AS3X – The Foundation of Stability - RC Groups

AS3X – The Foundation of Stability

AS3X has changed the hobby and how our radio control airplanes fly. Here is an article with everything you need to know about AS3X from the Spektrum team.

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AS3X

From Spektrum

Spektrum AS3X technology is a part of the SAFE assisted flight envelope protection system found in many Ready-to- Fly and Bind-n- Fly airplanes and helicopters offered from Horizon Hobby brands such as HobbyZone, E-flite and Blade. Every SAFE system has AS3X technology at its heart. AS3X technology has proven so versatile, that different versions of SAFE technology, such as SAFE Select and SAFE Plus, are now available so a better flying experience can be enjoyed for a wider range of RC pilots.

The charts below identify what each system is capable of and how they assist in flight.

What is AS3X technology and what does it do?

The purpose of AS3X technology is to enhance the flight stability of all model types. AS3X technology works behind the scenes to help stabilize the aircraft in whatever attitude you command. It does so using a sophisticated combination of sensors and exclusive flight control software. Every BNF® airplane or helicopter with an AS3X system is custom tuned by RC product development experts to deliver the best flying experience possible. An AS3X system counters outside forces such as wind, turbulence, torque, tip-stall, control sensitivity issues due to CG position or aircraft design to make your flight smoother. As a result, a model custom tuned with AS3X technology is easier to fly and performs with greater precision. AS3X does not fly the aircraft for the pilot. It’s not autonomous, nor does it interfere with pilot commands. The beauty of AS3X technology is that it takes advantage of onboard sensing to react perceptively faster. Behind the scenes, AS3X is following along with you, calculating an infinite number of possible corrections. All you see is an aircraft that flies smoothly and goes exactly where you point it with greater accuracy. Ultimately, pilot workload is reduced, making it easier for the pilot to focus on aircraft position and maneuver symmetry for a better flight experience through a wider range of conditions. A model equipped with a well-tuned AS3X system actually gives a pilot more control.

AS3X gives you more control

For a 3D aerobatic model, an AS3X system can make slow speed and knife-edge maneuvers feel much more stable and precise even when the pitch and roll rates are set extremely high. In a scale park flyer or ultra-micro, it will counter the effects of turbulence on windy days so the plane will track smoother and give the pilot a “locked in” feeling. Maybe you’re a scratch builder who finds that scaling and CG limitations make it tough to create an agile or realistic looking model that isn‘t a handful to fly. AS3X technology can help by battling the conditions that interfere with having a smooth flight. The AS3X system never limits your control or interferes with your commands. You always have control. The AS3X system simply gives a higher-level of stability which makes a more enjoyable flight possible. When you buy an “Open Stock”* receiver with AS3X technology such as the Spektrum AR636, AR7350, AR9350 units, it operates very similar to a standard DSMX® receiver out of the box—the AS3X system is inactive. Setup of the AS3X system is accomplished though the AS3X App and/or PC Program interface. Each requires a cable or Bluetooth module to establish a link with your device and the AS3X system. The interface makes it possible to easily setup many of the features found in computer radios such as travel adjust, sub-trim, mixing, wing type and more. You don’t have to have a computer radio to enjoy AS3X technology. Gain adjustments for each axis allow you to fine tune the appropriate amount of AS3X assistance desired, just like the way Horizon Hobby product developers do. One of the coolest features is the flight mode capability that allows you to program different AS3X settings on a transmitter switch position. That way you can experiment with different AS3X settings in flight. Always follow the specific recommendations for the AS3X receiver model you choose. A number of tutorials on using these features with success are available online.

Open Stock indicates that it was purchased separately, not as a replacement part or previously installed in an RTF or BNF® model.

SAFE® technology: Turning beginner’s luck into the beginner’s advantage

SAFE technology is an advanced flight assistance system that gives pilots the ability to fly without the worry of crashing due to common mistakes such as orientation loss or over-control. Built upon the successful Spektrum AS3X system, models with SAFE technology, such as the E-flite® Apprentice™ S 15e, have multiple flight modes with progressive flight envelope limitations as well as self-leveling and flight stabilization. By simply changing the position of a switch on the transmitter, a pilot can choose any flight mode for results that promote confidence and flight proficiency at a comfortable and often faster rate.

Self-leveling, heading-hold and bank-limit flight mode capabilities of SAFE technology reduce the chance of crashing and allow a pilot get comfortable with an airplane. No other electronic system compares in options or ease of use. When a pilot becomes proficient enough to turn the SAFE flight modes off, turning it back on again is always a simple solution. An important difference between SAFE and AS3X technology equipped receivers is that an AS3X only receiver can be tuned by the user and suitable in nearly any model. A SAFE receiver is a complex system custom made for the aircraft. A SAFE receiver is not intended to be taken from one model and put in another.

