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Old Jun 25, 2012, 07:42 PM
'FPV'er...not a "LOS'er
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Mini-HowTo
Connecting Dragon Link to 9X Transmitter

I've been asked several times how I connected my Dragon Link UHF Long Range transmitter to my 9X transmitter. Here's a quick show and tell. For the 9X, nothing could be easier.

I'm using a Flysky 9X...same as Turnigy 9X. I installed a Smartie Parts board in the 9X which provides a back light for the LCD as well as a convenient connection to flash custom ER9X firmware. First a few links if you're interested in this.
Here's info on custom firmware for the 9X as well as links to tutorials and the Smartie Parts board: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...27&postcount=1 (Note: The Smartie Parts board no longer comes with the back light panel. That's available from Hobby King in a couple of different colors and only runs ~$5 (plus shipping). The back light is not required, but a nice addition.)
How to remove the 2.4GHz Rf deck from the Turnigy 9X with the antenna in to top of the Tx: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1417350

I mounted my DL unit on a JR transmitter stand that clamps to the 9X carry handle. I secured it with velcro and a battery strap. This mounting allows me to swing the unit to keep the DL antenna vertical while holding the radio.

The DL requires three connections to the Tx...PPM, Voltage, and Ground. With the 9X rf module removed you have easy access to the module pins. The top pin is the PPM signal. The second is Ground (not used). The third is ACTUAL Tx battery voltage (I'm using a 3S, 1800mAh LiFe battery in mine). The fourth pin is Ground. The fifth pin is antenna connection (for the MHz rf decks (not used in this case). Connect the DL wires as such: Orange to 9X PPM; Red to 9X Battery, Brown/Black to 9X ground (fourth pin). Why not use just the first three pins? Easy...to prevent problems if you connect the DL wires wrong. If you used the top three pins and connected the DL wires reversed you'd have the battery voltage tied directly to the DL PPM line...a potential to fry the DL circuitry. If you use the 1st, 3rd, and 4th pins and connect reversed nothing will happen as the 9X battery pin would not be connected to anything...so nothing transmits AND nothing gets fried!!!

There, that's it. Simple huh? You do need to verify you have the 9X set to PPM mode, not PCM. With the ER9X firmware you can assign 12 channels of PPM output to the DL...maximizing its capabilities...try that with a Futaba.

And the cost to do this? Not much really. I paid $90 for my 9X locally. The Smartie Parts board was ~$45. The ER9X firmware is free as well as the EEPE program (use this to configure, save, upload, download firmware and memory settings). You can get the 9X for ~$60 from Hobby King (when they have it in stock)...but don't forget to add shipping costs. So for easily less than $150 you get a powerful Tx for your Dragon Link system. Now for some quick pictures.

Last thing. If you use a neck strap, the balance of the Tx will be off with the DL attached. After trying several different neck strap adapters I came across this one (from a fellow flier) and it works PERFECT: http://www.cnchelicopter.com/servlet/Categories The worse one I tried was also the most expensive...a JR one...what a waste of money that one was.

edit. I've enjoyed my 9X so much I wanted to convert it to Spektrum 2.4G for my other planes/frames that aren't on UHF. I just picked up a Spektrum DM9 module for JR. I thought I might have to add a dedicated 6v line for the DM9 deck (had read that in other threads). I wanted to try it first, so plugged it into the 9X module slot...perfect fit, powered up the 9X and...viola...it fired right up. I even bound a HK Orange 2.4G Rx to it...no sweat. COOL...Now for some range tests. If those pass then I'll be able to stick to one radio for all my flying needs. I see a MPX Evo going up for sale shortly. Then I'll buy a backup 9X and Smartie board...just in case. I'm LUV'N it!!!!

