Hitec Aurora 9 Guide for DLG - RC Groups
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Feb 07, 2010, 01:06 AM
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Stoats's Avatar

Hitec Aurora 9 Guide for DLG

Last but not least into the 2.4Ghz realm, Hitec released the Aurora 9 and Spectra/Optima 2.4 gear a few months ago. They've certainly done their homework and put together a very solid system at a great price point.


For me, the receiver battery telemetry has already paid for the radio in just one day of flying. I went out this morning to test fly/adjust my new Taboo GT and set my cell phone to sound an alarm after an hour so that I would have plenty of cushion with the receiver battery. Well, about 45 minutes in, the transmitter started giving me the low battery warning. Luckily, I was just about to throw ... within a minute the battery couldn't maintain servo movement without dipping well below 4V and causing a brownout. If I had been using my trusty old Futaba 9C, that would have been a dead Taboo.

The purpose of this thread is to discuss the setup of the Aurora 9 Transmitter for use with a DLG.

I. The Plan

Flight Modes:
1. Normal (Speed/landing)
2. Cruise
3. Thermal
4. Launch (you can get by without a separate flight mode but this is easiest in the end)

1-3 will be on a 3 position switch with Launch on the momentary switch. The momentary switch is on the right side by default but only takes 20 minutes to move and resolder for the righthanded throwers. This is supported by Hitec and does not void the warranty according to the Hitec reps.

Aileron Differential
Aileron -> Rudder
Camber -- built into the flight modes
Camber -> Elevator
Flaps -- controlled by throttle stick only in Normal mode
Flaps -> Elevator
Flight mode based control rates/exponential
Launch preset
In flight mix adjustments

II. Programming Tips
  1. Find a stylus from an old Palm PDA or your kid's Nintendo DS ... it makes clicking more precise. The touchscreen is decent but sometimes it seems to misjudge where your fat finger actually touched.
  2. Almost all settings are independent between flight modes - when you see a highlighted "C" (common) any changes made to those settings will affect the other flight mode settings with a "C". A highlighted "S" (seperate) means only that flight mode's settings will change.

    Now, this "C" and "S" stuff only corresponds to how settings are modified, not the actual values. For example, I could have mode 1 with 40% and mode 2 with 55%. If I changed both to "C", then adding 5% to mode 2 leaves me with mode 1 at 45% and mode 2 at 60%. You just have to be careful when changing "C" and "S" and adding new flight modes so that you don't have some crazy settings because you forgot to check all flight modes.
  3. To quickly modify values equally where there are two controls/variables, just press the variable name of the numbers to highlight both. Press the name again to return to single variable highlighting.
  4. P-mixes 1-5 are linear with a center point while 6-8 are 7-point curves

III. Getting Started

Note that some of this stuff is intuitive and I won't hand-hold too much by going step by step. I'll try to give some tips and generally show what's going on.

Here's basically what I did for the Taboo GT:
  1. Turn on the radio and answer No to "Transmit?"
  2. Press the current model name in the upper left corner to bring up the model selection menu. Press new and get create a new model.
  3. Press Enter, hit Yes to "Transmit?", answer the questions - GLID -> 2AILE -> Normal tail -> No to the other stuff
  4. After getting to the channel listing, it will ask you to confirm the setup. You have to hit Yes first, then you can edit the menu. Make it match your receiver setup. Press what you want to change then the Sel. button to bring up the appropriate menu.
  5. Turn on your glider then hit the glider picture in the bottom left corner to get to the setup menus

    Press the "1/2" button to get to the second page of this tab - Monitor is useful for seeing the channel outputs
  6. Go through the Reverse and Sub-Trim menus to get the control surfaces generally lined up and moving in the right direction (important!)
  7. Now, we need to setup the flight modes. Just press insert, choose any condition then rename it. Note that order matters if you want Launch to override the other modes. Higher number -> Higher Priority

  8. Assign switches and switch positions to the flight modes. Select the flight mode you want to modify then press the switch button that currently says "NULL". On the next menu, press the SEL. button to choose your switch. Now you have to choose which position corresponds to the flight mode.

    The flight mode you are working on is in the brackets:

    Do this for all modes except Launch
Last edited by Stoats; Aug 09, 2010 at 02:48 PM.
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Feb 07, 2010, 01:07 AM
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Stoats's Avatar
For the most part, the mixes needed are built in and added when you setup a glider.

These mixes allow you to do in-flight adjustments as well. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to scratch your head about what the adjustment actually changes...I would certainly prefer more control over specific variable adjustments like EVO radios. For some odd reason, the adjustments aren't independent per flight modes...hopefully another fixable oversight.

Mixes and Flight Modes
When you want a mix to change based on the flight mode, go to the desired mix then use the switches or click on the flight mode name to get to the right flight mode. You'll see a highlighted "C" somewhere on the screen - press this to change it to "S" for separate setting. Now you can adjust the variables just for that flight mode.

