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Mar 20, 2018, 09:47 PM
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FrSky Long Range!

I picked up a FrSky R9Slim as part of an offer from Kevin at Hobbycool. Unit arrived, and I poped it out of the box.

It’s impossible these days to talk “long range” without the Crossfire entering the conversation. If you take a look at the picture below, you’ll see that the R9 Slim is right in line size wise with the V1/V2 Crossfire Micro’s, and impossibly large compared to the new Crossfire Nano!

I’ve been flying Crossfire for a bit over a year, mainly on fixed wing. I wanted to try alternative systems, and since I’ve been using the Horus x12s, the r9 series seemed a logical choice.

I picked up a R9 combo last year, and after some very frustrating firmware update issues, finally managed to get it working pretty well. I was very unhappy with the range, and isolated it to the stock TX antenna. I replaced it with a properly tuned antenna and had consistently solid RSSI values out to 6+ miles.

I dropped the slim into a 7 inch long range quad running iNav as I didn't want to mess with one of my wings. I had the usual issues getting the firmware up to date. I also had back and forth issues binding to the module in my x12s. I’m not sure if that was related to an upgrade to OpenTX or what, but I did manage to get it to consistently bind and provide telemetry. I ended up spending a couple of hours playing with the telemetry parameters on OpenTX, and have to admit it's nice - but a frustrating to get working. Documentation is spread all over the place.

I took the quad out for a number of short range tuning test. I ended up having to modify the antenna configuration from a “T” to an “L”. I had a rock solid RSSI, and had no hickups with the flights out to ~1 mile. I managed to get in a couple of 2.5mile runs, and again, had a very solid link and would expect I could push it out further, but I’m not really a long range quad sorta flyer.

Thoughts? It’s a good system and performed well. The latency was not noticeably different for me from standard Frsky or Crossfire, but I’m not a racer. The small module size will make it attractive to quad pilots, and also opens possibilities on the new generation of smaller FPV planes.

The firmware upgrade process needs work, but this is IMHO more of a general FrSky thing that it as a “R9” specific thing. It would also be useful to have a formal notification system when there is new firmware available.

The “long range” space is rapidly evolving, and I’ll be keeping an eye out as FrSky matures their offering. I think it’s got the potential to be a serious competitor to Crossfire, but it needs to mature quickly to get there. I've not really had a chance to fly the R9SLim a lot, but I plan on moving it to a wing with iNav and seeing out it works out there at longer ranges. I have no doubt it will perform as well as the other R series receivers.
Last edited by SystemsGuy; Mar 20, 2018 at 09:55 PM.
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