edit: Here's a video tutorial a fellow DL made up for connecting DL to a DX7 Tx. His method should work with other radio systems too. It's a little long, but well done and you can just skip around to the important parts.
DRAGONLINK - Review and Spektrum DX7 Hookup (25 min 57 sec)
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Old Jun 28, 2012, 09:01 AM
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Where did you find the 4 wire servo plug to hook into the 9x? And is the smartieparts board and upgraded firmware necessary to be able to use the DL?
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Old Jun 28, 2012, 09:25 AM
'FPV'er...not a "LOS'er
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I got the 4-wire plug from Pololu.com. You get a bag of them for a few bucks. The Smartie parts board has nothing to do with the DL. The Smartie board provides a back light for the 9X LCD and a convenient way to upgrade the firmware in the 9X. The ER9X custom firmware I use is way better than the stock 9X firmware and really brings the 9X to life. You can upgrade without the Smartie Parts board, but you need to gather the parts and do some fine soldering. For $35-$45 bucks the Smartie board is worth it.
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Old Jul 03, 2012, 12:21 PM
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hey, nice writieup, this answers all my questions, but could i install a switch to switch power between my frsky and dragon link?
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Old Jul 03, 2012, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fpvguy View Post
hey, nice writieup, this answers all my questions, but could i install a switch to switch power between my frsky and dragon link?
Sure...I did this with my Evo...had a three way switch for powering three different rf decks...one at a time. You'd have to do some rewiring for the connections, but should be doable.
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Old Jul 03, 2012, 02:56 PM
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where can i get a switch? and do you have any pics?
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Old Jul 03, 2012, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fpvguy View Post
where can i get a switch? and do you have any pics?
I used a switch like this: http://www.digikey.com/product-detai...868-ND/1006946 . I used a 3 pole switch where I connected all three, PPM, Volt, Gnd, wires to the center pins (from the radio). Then ran three wires to each rf deck from the end pins. This way the center position is no rf powered, and either one of the other two rf decks by switch position. You could do similar with a dual pole, or single pole switch by just switching the voltage line.
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Old Jul 04, 2012, 08:32 AM
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could i get a diagram of the wiring? i want ot be 100% on this before i pull the trigger and order it. do i solder both systems to the switch then from the switch to the 9x board?
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Old Jul 04, 2012, 10:28 PM
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Give me a couple of days to draw something up. Remind me again if I don't get it posted by this weekend.
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Old Jul 06, 2012, 08:49 PM
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I saw you took out the 2.4 deck and antenna from your 9x, I am wondering if this helps signal strength. I would like to have the option to put the stock module back in to fly with the stock 9x receiver but am curious to any advantages for removing the stock system that I am unaware of. Thanks!
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Old Jul 06, 2012, 09:52 PM
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I just removed the 2.4G module so I could plug my DL connector to the pins. Well, that and I'm not using the stock 2.4G module and Rx anyway. There should be no problem leaving the stock module in place if you don't mind hacking into the Tx to connect the DL wires somewhere. If both units are powered up you're just consuming more from your battery for no gain.
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Old Jul 06, 2012, 10:06 PM
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So I can just remove the stock module and connect the dl using a connecter like you did on the pins and leave the stock antenna in place without compromising range. kinda like swapping moduales only the dl isnt as nice looking
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Old Jul 06, 2012, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fpvguy View Post
could i get a diagram of the wiring? i want ot be 100% on this before i pull the trigger and order it. do i solder both systems to the switch then from the switch to the 9x board?
I'm not an artist, but here's how I wired my MPX Evo radio to take multiple rf decks...powered one at a time. There's three types of switches you can use:
1)SPDT-single pole double throw (shown). With this you run the Tx power wire to the center pin on the switch, then run a line to each power pin on each rf deck. The Tx PPM and GND connects to the corresponding points on both rf decks. Only one deck is powered at a time via the switch position.
2)DPDT-double pole double throw (not shown). Connect the Tx Power and Ground wires to the center pins on the switch. Run a separate power and gnd line to each rf deck. The Tx PPM would be connected to both rf decks directly.
3)TPDT-triple pole double throw (shown). Connect the Tx Power, Ground, and PPM lines to the center pins on the switch. Run a Power, Ground, and PPM line to each rf deck from the edge pins on the swithc. With this setup all wires are switched. This is how I did mine. Why? Because this is how I did it.

I hope this helps. Make it as easy or as complicated as you'd like.
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Old Jul 06, 2012, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snipeworm View Post
So I can just remove the stock module and connect the dl using a connecter like you did on the pins and leave the stock antenna in place without compromising range. kinda like swapping moduales only the dl isnt as nice looking
Not quite. My Flysky 2.4G module came with the antenna as an integral part of the rf module...so when I remove the module the antenna comes with it. I had no 2.4G antenna physically on my Tx.

The Turnigy (and mayber newer Flysky's?) have the antenna on the Tx and it runs into the rf module. The problem with this is the antenna lead is soldered inside the rf deck...thus you can't remove the module without either cutting the antenna wire (ruining it) or desoldering it from the module board. Either way pretty much toasts the module. I'd recommend trying to find a 9X with the module-antenna setup. This allows you to easily plug/unplug the module without damaging it.
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Old Jul 06, 2012, 11:32 PM
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Well I just ordered the 9x with the antenna in the tx not the module. Can I still install my DL like you did? and if so would leaving the stock antenna on the tx hurt things? Thanks for your help
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