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Help! FPV Noob Questions

#1
I am a total Noob to the FPV world, so be kind to me :)

I have noticed that FrSky transmitters/receivers seem to be the norm in the FPV and quad applications. I have been flying Spectrum for years, so I would prefer not to change, but want to understand the reasons people have chosen FrSky. I have a few questions as follows:
- What is the primary reason for choosing FrSky (I assume price and not already committed to a transmitter brand)?
- What are the pros/cons of FrSky vs Spektrum?
- Are there more integrations (sensors) available for FrSky?

Thanks in advance!
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#2
You can keep using Spektrum if you wish.

The main reasons why people pick FrSky are the claims that they're cheaper, and that they don't failsafe constantly with the FrSky radios when flying in abandoned buildings or at long range. I'll be honest, those reasons are kinda bunk nowadays.

FrSky transmitters can be cheaper, that is true - but at what cost? OpenTX is a little more difficult to go through setup and has a higher learning curve in configuration over the Spektrum software. It's not intuitive, from what I've seen. I personally don't like it because when I looked at how to configure mixing, I had multiple different ways to accomplish the same thing when doing elevator/flap mixing. I'm of the mindset of KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid - and I don't want to have to go down several different methods to find out which one is the easiest for me to do what I needed. Does that mean it's bad? No, not at all. It just didn't work FOR ME.

Also, when I first looked at the Taranix X9D vs. the Spektrum DX6, the difference between the two was $50. But I picked up the X9D and started moving the sticks, and the gimbals didn't feel as smooth on it as they did on the Spektrum. When I inquired about it at the hobby shop where I was looking at the transmitters, they said, "Oh, you can swap out the gimbals for better ones - it only costs $50." That was leaning me even more towards the Spektrum, but it was when I started trying to throw switches that I found the Spektrum radio to be more comfortable FOR ME. Ergonomics is a personal thing, and the reach to hit some of the switches felt a lot better in the DX6 than they did in the X9D. That's something that made it easier for me to pick the Spektrum radio.

As for failsafe, well...I've only had one failsafe issue with a quadcopter on DSMX - and it was caused because I was flying a Tinywhoop/Inductrix quadcopter at about 500 ft away from me, out of line-of-sight, and between two metal shipping containers. I not only lost radio signal to my quadcopter, I ALSO lost video signal, which was most likely caused by the metal shipping containers blocking my signal. Does it happen? Yes. Would it have happened with a different protocol, whether it was Spektrum, FrSky, FlySky, etc? Almost definitely. :) I think that it might be a convenient...well, I don't know if it's an "excuse", but it's less of a reason, in my mind, to blame on the brand of transmitter and more of a reason to blame on pushing what the limit of radio frequencies in general can broadcast at.

Ultimately, I would tell you to go with what you're comfortable with. Both FrSky and Spektrum are used for FPV flying; it's more of what I liken to as a "Ford vs. Chevy", "Apple vs. Android" argument - each one has their fans, and each one does the same basic functions. Pick the one that best suits you for not just your pocketbook, but for ease of use should you want to program it, support/repair if you should break something or need assistance programming it, or how it feels in your hand, especially if you plan on flying for a while, as you don't want your hands to cramp up!
 