Activating Mixes
Each mix can be activated/deactivated with a switch. The default for a mix is NULL (switch) and is always active. Just click on the switch button to set the new switch.

Some mixes are ON/OFF while others have up to three possible states indicated by [0], [1], or [2] depending on the switch position.
  • Aileron Differential "AIL DIFF"
    Standard stuff -> 70% down throw then full up throw
    Note that the adjustment function doesn't work well at all on this function ... hopefully this will be fixed in future updates

  • Aileron->Rudder "AIL->RUD"
    Some people like this for correcting sideslip going into a bank for thermal circling. So you give some rudder in the same direction as the aileron input. You may want to leave it at 0% for speed/launch modes.

  • Camber "CAMBMIX"
    The camber mix is setup with a linear curve with 0% center point and can affect ailerons, flaps, and elevator. This makes things easy if you're just using a switch but you can use sliders/sticks to control the camber. To set what changes the camber, press the control name right next to [Camber Mix].

    If you use a slider/throttle stick, you are effectively limited to half the stick movement.

    If you want to use in flight adjustments, press the switch button to get to the secondary menu. Press the Adjustments label to highlight it then press the Set button. Here you setup how much you can change the camber mix and which trim/slider changes the camber. On page "2/2" of this menu, you can change how much of the adjustment affects the camber mix values.

  • Camber->Elevator Mix
    If you would like to use the throttle stick or sliders to control flaps/camber and want a non-linear elevator mix, then you can setup a P-mix.

    First, you'll want to go to the Channels menu and set Aux1 (add it if needed) to be controlled by J3 or LS/RS depending on what you want to use. Next, go to the P.Mixes menu and setup mix #6.

    Move the stick to a point on the curve and then adjust the value to move the curve. Do this for the appropriate flight modes. Remember that half of the curve should be at 0% like the aileron camber curves.

  • Flaps "FLAP CON"
    The flap curve is a linear two point curve. One value should be at the flap neutral position while the second is at full flap deflection. For me, the Taboo is setup with equal throw up and down on the ailerons so the neutral is at 0%. If you wanted to setup with a physical offset so that you get much more flap movement, then the neutral position might be like 50-70%. The flight modes with no flap movement would have the neutral value straight across.

    You can setup a simple elevator curve but it limits the direction you can move the control stick since the curve is stuck at 0% on one side. You can either just deal with this or leave it at 0% and make a P.mix.

    If you have actual flaps, the Channel menu specifies which control will be used for this mix. Otherwise, you can pick the control stick like with the camber settings.

    If you use the built in elevator mix, then the in-flight adjustment for flaps will allow you to change that setting.

    4 servo wing:

  • Flaps -> Elevator
    If you want to make a non-linear mix with flap deployment, you can either piggyback on the mix setup for camber or make a new mix on P.mix #7 or #8. The process is basically the same as setting up the camber-> elevator but maybe you'll want to use a different control. Setup up Aux2 under the Channel menu to use the flap control stick and do a Aux2->Elevator mix.
  • Launch Preset "Launch"
    This mix just adds to the current mixes and controls. That's why I went ahead and made a Launch flight mode to cancel out all the other mixes except this one. For now, all I have done is add a little bit of elevator. Switch F is my momentary launch switch and also sets the mode to Launch.

  • D/R & Expo
    This is standard stuff. This menu does allow you to set offsets for the servos. However, for flaps I would prefer to use the flap mix to create the offset since the throw would be reduced ... you could only go down 100% from this offset vs up to 200% from the flaps mix offset.

    Press the control surface label to switch between aileron/elevator/rudder curves. Do this for all flight modes using "C" and "S" like usual. You can add dual rates by changing the switch from NULL to something else. Just be aware that you start creating a whole lot of curves to check on for better or worse.

Anyways, I realize this doesn't cover absolutely every detail step-by-step but that would take up a lot of space and time. Everything is easy once you figure out how to do your first set of mix settings for each flight mode.

Feel free to ask any questions and I'll see what I can come up with.
Last edited by Stoats; Feb 07, 2010 at 11:52 PM.
Feb 07, 2010, 01:07 AM
Registered User
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More Thoughts:

This radio is great but certainly isn't perfect. There is a lot of stiff competition from Futaba and Airtronics' new models near this price range. However, the reps are listening and passing on feedback to the Hitec engineers. Reasonable and valid suggestions might be listened to if enough owners submit to the wishlist thread. The firmware is user upgradable with an extra cable which does the telemetry download as well. After all, this is their top of the line radio for the foreseeable future and they don't have to hold back on features like other manufacturers (assuming it has enough computational/RAM overhead).

