Solved What is AS3X and what exactly is SAFE Select?

Douglas

Member
I just ordered a Conscendo 1.5. I am reading through the manual and I come to this:

SAFE® Select Technology, Optional Flight Envelope Protection
• Once bound, the receiver will retain its bind settings for that transmitter until you re-bind.
• If the receiver loses transmitter communication, the failsafe will activate. Failsafe moves the throttle channel to low throttle. Pitch and roll channels move to actively level the aircraft in flight.
• If problems occur, refer to the troubleshooting guide or if needed, contact the appropriate Horizon Product Support office.
The BNF Basic version of this airplane includes SAFE Select technology, enabling you to choose the level of flight protection. SAFE mode includes angle limits and automatic self leveling. AS3X mode provides the pilot with a direct response to the control sticks. SAFE Select is enabled or disabled during the bind process.
With SAFE Select disabled the aircraft is always in AS3X mode.

The two sentences in bold confuse me. But I went to Horizon Hobby’s website and read up on both. Still “direct response to the control sticks” makes no sense to me. If I understand AS3X correctly, it’s just a behind-the-scenes stabilizing system that makes the plane fly the way you expect it to fly by doing all sorts of non-stop microadjustments to compensate for wind or whatever, which might otherwise make the plane do funny things you aren’t expecting it to do. For a beginner like me, it’d probably be better if they didn’t even tell me about it because it’s in the plane, it’s turned on, and there’s nothing I need to do. Do I have that right? I can just forget about AS3X?

Okay so let’s move onto this “SAFE Select” thing. On my Carbon Cub S+, I think SAFE Select referred to the beginner, intermediate, and advanced flight modes. I understand those three modes on my Carbon Cub S+ and what they do. But my Conscendo also has this SAFE Select thing, but the manual doesn’t say anything about beginner, intermediate, and advanced flight modes. In my Conscendo manual, it says SAFE Select “includes angle limits and automatic self leveling.” Yeah, that’s what happens in beginner and intermediate modes on my Carbon Cub S+, but Conscendo doesn’t have those three modes, so what exactly does it have? Does Safe Select on my Conscendo correspond to beginner or advanced modes on my Carbon Cub S+? Beats me, I’m confused.

Since I am a beginner, and since SAFE sounds safe, I’ll probably always have it turned on. But my Conscendo manual says I can choose to assign it to a switch so that I can turn it on and off. Well options are nice, and maybe I’ll prefer to turn it off at some point when I understand what the hell it does, but I’m going to assign it to a switch and I plan to always have that switch turned on.

But what exactly does it do, and how is that different from the beginner, intermediate, and advanced SAFE Select modes on my Carbon Cub S+?
 

Douglas

Member
Okay, let’s go back to AS3X for a second. I surmised in my original post above that AS3X is always turned on, and there‘s nothing for me to think about. But then I read the following in the manual:

Return the elevator and aileron controls to neutral before switching from SAFE Select mode to AS3X mode. If you do not neutralize controls when switching into AS3X mode, the control inputs used for SAFE Select mode will be excessive for AS3X mode and the aircraft will react immediately.

So I guess this means that my Conscendo will either be in SAFE Select mode or AS3X mode at all times. Basically, SAFE is on or SAFE is off. If it’s on, the plane won’t let me bank past a certain point, and if I’m giving the plane a little right aileron, then it will maintain a steady rate of turn. But if SAFE is off, then the plane will fly in a radically different manner, although the AS3X will kick in to limit the plane from doing something other than what my control stick positions are asking it to do.

There is still nothing for me to think about or do with regard to AS3X as far as I can tell, but the point is that the plane will be flying with SAFE Select or AS3X but not both at the same time.
 

FDS

Elite member
AS3X is Horizon Hobby’s gyro stabiliser system. It allows degrees of gyro control from full self righting panic mode to just a smoothing of humps and bumps, depending on how much correction is applied.
SAFE is just the settings for the gyro, you have levels of SAFE, from the beginner setting, with reduced control surface travel and rates and a lot of gyro (you have a bank angle limit and can’t get inverted in this mode) to intermediate, with more rates, control movement and less gyro to full advanced where everything is user controlled and rates etc are the maximum the airframe allows. The gyro is off in advanced modes, it’s there on the panic switch if you get disoriented.
You need to allow it to calibrate and initiate before flying, that’s what the warning in the instructions is about.
You set SAFE via a switch, AS3X just runs in the background, you don’t calibrate it. Other stabiliser systems allow you to set them up how you want.
Safe is bit of a crutch IMO, it’s great for just getting you airborne but I learned a lot more from flying my tiny trainer on low rates with expo than I did flying with SAFE.
 