#3
You can keep using Spektrum if you wish.
Ultimately, I would tell you to go with what you're comfortable with. Both FrSky and Spektrum are used for FPV flying; it's more of what I liken to as a "Ford vs. Chevy", "Apple vs. Android" argument - each one has their fans, and each one does the same basic functions. Pick the one that best suits you for not just your pocketbook, but for ease of use should you want to program it, support/repair if you should break something or need assistance programming it, or how it feels in your hand, especially if you plan on flying for a while, as you don't want your hands to cramp up!
Wow, that was a great analysis! Thanks
The two things that were making me look at FrSky were the increased range and ease of connecting the receiver (using SBUS instead of PWM/PPM or DSMX SRXL2). However, based on your feedback neither seems to be a big issue.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#4
Wow, that was a great analysis! Thanks
The two things that were making me look at FrSky were the increased range and ease of connecting the receiver (using SBUS instead of PWM/PPM or DSMX SRXL2). However, based on your feedback neither seems to be a big issue.
I personally am against long range setups for ANY aircraft, and the main reason is NOT due to any sort of legal issues. No, it's because the further out you get, the longer the walk it is to retrieve your aircraft if/when signal fails! :) If you lose signal a mile out, that's a 2 mile round trip to recover it - one mile out, and one mile back, if you're able to go in a straight line (and you're NEVER able to go in a straight line, not by my experience - it's always around a tree, up and down a hill, around the fence that has a vicious dog behind it, and in several cases out by my field, around several large patches of poison oak). I don't want to have to make that hike. :)

My experience has been that I'm not ever flying that far away on FPV because my video feed cuts out sooner than the radio signal would, and if I have to take my goggles off and try to find it (which you shouldn't necessarily have to do, because you should be flying with a spotter for a myriad of safety reasons, such as "Hey, you've got some kids coming up the bike path you're flying next to," or in my case, "Your quad went down, 3 o' clock, just behind that big bush, about 50 yards out.") I'm gonna be SOL if it's a half mile out.
 

evranch

Well-known member
#5
Availability of long range systems is definitely a reason for using FrSky or another transmitter that supports internal modules like Jumper. I use the FrSky R9M module and TBS also has a well-recommended module.

However like Sprzout says, these systems are overkill for many pilots and your video will definitely go before your controls do. I use LRS on an autopiloted airplane that I use for mapping - as such, video feedback is not critical for flying it, but maintaining constant contact with it is, for safety, failsafe and telemetry.

If you are flying FPV for fun, the only real reason to use LRS is if you have an autopilot onboard capable of returning to home when you trip an emergency switch. The lower frequencies will bounce around hills and brush, allowing you to send that emergency command. However, I've flown plenty of fixed wing FPV with 2.4 control and 5.8 video, and upon losing video shooting down a ravine I've always been able to give full throttle and up elevator and climb out no problem. Or crash into a tree at full throttle, but that's not the transmitter's fault.

Likewise I have tripped the RTH switch on my quad a couple times on losing video and had it climb back into safety. So I would say 2.4 is good enough for most purposes.

If you already own a Spektrum setup you might as well keep using it IMO.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#6
Availability of long range systems is definitely a reason for using FrSky or another transmitter that supports internal modules like Jumper. I use the FrSky R9M module and TBS also has a well-recommended module.

However like Sprzout says, these systems are overkill for many pilots and your video will definitely go before your controls do. I use LRS on an autopiloted airplane that I use for mapping - as such, video feedback is not critical for flying it, but maintaining constant contact with it is, for safety, failsafe and telemetry.

If you are flying FPV for fun, the only real reason to use LRS is if you have an autopilot onboard capable of returning to home when you trip an emergency switch. The lower frequencies will bounce around hills and brush, allowing you to send that emergency command. However, I've flown plenty of fixed wing FPV with 2.4 control and 5.8 video, and upon losing video shooting down a ravine I've always been able to give full throttle and up elevator and climb out no problem. Or crash into a tree at full throttle, but that's not the transmitter's fault.

Likewise I have tripped the RTH switch on my quad a couple times on losing video and had it climb back into safety. So I would say 2.4 is good enough for most purposes.

If you already own a Spektrum setup you might as well keep using it IMO.
Just as an FYI, Spektrum offers modules for TBS now too, but only on the ix12 and ix20, both of which are overkill for the average joe pilot. I myself have an ix12 now, having upgraded for need of 12 channels for a warbird I'm building with retracts and bomb bay doors, as well as my DLG setup. It's overkill for anyone not flying more exotic planes and configurations, and 90% of pilots will do just fine with an 8 or 9 channel radio.

