Thread Tools
This thread is privately moderated by emma97, who may elect to delete unwanted replies.
Sep 10, 2016, 06:03 PM
Unregistered User
emma97's Avatar
Thread OP
Discussion

FSi6 Radio Upgrade


Improvements to the already excellent Flysky FS-i6 telemetry radio (TX&RX 40 bucks total free shipping from Banggood). Pretty much in my order of importance:

1. Throttle stick half way detent mod (essential for APM waypoints, loiter, and althold).
2. FSia6 battery voltage telemetry mod so you don't need big FSia6b+clunky sensor https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show....php?t=2402288.
3. Firmware update (only way to get all 6 flight modes).
4. Trainer port PPM/serial plug for reflash, 3rd party TX modules, simulator, etc. Connects to FrSky DHT module shown .
5. Antenna mods extended my range 4x further.
6. Trainer PPM IN pin moved to battery + for charging via wall wart and also powering external modules in the field.
7. Drilled a big hole near the beeper so alarm can be heard better.
8. Add-on LCD to display local/remote coordinates and rssi. Flight timer too.

For now here's a few attachments but on request can add more and fill out details if time allows.


edit: Attached a known good 10ch firmware upgrade file https://github.com/benb0jangles/FlyS...rogrammer_V1_4 and heres my USB/serial adapter: http://www.ebay.com/itm/6Pin-USB-2-0...AAAOSwzgRW1AQ8 More info on the difficulties one might encounter in post #4 here.


edit #2: On request signal names have been added to the PPM/serial plug photo.


edit #3: Added power jack mod by rerouting 5v pin on trainer jack to batteries (see photo). This allows powering external modules and also charging batteries with an old wall wart without having to remove them from the radio. Closer inspection shows the wire originally went to a couple diodes on the main board (one to gnd, other to buzzer?). Whatever the original function is not clear but the mod didn't interfere with anything I use and benefits huge. YMMV Also added hole for beeper to the list.


edit #4: Based on discussion in another thread I've put up a photo of my GPS/RSSI/timer add on. It plugs into the trainer port of virtually any radio for power and PPM. PPM is so timer only counts if throttle is >0. It displays local/remote coordinates (top/bottom), local/remote rssi (bottom right), and flight time in minutes&seconds(top right).

The timer counts up while throttle is non-zero and resets when radio is powered down. It's for measuring flight duration to check on power system efficiency or air frame improvements. Not lipo status which is handled by stock voltage telemetry feature.

A clunky solution ATM but I'm hoping maybe someday get access to FSi6 firmware and incorporate all those functions into the built-in display like I did with the 9x.


edit #5: For those interested in hardware mods I've added this pinout from Benbojangles: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...gid=1551778950 and converted to txt for easy viewing.


edit #6: Starting in post 26 Kobimazuz found a great cable which should avoid the need to hack a trainer cable or build a plug like mine: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/RC-t...608.0.0.f97jem . In fact no soldering at all and as added bonus works for both serial upgrade and trainer/module. I put a photo in case link dies (you know ali, lol).

Also fixed the PPM/serial connector photo to reflect that originally there is no 5v like T6 and other radios. I rerouted this pin internally to the battery so it can be used to power external modules and also allows charging the batteries without opening the radio. A photo has been added here and more info in post #40.


edit #7: While not exclusively related to this radio a couple of i6 friends bought Dasmikro receivers on my recommendation during the Banggood sale so I've included some photos here. They show how 1.25mm pins are attached to make it easier switching between models. Also included are adapters for use during hardware testing and hooking up to Atmel chips for software development. Makes it easier to connect flight controllers like APM, ESCs, and full size servo plugs too.

The new PCB version was much easier to wire than the old one where ch6&7 were cut ( I only need 1-5) to make room for power pins. No channels cut on the new but still one pin (ch5) had to be bent and soldered to the reverse side. The adapter for the new one was 10x easier too, just 1:1. Velcro patches were added to the back after photos were taken.