Douglas

Member
Thanks. I also received the following from Horizon. SAFE on my Conscendo (whomever named that aircraft needs to get out of marketing) corresponds to BEGINNER MODE on my Carbon Cub S+. In other words, whereas my Carbon Cub S+ had beginner, intermediate, and advanced modes via a version of SAFE called “SAFE Plus,” my Conscendo has only two SAFE modes via it’s version of SAFE called “SAFE Select.”

A: You'll find that the Carbon Cub S+ has SAFE Plus, and the Conscendo Evolution has SAFE Select.

SAFE Select functions in the manner that Beginner mode does on the Carbon Cub, angle limits with wing leveling. With SAFE Select off the model has AS3X only, the equivalent of Experienced mode. There is no equivalent of Intermediate mode.
 

Merv

Site Moderator
Staff member
I agree with @FDS, AS3X, can be a useful tool, but it can also stunt your flying progress. I have seen some who become completely dependent on SAFE. They can’t fly without it. I encourage you to turn it off as soon as you can.

AS3X & SAFE, many use the terms interchangeably.
 

LitterBug

Troll Spammer
Here is my take on the meanings of SAFE and AS3X. To me, and the way it seems to behave and is configured, AS3X is just Gyro stabilization. I have an AR636 AS3X receiver that does NOT have SAFE. SAFE is the Self leveling capability which uses an accelerometer to know which way is up, and is also gyro stabilized (with AS3X). So my UMX Turbo Timber for example has 6 flight modes. 3 with SAFE and AS3X enabled, and 3 with SAFE off, and just AS3X.
 
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Bricks

Master member
What has been really nice is Spektrum has enabled user programing of there unlocked AS3X receivers, they can be programed to your preferences for any airframe that the end user wants.
 

LitterBug

Troll Spammer
Now if I could just figure out what bin I left that AR636 in. D'OH. I'd really like to play with it now that I'm more LOS capable. I found my Stabilized LemonRX. May be fun to do a back to back to back comparison with an Aura5, the AR636, and the LemonRX. Long range wise, the Aura is going to win hands down since you can use almost ANY RX Frequency/protocol. But for stabilization, it would be an interesting comparison.

Cheers!
LitterBug
 

Douglas

Member
I agree with @FDS, AS3X, can be a useful tool, but it can also stunt your flying progress. I have seen some who become completely dependent on SAFE. They can’t fly without it. I encourage you to turn it off as soon as you can.

AS3X & SAFE, many use the terms interchangeably.
If people are using the terms interchangeably, they--like me when I posted this thread--don't understand how they work. Beginner mode on my Carbon Cub S+ is the equivalent of turning SAFE Select on on my Conscendo. Very limited bank angles. Letting go of the sticks moves the controls on the plane to neutral position.

If you go into Advanced mode on my Carbon Cub S+ SAFE Plus system, or if you turn SAFE Select off on my Conscendo, everything changes immediately even though AS3X is still operative. No limits on bank angles. Letting go of the sticks will not return the plane controls to a neutral position. Also, how the plane responds to the sticks is very different.
 

LitterBug

Troll Spammer
If people are using the terms interchangeably, they--like me when I posted this thread--don't understand how they work. Beginner mode on my Carbon Cub S+ is the equivalent of turning SAFE Select on on my Conscendo. Very limited bank angles. Letting go of the sticks moves the controls on the plane to neutral position.

If you go into Advanced mode on my Carbon Cub S+ SAFE Plus system, or if you turn SAFE Select off on my Conscendo, everything changes immediately even though AS3X is still operative. No limits on bank angles. Letting go of the sticks will not return the plane controls to a neutral position. Also, how the plane responds to the sticks is very different.
EXACTLY! I found out the hard way five years ago on my first flight with my AR636 that AS3X does NOT mean the same thing as SAFE. I expected my nice balsa model to self level like my Sport Cub S "with SAFE" did, and when it didn't, I ended up with a nice pile of balsa and monokote.

Cheers!
LitterBug
 

Douglas

Member
One more thing...whomever came up with these terms isn't very good at it. People are using the term SAFE but no one is paying much attention to the terms "Select" or "Plus" (and it is asking too much to expect them to pick up on that). So if you are new to this, and you see "SAFE " on the box your plane came in, you might reasonably conclude that your new SAFE Select plane will operate the same way as your SAFE Plus plane. You will be in for a surprise (worse yet, let's say your first plane is a SAFE Select Plane and you always flew with SAFE Select turned on, and then buy a second SAFE Plus plane and you put it in advanced mode thinking that you still want SAFE turned on but it makes sense for you to fly it in advanced mode because you are an experienced flyer...then you will be in for an expensive surprise).

