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Intro to the Open Panzer Project - and a new Tank Control Board

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Intro to the Open Panzer Project - and a new Tank Control Board

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Old 03-30-2018, 08:10 AM
  #326  
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Originally Posted by outofmydepth View Post
There will be always those who love plug and play and those that like greater involvement, just because you like one (or the other) does not demean either, it's just a choice! I too have just bought my first r/c tank and plunged in the deep end with a full metal 1/8th metalwork's Tiger (weighing 70kg) never having had anything to do with radio controlled models (or models of any sort), but it is the introduction of this board that interests me so much because there is so much to learn and so many parameters, and unusually it's in the open arena. I see it as a challenge and one with rewards (an interesting tank hopefully), and this kind of development makes the model hobby universe very expansive (and hence interesting). I just hope a sound card is forthcoming (or more choice) because it is an essential ingredient. Without this I worry a little for its future although I will seek out a second hand Bendini board for the time being (not sure if they ever become available on the used market?). Upshot is I have ordered an OP board now and I am looking forward to getting stuck in...........
I'm like you. Infact, your screen name is how I feel about this sometimes. But I also jumped right in. I'm confident on the building side, but the electronics and rc part is all new. I have already decided the stock electronics are not enough. I don't even battle. I'd like to sometime, but for me, they're more rc scale models. This time last year, I didn't know about these. Now I have a dozen rtr tanks, and a pile of Tamiya kits. And an IBU2, 2 El Mods, and I'm going to get a Clark, well, technically I already have 2, but they came in my Mato metal TDs, so I'm not counting them. I'm probably going to get one of these as well. All my tanks are IR, except the first couple. As soon as I found out the IR tanks had recoil, I switched. I would prefer p&p, but learning about the electronics side, instead of just pluging in a preconfigured board is something I'm looking forward to.
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Old 03-30-2018, 09:07 AM
  #327  
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Originally Posted by Peregrine7 View Post
Thanks, yeah, i can understand 4 days, but 3 weeks? I'll have to chat them then.


Exactly my question, too.
Stupid question, but did you click in what kind of shipping you want to have? It happened to me once. I waited 3, 4 weeks, then I wrote hobbyking and I realized I did not added the shipping charges.

I have seen some people with same issues here and there.
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Old 03-30-2018, 09:10 AM
  #328  
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I've enjoyed reading this discussion and hearing everyone's thoughts. So far the Open Panzer project has not died yet, and you can read through the release notes to see some of the features/additions that have been made to the TCB in the last year since release. In addition the Scout ESC was re-designed and development continues on the sound card. So work is still ongoing, mostly in the background and in the case of the Scout and sound card, not much of it can yet benefit the end user since those products are not being manufactured and may never. But development is all I can do, and so long as all the code and schematics are freely available then who knows someday what that might lead to.

People asked about sound options, for now the options remain the Benedini Min and Micro including the Micro clone (the Micros are limited to engine sounds, cannon and machine gun only), and the Tagien units. One user also interfaced the TCB with an MSM1 unit from ELV Elektroniks, which can play three sounds so not much and is mostly just a novelty (see here for his thread).

The new Clark board sounds interesting and I am looking forward to more details being released. It is not immediately apparent to me what benefit internet access on a model tank will provide, but that is what we shall see. For those who want to add video streaming to their models, note that you don't need a Raspberry Pi to do that and in fact you can do it for very little money on any model, even a stock Heng Long. Small cameras and miniature video transmitters are cheap and abundant on eBay, Banggood, AliExpress and probably even Hobby King and a million other places, thanks to the massive popularity of FPV flying. They come in 5.8GHz and WiFi versions, the former require a receiver and small screen and the latter can be viewed on your phone. You can buy cheap drones with these capabilities for less than $50 so it shouldn't cost more than that to put one on your tank. I seem to recall Imex Erik doing this on one of his Taigen's not long ago.

