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Nov 04, 2019, 10:03 AM
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Spektrum / FrSky -> Dragon Link Repeater

(I've reposted this info to different threads several times... time to make it a blog entry!)

A buddy of mine bought a Dragon Link V3 transmitter to use with his DX18. We set it up in the standard way, cabled to the trainer port.
This worked just fine for his first two planes. Upon trying to set up his third plane with an Eagle Tree Vector, multiple cameras and a pan & tilt main camera we ran into the Spektrum 8-channel trainer port PPM limitation.

I remembered reading that FrSky users were able to make use of an SBUS-based repeater setup to gain all 12 channels, so I decided to duplicate this for his Spektrum radio.

I found that the line of RxxxX V2 Spektrum-compatible receivers from OrangeRX were capable of 12-channel SBUS output. I selected an R920X for this project, mainly because that was the only one HobbyKing had in stock at that time The number of conventional PWM ports on these receivers was unimportant as all of them were capable of outputting 12 channels via SBUS.

The cable needed to connect the receiver to the Dragon Link TX is just a standard 3-pin male-to-male servo wire.

Everything is powered by a single 2-cell lipo. The battery is plugged directly into the receiver which in turn powers the DL transmitter. Both components are capable of up to 8.4V of input power so no BEC is necessary.

The only tricky part of this relates to setting up the failsafes. Failsafes plural, because you have to set your failsafe up twice - one for the Spektrum side and one for the DL side.

Here is the setup procedure.

- Connect your Dragon Link transmitter to your PC. Use the Dragon Link GUI to change Input 1 from PPM to SBUS.

- Bind the ORX receiver to your Spektrum radio. Note that the binding procedure also sets your Spektrum failsafe, so be sure to set your radio's switches to trigger your flight controller's RTH command.

- Connect the SBUS-out port on the receiver to the Dragon Link transmitter's Input 1 port. (The SBUS-out port on the OrangeRX receivers is the BIND port.)

- Bind your Dragon Link transmitter and receiver.

- Set your radio's switches to trigger your flight controller's RTH command then set the Dragon Linnk transmitter failsafe.

Finally - is is imperative that you test your failsafes. Turning off either the Spektrum or Dragon Link transmitters must result in your flight controller detecting the failsafe condition and triggering RTH.

My friend attached his repeater setup to an aluminum bracket and hangs the entire thing off of the top of a 14' pole when in use.
We have had great success with this. The longest flight so far was 15.2 miles out and back, with a total distance covered of 34 miles.

I duplicated this setup for myself.
I use my gear for work and wanted a cleaner look... wires and batteries all rubberbanded together doesn't project a professional image

I was using Spektrum but later migrated to Taranis / OpenTX. The basic configuration is still the same.

My old Spektrum setup

New Taranis setup.
(overkill. Just about any D16 receiver can be used, but the standard-sized X-series are easiest to implement since you can use a simple M-M extension wire to make the SBUS connection)


Both receivers output SBUS and are directly plugged into the Dragon Link input port. The Dragon Link has to be configured to accept SBUS input. A 2-cell lipo supplies power to the receiver, which passes that on to the Dragon Link tx.

(case idea shamelessly stolen off of "Vova Reznik" on YouTube)

(I also built up a copy of the video repeater from that video. Had a few teething problems, but it works quite well!)
Last edited by visioneer_one; Nov 04, 2019 at 10:50 AM.
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