|Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: February 2004 | Views: 23940 | Email this Article
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Flight System 5 Receiver
FS5, 5-channel Flight System receiver package represents
the leading edge in safe, reliable radio controlled
equipment. Equipped with new DSR technology and
free Viewer Software, the FS5 receiver protects
your aircraft during every phase of the flight!
unprecedented interference rejection, digital servo
support, failsafe operation, radio data readout
and other groundbreaking features in a small package,
the affordable five channel FS5 works with the FM
PPM transmitter you already have (or your PCM transmitter
set to PPM mode).
Full Range, Full Performance
PPM Operation on positive or negative shifts
Signal Recognition (DSR) for exceptional interference
Stabilization during unclean signal periods
Data Output to on-board LED or Viewer PC Software
just 0.4 oz. Dimensions: 1.67x0.8x0.58 in. (same
as Extreme 5)
Digital Signature Recognition (DSR) technology continuously
guards against on-channel interference. In the event
of signal loss or overwhelming interference, the
FS5 instantly moves servos to their pre-set failsafe
positions that are programmed using your transmitter
and External Switch/LED (or Viewer Software).
you take-off, the FS5 scans the airways and detects
if someone else is on your frequency before you
even turn on your transmitter. If there are interfering
signals, the FS5 warns you with a bright LED light.
This multi-function LED will also check battery
voltage and inform you if signal loss was experienced
you fly, exclusive DSR technology continuously guards
against interference. You just turn the receiver
on and the DSR is automatic. It analyzes the data
stream and automatically checks for:
positive or negative shift
valid number of pulses (and stores this)
valid frame length
valid pulse widths
you land, the FS5 tells you how your radio system
performed during flight. Each FS5 receiver includes
free Viewer Software for extended, graphical data
readout. While the Viewer Software isn't required
for setting up the FS5, it is a great tool for radio
FS5I package includes the External Switch/LED and
PC Interface Module with the receiver
FS5 package contents can vary from just the receiver
to including a (CPD4) Co-Pilot, (FSRES1) External
Switch/LED, and FS Receiver Viewer Software with (FSIM1)
PC Interfacing module/cable. My review is on the FS5I
package that contains everything but the Co-Pilot.
- FS5 Receiver with FS Receiver Viewer Software,
FS Receiver External Switch/LED, and FS PC Interface
FS5A - FS5 Receiver with FS Receiver Viewer
Software, Co Pilot (CPD4)
FS5C - FS5 Receiver with FS Receiver Viewer
Software, Co Pilot (CPD4), FS Receiver External Switch/LED,
and FS P.C. Interface Module
FS5 runs an interference check and warns you with
a bright LED if someone is transmitting on your channel
or if it detects signals — from any source, on
any frequency — that might endanger your airplane.
This multi-function LED will also check battery voltage
and inform you if signal loss was experienced during
you land, press the button to get interference and
signal loss reports (optional External Switch/LED
Module lets you interact with the receiver from outside
optional Switch/LED board allows external receiver
status and control from outside the plane
PC Interface Module connects your computer serial
port to the FS5 receiver for downloading flight
Before you Fly:
the frequency-clear feature to check the airwaves
before you even turn on your transmitter. Turn on
the FS5. Watch the status LED. It will glow bright
red for a second, then it will go out. Watch the
LED. If it starts blinking before you turn on your
transmitter, there is interference on your channel.
Leave the receiver on for as long as you like. Even
the briefest signal strong enough to cause interference
will activate the frequency-clear feature.
your battery voltage before you take off. Simply
press and release the programming button and the
LED will blink out your battery voltage (long blinks
= 1V, short blinks = 0.1V). Four long blinks followed
by 8 short blinks equals 4.8V. You can test the
voltage under load by moving your servos while you
press the button.