The Next Advancements: SAFE® Select and SAFE+ (Plus)

If we think of AS3X technology as part of the “Pyramid of Stability”, Safe Select and Safe Plus are currently at the peak.

Building again on top of SAFE and A3SX, SAFE Plus adds breakthrough automated flight features that employ GPS sensing. With SAFE Plus technology new pilots no longer need worry about flying beyond line of sight. But that’s not all. SAFE Plus even takes the worry out of landing by providing assistance features that virtually allow the model to land itself. A SAFE Plus receiver is not intended to be taken from one model and placed into another and it’s AS3X gain settings are not adjustable. SAFE Select technology is the newest addition to the SAFE product line and is available in a wide range of BNF models from ultra-micro to giant-scale. SAFE Select is the answer for the experienced pilot who wants to relax with an aircraft that can shoulder the burden of keeping the wings level at the flip of a switch. SAFE Select also allows pilots use the AS3X PC and Mobile app to fine tune some settings such as rate gain, channel assignments and flight mode switch position. Pilots get more freedom and more control to explore the advantages SAFE and AS3X technologies offer. Once again, a SAFE Select receiver is not intended to be taken from one model and placed into another.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q– My SAFE airplane does not seem to bind.
  • A– All SAFE equipped models, be it a SAFE, SAFE Plus or SAFE Select must be oriented on their landing gear as if about to takeoff and completely motionless for the system to calibrate and bind. The indicator lights in the receiver will stay off until the plane is put into the correct orientation.

  • Q– My airplane does not have much control throw and has nearly no down elevator.
  • A– This is due to an error in radio setup. Essentially the model is in Panic mode, which is controlled by channel 6 (Aux 1). Make sure you have this setup properly according to the manual. Most of the time it is because reversing Aux 1 was neglected.

  • Q– When I do a control correction test, I am not seeing any movement on the surfaces.
  • A– This could be one of two things. First, if this is an AS3X only plane or SAFE is not turned on, then the corrective movement on the controls can be subtle and is only proportionate to the disturbance that the model endures. Move the model quickly and watch the surface as the model is moving. Secondly, correction does not start until the throttle has passed 25% at least once. After that point, throttle can be brought back to the off position and the control correction test can be conducted. Try Beginner mode, which has self-leveling, where correction direction is most obvious.

  • Q– Can I take the receiver out of my SAFE equipped model and put it in something different?
  • A– It is not recommended. SAFE equipped receivers are specially tuned for the aircraft it came with. Putting it in a different aircraft can produce unexpected results, resulting in incorrect or over correction of the control surfaces and potential aircraft damage.

  • Q– I am having trouble with the AS3X App; it keeps crashing on start up.
  • A– Make sure you have granted the App the permissions that it requires from your device. This can be found in the App settings menu of your device. It is important that the volume of your headphones be at the full position. It is also important to delete all previous versions of the software, the AS3X named folders and AS3X App cache in your smart device.

  • Q– Can I enable SAFE technology in an open stock AS3X receiver?
  • A– Open stock AS3X receivers do not have SAFE flight assistance capabilities. Receivers with SAFE
  • technology are intended as replacements for specific aircraft and should only be used with that aircraft.

  • Q– Neither the program or App will recognize my AS3X receiver.
  • A– Your AS3X receiver must be powered by a sufficient power source in order for the software to identify, read and write to it. Sometimes, turning the receiver power off and on will help the recognition process. It is also important to register your receiver so you can download and be notified of firmware updates.

  • Q– Is it better to adjust rates, expo, direction and mixing in the receiver or in my transmitter?
  • A: It depends on the AS3X receiver you have. With some AR636 receivers, due to hardware constraints AS3X works better when the aircraft parameters are set in the receiver through the setup software or App . Newer AR7350, AR9350 and PowerSafe® receivers with AS3X offer more versatile adjustment options. Always refer to your user manual.

  • Q– Do I have to choose an unused transmitter switch in order to activate SAFE Select?
  • A– Any switch can be assigned the SAFE Select on/off feature, even if it’s already used for another channel or feature such as flaps, retracts, expo or dual rate. However, transmitters above 6-channels may require activation of the switch in the system menu.

  • Q– What is the difference between absolute and relative gain?
  • A– In the gain adjustment menu, absolute and relative is selectable; absolute is the default. Absolute means that the gain value can only be changed in the app or PC program. Relative means that mixing and changes to the channel from the transmitter will vary the gain value set through the app or PC program.

  • Q– Where to I start the gain levels?
  • A– The rule of thumb is to start with relatively low gain values. You can use the flight mode option to experiment with different levels on the fly. Another option is to find a BNF® airplane with AS3X technology that’s relatively similar. All registered receivers can accept AS3X presets available from the Spektrum.com website. Upload the preset and then use the flight mode option to fine-tune to your liking.

  • Q– Why would I want to use the flight mode option?
  • A– The flight mode option allows you to assign gain values, set gain levels for different flight conditions (pattern vs. 3D flight) or turn AS3X off completely from a switch on your transmitter.