My Wishlist:
  • Better control of in-flight variable adjustments -- I would like it to be more universal and would like to choose which/how variables are adjusted (and/or fix the aileron differential adjustment so it works on both ailerons and affects the actual differential)
  • Independent in-flight variable adjustments per flight mode
  • 2 point curve for the elevator in the flap mix so that it is more like the camber mix where you can use any control and control direction
  • Dead zone variable for the linear P.mixes (kind of nice for some fringe cases but not very high priority)
  • Generic threshold activation of mixes -- I would like to activate/deactivate mixes/flightmodes based on where a stick or slider is positioned. The Cut Function in certain pre-made mixes somewhat does this but it is not universally available and doesn't completely work the way I envision.
  • Mixing to other variables (probably more of an issue implementing this on the UI in a user friendly manner)-- for example decreasing aileron differential mix variables when you have flaps going down or something like that ... though I'm not sure how many radios can do this kind of thing to begin with
Last edited by Stoats; Feb 08, 2010 at 12:42 AM.
Feb 07, 2010, 08:00 AM
JimNM's Avatar
Great topic! My A9 arrives next week ;D
Feb 07, 2010, 02:07 PM
Registered User
Was that battery fully charged? There has been some speculation about battery life on the 9 channel receiver, no one seems to have an idea how much amps the rcvr draws to do the telemetry.

Feb 08, 2010, 01:18 AM
Registered User
Stoats's Avatar
Originally Posted by GaryO
Was that battery fully charged? There has been some speculation about battery life on the 9 channel receiver, no one seems to have an idea how much amps the rcvr draws to do the telemetry.

I'm going to work on that this week. I'll need to find a good sense resistor so I can hook it up to my oscilloscope. The multimeter doesn't handle figuring out the current very well. With everything hooked up in the glider, it looked like it switched between 100mah to 140mah once a second or so but I have no idea how accurate those numbers are. Deflecting all surfaces at once produced 200+ mah for what it's worth at the moment.

As far as my battery woes go, I thought the battery was mostly charged but I may have damaged it trying to use my charger which has a minimum 50mah charge rate. That's like c/5 which is practically fast charging ... so accidentally leaving it on for 8 hours is not good. I'm going to switch to lipos so I can actually charge it "quickly" in one hour or far less if I get some hyperions.
Feb 08, 2010, 06:02 AM
srnet's Avatar
Is this TX available with a 35Mhz synth module, 72Mhz is not a lot of use to me ...
Feb 08, 2010, 11:52 AM
Challenge is rewarding
djklein21's Avatar
Hey guys, for those of you in Southern California that are following this thread. The Torrey Pines Gulls are very proud to have Mike Mayberry of Hitec as this Tuesdays guest speaker. The club meeting is Tuesday night at 7:00pm at the San Diego Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park. Make sure to park behind the building. We go up the stairs at the back door. Just follow in the fellow club members.

Here is a map.
Feb 08, 2010, 01:04 PM
Registered User
Do the 6 and 7 Ch Rxs fit in DLGs? They seem rather long for most fuses. Also how does this system work in a contest environment? Any issues with lockouts?
Feb 08, 2010, 01:20 PM
Registered User
This is primarily a 2.4GHz system. Hopefully usable everywhere.

Originally Posted by srnet
Is this TX available with a 35Mhz synth module, 72Mhz is not a lot of use to me ...
Feb 08, 2010, 01:47 PM
Registered User
Another question. The Taboo has a FG fuse. How do the Hitec Rxs work with CF pods in a competition environment?
Feb 08, 2010, 03:28 PM
Paul Anderson
I have flown the optima 7 with case removed in contest environment for the past year with no issues. It is rather long but I have had no problems getting it to fit in anything I have. A bit of carbon in the fuse has not given me any problems. There are quit a few carbon stringers in my Vandals pod and the system has been rock solid. We have not had any issues in full carbon fuses either as long as the 1" tip of the antenna is out the fuse.

Feb 08, 2010, 04:23 PM
Registered User
Thanks Paul!
Feb 09, 2010, 04:27 AM
srnet's Avatar
Originally Posted by jsmillett
This is primarily a 2.4GHz system
If this radio had a 35Mhz module, I would consider buying it since I could use it with all the 35Mhz RXs I already have and have the option to upgrade to 2.4Ghz later.
Feb 09, 2010, 08:57 AM
Registered User
Stoats's Avatar
Originally Posted by srnet
If this radio had a 35Mhz module, I would consider buying it since I could use it with all the 35Mhz RXs I already have and have the option to upgrade to 2.4Ghz later.
Well, Hitec is still working on the synthesized 72Mhz module so 35Mhz wouldn't be too unlikely soon after the 72 is released. The Hitec reps in the US don't really get updates/information about the European products. If you're a bit of a tinkerer, you can interface older Hitec/Futaba compatible modules to the Aurora 9 with a small cable or do some fancier mod work (see the Assan/Aurora 9 hack thread down in the Radios forum). The radio defaults to the standard PPM output stream if it doesn't get a response from the module for the quicker digital communications.

I guess I don't see the big deal about slowly migrating your models over to 2.4Ghz ... it's not that hard to carry two transmitters with you. I take my Futaba 9C with Spektrum module and my Aurora 9 whenever I bring most of my fleet out to fly. Otherwise, I have my 5 favorite planes/helis with Hitec stuff already installed and just bring the Aurora.

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