The Open Panzer TCB is sort of a niche product that will not appeal to everyone. Tinkering, programming and open source are all very popular in other segments of the RC hobby, but I think not so much the current RC tank demographic. However I would like to think our work has had an indirect impact on the tank hobby already. After the TCB was released Clark released a version of the TK60 with SBus support and ElMod can now be updated via Bluetooth using something remarkably similar to what is described in the Open Panzer Wiki. Maybe they were going to do these things anyway but it's a strange coincidence!
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Old 03-30-2018, 09:23 AM
  #329  
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Hi Luke,

I am glad to hear that work is still being done (easy for me to say), in so much this project must have legs surely. Did I not see a video clip of the prototype sound card? If I recall it sounded very good. What is there left to develop in this regard, or is it just that money is required to manufacture it? Also what cost is involved in doing just? Keep up the good work........!
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Old 03-30-2018, 10:07 AM
  #330  
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The sound card works rather well with the TCB and doesn't need much more in that regard. However it has the ability to be used directly with standard RC gear (like the Benedini) and that is the part that is under development now (lots of coding required). I suspect more people would actually use it that way than with the TCB. One could try to push it forward as-is but I think it is better to have as much of the development done prior to production otherwise I will be swamped with feature requests the minute people get their hands on it. I will be swamped anyway but at least not so bad as if people know there are large functionalities promised but not completed. But even making progress now is often difficult because I only have a limited amount of free time - this stuff is not my job. So things progress slowly

After all that then yes there is the challenge of finding someone to produce it. The costs - I don't know what production costs will run to, it depends on many factors, but what I do know is that I don't have the money to shoulder them, so some manufacturer will have to be willing to take those on. That is a tough ask and there is no certainty we find someone willing to do that.

Finally, there is even another challenge, maybe the biggest one of all - that is getting decent sounds for it. I am not making sounds, I am making a device that plays sounds. Somebody or some people will have to create sound files for it. Most end-users don't want to mess with that task which in actuality is extremely difficult to do well.

So for the time being as well as the foreseeable future - consider the TCB as it is now and just take into account that if you want to use it you will need to buy a Benedini or Taigen sound card or go without sound. This other project can not be promised at this point nor can I predict when or if it will be available.
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Old 03-30-2018, 10:27 AM
  #331  
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Originally Posted by Rad_Schuhart View Post
Stupid question, but did you click in what kind of shipping you want to have? It happened to me once. I waited 3, 4 weeks, then I wrote hobbyking and I realized I did not added the shipping charges.

I have seen some people with same issues here and there.
I chatted them and found out one of my items (not TCBs) on the order is on backorder and that's why they havent shipped yet. When I was ordering everything, it was all showing in stock... wish they would update their inventory status better, and inform customers of any problems...
But otherwise, false alarm, my delay has nothing to do with TCBs.
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Old 03-30-2018, 10:36 AM
  #332  
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Also for anyone who didn't notice, HK still has the TCB on sale for $36. That's basically giving them away, I can't see how they are making any money whatsoever. For sure I'm not getting rich! If you think you might want to try one someday, now would be a good time to buy one.
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Old 03-30-2018, 12:05 PM
  #333  
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Thanks for all the updates Luke!

Just a FYI, the HK ESCs are also back in stock!

https://hobbyking.com/en_us/hobbykin...html?wrh_pdp=2

Shad
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Old 03-30-2018, 12:28 PM
  #334  
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Originally Posted by LukeZ View Post
I've enjoyed reading this discussion and hearing everyone's thoughts. So far the Open Panzer project has not died yet, and you can read through the release notes to see some of the features/additions that have been made to the TCB in the last year since release. In addition the Scout ESC was re-designed and development continues on the sound card. So work is still ongoing, mostly in the background and in the case of the Scout and sound card, not much of it can yet benefit the end user since those products are not being manufactured and may never. But development is all I can do, and so long as all the code and schematics are freely available then who knows someday what that might lead to.

People asked about sound options, for now the options remain the Benedini Min and Micro including the Micro clone (the Micros are limited to engine sounds, cannon and machine gun only), and the Tagien units. One user also interfaced the TCB with an MSM1 unit from ELV Elektroniks, which can play three sounds so not much and is mostly just a novelty (see here for his thread).

