Sunday, February 15, 2015

FrSky Taranis - OpenTX 2.x general useage and workflow

Been a while since using OpenTX Companion for Windows. In fact, hardly at all since upgrading to v2.0.12.

Note: If your Taranis Firmware is already an OpenTX 2.x version, I don't recommend trying to upgrade it any further at this time ... just use it. So, if you have OpenTX v2.0.12 installed, install the same matching version of OpenTX-Companion for Windows. However, it must be a true OpenTX version (not just a "OpenTX derived" FrSky version). I suggest you go ahead and upgrade to a OpenTX firmware before you start using radio seriously.
  • Hold radio's 2 bottom trims inward and switch on radio (and then let go of trims). This is the "3 finger salute".
  • Connect USB cable to computer. Windows will chime.
  • Windows Explorer will now detect 2 new drives. The installed SD-Card and the Taranis itself.
  • Start open OpenTX Companion
  • Dismiss prompts to download and/or upgrade higher than v2.0.12 OpenTX Companion for Windows (this software)
  • Dismiss prompts to upgrade higher than v2.0.12 Firmware (on radio).
  • If it asks about Ignoring a Firmware version (like v2.0.15) you can Ignore it. Don't flash it to radio right now.
  • It's better (I think even mandatory) if they always match, and right now they do (at v2.0.12).
  • Select menu item Read/Write - Read Models and Settings from Radio (start with what is currently in the radio).
  • Select menu item File - SaveAs and save .eepe file as a current backup of your Models (and Settings).
Ok, now the radio is connected, your current Models are Settings are backed up, and you have your Models loaded so you can start making changes. If this goes poorly, you can always reload the file you just backed up, and you will be back where you started.

  • Make Changes. Select and Open Model 01 (for example). Name it and program radio (see Mixes). Simulate changes. 
  • Select menu item File - SaveAs and save .eepe file as a current backup (with changes) of your Models (and Settings).
  • Select menu item Read/Write - Write Models and Settings to Radio. This important steps actually Writes the programming you just did to the Taranis (so you can use it).
  • Select "Backup Radio to File". This backs-up EVERYTHING (Models, Radio Settings, and even Calibration data) to a computer file. If you had to, you could use this file to completely restore radio. If used to Restore, you would probably want to quickly redo Radio Calibrations afterwards (Sticks and Battery Meter).
  • -
  • In Windows File Explorer, Eject both the "Taranis" drive and the "Removable Disk" (the Taranis' SD-Card drive).
  • Now, you can safely unplug USB cable from laptop.
  • At Taranis itself, cursor to Exit, and radio will reboot (with your latest programming)
Taranis TX Radio NiMH-LsD 6-cell Battery-Pack (7.2v @ 2000mAh) Notes 

I tested that the Taranis on-board battery meter was still properly calibrated. Yes, it reads 7.5v on display and that matches what I get with my volt-meter.

Old programming
-   Range: 6.0-8.0v (each of 5 battery bars = 0.4 volts)
-   Alarm: 6.5v
New programming
-   Range: 6.5-8.0v (each of 5 battery bars = 0.3 volts)
-   Alarm: 6.9v (Aloft Hobbies recommends 7.0v). Also, some info here.

This new programming makes the 5 bars a more represent-able display of your safely-usable battery level. Also, the battery warning is spoken at a more appropriate time. After you are down to 2 bars for a while, the spoken-alarm will start to sound. You should start planning to land. If you get down to 1-bar, you still have radio power land safely, but you should land immediately and re-charge the TX.

Only use the supplied FrSky charger (wall-wart AC-Adapter). A full battery charge can take 6-8 hours. For a Taranis (non-Plus / Rev-B) radio, a flashing-green LED (on the back of TX) means it's determining battery-pack capacity. Solid-green means charging and Off means full (with safe trickle charge top-off). Should peak-out around 8.4v. Continuous run times on a full charge should be around 6 hours.

Taranis SD-Card Notes

Models are not stored on the SD card, they are stored in the internal eeprom. The only things on the Taranis' SD card are the sound files, log files and any LUA scripts you are using.

You can backup and restore single models to the SD card from the model select menu. This enables things like transferring models between transmitters when at the flying-field.

Throttle Curve Testing

I was thinking a Throttle curve might help with fine-tuning Hover throttle. Meaning, being able to set Throttle Stick at exact middle, and having a perfect hover (with no change in altitude). On a spare 3-position switch, I assigned two optional Symmetrical f(x)=-f(-x) non-Linear 17-Point Throttle Curves. So, the switch is OFF, 25%, and 50%.

I tried them both in flight. They did not seem to help pinpoint exact hover throttle value. They also changed the Motor Start and Max Throttle stick positions, (which really can't be useful) but should have been expected because that is what the Simulator was showing it would do. Maybe they need to be linear?

I'm wondering if advancing THR_MID=570 (by 1 or 2) until exact value is found, is the only way to accomplish my objective? Obviously, this would only be valid until current weight of quad changes. Edit: Yes, I later found out that THR_MID=575 is working well. Therefore, haven't re-visited these throttle curves and, in-fact, I have since deleted them.

Taranis OpenTX Upgrade
I thought I should come back and add this here. I have now upgraded my Taranis to OpenTX v2.2.1.

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