While you Fly:
FS5 is fully crystal interchangeable, dual conversion,
full range, full performance and is the same size
and weight as our Extreme 5. I used a Hitec dual
conversion crystal from my 555 receiver for my FS5
receiver without and issues. Sporting improved S.M.A.R.T.
decoding with new Digital Signature Recognition
(DSR), the new FS5 leap frogs current-generation
receivers, yet still works with any standard FM
(PPM) transmitter. The FS5 is simply the most secure
R/C receiver ever designed. DSR recognizes your
specific PPM transmitter signature on start-up and
continuously checks for FM shift, number of channels,
and valid pulse widths. A DSR anomoly invokes four
levels of error correction to eliminate nearly all
interference and servo jitter. Once it learns your
transmitter signature, the super-fast microcontroller
can easily ignore random noise to a level higher
than ever before.
added security, the FS5 includes fully pre-programmable
servo position on all 5 channels in the event of
signal loss. Programming failsafe settings has never
been easier. This overcomes the normal reluctance
of users to go through the pain of programming a
PCM system for fail-safe operation. Just press and
hold the programming button as you turn power on
to enter the programming mode. Move any stick on
your transmitter (channels 1 through 5) and set
it where you want the flight surface to go in the
event that signal is lost completely, as in “my
transmitter just died.” As you hold the stick,
press the programming button again. That's it. You
can repeat the procedure for any or all the channels
if you want.
you don't want to set pre-defined servo positions,
you can still take advantage of improved S.M.A.R.T.
decoding with Digital Signature Recognition (DSR)
which implements 100% output power to the servos
using “last good frame hold” technique.
Dimensions: 1.18" x 0.34"
Weight: 0.10oz (3 gm)
Current drain: < 1 ma.
Input: one microlite servo pigtail
six inches long.
Outputs: two 3-pin headers that accept
JR, Futaba, Hitec or Airtronics Z-style servo
connectors; both outputs are buffered for
use as a 2 channel "Y buffer" where
offers an excellent companion to FS5 (and
any) receiver installation in situtations
where you are using long aileron extensions,
etc. in an installation.
605SB servo buffer can be added in-line for
each long wire run to the servo. The addition
of the FS5 Viewer software and Flight Recorder
has given R/Cers the ability to troubleshoot
installation and design issues we were never
able to see before.
First fly the FS5 with no buffers. When you
land, look at the LED, if it's blinking, it
will blink out the number of failsafe events
you had during the flight. Don't turn power
off or the memory will be cleared! Press the
button on the FS5 3 times and it will then
blink out the number of bad frames you had
during a flight. The objective of course would
be to install the buffers (at the receiver)
until you minimize failsafe events (should
be 0 if your radio is in good shape and tuned
properly), and/or a low number of bad frames.
This will provide you a very definitive picture
of RF performance.
The FS5 receiver is actually an extremely
precise glitch counter. Of course, if you
have a real bad installation, you may get
several failsafe events and you could run
the counter on the bad frames to it's max
which is 256. A clean flight should be somewhere
in the neighborhood of 30 bad frames or less.
It takes 50 consecutive bad frames to go into
failsafe. Also, when you're counting bad frames,
long blinks = 10 bad frames and short blinks
= 1 bad frame. 10 long followed by 5 short
would = 15.
The 605SB servo buffer was designed specifically
to provide 100% reliability when interconnecting
the Co Pilot (CPD4) with Futaba PCM receivers
and is guaranteed to provide smooth operation
on both pitch and roll channels If you are
having trouble with long aileron extensions
or long runs to the elevator or rudder then
install this unit between the servos and the
receiver to improve radio performance. You
might be surprised by how much you haven't
been able to "see" before the FS5
the FS5 receiver with Co Pilot (FS5A) and you have
the world’s first “true failsafe”
system. This combination can fly your model out
of practically any loss-of-signal situation or massive
interference to enhance safety immeasurably and
save you a load of heartbreak and repairs. Program
receiver failsafe settings for low throttle and
rudder turn. Co-Pilot will hold the wings and nose
level in a flat, low speed turn giving you time
to figure out the problem and/or warn spectators.
3) After you Land:
the status LED after you land. If you ever lost
signal, the microcontroller will notify you by blinking
the number of failsafe events during the flight.
