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Old 10-17-2013, 04:35 AM   #1
ArchmageAU
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Default Dummies guide to the DX6i for RC helicopters

Dummies guide to the DX6i for RC helicopters

* Yet another ArchmageAU epic *

(This is a work in progress and will re-posted as complete when finished. The reason for posting early is to allow the draft post to be reviewed and amended)

Unfortunately, this will be another picture-less wall of text unless someone describes where illustrations are needed to make things clearer.

About the guide:

This guide is to help the first time DX6i user get up and running with the Spectrum DX6i transmitter.

It is geared towards the FBL helicopter pilot, but will be expanded to cover other helicopters (planes will need to be a separate guide).

To most newcomers to RC, they DX6i may as well be written in sanskrit.

The DX6i manual assumes a level of knowledge of RC operation that the novice user just will not have. Concepts such as travel adjust, dual rate, channel mixes etc... mean nothing. Without a thorough grounding in RC concepts most of the manual makes no sense.


Table of Contents

  • Quick Start (Just get my mCPX flying, I'll read the rest later)
  • Transmitter and RC basic concepts
  • Transmitter handling (thumbs vs pinch)
  • Why acro and heli modes (and why to never use acro for helis, even for simulators)
  • Known bugs / Quirks (Timer, Throttle hold)
  • DR, Expo and Travel Adjust, how it works and what you need to know
  • Trim vs Sub Trim, why two modes of trim
  • Monitor, your best friend for TX problems
  • Understanding Throttle and Pitch curves
  • Stunt mode, not only for the advanced pilot
  • Throttle hold, why you need it
  • The secret life of "gyro"
  • Mixing, mysteries revealed
  • What on earth is "revo mix"
  • Swash types, who invents this stuff?
  • Buddy boxing, just the facts
  • Range checking, why and how
  • Using you DX6i with a sim
  • Adjusting stick tension
  • Recalibration (the hidden menu)
  • Changing modes between Mode 1 and Mode 2 (Yes it is possible to do this properly)


Quick Start (Just get my mCPX flying, I'll read the rest later)

Most users that I encounter start with a DX6i to work with a FBL helicopter. This is their first TX and they want to set up up with their Blade BNF or RTF helicopter.

Faced with the mass of switches and options, the hapless beginner is left to try sort out the DX6i manual on their own.

I've chosen the mCPX as the example heli to show the setup of, but this can be applied to any Blade BNF helicopter. (** I don't own an mCPX, just a couple of nanos and a 130x **)

For example, the mCPX manual setup for a DX6i is:
Setup List:
  • Model Type: Heli
  • Reverse: THRO-N, AILE-N, ELEV-N, RUDD-N, GYRO-N, PITC-R
  • Swash Type: 1 Servo 90
  • Timer: 4:00 Basic flying, 3:00 Advanced Flying
Adjust List:
  • DR&EXPO:
    • 0-AILE 70% 30%
    • 0-ELEV 70% 30%
    • 0-RUDD 100% INH
    • 1-AILE 100% 30%
    • 1-ELEV 100% 30%
    • 1-RUDD 100% INH
  • Thro Curve
    • Norm 0% 40% 60% 80% 100%
    • Stunt 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
    • Hold 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
  • Pitc Curve
    • Norm 30% 40% 50% 75% 100%
    • Stunt 0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
    • Hold 0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
  • Travel Adjust
    • THRO 100%, AILE 100%, ELEV 100%, RUDD 100%, GYRO 100%, PITC 75%

(see Sanskrit to the beginner )

This is a quick start of how to program this in on a brand new DX6i. (I will go into detail as to what each of these are later). I am assuming you have already put batteries n the DX6i (or changed the internal rechargeable battery).

Real Basic Terms

First some basic instructions (to make writing this easier). I've limited it to 4 as most people can hold 4 things in short term memory without problems.