The new Clark board sounds interesting and I am looking forward to more details being released. It is not immediately apparent to me what benefit internet access on a model tank will provide, but that is what we shall see. For those who want to add video streaming to their models, note that you don't need a Raspberry Pi to do that and in fact you can do it for very little money on any model, even a stock Heng Long. Small cameras and miniature video transmitters are cheap and abundant on eBay, Banggood, AliExpress and probably even Hobby King and a million other places, thanks to the massive popularity of FPV flying. They come in 5.8GHz and WiFi versions, the former require a receiver and small screen and the latter can be viewed on your phone. You can buy cheap drones with these capabilities for less than $50 so it shouldn't cost more than that to put one on your tank. I seem to recall Imex Erik doing this on one of his Taigen's not long ago.

The Open Panzer TCB is sort of a niche product that will not appeal to everyone. Tinkering, programming and open source are all very popular in other segments of the RC hobby, but I think not so much the current RC tank demographic. However I would like to think our work has had an indirect impact on the tank hobby already. After the TCB was released Clark released a version of the TK60 with SBus support and ElMod can now be updated via Bluetooth using something remarkably similar to what is described in the Open Panzer Wiki. Maybe they were going to do these things anyway but it's a strange coincidence!
A Pi with WiFi + 5MP camera only cost $30 or less in some area, and only one board can do much than tcb + open sound card, footprint is also much smaller, if I were you, I will simply choose Pi, not to waste money on making new board.

Last edited by clarkmodel; 03-30-2018 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:29 PM
  #335  
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Originally Posted by clarkmodel View Post
A Pi with WiFi + 5MP camera only cost $30 or less in some area, and only one board can do much than tcb + open sound card, footprint is also much smaller, if I were you, I will simply choose Pi, not to waste money on making new board.
A Pi alone without peripheral components will not do much that a model tank requires, so a separate board is still necessary. However I am looking forward to see what you create. If any of the firmware from the Open Panzer project will be useful to you I hope you will feel free to use it!


Originally Posted by Shorty54 View Post
Just a FYI, the HK ESCs are also back in stock!
https://hobbyking.com/en_us/hobbykin...html?wrh_pdp=2
Shad - the XCar ESCs are still showing out of stock for me but perhaps they are in stock at other warehouses which are not visible to my account, I hope so.
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Old 03-30-2018, 05:21 PM
  #336  
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Luke,
They were in stock. They sell out fast!
As there is a huge volume of sales for this item, we cannot guarantee its availability for long time.

If you check "Alert Me" you will get an email when they are in stock.
You have to act quickly though.
I should have a set tomorrow or Monday. I want to see the difference, if there is one, between them and the DMD.

Shad
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Old 03-30-2018, 06:55 PM
  #337  
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I was slow on the trigger also Luke. By the time I went out to HK those esc were out of stock. I did set the alert me so perhaps next time..... besides these and the scout what else is compatible?

I want to try one out on a larger 1/10 scale model.
jerry
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Old 03-30-2018, 07:27 PM
  #338  
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Originally Posted by Tanque View Post
besides these and the scout what else is compatible?
Dimension Engineering Sabertooth serial controllers, Pololu controller, plus every RC speed control every made, see the Wiki.
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Old 03-31-2018, 12:39 AM
  #339  
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Originally Posted by Shorty54 View Post
Luke,
They were in stock. They sell out fast!
As there is a huge volume of sales for this item, we cannot guarantee its availability for long time.

If you check "Alert Me" you will get an email when they are in stock.
You have to act quickly though.
I should have a set tomorrow or Monday. I want to see the difference, if there is one, between them and the DMD.