Need even more precision? With the FS5, you can
even check the number of bad frames received during
a flight. That’s right, the FS5 is also a sophisticated
glitch counter. Thus, you can help your fellow flyers
to check for any real or imagined interference at
your flying field up in the air where it counts.
addition, every FS5 ships with our new Flight Systems
Receiver Viewer Software. This software is not required
to program or use the receiver, but it’s a
great tool for helping you set servo failsafe positions
and range test the receiver. The optional software
runs on any Windows 98 or newer PC operating system.
the receiver to any serial port on your P.C. through
the interface module, (FSIM1 sold separately), install
the software and you instantly have a graphical,
intuitive interface to use along with your receiver.
The software displays the type of transmitter controlling
the receiver. Each channel is displayed using a
slide-rule meter showing servo position in real
time and failsafe positions if programmed. In addition,
the software presents telemetry data received from
the receiver in real time, as well as historic data.
The program also lists receiver battery voltage,
signal strength, data integrity, and much more!
Do you have a laptop? Take it to the field with
you. After you fly, leave the receiver and transmitter
power on, connect the receiver to your P.C., and
check to see if you encountered any anomaly during
a flight. Sound interesting? The software can be
run without connecting the receiver and interface
module. It contains a demo program that shows you
all major features of the software so you can decide
if it's something you might want to use.
stands for Pulse Position Modulation. In this approach,
each servo position is encoded by a specific pulse
width. Pulse width for one channel ranges from 1
to 2 milliseconds. A 6 channel transmitter will
generate 6 pulses in the output signal. The receiver
knows what pulse is servo 1 because of a long sync
pulse that lasts 5 milliseconds. A glitch occurs
when a stray pulse is introduced to the signal.
Suppose a stray 0.1 millisecond pulse occurs in
the channel 4 pulse. Servos 1-3 would be positioned
correctly, while servo 4 would move to an incorrect
position. The glitch gets worse when the receiver
shifts channels 4, 5 and 6 down one position because
of an extra pulse. The position of channel 5 is
now given to servo 6, while servo 6 goes to the
empty slot for servo 7. After a single glitch, correct
servo positions are restored in the next frame.
The 1/50th second wait for the next frame causes
little movement of a servo. Since glitches are random,
the odds are greater for glitches on the servos
connected to higher channel numbers. That is why
important control surfaces are on channels 1 and
PPM receivers have some tolerance for noise. Most
of the time, only half the servos receive a big
glitch. Smaller glitches will not shift the servos
at all. When just one servo shakes a little, a small
glitch delayed the pulse on its channel.
stands for Pulse Code Modulation. In this method,
control positions are converted to 10 bit binary
numbers before transmission. Each channel requires
10 pulses to represent the numeric position. A glitch
in this data stream can dramatically change the
positions of all servos on channels following the
glitch. However, to keep the numbers readable by
the receiver, the transmitter calculates and sends
a cyclic redundancy check (CRC) number. The CRC
number is recalculated in the receiver and checked
to see whether it matches the received channel data.
If one or more bits are corrupted, the entire frame
is thrown out. This is known as error detection.
The PCM receiver then waits for the next clean frame
before updating the servos. In a PCM radio system,
moderate noise can corrupt several frames in a row.
pulses are much shorter for PCM because there are
so many of them. The higher number of pulses per
frame slows down the frame rate. A 6 channel PCM
frame will have at least 72 pulses in a frame. One
delayed or changed pulse among the 72 will corrupt
the entire frame. This is why PCM receivers can
lose control and go into failsafe mode. To make
things better, some PCM transmitters break up a
6 channel frame into two frames of 3 channels each.
This way, only half the channels will be affected
by a discarded frame.
it comes to glitches, PCM receivers are better then
PPM receivers because they catch all glitches. The
CRC will never let a glitch through to the servos.
On the down side, a PCM receiver will discard an
entire 5-channel frame if it finds 1 bad bit among
the 50 data bits. In comparision, if a PPM receiver
encounters 1 bad pulse in 50, it still has four
good 5-channel frames to work with.
