HobbyKing.com New Products Flash Sale

iPhly: Radio Control From Your iPhone Review

New applications for iPhones were certainly destined for the world of radio control. The iPhly is a well thought out open-source application that is available for free.

Splash

Introduction

iPhly is a unique product that replaces your transmitter with your iPhone. It uses a typical attitude indicator display that responds to the accelerometer in the iPhone and transmits your hand movements through the iPhone and into your 2.4 GHz. Module. The iPhly is totally open source software with the wiring diagram provided on the website for anyone that wants to create their own version. The software is free, too, and is downloadable through iTunes app store.


Works with:iPhone 2G, 3G, 4G, iPhone 4, and all models of iTouch
Power:4 AA batteries
Software:Free from the App Store
Models:Airplane, Helicopter and Car
Manufacturer:iPhly
Available From:RC4WD
MSRP:$99.99

Kit Contents

The iPhly hardware is a holder that uses a spring load clip to keep the iPhone in place. A stereo plug connects the iPhly to the phone. Not really too much here. A pin connector is on the back and is recessed to accept many 2.4 GHz modules. An antennae port is also provided if your 2.4 GHz system requires this setup.

Specifications

  • Requires 4 AAA batteries
  • Software available free on iTunes (6.2MB)
  • Software has both airplane/heli and car mode
  • Adjustable steering throw for cars
  • End point adjustment (EPA)
  • Reversible channels
  • ABS plastic
  • Hardware manufactured by RC4WD

How it works

Where to buy

Flying

Driving

Training

Hacking

FAQ’s

Assembly

To use the iPlhy you only have to install the batteries and plug in your module. You can use an old iPhone without the sim card. Bind your module with the receiver and you are almost ready to fly. If you are using your current iPhone with a sim card turn on your airport mode or an incoming call will crash your plane.

Once you turn on the iPhly and the module you will be asked to increase or decrease the volume. This is required because with the iPhly, “RF modules understand PPM (pulse position modulation) input. I generate PPM pulse train as an audio wave form. The headphone jack is simply an electrical interface. If you get low enough into the audio hardware, you can generate almost any arbitrary signal out of it. The iPhly case contains electronics that amplify and condition this signal, and feed it to a standard frequency module.”

Model Setup

The iPhly has an extensive setup for both planes and cars. You can configure each model, create a huge model list with a picture of each model you take with the iPhone, and globally you can make adjustments to the transmitter.

Global Setup

You have a separate setting screen that allows you to adjust the roll and pitch axis. This is really a way to get your hand to settle into what you think is level. For example, if when you hold the iPhly your hand tends to not really be level you can adjust the attitude indicator to think you are level. More or less this is a way to fit the iPhly to your hand and position of the hand. This is similar to setting the attitude indicator horizon in a real plane.

Touch screen sensitivity is also adjustable along with the return spring for the rudder. So you can move your thumb across the rudder and let go and the rudder will return to neutral.

Flying

I highly recommend you select something that is easy to fly. The system is indeed intuitive, but those of us that have habits, might find it hard to grasp the hand tilting method. I set up an old plane and got about three quarters of the way around the pattern and nosed it in. I have no idea why, but one plane was enough to know I was not going to be a great iPhly pilot. It did work though.

The throttle operates with your thumb. The ESC arms just like usual. Slide your thumb up the screen to move the indicator bar and back down, and you are armed. The rudder also uses your thumb: slide back and forth to get the rudder into position. You can also slide the rudder and let go, and your setting will slowly return to neutral.

Downloads

Get help

You can easily hook up the iPhly to your buddy box system and have someone fly the plane to altitude and then learn the iPhly. I would believe the success rate is much improved over my experience. The system has a sort of trainer window, and you can see your hand movements without flying a plane or driving a car. I highly recommend this training procedure.

Conclusion

This is great technology, and for those that have the ability it could be great fun. I think the idea that the product is free and open source sends a message that this is something worth tinkering with. The possibilities really are numerous.

The good

  • Great idea
  • Well made and designed product
  • Open source and free

The bad

  • I did not like returning every time to the flying screen and then having to re-enter the setup window.
  • Intuitive is a subjective term.
  • It could use a stand to hold the unit level when you set it down.
Last edited by Angela H; Oct 21, 2011 at 01:53 PM..