  • <select> - push the scroll wheel in like a button (press and release).
  • <highlight> - scroll the scroll wheel till the highlight on the LCD shows a letter, word or phrase.
  • <return> - <highlight> “List” in the upper right corner and <select>
  • <main> - <highlight> “Main” in the upper right corner and <select> (If “Main” is not in the upper right corner, <return> first, then <highlight> “Main” and <select>)

If you see a number in brackets after quoted text (like “MODEL SELECT” (1) ), this means it is a menu selection and the number is the number of the option in the menu which will be shown on the right hand side of the DX6i screen.

Lets go

OK. Lets just straight in. First lets do:
Setup List:
  • Model Type: Heli
  • Reverse: THRO-N, AILE-N, ELEV-N, RUDD-N, GYRO-N, PITC-R
  • Swash Type: 1 Servo 90
  • Timer: 4:00 Basic flying, 3:00 Advanced Flying
(ensure you are in a well lit area, but not bright sunshine as the DX6i's LCD is not backlit).

Steps:
  • Turn on transmitter
  • Go to “ADJUST LIST” menu
    • <select> - Screen changes to “ADJUST LIST” menu
  • Select a model to use for the mCPX
    • <highlight> “MODEL SELECT” (1) then <select>
    • <highlight> A blank model or a model you wish to overwrite
    • <select> - Transmitter will show “LOADING....” then return to “ADJUST LIST” menu screen
  • Go to “SETUP LIST” menu
    • <highlight> “SETUP LIST” (12) then <select>
  • Reset the model to ensure it is at it's defaults
    • <highlight> “ COPY/RESET” (13) then <select>
    • <highlight> “RESET” then <select>
    • <highlight> “YES” then <select> - DX6i will beep 3 times
    • <return>
  • Set the model to HELI mode
    • <highlight> “MODEL TYPE” (1) then <select>
    • <highlight> “HELI” icon then <select> - DX6i will beep 6 times
    • <return>
  • Set a name for the model
    • <highlight> “MODEL NAME” (2) then <select>
    • <highlight> The models name (should be blank after reset) then <select>
    • <highlight> a blank character of the name then <select>
    • Scroll the highlight with the roller till the character you want appears. (Order: " !~#$%&'()*+,-./0123456789:;<=>?@ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ") and <select>
    • Repeat the above 2 steps till the name you want is on the screen. (You only have 8 characters)
    • <highlight> “OK !” then <select>
    • <return>
  • Ensure the swash type (to "1 Servo 90")
    • <highlight> “SWASH TYPE” (5) then <select>
    • (should be showing “1SERVO90”, if so <return> and skip to next step)
    • <highlight> “CCPM 120” then <select>
    • <highlight> “1SERVO90” then <select>
    • <return>
  • Set the channel reversals (to "THRO-N, AILE-N, ELEV-N, RUDD-N, GYRO-N, PITC-R")
    • <highlight> “SWASH TYPE” (4) then <select>
    • Since PITC is the one we must reverse, <highlight> the “N” next to “PITC-” then <select>
    • <highlight> “R” then <select>
    • <return>
  • Set the timer (to "4:00 min" for basic flying)
    • <highlight> “TIMER” (8) then <select>
    • Ensure the first highlight space shows “DOWN” (if not change to “DOWN”, <highlight> “UP”, <select>, <highlight> “DOWN”, <select>)
    • Change next highlight (minutes) from “06” to “04” (<highlight> “06”, <select>, <highlight> “04”, <select>)
    • Ensure next highlight (seconds) shows “00” (if not change to “00”, <highlight> seconds, <select>, <highlight> “00”, <select>)
    • Ensure next highlight (switch) shows “TRAINER” (if not change to “TRAINER”, <highlight> switch type, <select>, <highlight> “TRAINER”, <select>)
    • <return>
  • Almost there for this part: (What is not specified, but needed are as follows)
  • Set D/R COMBI switch to "RUDD"
    • <highlight> “D/R COMBI” (7) then <select>
    • <highlight> “Inh” then <select>
    • <highlight> “RUDD” then <select>
    • <return>
  • <main>
  • Turn DX6i off to save setting. (Yes! Turn it off).

Setup bit done.

