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Posted by flightengr | Oct 26, 2017 @ 09:46 AM | 31,357 Views
This thread is for the highly-technical discussion around the finer points of modifying/customizing the settings file (SRM file) for a Spektrum AR636 receiver such that it has SAFE capabilities.

It's been recently discovered in the "E-Flite SAFE Receiver in Another Plane" thread (https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...-another-plane) that a great deal of capability exists in the AR636 for enabling and customizing SAFE features including self-level, bank angle limits, the infamous "throttle-to-elevator mix" in SAFE receivers, and panic mode.

The purpose of this thread is to discuss the fine details of the receiver configuration without clogging up the SAFE RX thread. When we've got this down to a science that more people can take advantage of, then we'll be able to discuss the application of these settings to other planes back in the SAFE RX thread.

DISCLAIMER: Use any of the information in this thread at your own risk! I can't promise that you won't mess up your receiver completely if you change settings. I also haven't flown a plane yet after making changes this way - I have only been experimenting on the ground!!

EDIT June 2018
We've learned a lot since this thread started! There is a lot of good information here, and really gets technical into the settings on the AR636 receiver that are directly related to Horizon's SAFE feature set. (There are more threads in the Radio section of the forum that get into...Continue Reading
Posted by flightengr | Jun 03, 2017 @ 07:58 AM | 9,168 Views
In 2016, Horizon/Spektrum introduced "SAFE Select", a new variation of their beginner-oriented SAFE stabilization system. SAFE Select is based on the AR636 receiver, which has proven to be very versatile for a number of applications based on the way it's programmed by HH.

A feature that was new with SAFE Select is the ability to adjust at least some of the settings in the AR636 using the Spektrum Programmer software. Prior to SAFE Select, the programming on SAFE receivers was completely locked out despite the fact that the AR636 is normally programmable from a phone app or the PC software.

Not all of the settings in the Spektrum Programmer software apply to SAFE Select programs. Also, SPS does not have screens to modify the SAFE features (self-level, panic, etc.) There are two key areas of most interest if you want to install a SAFE Select receiver in another airplane - the Mounting Orientation and the Control Surface Setup. Because the receiver needs to move the control surfaces in the correct direction, those are very important settings on the receiver! The Surface Setup can be changed on SAFE Select receivers, but the Mounting Orientation cannot be changed using SPS.

The Basics of Using SPS
This document is a basic walkthrough for how to get the Spektrum Programmer software running on a PC, connect a receiver, and make changes on the SAFE Select receivers. It's not an exhaustive explanation of all of the various settings available. Spektrum made an excellent series of videos when the AR636 first came out, and even though they use the phone app instead of the PC software in the videos, all of the explanations apply the same way. Their YouTube playlist is here:

At the time of this writing, only the PC software recognizes SAFE Select receivers; the phone app does not.

Changing the SAFE Features SPS Cannot Change
See the next post (# 2) for how to change the Mounting Orientation and the settings directly related to SAFE features.
Posted by flightengr | May 11, 2017 @ 07:33 AM | 6,332 Views
This is some information I've collected about the transmitter setup for the E-Flite Convergence VTOL aircraft.
Posted by flightengr | Apr 10, 2016 @ 11:14 AM | 8,969 Views
As you can tell from some of my other blog entries, I'm a huge fan of SAFE in airplanes and I have installed the Apprentice S SAFE receiver in a number of other planes. I like the fact that SAFE will help keep me from doing something stupid that results in a crash and a broken plane.

Ever since Phoenix added support for autopilot electronics such as SAFE, I've had a desire to add SAFE to some of the other models I own in Phoenix that have SAFE receivers in them in my real fleet. I finally spent the time to undertake that challenge using Phoenix Builder.

How I Made These Models
Unfortunately, you can't edit the official models, but many of them have enough supporting files available to get you started on re-creating them. For these models I used the existing .geo and .bmp files that came with the official model. The .geo file contains the wire-frame model of the airplane and applies the "skin" (texture) from the .bmp files. I now have a much greater appreciation for all the work that goes into just that part of the process!