Discussion

Reply
Thread Tools
Old Oct 21, 2011, 05:17 PM
Registered User
tushev's Avatar
USA, NY, New York
Joined Nov 2008
1,541 Posts
never mind
tushev is offline Find More Posts by tushev
Last edited by tushev; Oct 21, 2011 at 09:46 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 21, 2011, 05:33 PM
Registered User
lrplin's Avatar
Stockton CA.
Joined May 2007
788 Posts
Think positive.
lrplin is online now Find More Posts by lrplin
Last edited by lrplin; Nov 11, 2011 at 06:51 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 21, 2011, 05:35 PM
Administrator
Jim T. Graham's Avatar
United States, TN, Nashville
Joined Mar 2002
11,492 Posts
It looks like it is!
Jim T. Graham is online now Find More Posts by Jim T. Graham
Administrator
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 21, 2011, 06:15 PM
urs
Registered User
switzerland
Joined Dec 2000
722 Posts
I have bought one and took to it found it fantasticly easy...my grand kids do to and are hapilly flying the drone useing this system.

with the iphly I started of with a vapor and worked my way up thru 2 more planes to a calmato low winger...no problem no crashes...yes you have to adapt ..
now why would any one buy such a thing...for me its the fact of size, I travel a lot on airlines and ships and the smaller the better, you would be surprised at how I can get 3 planes and 2 helicopters in my mid sized travel suitcase!!
another advantage is that I would frequantly get glitches flying my spectrum compatible planes which come with the small suplied transmiter...this allways hapend when any 1 or 2 people were flying with normal sized spectrum transmitters...with the iphly this has disaperedno glithse plus full distANCE (depending on reciever, park or full distance)

As with all new technicle stuff you either like it or you dont ..some find a reason to use it some dont, that what is great about it!!

urs (switzerland)

ps ..a fellow club flyer who has only the use of one arm , who had to have a transmitter specially addapted absolutly loves it, and flies better than me with it..

pps ..used it in a model boat useing the car settings no problem!!!
urs is offline Find More Posts by urs
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 22, 2011, 03:06 AM
Registered User
Mike-A's Avatar
Sweden
Joined Oct 2002
821 Posts
I think I will adapt my Spektrum to make phone calls...
Mike-A is offline Find More Posts by Mike-A
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 22, 2011, 07:14 AM
Registered User
Singapore, Singapore
Joined Apr 2005
148 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by lrplin View Post
I want to laugh on people who spend hours and hours on a project like this. Raise your hands rc folks, if you want to fly your plane/heli with an iphone. (personally I have an iphone 4 and I Love it)
The iphone is a great flying assistance device, but it is not a rc TX.
It is if you want to fly an ARDrone!
I have adapted it (built my own hardware, not the one shown) to sail a submarine while snorkeling with the sub, the whole thing is put inside a waterproof bag and using a 40Mhz module (2.4Ghz won't work underwater), far more fun than trying to see through water from above, you can make your sub go straight to you and turn in front of your mask
Tranworld is offline Find More Posts by Tranworld
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 22, 2011, 08:40 AM
Meh close enough.
minivation's Avatar
United States, TX, Longview
Joined Dec 2010
558 Posts
Very interesting app. Being one of the few non-Apple users, I wouldn't get my hands on that anytime soon, though.

But seriously, it is very unnerving for me to think about controlling an actual RC plane with just your wrist (and thumb) motions, and the pilot would probably have to keep the phone really stable.
Let's say that I have a mosquito biting my leg and it itches real bad. With a normal Tx, I would just get my left hand (throttle and rudder), bend down and scratch. However, with a phone like this, I would have to keep watching my controls, and even bending down would change the phone's attitude, and probably do something with the controls.

I personally think this system was started by a creative idea, but speaking of practicality - unless you are very good with your wrist motion, even the most docile of trainers would be a nerve wreck to fly, and rolls, loops and lomcevaks would be pretty much out of the question. 3D? You're kidding me.
minivation is offline Find More Posts by minivation
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 22, 2011, 10:31 AM
Dr. Dave
USA
Joined Nov 2005
1,316 Posts
Be open minded folks, we wouldn't have Tang if not for the space program
78dave is offline Find More Posts by 78dave
RCG Plus Member
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 22, 2011, 11:06 AM
Registered User
Singapore, Singapore
Joined Apr 2005
148 Posts
ARDrone

It seems to me not many people her have heard of or tried to fly an ARDrone, the wrist or holding the iphone horizontally is most easy to master and easy to correlate between the craft and the phone

And a few small heli are out with iPhone as the control
Tranworld is offline Find More Posts by Tranworld
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 22, 2011, 12:47 PM
urs
Registered User
switzerland
Joined Dec 2000
722 Posts
<<
But seriously, it is very unnerving for me to think about controlling an actual RC plane with just your wrist (and thumb) motions, and the pilot would probably have to keep the phone really stable.
Let's say that I have a mosquito biting my leg and it itches real bad. With a normal Tx, I would just get my left hand (throttle and rudder), bend down and scratch. However, with a phone like this, I would have to keep watching my controls, and even bending down would change the phone's attitude, and probably do something with the controls.