That last bit enables the DR & expo to be changed on a single switch. You may not understand it yet if new to RC helis and programmable TX's, but it makes DR & expo makes flying easier and the next bit of programming easier too. I will discuss DR & expo later in the piece.

Ready for round 2?

Lets do:
Adjust List:
  • DR&EXPO:
    • 0-AILE 70% 30%
    • 0-ELEV 70% 30%
    • 0-RUDD 100% INH
    • 1-AILE 100% 30%
    • 1-ELEV 100% 30%
    • 1-RUDD 100% INH
  • Thro Curve
    • Norm 0% 40% 60% 80% 100%
    • Stunt 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
    • Hold 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
  • Pitc Curve
    • Norm 30% 40% 50% 75% 100%
    • Stunt 0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
    • Hold 0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
  • Travel Adjust
    • THRO 100%, AILE 100%, ELEV 100%, RUDD 100%, GYRO 100%, PITC 75%


I will explain DR&Expo, Throttle Curves, Pitch Curves and Travel Adjust later. Right now, they just need programming.

Steps:
  • Turn on transmitter (Should be on the model we are programming)
  • Go to “ADJUST LIST” menu
    • <select> - Screen changes to “ADJUST LIST” menu
    • (If not on correct model, use “MODEL SELECT” (1), select model, then back to menu)
  • Set DR and Expo for mCPX
    • <highlight> “DR&EXPO” (2) then <select>
    • Ensure Rudd D/R switch is in position 0
    • <highlight> “100”% next to AILE 0 then <select>
    • <highlight> “70” then <select> to store value
    • <highlight> “INH” on same line as AILE 0 then <select>
    • <highlight> “+ 30%” then <select> to store value
    • Do the same 4 steps for ELEV 0
    • Leave RUDD 0 at “100%” and INH
    • *** Insert pic of DR/EXPO screen at this stage? ***
    • Change Rudd D/R switch is in position 1 (All 3 values will change from AILE 0, ELEV 0 and RUDD 0 to AILE 1, ELEV 1 and RUDD 1)
    • <highlight> “INH” on same line as AILE 1 then <select>
    • <highlight> “+ 30%” then <select> to store value
    • Do the above 2 steps for ELEV 1
    • *** Insert pic of DR/EXPO screen at this stage? ***
    • You should now be finished DR&EXPO, Change Rudd D/R switch is in position 0 for first flight (softer DR).
    • <return>
  • Set Throttle Curve for mCPX
    • <highlight> “THRO CUR” (6) then <select>
    • (This will be: 0, 40, 60, 80,100 - 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 - 10)
    • <highlight> “NORM” then <select>
    • <highlight> “2” then <select> - this is programming pos 2 on the normal curve
    • <highlight> “40.0%” then <select> - pos 2 on the normal curve is 40, notice the graph changes - “NORM” should be illuminated again.
    • <highlight> “NORM” then <select>
    • <highlight> “3” then <select> - this is programming pos 3 on the normal curve
    • <highlight> “60.0%” then <select> - pos 3 on the normal curve is 60 - “NORM” should be illuminated again.
    • Do the same for “NORM” “4” and set to “80.0%”
    • (“NORM” “H” should already be at “100.0%” - Note not “NORM” “5”)
    • *** Insert pic of Throttle Curve screen at this stage? ***
    • (Now we do Stunt)
    • <highlight> “STUNT” then <select>
    • <highlight> “L” then <select> - this is programming pos 1 (or low) on the stunt/idle up curve
    • <highlight> “100.0%” then <select> - pos 1 on the stunt/idle up curve is 100, notice the graph changes - “STUNT” should be illuminated again.
    • <highlight> “STUNT” then <select>
    • <highlight> “2” then <select> - this is programming pos 2 on the stunt/idle up curve
    • <highlight> “100.0%” then <select> - pos 2 on the stunt/idle up curve is 100
    • Do the same for “STUNT” “3” and set to “100.0%”
    • Do the same for “STUNT” “4” and set to “100.0%”
    • (“STUNT” “H” should already be at “100.0%”)
    • *** Insert pic of Throttle Curve screen at this stage? ***
    • (Now we do Hold – set to 10, this will be explained later)
    • <highlight> “HOLD” then <select>
    • <highlight> “10.0%” then <select> - notice the line for hold on the graph changes.
    • <return>
  • Set Pitch Curve for mCPX
    • (as most of these are close to the model defaults, only 2 values need to change)
    • <highlight> “PITC CUR” (7) then <select>
    • <highlight> “NORM” then <select>
    • <highlight> “L” then <select> - this is programming pos 1 (or low) on the normal curve
    • <highlight> “30.0%” then <select> - pos 1 on the normal curve is 30, notice the graph changes - “NORM” should be illuminated again.
    • <highlight> “NORM” then <select>
    • <highlight> “2” then <select> - this is programming pos 2 on the normal curve
    • <highlight> “40.0%” then <select> - pos 2 on the normal curve is 40 - “NORM” should be illuminated again.
    • *** Insert pic of Throttle Curve screen at this stage? ***
    • (This should be all we need to do here – default curve for each is 0,25,50,75,100 only normal curve is 30,40,50,75,100)
    • <return>
  • Set Travel Adjust for mCPX
    • <highlight> “TRAVEL ADJ” (3) then <select>
    • (Fortunately only the pitch needs to change)
    • <highlight> “+100”% next to PITC *** (DO NOT <select> YET) ***
    • Pull the throttle stick full down and <select> while throttle stick full down
    • <highlight> “+75”% then <select>
    • Push the throttle stick full up. Pitch value will change to “+100”% ! (under the highlight). I will explain later.
    • <select> (to allow change to “+100” value
    • <highlight> “+75”% then <select>
    • <return>
  • <menu>
  • Turn DX6i off to save setting. (Yes! Turn it off - again).