Shad
There's a night and day difference between the hobbykhong ESC through a tcb and any other RC tank electrics I've used (IBU, Clark, tamiya), far better low speed control, no annoying switching whine, and all for 16 or less!
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Old 04-08-2018, 11:37 AM
  #340  
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Originally Posted by Rad_Schuhart View Post
Just in case, here is another user that will use a 6 pos switch. A 6 position switch for the 6 sounds soundbank sounds like a good idea.
FYI for those wanting 6 position switch support, it was added in the new release (0.93.01). Both OP Config and TCB firmware have to be updated. Unfortunately this is one of those updates that will erase all your saved settings, I try to do these as infrequently as possible but occasionally it is unavoidable. Therefore it is recommended you save an OPZ file of your settings before updating, otherwise you will have to go through radio setup all over again as well as re-create all your function triggers, etc.

To backup your settings:
  • Open your existing version of OP Config and connect to your TCB
  • Read all the settings from your TCB (green arrow) then save an OPZ file to your computer (File -> Save Settings to File)
  • Now check for OP Config updates and install the new release (Help -> Check for Updates)
  • After the new version of OP Config is installed, go to the Firmware tab, click Get Latest Release for the TCB, then Flash the new firmware. Your TCB is now updated but all its old settings have been erased.
  • Open the OPZ file you saved earlier (OP Config -> File -> Import Settings). You will see a message that not all settings were imported, this is fine, it just means that new settings have been created since your last save. Any new settings will automatically be initialized to some default value.
  • Now write the imported settings back to your TCB (blue arrow). And for good measure, save a new OPZ file that will now contain all the new settings as well.

The firmware changes allow us to support any number of switch positions easily, but for now I've only enabled the 6 position switch (in addition to 2 and 3 which were already there). Six positions seem to be the most common modification people make to their radios, and you can also create a virtual 6-position switch by mixing a 2 and 3 position switch in your transmitter (tutorials to do this for a wide variety of transmitters are listed on this page, scroll down about halfway). You can also buy 6-position switch upgrades for certain transmitters, such as this one, or build your own.

.
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Old 04-09-2018, 02:19 AM
  #341  
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Thank you for adding the 6 pos switch support, Luke
Im still waiting for my stuff from hk though.
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Old 07-17-2018, 06:58 AM
  #342  
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Hi there MrLukeZ,
I am a big fan and ordered one of your boards and eagerly await the chance to put it through its paces.
The concept is genius and it's implementation is beauty.
I'll be using 20A generic ESC's (the aliexpress/whatever Chinese vendor type with no brake) as a 1/16 tank with even 390 motors has to hit a brick wall to pull that type of current on stall.
If I threw you a $hundred or so will that help to go to production on your SCOUT. Would a significant pre-order, paid, allow production ?
Just another elegant product.
I understand getting into bed with Hobbyking and I honestly believe they doing the best they can for all hobbies but their lack of focus will inevitably lead to things falling through the cracks. This the nature of their beast.
I've bought a bluetooth module and feel that this is the way to go. Opening up a tank is a bit more than a few body clips.
If you've no objection I'd like to do a build thread but with some things that might be outside you're fantastic wiki.
I intend to do a build thread that will showcase you're incredible interface and I hope you enjoy.
I've been at RC for 40 years and have done all the toys, FPV racing, long range drones, Planes, Helos, championship levels in several RC car classes and a collection that belongs in a museum. The benefits of a good income and no marriage.
My 8 Tanks are a small corner but have bubbled to surface and now it's time to give them some attention.
So my winter project this year, as well as a 1.5M Fokker Triplane, is my tanks.
I use a 9xr, a 9xrpro, a Taranis and just bought an i6S as I see this as the best tank solution.
BTW update your wiki, there are several AFHDS solutions for PPM, I use it in my 9xr as my "go to" for testing everything.
As an aside, I'd like to do an ER9x profile that sets all of the default values to suit your board as I think having a go to baseline is SO important to something as configurable as your device is.
We''ll chat later I'm sure.
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Old 07-17-2018, 08:30 AM
  #343  
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Brycevr- Im really happy to see your interested in the OP! I have 2, one is a spare. Ive only learned the very very basics of the board in a tank Im building.
It will be nice to have you aboard for more technical and in depth questions! I have a feeling I might be bugging you a lot, lol Thanks for taking your time to pass on info to this forum. Be sure to get onto the Open Panzer forum also.

