm. I do know that the D series DO NOT have model match and will at least work with the variometer WITHOUT the need for a hub. The variometer combined with voice announcements of altitude and rate of climb is awesome.
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Old 03-13-2015, 06:55 AM
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Sid

I think the D series receivers don't have "model match" and also need a sensor hub if multple sensors are used. I believe that the X series have "model match" and have a daisy chain type of sensor capability, whereby you just plug the sensors in end to end with the last one plugged into the receiver.

I believe these are the major differences but have no actual experience with the X series so can't confirm. I do know that the D series DO NOT have model match and will at least work with the variometer WITHOUT the need for a hub. The variometer combined with voice announcements of altitude and rate of climb is awesome.
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Old 03-13-2015, 08:26 AM
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Is there any support offered by the manufacturer or distributor?
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Old 03-13-2015, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PLANE JIM View Post
Is there any support offered by the manufacturer or distributor?
================================================== ================================================== ===================the
The manufacture has a web site that offers firmware upgrades to the sensors and the firware that comes on the transmitter. I am only familiar with Aloft and they are very helpful. Best support is available on RCG and now this thread on RCU
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Old 03-13-2015, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PLANE JIM View Post
Is there any support offered by the manufacturer or distributor?
If you buy it from Aloft Hobbies you get excellent support. Wayne is also very active on RCG answering questions and assisting newcomers.

If you are in Australia, I can highly recommend Boltrc.com - Mark is very helpful.

Excellent thread 049flyer - I have been in RC for 37 years and own many name brand radios which I can't fault. However I am enjoying the Taranis more than any of them for a number of reasons, e.g., voice alerts, telemetry and the power of the Open TX programming.

One of the main differences with the X receivers is they have the Smart Port which allows you to plug in (and daisy chain) telemetry sensors directly, and as you mentioned, model match, which you cannot do with the D series.

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Old 03-13-2015, 09:32 AM
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Support for the Taranis hardware is usually provided by the dealer who sold you the radio, therefore it is important to purchase from a Taranis savy dealer. As FrSky did not develop the software that runs on the transmitter they do not support it. HOWEVER there is plenty of support available via message boards like this one and on RCG, Taranis specific websites, the OpenTx forum and also from your Taranis dealer. In the technology world they call this support scheme "Crowd Supported".

As mentioned above, FrSky's hardware support is limited to firmware upgrades for the products they manufacture.

FrSky has taken this spartan approach to radio manufacturing and support in order to provide modelers a radio with features usually found on systems costing several times more. The downside is the modeler must put forth a bit more effort to get help or advice when needed.
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Old 03-13-2015, 10:07 AM
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Certain model receivers, such as the X8R also have S.Bus which allows 1-16 channels or you can bind two of them to have 16 channels via the normal servo ports.

Receiver 1 with be channels 1-8 and receiver 2 will be 9-16.

They also make a long range receiver - the L9R which has been tested to over 9 kilometres.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lxLJOLr7xQ


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Old 03-13-2015, 09:44 PM
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I love the open source concept. There is no telling as to where this radio is going to be a few short years from now! I feel this is the perfect way to contribute to the hobby.
Can anyone tell me what a good example of LUA scripting might be? If I understand correctly, the script is meant to run once, not continuously, for instance, the model setup wizard.
If I am on the right wavelength here, what might be another good application for LUA?
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Old 03-14-2015, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcadeAir View Post
I love the open source concept. There is no telling as to where this radio is going to be a few short years from now! I feel this is the perfect way to contribute to the hobby.
Can anyone tell me what a good example of LUA scripting might be? If I understand correctly, the script is meant to run once, not continuously, for instance, the model setup wizard.
If I am on the right wavelength here, what might be another good application for LUA?
================================================== ===================================
This link had a Lua script example. You can find a lot more if you search RCG for "Lau Scripting"
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...4&postcount=86
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Old 03-16-2015, 11:42 AM
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I upgraded my firmware a couple days ago to 2.0.15 and yesterday tried to operate my P-47 and no control. I checked my J-3 and same problem so assumed that I needed to rebind. I did the rebind on the P-47 and all is working now. All three of my receivers are X8R.
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Old 03-16-2015, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidgates View Post
I upgraded my firmware a couple days ago to 2.0.15 and yesterday tried to operate my P-47 and no control. I checked my J-3 and same problem so assumed that I needed to rebind. I did the rebind on the P-47 and all is working now. All three of my receivers are X8R.
I did my upgrade a few weeks ago and had the same problem. Not an issue as far as I'm concerned but a little unsettling.