Do you need to have that TBS functionality? No, not at all. Again, only really used for those pilots who are flying long range, and it's not really needed except for rare circumstances.
 

Hondo76251

Well-known member
#8
I'm a spektrum fan myself. I've never had failsafe issues and I tend to get a ways out there... and when I need to go farther I just use my spektrum with a UHF module which makes your range virtually unlimited.
 

evranch

Well-known member
#9
It's overkill for anyone not flying more exotic planes and configurations, and 90% of pilots will do just fine with an 8 or 9 channel radio.
Certainly, I have the Taranis X9D SE and have yet to use all of its switches even on a rig with multiple flight modes, mission triggers, rates, flaperons, camera trigger, auxiliary motor... I guess I could add a video switcher, headtracker and retracts and then I'd be getting closer.

One big benefit of an OpenTX system is being able to run FlightDeck or similar telemetry scripts and leave your groundstation at home. Again, this is only relevant if you are running ArduPilot and certainly shouldn't matter to someone just getting in to FPV who already owns a transmitter.
 

Flite Risk

Active member
#10
Oh did you open a can of worms.
I would personally go with a jumper t16 pro it runs the open TX protocol as well as spectrum.

programming can be learned from Lee at painless360 he can teach you all you need to know about learning the Open TX language.


The jumper t16 pro will let you use all your spektrum receivers and fr sky receivers and futuba receivers and every other little quadcopter you could ever buy or plane, it is truly ideal for the bind and fly flyer.

I won't go into great detail and i will let you do your own research but thats my .02

Full disclosure I fly FRsky protocol with a taranis qx7 radio. The only reason I don't have a jumper is I haven't had the need to upgrade yet.

Good luck in your decision the floodgates I can see have opened.

goodking this wealth of information from the proverbial fire hose that is this awesome community.

And make sure you come the flight fest this year.

Oh I almost forgot it also has a JR Bay so if you were so inclined you could also run a crossfire long range module if you really want to get into some bandos and not have signal drop......

I may be rehashing what's been said 15 times above, I didn't really read above just your original post.
 
Last edited:

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#11
Oh did you open a can of worms.
I would personally go with a jumper t16 pro it runs the open TX protocol as well as spectrum.

programming can be learned from Lee at painless360 he can teach you all you need to know about learning the Open TX language.


The jumper t16 pro will let you use all your spektrum receivers and fr sky receivers and futuba receivers and every other little quadcopter you could ever buy or plane, it is truly ideal for the bind and fly flyer.

I won't go into great detail and i will let you do your own research but thats my .02

Full disclosure I fly VFR sky protocol with a taranis qx7 radio. The only reason I don't have a jumper is I haven't had the need to upgrade yet.

Good luck in your decision the floodgates I can see have opened.

goodking this wealth of information from the proverbial fire hose that is this awesome community.

And make sure you come the flight fest this year.

Oh I almost forgot it also has a JR Bay so if you were so inclined you could also run a crossfire long range module if you really want to get into some bandos and not have signal drop......

I may be rehashing what's been said 15 times above, I didn't really read above just your original post.
Just keep in mind that OpenTX is NOT "beginner friendly". There aren't really manuals that you can go through, but there are tons of YouTube vids to show you how to do it. Keep in mind that each will have their own method to do it, and you'll bump into what seems like a million different ways to do the same thing. Is it bad? No. It's just different, and you may need to gear up and watch several vids before you get an idea of how to do what you want.
 
#12
Thanks for all the feedback and great information, you all have certainly given me a lot to process.

While I am a total noob to FPV flying, I am not new to RC flying (been at it for 25 years). Also, I am a geek about technology, as that was my career. So, while there is most certainly a steep learning curve, I am confident I can master the configuration.

For the time being, I am sticking with my Spektrum DX18, but I am going to do some research on the Jumper T16.