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May 22, 2019, 08:43 AM
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A fine upgrade to Horus X10S

A couple of weeks ago, I made the mistake of bumping the antenna of my old trusted Taranis into the kitchen table. A horrific message "Tx antenna problem" appeared on the screen, making me expect the worst. After restarting the radio, the message disappeared but it sure did hurt my great confidence in this radio, even after successful rage testing and everything.

I really don't want to lose any of my models over this glitch/problem, and so I decided to replace it and only fly a couple of cheapo models with the old radio.
When comparing features and prices, I quickly ended up with the Horus X10(S). I didn't want another Taranis, because I was always very disappointed in the hardware quality of the push-button switches near the display, and the screen itself. I really wanted to stick to OpenTX, because in my opinion, it can't be beaten on price/performance, and the almost limitless possibilities it offers.
I never craved a color screen, and most certainly not a touchscreen, but from what I read bout the Horus display, it was quite clear to me that this would really fit my bill: large enough, clearer text, sunlight-readable, crisp.
The use of widgets is also a big added value: plenty of screen area available to display data, fully customizable screens,....

I was very lucky to find a second-hand X10S with long sticks with integrated 3-position switches and pushbuttons, exactly what I needed. Since I'm a tray-flyer, I needed to mod the radio:
  • designed my own 3D-printed handrests. The protoype can be seen on the pictures below, printed in a fluorescent green PLA (that is what you get with the printer, for free...I understand why). They are bolted to the bottom cover, so it remains easy to open it up.
  • Light-metal braces to attach the carrying strap to
  • removed the top switches (SC to SG), their function taken over by the stick-integrated switches (for operation of flaps, gear and callout of telemetry parameters like altitude and consumption)
  • bolted the original short sticks to the side sliders, so I can operate them more easily while pinching the sticks
  • moved the elevator trim to a switch near the handrest, again to make it reachable without letting go of the sticks
Migrating my models to the new radio was super simple: select the Horus as radio type in the Companion app, then open the models file; it offers to convert everything to Horus; done. The only thing I needed to change was the sign of the sliders channel (inverted), re-select telemetry parameters in logical switches and special functions.
Next step was to change all my receivers to EU-LBT, since this radio has that firmware loaded, as required. I never switched my Taranis to EU-LBT, I just couldn't be bothered with the hassle.
Updating a receiver is just too easy: store the firmware on the SD card of the radio, plug the receiver via Smartport to the radio, then select the firmware via the menus, and a minute or so later the receiver has been flashed. A simple rebind with the new radio, and I was all set to go.
Last weekend I had the first opportunity to try it out at the field, and I'm really pleased with it: a nice and serious upgrade. Programming the radio at the field now has become such a breeze, with the scrollwheel and so. I avoided programming on the Taranis at all cost, because of the awkwardness of the +/- buttons menu control and the bad quality of those buttons, combined with the poor display quality. On the Horus, it is a real pleasure to work with the screens and the menu controls: much more intuitive, much more readable screen, much better hardware quality of the controls.
Now that I have a better screen, I wanted to up the game, and display more telemetry data via LUA. Even though I'm very experienced at programming, I didn't feel like writing the scripts myself. I found exactly what I was looking for on a website about "Justfly solutions": a script that displays a real-time auto-scaling graph of any telemetry parameter. For my gliders, I want to display a graph of altitude versus time, for instance. The graph is reset every time that I operate my throttle lock switch. Perfect.

All in all: very very happy with this new radio, a worthwhile upgrade from my old Taranis, with heaps of added value over the latter, and significantly better hardware quality (gimbals!, switches, screen!). Transition from old to new radio was a breeze, very well thought-out procedure, well documented online.
All I need now is better weather (less wind!!), so I can fly a little more often.
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