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Nov 28, 2021, 08:43 PM
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RadioMaster and EdgeTX first impressions. -- a teaser with more to come.


First impressions on RadioMaster TX16 and EdgeTX.
An article for our club newsletter.

I never learn more than what I learn when I learn I’m wrong. This has definitely been the case for me with RadioMaster and EdgeTX.

Both RadioMaster and EdgeTX may be foreign words to you now, but I’m sure they’ll be as much in the hobby lexicon as Futaba and Spektrum going forward. RadioMaster is a fairly new hobby radio company which was started by two talented visionaries with considerable experience with major companies including Corona, and HobbyKing. These two individuals worked together in HobbyKing upper management for for some time before leaving that post and starting the trading company HobbyPorter. They realized the opportunity to create a transmitter that would be so much more than was currently available so in late 2019 they established RadioMaster. There had been a convergence of technologies that allowed the development of the MPM – or Multi-Protocol Module – which is a transmitter module which allows a single transmitter to selectively use over 75 different protocols including Futaba/SFHSS, RadioLink, Husban, Hitec, HoTT, FrSky ACCST v1 and v2, FrSky D, FrSkyL Flysky, Flysky AFHDS2A, DSM (Spektrum and JR), Corona, and many more used by inexpensive drones and toys. In short – it seems that with the exception of Futaba/FASST pretty much every transmission protocol we see flown at our field can be handled by a radio with an MPM module.

The first order of business for RadioMaster was to establish a radio built around the MPM technology, and the second was to employ a high-quality color touch screen, like a cell phone interface, to their transmitter. While touch screen capable RadioMaster units were sold as early as May 2020, there was a fly in the ointment. This fly was that RadioMaster was based upon the open source OpenTX and the development of OpenTX has slowed to be imperceptible. Yes, OpenTX is currently slated to have touch screen abilities incorporated but that’s been the case for literally years with no discernable development in that regard.

As a rapidly growing number of RadioMaster TX16 owners were clamoring for the development of the firmware side of the touchscreen technology so they could fully enjoy their now aging radios another group of firmware developers saw the opportunity to “fork” OpenTX and continue its development as a new OS called EdgeTX. “Forking” is a term used in open-source software development when a product is lifted by one group and developed in a new direction. This is perfectly legal and accepted in open-source development, and in fact OpenTX had itself been forked from the now orphaned ER9x which was forked from Th9x before it.

Without every seeing a touch screen in action, or holding a RadioMaster transmitter I had adopted a baseless dislike for the hardware and the touchscreen technology. I’m reminded of years ago when my then teenage son bought a shiny new cell phone made by Apple, it was an “Iphone”. I was incredulous of his rapture for this device that I deemed to be fraudulent in value. A few months later when my son was unable to make payments for the phone, it defaulted to my possession – and to my complete dismay in mere weeks I was unable to organize my day or even function without said device. It seems that the same may be true for my changing perception of both the RadioMaster transmitter and touch screen technology.

I received a RadioMaster TX16 Max a few weeks ago to evaluate. I immediately removed the stock gimbals, which are very nice, and replaced them with the new CNC aluminum AG01 gimbals which were also sent for my evaluation. The TX16 arrived with version 2.5 of EdgeTX, so although I didn’t see a need for touch screen, I figured I might as well play around with it.

Fast forward a couple weeks of bench testing the TX16, EdgeTX, AG01, and of course using the touch screen and I’m here to say my preconceived notions regarding the transmitter and touch screen were dead wrong. The latency of the transmitter is astounding, the centering of the AG01 is phenomenal, and the utility of touch screen beyond any expectation. That’s not to say I found no room for improvements; there will be improvements, however RadioMaster is clearly the new radio to watch – they are where FrSky was in 2011 and OpenTX in 2012 – not quite on the radar – but incoming and formidable nevertheless.
Last edited by scott page; Nov 28, 2021 at 09:32 PM.
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