Enjoy,
Shad
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:29 AM
  #344  
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Hi Bryce, welcome. Glad you're interested in the project and of course a build thread on this or any other forum is always welcomed. Maybe post a link to it here when you start one so those following this thread can find it.

Production is a huge challenge and I caution people not to expect the Scout or Sound Card ever to be produced. If they are, great, but if they are it will be a miracle and the odds are low. It's a miracle we have HK producing the TCB. I would love to take your money but I'm afraid it would require far more than a $hundred or so, more like many $thousands up front to fund even a limited production run. If you find someone capable and proficient with assembling surface mount PCBs you could probably pay them a hundred to build you one, that would just about be a reasonable price for their time and the components. This is not a service I offer however, I simply do not have the time.

If you know of an AFHDS receiver (not AFHDS-2A) that can output PPM let me know the model number and I will update the Wiki. The 9XR transmitter you mention does not come with a module so whatever you are using successfully is dependent on the module you've chosen, and I agree there are many that will work with the TCB. When the Wiki claims there are no receivers for the original AFHDS protocol it is talking about the module that came with the old, original 9X and other inexpensive HK/Turnigy/FlySky transmitters. Hobby King recently released a new version of the 9X that includes an AFHDS-2A module and PPM receiver, so the issue is largely moot at this point, except for those who have the original 9X of which there are a large number.
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Old 07-17-2018, 02:38 PM
  #345  
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Originally Posted by LukeZ View Post
. Hobby King recently released a new version of the 9X that includes an AFHDS-2A module and PPM receiver, so the issue is largely moot at this point, except for those who have the original 9X of which there are a large number.

How recent is recently Luke and I'm assuming all 9x and 9xR systems purchased before the last few months are AFHDS? I like my 9x systems but I'm not married to them, I got into them because the open software er9x. I have OP boards yet to be used as I was waiting sound card availability...

The rate of change in RC makes being current a moving target. When I used Futaba exclusively I used that stuff until the gimbals fell off, now anything we buy today could be obsolete 6 months from now. I don't use my 9x exclusively for the 1/16 models but in my 1/10 as well where more channels are useful so as long as AFHDS is legal I don't mind being a bit behind the leading edge.

And what of this module: https://www.banggood.com/Flysky-FS-RM003-Transmitter-Module-Compatible-AFHDS-2A-For-FS-TH9X-Transmitter-p-1194145.html?rmmds=buy&cur_warehouse=CN

Jerry

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Old 07-17-2018, 04:13 PM
  #346  
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For module radios - that is radios which have a removable RF module on the back of the case which includes every 9X transmitter and variant ever produced - the protocol, be it AFHDS, AFHDS-2A or any other, is a function of the module that you have installed in your radio. The early Turnigy 9X radios were sold with a Turnigy brand module that operated under the old AFHDS protocol - HOWEVER, there is nothing stopping you from swapping out that module for a different one. I purchased my first 9X in 2011 and I still use it to this day and it remains my favorite radio. There has been no problem keeping it up-to-date.

The only reason it might be nice to find an AFHDS receiver that has PPM output is so that people who bought the original 9X wouldn't have to change the module in their radio in order to use it with the TCB. But just because that receiver doesn't exist (to my knowledge), doesn't mean you can't still use your 9X, old or new, with the TCB, you just need to put a module in it that uses some protocol for which SBus, iBus or PPM receivers are available. As you know a vast list is available on the Wiki, grouped by the protocol you may be interested in.

The 9XR Pro doesn't even come with a module so you'd have to buy one anyway. The newer 9X sold by Hobby King (since about early this year) comes with an AFHDS-2A module and a PPM receiver so it needs nothing else. For those with the older 9X, just swap the module out for something more recent, and again there are suggestions in the Wiki depending on how many channels you want.