Thread Tools
Sep 06, 2017, 05:38 PM
Registered User
richard hanson's Avatar
Nicely done
My only beef with these devices has been the poor with a capital P , instructions which came with various Rx.
If only each Rx type had a proof of operation sequence for setting up with a tx.
Sep 06, 2017, 06:28 PM
Fly Low - Hit Hard
Red Flyer's Avatar
AS3X is, imho, the greatest advancement to the hobby in many years.

We must include Lipo batteries, brushless motors and 2.4 GHz as well.

It was the perfect storm.

RF
Sep 07, 2017, 09:14 AM
John,not Zerts.JOHN, NOT Zerts
Quote:
Originally Posted by richard hanson
Nicely done
My only beef with these devices has been the poor with a capital P , instructions which came with various Rx.
If only each Rx type had a proof of operation sequence for setting up with a tx.
I have 4 AS3X BNF planes, not one came with instructions how to change the settings for AS3X. Had no idea there was a heading hold gyro.
Sep 08, 2017, 11:12 AM
DFS#000178
Rampage's Avatar
AS3X is just a brand name of something people have been doing since the early 90s, or even earlier.
Sep 08, 2017, 11:30 AM
AndyKunz's Avatar
Even earlier. By the mid 90s we were already converting to piezo gyros full steam.

Andy
Sep 16, 2017, 09:26 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
AS3X is wonderful! It makes small and mid-size planes fly like much larger aircraft - smoother and more stable feeling. IMHO the AS3X in the Commander is spot on the best setup to date.

McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Sep 17, 2017, 07:38 AM
Ghost Rider the pattern's full
santanig5's Avatar

Clarification please


Great Article,

This section would suggest that when bound in SAFE mode, AS3X settings can be adjusted, but in practice this does not appear to be the case.

Please clarify.


"SAFE Select is the answer for the experienced pilot who wants to relax with an aircraft that can shoulder the burden of keeping the wings level at the flip of a switch. SAFE Select also allows pilots use the AS3X PC and Mobile app to fine tune some settings such as rate gain, channel assignments and flight mode switch position."

Thanks,
GJS
Sep 17, 2017, 08:26 AM
Registered User
richard hanson's Avatar
Have not read the article but you can,t make changes to the as3x when in flight
Was that the question?
Sep 17, 2017, 11:50 AM
Ghost Rider the pattern's full
santanig5's Avatar
You actually can make changes in flight if you have a computer Tx (at least I can with my DX9) if you set the gains to Relative not Absolute.
My question is can one have SAFE enabled and change the gain settings in The AS3X flight mode?
Sep 17, 2017, 02:04 PM
Registered User
jrstroh's Avatar

What is 'Heading Hold'?


I basicly have gotten back into rc with the help of SAFE and now SAFE Select. More recently I have moved to UMX planes without SAFE, but with AS3X. Since I have not had experience with the 3 flight modes available on AS3X Rxs like the AR636 I have not had experience with the Heading Hold mode. What exactly is it and is it active in a UMX plane like the Pitts or Waco and can it be turned on and off on these planes?

Jon
Sep 17, 2017, 05:18 PM
Donate Platelets
I am a terrible RC flyer. So bad I can't even use the word pilot for myself. I've put an Apprentice SAFE Rx in my original Apprentice 15e and I'm actually learning how to fly this try. (Along with lots of simulator time.)


On a different note.
Choosing to call the AS3X programed states Absolute and Relative appears to be less than well thought out. Relative would be better phrased Transmitter Adjustable or Radio Adjustable.

Jim
Last edited by JimHSoars; Sep 17, 2017 at 05:31 PM.
Sep 18, 2017, 08:52 AM
AndyKunz's Avatar
That boat sailed about 5 years ago. The REL term was used because the gain is relative to the offset of the channel from the FM trip point. ADJ would have been better.

Andy
Sep 19, 2017, 11:48 AM
Life is better w/ RC
kman712's Avatar
Andy what would be a good starting point for the gain using a DX9/AR9350 setup on a H9 ultra stick .30?
Sep 19, 2017, 12:26 PM
Old Guy, New Hobby
Old_RC_Guy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by santanig5
Great Article,

This section would suggest that when bound in SAFE mode, AS3X settings can be adjusted, but in practice this does not appear to be the case.

Please clarify.


"SAFE Select is the answer for the experienced pilot who wants to relax with an aircraft that can shoulder the burden of keeping the wings level at the flip of a switch. SAFE Select also allows pilots use the AS3X PC and Mobile app to fine tune some settings such as rate gain, channel assignments and flight mode switch position."

Thanks,
GJS
The key words here are "SAFE Select". As I understand it, standard SAFE RX's do not allow gain adjustments, but SAFE Select RX's do allow gain adjustment. At least that is the way it is worded.

-Jeff
Latest blog entry: My Hangar


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