<<

just the oposite..just as you would keep your normal transmiter stable whilst scratchng your leg (or elsewhere) so you would automaticly do the same for your iphly, its just a ? of habitude, just watch a rank beginer holding the raio...its quite amusing sometimes and very educational...I still have a freind who after 20 years piloting(and a damn good pilot to) wigles and bends in time to the motion of the plane!!!>>>

<<I personally think this system was started by a creative idea, but speaking of practicality - unless you are very good with your wrist motion, even the most docile of trainers would be a nerve wreck to fly, and rolls, loops and lomcevaks would be pretty much out of the question. 3D? You're kidding me. <<

I have done loops rolls ect with this system and they are no better or worst than when I do it with my normal radio..., as for 3D aint my thing but you can be sure someone some day will do it...why ..because its a chalenge and my God its fun to do what more can one desire..

urs
urs is offline Find More Posts by urs
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 22, 2011, 07:42 PM
Meh close enough.
minivation's Avatar
United States, TX, Longview
Joined Dec 2010
558 Posts
^
I see. Thanks for some first-hand account. So maybe it's just learning how to fly with simply a new type of transmitter, like switching from playing Flight Sim with a joystick to a yoke and rudder.

But I still have questions:
1. Normal Tx's have spring loaded controls. If you let go of the aileron stick after a roll, the stick would return to neutral position. Does the system have something like this?
2. Is the system limited to 4 channels? I do not see 5, 6, 7ch options so far.
minivation is offline Find More Posts by minivation
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 22, 2011, 08:31 PM
Registered User
Singapore, Singapore
Joined Apr 2005
148 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by minivation View Post
^
I see. Thanks for some first-hand account. So maybe it's just learning how to fly with simply a new type of transmitter, like switching from playing Flight Sim with a joystick to a yoke and rudder.

But I still have questions:
1. Normal Tx's have spring loaded controls. If you let go of the aileron stick after a roll, the stick would return to neutral position. Does the system have something like this?
2. Is the system limited to 4 channels? I do not see 5, 6, 7ch options so far.
There are two components to the system:

1 - the hardware is a simply amplifier to match the audio out of the iPhone and the module thereby enabling the ppm stream to be injected into the module and thereby send to the receiver.
2 - the software that can be written by anyone so
a - the iphly software can be configured with spring load etc. but is currently limited to 4 channel
b - there is also Flypad written by someone else, free and downloadable via App store and that present you with a dual joystick and 8 channel, mixes etc. and any channel can be assigned to any input and so you don't have to use the accelerator at all, you can simply use the iPhone touchcreen as your joystick!!! This make for a very very small but full function TX, with the TX as an app once can think of any advanced features and it can easily implemented, I think this is the start of something revolutionary.

As mentioned the ARDRone is already making an inroad, using the iPhone as the controlling device, I think a small heli is out as well.

This the is thread on iPhly and I have also posted photos of my own device which could use either the iPhly software or Flypad, certainly you can also use the iPhly hardware on Flypad as well

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...411877&page=21

The last photo uses Flypad software
Tranworld is offline Find More Posts by Tranworld
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 23, 2011, 05:19 AM
Registered User
papabearflying's Avatar
Joined Mar 2011
548 Posts
Who really needs this? anyone out there that needs this??
papabearflying is offline Find More Posts by papabearflying
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 23, 2011, 06:41 AM
Old age is not for sissies
Azarr's Avatar
Dayton Intl, Ohio, United States
Joined Jan 2000
7,982 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike-A View Post
I think I will adapt my Spektrum to make phone calls...
LOL , just about lost my coffee!

Quote:
Originally Posted by papabearflying View Post
Who really needs this? anyone out there that needs this??
Who really needs RC planes? I think it's an interesting concept that will appeal to the geeks that haven't been exposed to RC. That's why you'll find the AR Drone in Brookstone at the mall rather than your local hobby shop. The more people exposed to our hobby the better. I've used my iPhone to fly with and I have to agree, it's not that difficult.

Having flown RC for years, I feel more comfortable with a conventional transmitter, but I can definitely see the appeal of this unit.
Azarr is offline Find More Posts by Azarr
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Discussion Complete signal loss from cell phone? Riktar Radios 15 Nov 12, 2011 10:47 PM
Discussion Using a cell phone for AP? victapilot Aerial Photography 0 Sep 25, 2011 09:30 AM
Discussion Using your phone to control your RC heli? tolladay Life, The Universe, and Politics 0 Jan 20, 2010 06:21 PM
Discussion Is your cell phone cooking your brain? Buzz Life, The Universe, and Politics 20 Jul 01, 2006 07:16 PM