Friday, December 23, 2011

How to get a $600 radio for $39.99.

Turnigy (aka FlySKy/Imax/Eurgle) 9 channel radio

Uh...wait.  Let me rephrase that.  How to turn a $40 radio into a $600 radio.  Make that a $65 radio.  Hold on, $89.  One more part, $135.  Forgot shipping.  What about the battery?  OK.  How to turn a $193 radio into a $600 radio.

OK, let me explain the prices.  I originally ordered this radio from HobbyKing for $39.99.  That was on backorder so I ordered the same radio shipped from the US from HobbyKing for $64.75.  That was on backorder too.  So then I ordered the same radio off of eBay for $159.95 (I was on a deadline and desperate). Guess what?  Backorder!  I finally found the FlySky (same radio, different name) at HobbyPartz for $89.  Paid an extra $29 for rush delivery.  Then I spent another $53 with shipping for the smartieparts board.  Add 23 more dollars (with shipping)  for a rechargeable battery and you're there.

I have been posting a lot about modifying my FlySky FS-TH9X radio (aka Turnigy 9X) to improve its form and function.  With a few simple modifications, you can give this cheap, yet capable radio the features of a radio costing hundreds more.  This blog is just a list of links to those posts with a brief summary.

  1. Upgrade the firmware - The weakest point of this radio is the buggy and complicated firmware.  Install a board that allows you to upgrade the firmware to a better version.  Bonus, you get a backlight too!
  2. Move the USB plug - Relocate the USB plug on the upgrade board for easier access.
  3. Fix the trainer port - This radio will not work with flight simulator software unless you unplug the TX module.  Adding a resistor will fix this.
  4. Move the antenna - The TX module is hard wired to the antenna.  It should be removable so you can swap in a new module.  See how to move the antenna from the radio to the TX module.
  5. Fix the LED - The indicator LED on the RX is almost impossible to see.  Cut the label and see the light!
  6. Add a rechargeable battery - Who wants to keep replacing 8 NiMH disposable batteries?  Add a rechargeable LiPo battery for economy and longer radio life.

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