To get started, I created a new model in Phoenix Builder. Then, I imported the .geo file into a new model in Phoenix Builder using the "Import Mesh" tool. After that, I added the components (airfoils, control surfaces, prop, wheels) back in, one at a time. Fortunately, a lot of the information you need to do that is available when you edit the existing model in the simulator. It was handy to have the original model open in Edit mode...Continue Reading
Posted by flightengr | Nov 08, 2015 @ 08:22 AM | 7,640 Views
This document provides an overview of how to use telemetry with the Spektrum TM1000 radio system, including installation, connection of additional sensors, and binding to the transmitter.
Posted by flightengr | Aug 16, 2015 @ 10:49 AM | 9,513 Views
I now own my first biplane - a UMX Pitts! Since I'm a big fan of the SAFE flight technology to tame the plane down and reduce crashing, I converted this model to SAFE using the receiver brick from the UMX Habu S 180 DF (part # SPMA3165).

Although it's pretty straight-forward to remove the control board from the micro planes and replace it with another one, a couple of details made this conversion a little more interesting.

First, the control board is mounted vertically - not horizontally - in a Habu S, so the SAFE software is calibrated with that assumption in mind. In the pics below you'll see that I cut a C-shaped piece of Styrofoam to serve as a cradle for the board so that I could firmly mount it in a vertical orientation. It took a couple of attempts to make a piece that held the board snugly - I kept cutting out too much foam in the middle and then it didn't hold the board. I also found that it worked better with that little tab at the top to help the board stay vertical. Finally, I covered the piece of foam with Kapton tape (a film-like alternative to vinyl electrical tape) just to ensure the foam didn't short something out on the board.

Second, I've been complaining about the fact that the Sport Cub S adds too much up elevator in Beginner Mode when the plane is actually level. It turns out that the Habu S board does the same thing, so I had to be more creative. Both the SCS and the Habu S will eventually straighten out the elevator when the nose is pitched up at...Continue Reading
Posted by flightengr | Aug 16, 2015 @ 09:01 AM | 11,118 Views

The first PDF document is a full explanation of the process of mounting and testing a SAFE receiver in another airplane. It includes a lot of the basic tips that have been mentioned many times in the "EFlite SAFE RX in Another Plane" thread. (https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show....php?t=2135213)

The second PDF document is a "cheat sheet" that I made to take with me out to the field so I always had a handy reference for testing the correct movement of the control surfaces. If there's any question in my mind, the answer is on the sheet! It's a two-page document, so it can be printed on both sides of one piece of paper.

If you're not familiar with the process of installing and testing a SAFE receiver, then you should go through the full explanation. The "cheat sheet" is only meant as a quick reminder for which way the control surfaces will move based on certain actions.

If you need help with transmitter setups, see this thread in my blog.
Posted by flightengr | Aug 16, 2015 @ 08:27 AM | 20,704 Views
The posts in this blog entry contain transmitter setups for the Horizon Hobby airplane receivers with SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope). The setups are based on the original SAFE receiver from the Apprentice S 15e, but many of the other SAFE-equipped planes from HH use the same basic transmitter setup (three flight modes on the Gear channel, channel 5, and a push-button feature on the Aux1 channel, channel 6). I have used this setup successfully with the Sport Cub S, the Habu S receiver, and the Sportsman S+ with SAFE+. The exact features of each transmitter setting - primarily the push-button - may vary, in which case you may need to change the voice callouts to better fit the actual features. I would speculate that Horizon is making all of these SAFE models consistent so that their inexpensive transmitters included in the Ready-To-Fly packages can be programmed one way for many models.

SAFE Select: See post # 6 below for setting up SAFE Select receivers. Those are much simpler than the other SAFE receivers.

The setups are provided as SPM files, but each one is also accompanied by a PDF file that explains what the aircraft is looking for from the transmitter and how to set that up on the transmitter, step by step. I think it's important to understand how the transmitter works, and that understanding enables you to change the setup to your liking. You can't learn that simply by loading an SPM file!