Congratulations, you have just programmed your DX6i Transmitter.

If you want to check transmitter settings, you can go back through the menus, or use the monitor screen. The following is how to view the monitor screen.

Steps:
  • Turn on transmitter
  • Go to “ADJUST LIST” menu
    • <select> - Screen changes to “ADJUST LIST” menu
  • Go to “SETUP LIST” menu
    • <highlight> “SETUP LIST” (12) then <select>
  • Go to “MONITOR” screen
    • <highlight> “MONITOR” (3) then <select>
    • (<return> will get you out to menu, <menu> will get you to to the main screen)

The monitor screen shows the output of all 6 channels. This is what is being sent to the helicopter.

Switch F.Mode switch to 0. T.Hold to 0.
  • Low throttle stick will be Thr 0, Aux 35 (TA 75% turns Pitch 30 into Pitch 35)
  • High throttle stick will be Thr 100, Aux 75 (TA 75% turns Pitch 100 into Pitch 87.5)
TH Hold to 1
  • High throttle stick will be Thr 0, Aux 75 (TA 75% turns Pitch 100 into Pitch 87.5)
  • Low throttle stick will be Thr 0, Aux 25 (TA 75% turns Pitch 0 into Pitch 12.5)
F.Mode switch to 1. TH Hold to 0.
  • Low throttle stick will be Thr 100, Aux 25 (TA 75% turns Pitch 0 into Pitch 12.5)
  • High throttle stick will be Thr 100, Aux 75 (TA 75% turns Pitch 100 into Pitch 87.5)
With RUDD D/R in 0 position, elevator and aileron should only move between to 15% and 85% (70% of full range). Rudder will move between to 0% and 100% (full range)
With RUDD D/R in 1 position, elevator and aileron should move between to 0% and 100%. Rudder will move between to 0% and 100% (full range)
In both cases elevator and aileron should move slower round mid stick and faster at the edges.
Do not worry if aileron and rudder appear to move backwards from what is expected. This is normal.