Also added a photo from some RCGroups member showing i6 and new i6x. I'd appreciate if anybody knows who did post that.
Last edited by emma97; Mar 27, 2017 at 06:30 PM. Reason: added attachments
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Sep 10, 2016, 06:37 PM
Unregistered User
emma97's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lanza View Post
Can you share some pictures of the mod?
Can you disable the flysky TX when using the DHT module?

Thank you.
As I hinted except for the little Velcro patch it's really not a mod at all. The radio is never opened or altered. And yes, the stock A7105 module does not interfere because you are in trainer mode. Only drawback is limited number of channels. Photo of my DHT added.

BTW the same plug (chopped off a ball mouse) also allows reflashing firmware, simulator, and of course original purpose, trainer.
Sep 11, 2016, 02:03 PM
CeG

FlySky i6 transmitter bricked during botched update


Hi all, I am a newby and have bricked my three week old i6 transmitter during an attempt to increase the channels from 6 to 10.
Does anybody have any idea if I can recover the transmitter by reflashing it to the factory software or do I truly have a brick on my hands.
The cost of sending the unit back to FlySky's factory in China will exceed the cost of a replacement and being a pensioner, money is rather tight..
I truly hope that someone can assist me!
Sep 11, 2016, 03:28 PM
Unregistered User
emma97's Avatar
Thread OP
The guys who created this firmware modification tend to understate the risks but it is probably true that none of them are really bricked. Out of several individuals at my location who attempted this half of them had no trouble at all and the other half thought theirs was totally killed. Recovery was not easy and a couple just gave up in frustration. One friend sold his to me at half price which turned out to be a silver lining because I eventually got it fixed but it was not easy.

The biggest issue is you need the right combination of programming adapter (download cable) with the right driver, operating system, flash method, and computer. The key to success for me was to use a cheap Ebay Silabs CP2102 serial/USB adapter as seen in my photo and a Toshiba LE netbook running Windows 8. Many attempts with the same adapter on desktop PCs with XP and also Windows 8 failed until I switched over to the netbook. When these problems were brought up to the developers who are probably not expert Windows programmers they pretty much said "go fly a kite" so it takes a bit of luck and persistence.

Some guys just get it on first try. Others apparently like you and me not so lucky.

The other thing is to be aware there are two different methods for putting the i6 in flash mode. One depends on current firmware to be functioning correctly and access is from a menu. In other words you must start with a working radio. It's easy to see if this is working because messages are displayed to step you through the download.

The other way is to use the factory bootloader which does not need a working unit but IIRC initiated by hold throttle and yaw trim buttons down and right while powering up the radio. Unfortunately there is no indication of success until you reboot after the flash and see the right sign-on screen so takes a bit of faith. Since my radio was DOA this was the only option available and it did take a few tries. I was very glad to see that power-up screen finally appear.

Another thing is while the correct procedure is buried somewhere in these threads:

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show....php?t=2275319
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show....php?t=2486545
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show....php?t=2145070
https://github.com/benb0jangles/FlyS...rogrammer_V1_4

It is not nicely presented in first posts but scattered throughout and to make matters worse a lot of misinformation. My advice is to go through the info again paying special attention to those who seem to know what they are doing and above all else DON'T GIVE UP. Maybe ask for help there too. I'm convinced it's true that the radio is never really unrecoverable but just may take some effort.

When time permits I will try to put together a "recipe for dummies like me". Meanwhile look closely at the photo of my cable in post #1 and I will repost known good files from above links. Also a link to the USB/serial dongle that worked for me.

Good luck and let us know how it turned out.
Last edited by emma97; Dec 20, 2016 at 08:51 AM.
Sep 11, 2016, 09:48 PM
Registered User
Great information.
Thank you!
Sep 12, 2016, 05:58 AM
Registered User
Great information! I have a question: How many channels will the PPM out support? I'm thinking of adding a Spectrum or a Hubsan module. I have the FS-i6 modded with 10 ch, just have to transfer all the models from my old TGY-i6 before I flash that too. The only thing that I miss is another mix. Now I have to add a FC to be able to do differential thrust.