AS3X is fine so long as no one confuses it with SAFE. It's just stabilization, and it's nothing the pilot has to think about when he's flying the plane. It's a real feature and a good one, but as far as the buyer is concerned, it's just marketing. You want the buyer to think "planes with AS3X fly better" and that's it.

If I were the guy designing the box for Carbon Cub S+ I would say it comes with:

• AS3X Flight Stabilization
• BIA Assist
• Pilot-activated GPS Recovery System

BIA Assist would be my trademark term for our pre-programmed beginner, intermediate and advanced flight modes. Pilot-Activated GPS Recovery System (I'd come up with a better name than that) would refer to the auto-fence, auto-land, holding pattern features associated with GPS. "Pilot Activated" tells the buyer this is something he can turn on or turn off. Having these three distinct names also prevents the buyer from confusing the SAFE functions with the GPS functions, something that is easily confused.

Then on the box for the Conscendo, it would say it comes with

• AS3X Flight Stabilization
• SAFE Select

In other words, SAFE should refer to one thing and one thing only. In fact, SAFE Select is the same thing as beginner mode in my BIA Assist system, but it is because SAFE Select and SAFE Plus are similar in some respects but not the same, that it is all the more reason they must have two distinct names.
 
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LitterBug

Troll Spammer
YAY! I Found my AR636 AS3X Receiver AND the programming cable. Turns out it is in my Surfer 2000 and has flown. (last year maybe) So since it is already in something, should be easy to do a swap fest and comparison. Although something BIG like a surfer 2000 is not going to really need a lot of stabilization to begin with. So maybe i'll find one of my smaller wings to play with.

LB
 
I have a Conscendo Advanced. You can hear the servos working when you glide past even in AS3X mode.

It will thermal in SAFE mode but I find it easier to find thermals in AS3X. SAFE will mask the movements of the wings on smaller or lighter thermals.
 

Douglas

Member
I have a Conscendo Advanced. You can hear the servos working when you glide past even in AS3X mode.

It will thermal in SAFE mode but I find it easier to find thermals in AS3X. SAFE will mask the movements of the wings on smaller or lighter thermals.
I haven't received my Conscendo yet (next week, I hope). I guess when you are just gliding looking for thermals, even a beginner like me can fly without SAFE. Or maybe not?
 
The Conscendo does have some dihedral in the wings so it does have some natural self-levelling tenancy, but it's not like a Radian. It will pick up speed pretty quick if get it pointed down and you get disoriented so my recommendation if you're a beginner is remember altitude is your friend. The good thing is that if you do get worried or disoriented in AS3X you can just flip the switch to SAFE and it will clean itself up pretty quick.

I always use SAFE for takeoffs. It just makes sense. Throttle up, throw the plane and then manage the climb. A botched hand launch will ruin your plane in a hurry so why not use SAFE mode?

I love my Conscendo. It's my favourite plane right now and has really got me hooked on gliding.
 

Douglas

Member
The Conscendo does have some dihedral in the wings so it does have some natural self-levelling tenancy, but it's not like a Radian. It will pick up speed pretty quick if get it pointed down and you get disoriented so my recommendation if you're a beginner is remember altitude is your friend. The good thing is that if you do get worried or disoriented in AS3X you can just flip the switch to SAFE and it will clean itself up pretty quick.

I always use SAFE for takeoffs. It just makes sense. Throttle up, throw the plane and then manage the climb. A botched hand launch will ruin your plane in a hurry so why not use SAFE mode?

I love my Conscendo. It's my favourite plane right now and has really got me hooked on gliding.
Thanks for this. I expect to fly with SAFE on 80% of the time until I learn how to fly this plane (which in my case is synonymous with learning how to fly, period). About the only time I envision flying without SAFE is when I'm up high and searching for thermals (which I've never done). I do want to fly a lot of low passes for fun and then climbing quick. So long as i keep it in SAFE do you think I have a good chance of staying out of trouble? This will be my third RC plane, but the first was just a Champ that I flew four or five times and got bored with it. Then I flew the Carbon Cub S+ six or seven times and had an unexplained crash.
 
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quorneng

Master member
I would be concerned at that fail safe setting.
"throttle channel to low throttle. Pitch and roll channels move to actively level the aircraft in flight."
Depending on how low 'low' throttle is, with a permanent loss of signal the plane will simply fly away.
Gyro 'stabilising' is fine, I use it myself on planes with 'odd' aerodynamics, but the term 'safe' is confusing and not really true.