Finally we need to bind to your heli.
  • READ THROUGH ALL THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE FOLLOWING (so you know what to do in advance - particularly the rudder right bit)
  • Ensure DX6i is off.
  • Ensure "MIX/TH HOLD" switch is off (0).
  • Ensure Throttle stick is low.
  • Ensure all switches are at 0.
  • Connect battery to heli (heli LED will flash).
  • Hold trainer switch up on TX.
  • Hold rudder to the right (This is specific for the mCPX and nano).
  • Turn on the DX6i (still holding trainer and rudder - The DX6i will show "BIND" on the screen).
  • Wait a full 3 seconds before releasing only the "trainer" switch.
  • The heli LED should go solid (which means bound - If heli LED is still flashing after 15 seconds remove heli battery and retry he bind steps from start).
  • If bound, release the rudder stick, disconnect the battery from the heli and turn off the DX6i.

You should need to bind again (but can repeat this process any time to re-bind).

To fly (or attempt to )
  • Turn on the DX6i. (clear any warnings like F.Mode and T.Hold).
  • Engage T.Hold.
  • Ensure correct model is selected on the DX6i screen (this is why you gave it a name ).
  • Connect battery to heli.
  • Ensure heli's LED goes solid (bound/connected).
  • Hit trainer button to start timer. (It will let out TWO beeps first time engaged if counting down. LISTEN for the beeps).
  • Unclick T.Hold and fly.
  • If you land (scheduled or unscheduled), Hit trainer button to pause timer.
  • Remember to hit trainer button to re-start timer before flying.
  • Before takeoff (or timer), I check the collective is responding, you should see the blades twist and the swash move up and down level.

ALWAYS turn off the DX6i IMMEDIATELY AFTER disconnecting the heli battery, EVEN if about to fly again. This avoids the DX6i timer bug.


A little about RC Transmitters

This helps explain why things work (or don't). It gets a little complex (OK a lot complex), and it's completely OPTIONAL. Read on if you are curious, or like me NEED to know.

** You have been warned **

A transmitter/receiver combination is a method for remote controlling a number of servos (hence RC). So all the electrics are designed around transmitting a number of control signals to the receiver repeatedly and reliably. The signals are driven by inputs from sticks, switches, buttons and knobs.

Before we control a servo, we must first understand what a servo is and how it works.

A servo is a control motor which will move a connection point to a specified location dictated by a signal. Servos can be linear or swing arm. In RC, we tend to use swing arm. (micros like the mCPX use linear servos, but they are in the minority primarily due to speed and power constraints).

When we use a swing arm servo, the push-rods connected to the swing arm tends to be near 90 degrees to the centre of the swing. This is a normal part of model design. As such, the focus for the transmitter is to define a mid-point and the maximum and minimum swing distances. This is what the settings of sub-trim (centre) and travel adjust (maximum and minimum) are about. Almost all RC is about variation of position from centre (either + or -).

For a servo to work, it needs the position (or channel signal) continuously sent to it. The position is not sent by varying a voltage, but by a pulse signal. The pulse signal repeats over and over. The length on the pulse is the determination of how far through the control range the servo needs to hold it's connection point. (This is Pulse Position Modulation or PPM). If the pulse width changes the servo must move. If the servo detects that the connection point has moved outside of the motors control, it must use the motor to bring it back to the point. The more force pulling or pushing the servo out of position, the more the servo motor has to work to keep it in position. This is the main draw of servo current (and the quickest way to destroy servos).

A servo knows where it's connection point is because of a sensory potentiometer. The control circuit of the servo tries to move or retain the the connection point position. From the potentiometer, it knows if it need to move forwards or backwards.

Since a servo needs a continuous signal, it is the receivers job to provide this signal. A receiver reads all the channel signals coming in from the transmitter and ensures it outputs the continuous signals to the servos. If the receiver loses connection with the transmitter, it will fall back to its fail safe programming for the servos.

With 2.4ghz RC, the signal is sent from the transmitter to the receiver as encoded digital frames (or packets). The encoding allows multiple channel values per frame to be sent. These frames, or packets of channel positions, are sent continuously by the transmitter. Packets are sent at a rate of over 40 frames per second. When the receiver misses or cannot decipher a frame, it considers the frame dropped. If a frame is dropped, the channels maintain the values they last received. If the receiver “drops” a large enough number of these frames it believe the signal is lost (and invokes failsafe).