NOTICE FOR Mini Apprentice S: The new 2016 Mini Apprentice S has a very similar setup as the previous SAFE aircraft, but the Aux1 channel should be left on NORMAL direction, NOT REVERSED! If you use any of the information below for the Mini Apprentice S, that's one change you'll have to correct in the transmitter setup. Panic is activated by a signal of -100% on that plane, not +100% like the others.
Posted by flightengr | Aug 16, 2015 @ 08:08 AM | 8,725 Views
When I first got started with this hobby, I quickly encountered the terms "dual rate" and "expo". It took me quite a while to fully understand how rates and expo really affect how the aircraft responds to the stick inputs.

To save other people some of that learning curve, here's a brief explanation of those concepts and what they really mean on a Spektrum transmitter.
Posted by flightengr | Aug 16, 2015 @ 07:43 AM | 9,619 Views
The posts in this blog entry contain transmitter setups for the Blade 350 QX for various versions of controller firmware on the quad and for various transmitters.

The setups are provided as SPM files, but each one is also accompanied by a PDF file that explains what the aircraft is looking for from the transmitter and how to set that up on the transmitter, step by step. I think it's important to understand how the transmitter works, and that understanding enables you to change the setup to your liking. You can't learn that simply by loading an SPM file!

Finally, there's also a post that explains all of the 350 QX flight modes - how each mode works, how it behaves, and how it changed in the various versions of firmware.
Posted by flightengr | Aug 14, 2015 @ 03:03 PM | 9,502 Views
The first airplane I ever flew was the Apprentice S 15e with SAFE, and the rest is history. A friend of mine wanted to get into RC airplanes, but I watched him struggle with learning to fly a Sport Cub LP. I wasn't going to try it myself until I discovered the Apprentice S, which has self-leveling and limits on pitch and roll angles to help keep the plane under control and in the air. SAFE is a wonderful thing! With some help from an instructor at our club, we both became better pilots almost overnight!

Here are some mods I've done on the Apprentice S.

Bigger Wheels
My club field is all grass, so bigger wheels are never a bad thing. I put Du-Bro 3.50TL's on the stock shafts. The center hole on those wheels is 5/32" but the gear is only 1/8", so that requires a little bushing made from a hollow rod that's 5/32" outside and 1/8" inside. The stock nose gear needed a little bending as well to allow a bigger wheel to fit.

Spektrum TM1000 Telemetry System
I wanted to try out the TM1000 telemetry system, so I installed the TM1000 itself plus the altimeter module and the GPS module. The TM1000 connects to the bind port on the receiver; that's how it gets power. I happen to like the fact that pressing the little button on the TM1000 puts both the TM1000 and the receiver into bind mode at the same time, but I know other people insert a Y-cable and use a traditional bind plug when needed.
https://...Continue Reading
Posted by flightengr | Aug 14, 2015 @ 08:00 AM | 9,314 Views
The club field where I fly is in the middle of a large farm, which is wonderful because there are very few vertical obstacles and thereís open sky for thousands of feet. But of course itís inevitable that planes will go down in the fields. Typically the farmer plants corn, which is both good and bad for us pilots. Itís good in the sense that corn is tall enough and planted densely enough to save a lot of planes from making impact with the ground. The corn will ďcatchĒ a foamie and usually the plane will come out with minimal damage. Corn is bad in the sense that thereís zero visibility through the field when itís more than a few feet high, which is true during the entire second half of the flying season. So while the corn softens the crash landing, the challenge becomes finding the plane.

Thatís when a lost plane alarm comes in handy. Sure, thereís an assumption that the electronics on board the plane are still functional. But if that assumption works out, then you could find the plane by following the noise.

Iíve designed and built some alarms for my planes using some commonly-available parts on the Internet. It's the kind of thing you hope you never need, but it's nice to have.

First, you need a piezo buzzer to make noise. I lucked out and made a good choice from eBay on the first try. This is a buzzer thatís rated for input voltage anywhere from 3 to 24 volts, which means itís happy running off of one cell on a LiPo battery as well as other common kinds of...Continue Reading