Category Archives: FPV

Long Range Receiver Blade 350QX

Long Range Receiver Blade 350QX

So as I have been exploring the hobby of RC and FPV recently I wanted to add range to my Blade 350QX. Unfortunately the receiver is built in to the Blade 350QX so you can’t just swap it out.

One of the big problems of the early version of the Blade 350QX is that the antenna is internal and sitting in close proximity to the battery. So the signal is easily blocked by the battery when you get out to the edge of where your transmitter will reach. To make matters worse, if you are flying FPV, the battery isn’t blocking the antenna while flying away from yourself, but wen you turn around to come back, the battery is blocking the receiver antenna and you can’t get back. See my experience with this here. If you just need a little bit more range there is a nice tutorial on how to move the antenna:

You’ll need some good soldering techniques and a bunch of time to pull this off, but it will extend your range some  and not have to worry as much about flying out fpv, and flying back blind.

Another option that you have is to amplify your radio’s 2.4ghz signal. Most transmitters come with a 100mw 2.4ghz signal stock.  My blade 350QX could barely get signal through the battery at 1/3 of a mile away. In this video using an amplified 2.4ghz transmitter this pilot gets about 2 miles away for a nice beach flight.  Here is a walk through on RC Groups of how to amplify your 2.4ghz signal for long range flight. I  have not tried this. It will void your warranty on your transmitter. And you may not be able to fly with friends at this power level because you will bleed over and block out other transmitters. Here is another Video walk through:

My solution to adding long range to the Blade 350QX is more complicated, and really more just to see if it would work.  As I have recently been playing with the OrangeRX Open LRS UHF system, I wanted to find a way to add that system to the Blade 350QX. My tutorial for how to setup and use the $50 dollar OrangeRX Open LRS System can be found here.

I initially was planning on trying to wire the OrangeRX receiver into the Blade 350QX by finding the PPM in. But then browsing HobbyKing I came across this: OrangeRX DSMX/DSM2 Compatible 2.4GHz DIY Transmitter Module. This got me thinking of an easier solution to the problem.

So essentially what i did was feed the PPM output of an OrangeRX Open LRS Receiver into the PPM input on the OrangeRX 2.4Ghz DIY Transmitter. Setting up a relay from 433mhz to 2.4Ghz.

First I tested the setup on the ground by flying my Blade Nano QX through the 433mhz to 2.4Ghz system to make sure there wouldn’t be ridiculous delays that would make it impossible to control. There was no noticeable delay in flight so I built a shelf for my Blade 350QX, and attached the receiver and transmitter to it. See Picture BelowLong Range Blade 350QX

 

The Red arrow is pointing to the DIY 2.4Ghz Transmitter, and the yellow arrow to the OrangeRX Open LRS receiver. They are servo wired together from Channel six of the OrangeRX Receiver to the PPM in of the 2.4Ghz Transmitter. I also brought 12V power from the 3S lipo battery plug to power both the receiver and the transmitter.

After a few hover tests I took it out for a real spin:

I got out of line of sight orientation here, and flipped it out of stability and did a backflip on accident. Just gotta try it with FPV still.

Flashing OrangeRX Open LRS with openLRSng

Flashing OrangeRX Open LRS with openLRSng

In case you missed it, I did a walk through for using OrangeRX Open LRS with Spektrum Transmitter. However to make full use of the OrangeRX Open LRS system, you really should flash it with openLRSng. This can be tricky, and it can be very easy to fry your hardware so I thought I’d put together a walk through for that as well.

You will need a FTDI cable that runs at 3.3V. Many systems say they are 3.3V and still give 5V to the system. How could this be???!?? Well i think they run there Logic at 3.3V, but the voltage pin sends the voltage on the USB side which is 5V. Very important to test your connections and not connect up anything that has 5V on it.

I bought FTDI TTL-232R-3V3 and was surprised to find that although it says it’s the 3.3V model, the VCC line puts out 5V. However all the other ports never when above 3.3V. My solution to this problem was to power the modules externally, and use Male to Female Jumper Wires to connect only the pins I wanted and needed connected. I know this may be confusing but you’ll get it as we go.