I'm currently "testing" my Taranis on my scratch built giant Stik. I have the X8R recievers and plan to put 2 of them in a 120" A1H Skyraider for 16 channels. It is replacing my SD-10G because I needed more channels. The SD-10G was a great radio but I'm really starting to like this Taranis.
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Old 03-16-2015, 05:56 PM
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I suspect receivers with model matching are the problem. A friend who upgraded didn't have the bind problem with his older receivers. I too am not concerned but surprised.
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Old 03-16-2015, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidgates View Post
I suspect receivers with model matching are the problem. A friend who upgraded didn't have the bind problem with his older receivers. I too am not concerned but surprised.
I inadvertently tested the Model Matching feature of the X8R receiver. I had been working on programing the 2 - X8Rs for my Skyraider and had gone as far as binding and testing the programing. I decided to use one of the receivers in my Giant Stik to see how the radio would perform before fully committing to the Skyraider. I had to rebind the receiver to the new Stik model before it would work. Love it!
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Old 03-17-2015, 01:43 PM
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What is the weight of the Taranis Plus transmitter with the factory battery installed?
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Old 03-17-2015, 04:35 PM
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1lb 14.3oz
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Old 03-17-2015, 05:49 PM
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1lb 14.3oz
Thanks, so a couple of ounces lighter than my 9C and 8 less than my 12FG.
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Old 03-17-2015, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PLANE JIM View Post
Is there any support offered by the manufacturer or distributor?
Quote:
Originally Posted by 049flyer View Post
Support for the Taranis hardware is usually provided by the dealer who sold you the radio, therefore it is important to purchase from a Taranis savy dealer. As FrSky did not develop the software that runs on the transmitter they do not support it. HOWEVER there is plenty of support available via message boards like this one and on RCG, Taranis specific websites, the OpenTx forum and also from your Taranis dealer. In the technology world they call this support scheme "Crowd Supported".

As mentioned above, FrSky's hardware support is limited to firmware upgrades for the products they manufacture.

FrSky has taken this spartan approach to radio manufacturing and support in order to provide modelers a radio with features usually found on systems costing several times more. The downside is the modeler must put forth a bit more effort to get help or advice when needed.
It is important to note that mastering the Taranis (or any other open source radio) will require a great deal of research and time. Many people buy these radios, and return them once they realize that they cannot fly the plane 5 minutes after opening the box. The documentation that is included in the box is pretty minimal, as a complete manual would require hundreds (or thousands) of pages. The idea of developing a manual is not realistic, since Open TX changes constantly.The FrySky company does not really have a presence in the US, so manufacturer support is pretty much zero. If you buy from Aloft, you can get some good advice from them, but you are going to be figuring out a lot on you own. No vendor (not even Aloft) can setup the transmitter and receivers for all of your models.

The upsides:

  • For around $200, The Taranis can do things that high end radios (including Futaba's $3000 flagship) cannot do. LUA scripting is the primary example. The availability to control 32 channels simultaneously (with a 2nd receiver and a external TX module) is another. There are very few features available on other radios (e.g. built-in SBUS programming) that are not available on the Taranis
  • The telemetry sensors and receivers are far, far less expensive that similar equipment from one of the mainstream manufacturers. Try to find Futaba's GPS sensor for $40.
  • There is an extensive support network out there for Taranis users. OpenTX University is probably the most lucrative single source of information for Open TX. Rc Groups also has a few threads that are very, very active (one with 30,000+ replies.) There are also a plethora of YouTube videos that cover pretty much every aspect of Open TX.
  • Once you understand how Open TX works, you quickly realize that the possibilities are endless. You can set up voice prompts using your own voice, or any other recorded sound. The Trainer function can be setup to allow the instructor to take control from the student by touching any stick on the "master" transmitter. When my Taranis boots up, it shows a picture of my wife and daughter, with my daughter's voice as the start up greeting. There are some things that $3,000 can't buy.

The information about Open TX is out there, you just have to find it.

The Taranis is not perfect, and it is certainly not for everyone. I don't think Open TX is going to put Futaba, Spektrum, Jr, etc. out of business, but it will make a large number of modelers very happy. In the end, I would strongly recommend the Taranis to anyone who is patient, and who likes to tinker with stuff.

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Old 03-17-2015, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 049flyer View Post
Sid

All of my receivers are D series. I understand that the X series have a "Model Match" like capability. Can you comment on the difference between the two series of receivers? I'm thinking of buying a couple more.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sidgates View Post
049,
Sorry, I have only used the X8R so don't know anything about the D series. I am sure one on-line can comment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 049flyer View Post
Sid

I think the D series receivers don't have "model match" and also need a sensor hub if multple sensors are used. I believe that the X series have "model match" and have a daisy chain type of sensor capability, whereby you just plug the sensors in end to end with the last one plugged into the receiver.

I believe these are the major differences but have no actual experience with the X series so can't confirm. I do know that the D series DO NOT have model match and will at least work with the variometer WITHOUT the need for a hub. The variometer combined with voice announcements of altitude and rate of climb is awesome.
I think the X series receivers are generally a better choice. I think most people who are using D series receivers nowadays had those receivers before the X series receivers were released.
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Old 03-19-2015, 05:18 AM
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I'm pretty sure I will be a FrSky Taranis owner soon!
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