More questions
How did you make the module? Just de-cased a standard module?
Last edited by m00ndancer; Sep 12, 2016 at 06:01 AM. Reason: more questions
Sep 12, 2016, 06:18 AM
Unregistered User
emma97's Avatar
Thread OP
The DHT comes as a shrink wrapped PCB with small switch board so all that's needed is bind them together with elastic and stick some velcro on the back. Oh... and that piece of aluminum angle to hold the antenna. I must admit I inherited this from somebody a lot more experienced than me so can't take all the credit. Modules like BG etc that come with a case I would probably leave it on and just put velcro on the back.

PPM in trainer mode is 6 channel only even after the 10ch mod. This is not a problem for me. In fact I have yet to go beyond the basic channel 5 flight mode switching. Since I am using an original APM and older firmware even using more channels to switch things like autotune and some calibrations is not implemented.
Sep 12, 2016, 06:20 AM
Unregistered User
emma97's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lanza View Post
Great information.
Thank you!
Thank YOU and the others here for motivating me to collect this stuff in a blog. Turns out to be very helpful for some of my RC buddies out in the real world who may not be signed up but do spend a lot of time browsing this site. Most of it I learned from other members so only fair to pass it on.
Sep 12, 2016, 11:56 AM
CeG
Many thanks for the information especially the threads. I truly hope that I do find some resolution to the "bricked" problem that I have.
Sep 12, 2016, 12:20 PM
Registered User
Do you have a better picture / drawing on the pin layout?
Sep 12, 2016, 05:16 PM
Unregistered User
emma97's Avatar
Thread OP
If that's what you need the pic in post #1 has been edited to show signal names for the trainer socket. The plug is cannibalized from a ball mouse cable with pins directly soldered on one-to-one in same order as socket. The mouse plug was 6 pin but fits the 4 pin radio socket fine. Shell is GND.

Nov 01, 2016, 09:21 AM
Registered User
FlyBuy66's Avatar
Hello and thanks for sharing this place and all of your info....I am coming from a semi technical background but all of this is pretty new terminology to me so I have to go slow. So what exactally do I have to do to connect your suggested http://www.banggood.com/Multiprotoco...p-1097688.html to the FlySky i6 Let's start with the very basic if you can please....and thanks ahead of time!
Nov 01, 2016, 09:44 AM
Unregistered User
emma97's Avatar
Thread OP
Three wires: power, ground, and PPM. All the pinout info is in the BG photo and my photo above. After that it's only a matter of holding the sticks in a certain position while powering on to enable the various model modes.

If you make a plug like mine then no additional soldering needed. Arduino "Dupont" wires just plug and go. I used a Arduino Pro-mini and NRF24l01 combo instead of the BG module so a bit more connections but still no soldering. Another approach might be to buy a simulator cable then cut in half and wire to the module (have not tried this myself).

BTW a cheap Harbor Freight $5 (or free with coupon) DMM is a must to check continuity and voltages. If you don't have one then that would be next on the list after soldering iron.
Last edited by emma97; Nov 01, 2016 at 09:58 AM. Reason: BG pic
Nov 01, 2016, 09:58 AM
Registered User
FlyBuy66's Avatar
Got the DMM Got the soldering iron....used to have the chops... so I can make a pin out like yours (the top of the plug on your pic) and the BG multiprotocol plugs directly into that with the connector on the back. I also have an old ball mouse around here somewhere I'm sure too....that bridge of 5 pins on top of your plug....did you make that or spare parts from something? So this will actually sit outside on the transmitter?

Your pretty good at this....I'll be talking with you allot if you don't mind because of my lack of knowledge
Nov 01, 2016, 10:08 AM
Unregistered User
emma97's Avatar
Thread OP
Glad to help beginners (of course I started out as top expert in this field at birth. LOL).

The row of pins that I soldered directly to the plug are "single row .1" or 2.54mm male header" available on Ebay for about a penny a pin. I bent the bottom ends a bit to fit close to the plug pins. Note the shell is ground.

Order is not the same as on that BG and other standard 3rd party RF modules so some jumper wires are needed (aka Dupont, aka rainbow, aka Arduino, also pennies on Ebay). I was thinking of making a new adapter that did have exactly the right order so the i6 will accept standard modules like for the 9x and Taranisore radios. But so much to do and so little hobby time.


Quick Reply
Message:
Thread Tools