Open the OrangeRX Open LRS case by undoing the 4 screws on the front of the case.
OrangeRX 1W Transmitter for Spektrum Radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

In case you don’t want to dig your board out to figure out which pins are what for flashing. Here is a picture of the backside of the board.

Flashing OrangeRX with openLRSng

 

 

 

 

In order to flash the board you will need the DTR, TX, RX and GND pins connected to the FTDI 3v3 cable. DO NOT CONNECT THE VCC pin unless you have verified that the VCC pin only puts out 3.3V.

Flashing OrangeRX Open LRS openlrsng

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll have to use your powers of imagination that the blue wire is actually orange. The colors match otherwise. So here is where you’ll need your jumpers if the your vcc is 5V. Green wire goes to DTR, Yellow wire goes to TX, Orange wire(blue in the picture) goes to RX, Black wire goes to the further to the right GND. The FTDI pinout actually has the TX and RX backwards, but setting it as if you are plugging the FTDI cable in minues the VCC and 2nd to last GND should work. No that you are all connected up, it’s time to connect install the openLRSng installer tool.

The openLRSng tool  is a chrome plugin based app, so we will need chrome installed, and then add the openLRSng tool to it. Open the plugin, plugin the USB, and power on the device through it’s power connector:OrangeRX Open LRS openlrsng tool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the Firmware flasher button.

OrangeRX openLRSng Firmware Flasher

 

 

 

 

 

 

Select the TX module radio button.

OrangeRX UHF openlrsng

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Select Hobbyking OrangeRX UHF TX.

OrangeRX openlrsng tool firmware flasher

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on Flash Firmware

Programming OrangeRX 433mhz openlrsng

 

 

 

You should get the following output to let you know that it was successful. If you leave the firmware flasher tool and click connect you should get access to all the openLRSng tools.
openlrsng transmitter firmware flash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you must reconnect the FTDI cable to the receiver. Again do not plug in the VCC port unless you have verfied it will only put out 3.3V.OrangeRX Open LRS Receiver flashing with openLRSng

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will need to power the receiver on. While you can connect it directly using your jumper whiles to the balance port on your 2S or 3S lipo,  I recommend powering it via the BEC on an ESC to avoid a short circuiting your Lipo on accident.

OrangeRX 433mhz Receiver flashing with openLRSng

 

 

 

 

 

Plug in the USB and again enter the firmware flasher.

OrangeRX Open LRS 433mhz  Receiver flashing with openLRSng

 

 

 

 

 

 

Select the Hobbyking OrangeRX UHF RX. Then Click on Flash Firmware. You should get the same programming successful output to let you now it’s complete. Leave the firmware flasher. Now to make changes to the settings on the Receiver, you actually hook the FTDI back up to the transmitter and click connect.

OpenLRSng configuring the receiver

 

 

 

Then Click on the RX Module button

 

 

 

 

OrangeRX Open LRS openlrsng flashing receiver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then power on the receiver within 5 seconds or so of clicking on RX module and it will connect wirelessly to let you set the settings. Sorry I don’t have a picture of the settings.

For binding and using the openLRSng versions of the transmitters I’ll refer you to the openLRSng website.

I hope this tutorial has helped, and helps you get your wings or Props further away than previously. If this tutorial did help or is confusing, let me know in the comments.

OrangeRX Open LRS with Spektrum Transmitter

OrangeRX Open LRS with Spektrum Transmitter

So I had the unfortunate experience of nearly losing my Blade 350 QX due to loss of signal. The wind was strong enough to blow me further away as return to home moves nice and slow(see video here). This got me interested in long range transmitters which lead me to the OrangeRX Open LRS system. Since I have a Spektrum DX9 Black Edition I had to figure out how to get the OrangeRX Open LRS with Spektrum Transmitter working.