FS5 receiver combines the advantages PCM (error
detection and high noise tolerance) and the advantages
of PPM (faster and more tolerant of glitches) to
create a higher level in receiver performance. Additionally,
the DSR features add increased safety through automatic
pre-set and failsafe positioning of the servos.
Truth about DSR:
will not protect you from identical transmitters
on the same frequency channel
you turn on your FS5 receiver, the Digital Signal
Recognition (DSR) is automatic. It checks for the
or negative shift
number of pulses
FS5 receiver is able to store two valid transmitters
of the same shift type to support buddy box operation.
Once it learns a Futaba transmitter, it will not
hear a JR transmitter. Once it learns an 8-channel
transmitter signal, it will not hear a 4-channel
transmitter; Futaba or otherwise.
DSR feature can actually re-construct damaged information.
There is digital filtering that will ignore pulses
less than 100usec in width. These are usually attributed
to interference and noise. This means that these
short noise spikes will have no effect on servo
motion. Valid information is also tracked from frame
to frame. If a frame is damaged, the DSR involkes
three levels of error correction to attempt to restore
the data. If the data fails to be restored for 50
consequtive frames, the failsafe mode is enabled
which sets the servos to either the "last good
frame" or the "programmed servo pre-set
positions". If a Co-Pilot is connected, the
plane will go into a low speed stable turn.
worst case scenario is when two identical transmitters
are turned on with the same channel setting. The
performance comes down to relative signal strength.
If you fly close to the interferer, the interferer
will attain control of the receiver until your transmitter
signal becomes stronger again.
DSR is always comparing incoming data to the defined
criteria listed above.
A DSR anomoly invokes up to 4 levels of error correction
which is how it
knows when to attempt to repair damaged frame information.
the more technically inclined R/Cer, refer to the
Flight System white paper (June 2003) in the
support section of the FMA Direct Web site.
Viewer Software provides real-time information about
the receiver, its failsafe settings, battery voltage,
transmitter type, signal strength and failsafe history.
It can also be used to record and play files containing
this data. Although the Viewer is not required to
set up and use the FS Receiver, it can be helpful
for troubleshooting. If installed on a laptop computer,
the Viewer can be used at your flying field.
used in combination with the optional interconnect
to computer, the PC Viewer Software can be used
to check and record airborne telemetry; battery
voltage, interference, and much more.
FS5 Receiver includes free Viewer Software for extended,
graphical data readout. Connect the FS5 to your
PC with the optional Serial Interface Module, then
view transmitter signal strength, servo positions,
servo presets, and much more receiver data in real
time. The program also records receiver operations
for playback at a later time.
PC Viewer Software displays a graphical data
readout for each channel position, pre-set
information, and real-time receiver performance
comprehensive on-line Help file provides detailed
information about the Viewer Software
and the receiver operation
the External Switch/LED Module lets you interact
with the receiver from outside the aircraft.
you can’t take your computer to the flying
field unless it is a laptop so how do you set up
the FS5 receiver without the Viewer Software? You
can set all the FS5 receiver functions without the
Viewer Software through its button and LED, and
you set failsafe positions using your transmitter
the FS Receiver prevent my airplane from crashing?
No, the FS Receiver can only move your airplane’s
control surfaces and throttle to preset positions
when it doesn’t receive a clean signal
from your transmitter. This may keep your airplane
flying long enough for you to find and correct
the problem. For true failsafe operation, use
the optional CPD4 Co-Pilot feature.
you are installing the FS Receiver in a small
aircraft, you may need a shorter antenna.
You may cut off part of the antenna without
detuning the receiver (a unique feature of
FMA Direct receivers). However, reducing antenna
length will reduce range. Never cut the antenna
shorter than 18” (50cm).
increased safety provided from the FS5 DSR
features through exceptional interference
rejection, frame error correction, and automatic
pre-set or failsafe positioning of the servos
gives me the confidence to fly my fastest
and most precious planes at any R/C event.
5716A Industry Lane
Frederick, MD 21704 USA
The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.
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