The module that you linked is AFHDS-2A and there are several good receivers for it that are compatible with the TCB (as described in the wiki): including for example the FlySky FS-A8S but there are others. So yes, that will work just fine.
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Old 07-17-2018, 06:08 PM
  #347  
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Originally Posted by LukeZ View Post
For module radios - that is radios which have a removable RF module on the back of the case which includes every 9X transmitter and variant ever produced - the protocol, be it AFHDS, AFHDS-2A or any other, is a function of the module that you have installed in your radio. The early Turnigy 9X radios were sold with a Turnigy brand module that operated under the old AFHDS protocol - HOWEVER, there is nothing stopping you from swapping out that module for a different one. I purchased my first 9X in 2011 and I still use it to this day and it remains my favorite radio. There has been no problem keeping it up-to-date.

The only reason it might be nice to find an AFHDS receiver that has PPM output is so that people who bought the original 9X wouldn't have to change the module in their radio in order to use it with the TCB. But just because that receiver doesn't exist (to my knowledge), doesn't mean you can't still use your 9X, old or new, with the TCB, you just need to put a module in it that uses some protocol for which SBus, iBus or PPM receivers are available. As you know a vast list is available on the Wiki, grouped by the protocol you may be interested in.

The 9XR Pro doesn't even come with a module so you'd have to buy one anyway. The newer 9X sold by Hobby King (since about early this year) comes with an AFHDS-2A module and a PPM receiver so it needs nothing else. For those with the older 9X, just swap the module out for something more recent, and again there are suggestions in the Wiki depending on how many channels you want.

The module that you linked is AFHDS-2A and there are several good receivers for it that are compatible with the TCB (as described in the wiki): including for example the FlySky FS-A8S but there are others. So yes, that will work just fine.
I thought that was the case. One of the first things I did on both my 9x radios was do the mod to have the antenna of the original module be part of the module and not the case, just so I could swap them out. Easy peasy...
Jerry
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Old 07-17-2018, 06:25 PM
  #348  
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I think you are all set then.
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Old 07-21-2018, 01:58 AM
  #349  
Brycevr
 
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Originally Posted by LukeZ View Post
If you know of an AFHDS receiver (not AFHDS-2A) that can output PPM let me know the model number and I will update the Wiki. The 9XR transmitter you mention does not come with a module so whatever you are using successfully is dependent on the module you've chosen, and I agree there are many that will work with the TCB. When the Wiki claims there are no receivers for the original AFHDS protocol it is talking about the module that came with the old, original 9X and other inexpensive HK/Turnigy/FlySky transmitters. Hobby King recently released a new version of the 9X that includes an AFHDS-2A module and PPM receiver, so the issue is largely moot at this point, except for those who have the original 9X of which there are a large number.
I use these in 450 quads.

iRangeX Tiny 2.4G 6CH Flysky Receiver Compatible with Flysky PPM Output For Eachine
They use straight AFHDS protocol and bind well.
Cheap and simple. 6Ch
About 25mmx 13mm and power usage in milliamps.
I've found others and of course have a multi protocol system that I'm still getting my head around.
My aim is always to offer the most cost effective solution, there will always be a $thousand solution but yours with a set of simple peripherals is the "ducks guts"
I think an arrayed simple ESC with prewired connectors.
We need your rock and roll to complete the band.
I'd love to have a classic Fart sound as my startup...
I'm only here for the fun and to play in another field, I just REALLY love your work.

Last edited by Brycevr; 07-21-2018 at 02:19 AM.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:28 AM
  #350  
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I had a 9x and did the updates etc and then I bricked it and bought a 9xr and updated to ER9x.
I just dropped the 9X module into it and used to fly for a few years and bought a 9XRpro.
I put a AFHDS 2A module in and found it's also backward to the AFHDS so we're cooking with gas. Both protocols.
I bought the iRange Multi and am still screwing around but know that the module I mentioned is 100% OK with an original 9x module (AFHDS) and I've flown out to 3-400 metres with no issues.

Last edited by Brycevr; 07-21-2018 at 02:30 AM.
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