There are many long range systems available, and several that use the Open LRS software. The nice thing about the OrangeRX is that it costs ~$30 bucks for a transmitter, and $20 bucks for a 8+ channel receiver. $50 bucks and you can fly miles away without problem(excluding connectors and tools). My only objective range test was non-line of sight and it went 1.6 miles through dense forest.

Items you’ll need for this project:

Let’s start with the transmitter:

OrangeRX 1W Transmitter for Spektrum Radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never power on the OrangeRX Open LRS 433Mhz system without an antenna attached as this will damage the electronics and cause problems with transmission in the future. Start by undoing the 4 little screws on the face plate.

OrangeRX Transmitter with a spektrum radio antenna

 

 

 

 

 

 

The yellow arrow is pointing to where the antenna attaches to the circuit board. Make sure this is also connected whenever the device is powered on to protect the equipment. This can be removed for easier access to the board, but always makes sure it is well seated when assembling to power on.

OrangeRX with spektrum radio board open lrs

 

 

 

 

 

 

The yellow arrow is pointing at the connector that allows this device to connect to the Turnigy and JR transmitters. We will remove this to solder in our own connectors.

OrangeRX with spektrum radio openlrs

 

 

 

 

 

 

This yellow box demonstrates the solder that is holding this connector in place as viewed from the other side of the board.

OrangeRX spektrum radio transmitter RC

 

 

 

 

You can use Flush Diagonal Cutters to cut the pins to remove the bulky plastic piece. This step is not required but it let’s you work from both sides.

Desolder OrangeRX OpenLRS Spektrum

 

 

 

 

Desolder this connector using solder sucker or desoldering wire. Once this is complete it’s time to start work on the case.

Orange RX 1W transmitter spektrum radio

 

 

 

 

 

Next Drill a 7/32 hole for the panel mount 3.5mm stereo connector. You may want to start your hole with a smaller bit. You’ll need a little margin from the edge so the panel mount connector will fit.

OrangeRX 1W OpenLRS Transmitter with Spektrum

 

 

 

 

 

I then drilled to 5/64 holes to run the power connector wires through. Then it’s on to soldering in the connectors.

OrangeRX 1W Open LRS PPM

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll then need some fairly low gage wiire. I think I used 22gauge. You will solder into the ppm slot and the adjacent ground slot. See image below although this is before the solder was removed.

Spektrum with OrangeRX Open LRS PPM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then for your power connector solder the red down into the VIN and the ground to the GND(Don’t forget to thread through the two holes you cut in the case before soldering).

Spektrum Transmitter with OrangeRX Open LRS PPM

 

 

 

 

 

 

It should look somewhat like the below image when you are finished:

Spektrum Radio with OrangeRX OpenLRS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prior to Panel Mount Connectorr OrangeRX

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it is time to solder the panel mount connector on to the Ground and PPM Wires. As this is actually a Mono Plug you will need to find the lead on the panel mount connector that goes to the tip and solder your ppm to this one. The base needs to be ground. The other shaft one doesn’t need to be connected. I think I had it backwards on the picture below and had to re-do it. Test your connectors with a voltmeter to find the Tip and base.

Spektrum with OrangeRX Open LRS Transmitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then just screw the panel mount connector in to the case.

Orange RX Open LRS setup for Spektrum Transmitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can screw the top back on, attach an antenna and power it on. It accepts 6.8 to 12V as a power input. A 2 cell or 3 cell lipo will power it just fine. Obviously you will need a OrangeRX Open LRS receiver that is powered on likely by a ESC(although you can power directly off a 2s or 3s lipo… I have tested it with a 3s), and a servo to test that it works. Just use a stereo connection cable to connect this transmitter to your Spektrum radio trainer port with the spektrum radio powered off. This will boot up the spektrum transmitter in trainer mode and you should be able to control your servo. Of note you will still be able to select models, and adjust trims even though in trainer mode.

I do not recommend that you use the OrangeRX Open LRS without flashing it with OpenLRSng first, but testing it prior will aid in your troubleshooting process.

I will post again shortly about how to flash the device with OpenLRSng