DX6i sends channel values from 0-1023 (1024 possible values). This is termed resolution. The value for a channel of 511 is considered “0” (centre), 0 is considered “-150” (min) and 1023 is considered “+150” (max). The DX8 and beyond use values 0-2048 (centre, min and max adjusted accordingly). Better resolution = finer control. This should be the last I need to talk about real channel values till stick calibration.
DX6i only uses a 22ms frame rate. The DX8 and beyond can use 11ms frame rates as well as long as the receiver can handle this). Lower frame rate ms, more packets sent, less chance for long outage.

Getting back to the individual servos and control channels. Remember, the control channels tell the servo where to move and keep the connection point.

The control for a channel in the TX should be first an ideal (0 being centre, -100 being lowest and +100 being highest) should be set. Ie. Minimum collective should be -100, max collective +100. This is independent of flying hard 3D, mild 3D, big air or scale.

Next this ideal is mapped through sub-trim and travel adjust to actual servo movement. Ie. min collective is made so the servos move the models collective to the desired blade angle, be that -5 degrees or -13 degrees.

In essence we control a virtual model with the sticks and switches, and the TX mapping setting transfer these virtual controls into real signals the servos and understand.

Since rotary swing arm servos are measured from the middle. Travel adjust needs to be varied on the +side of 0 and the - side of 0 separately (this is why in the instructions it seemed like we set the pitch TA twice, we just had to do both the + and - sides separately).

Helicopters are quite complex in the control systems, so we have other mappings like swash type and revo mix but I will discuss these at other stages.


Transmitter handling (thumbs vs pinch)

As the DX6i is usually the first programmable transmitter an RC pilot starts with, they usually have not considered how to hold the transmitter. Before you get too comfortable flying RC is the BEST time to work out what feels best for you.

The two main methods of holding a transmitter are thumbs and pinch. Third, less common, method is tray but this is least common.

Thumbs is what seems most logical to most the first time they pick up a transmitter and twiddle the sticks. Just wrap fingers round the back of the DX6i, place thumbs on top of the sticks and twiddle away. Often the index fingers rest on the hold and trainer switches on the back of the transmitter. Long live Playstation and Xbox.

Pinch is using the pad of the index finger resting around the top of the stick and thumb guiding the stick from underneath. This means the index finger helps guide the thumb in making fine movements (beneficial for control). To allow immediate access to buttons, the ring finger now rests on the hold and trainer switches. Because the bulk of the hand is above (or beside) the transmitter, it will feel less supported. For this reason a lot of pinchers use a strap to help support the transmitter.

Tray is using a platform to support the transmitter. The platform may be secured to the ground (tripod, etc), or the operator (wearable). The sticks are usually held like two pencils. The hands can “float” above the transmitter, or rest on pads on the tray to the left and right of the transmitter on the tray. The fingers are also free to this switches.

My preferred method is to use pinch without using a strap. To do this, you grip the transmitter with the sides of the hand and support on the little fingers. This does require some flexibility in the hands to reach all corners of the transmitter. The advantage of this method is that the hands will not move around the transmitter, and you get the fine control of the index finger with the power and quickness of the thumb. I found when I started using pinch, I found it easier to do finer controlled movements with the sticks.

This is discussed in greater detail in “1st U.S. R/C Flight School – Transmitter Handling” (http://www.rcflightschool.com/TransmitterHandling.pdf).

In the end, the choice of how to hold the transmitter is yours. If you are just starting out. This is the best time to experiment. Find out what is most comfortable to you.

Last point is “transmitter english”. This is trying to steer the helicopter by moving the transmitter body, moving your body or your feet. You want to AVOID this. If you find yourself doing the “transmitter hustle”, stop, land, and try again without body and foot movement. The reason why this is bad is because it will limit the style of flying you can do and the place you can fly. Practice with a simulator will help this too.



Why acro and heli modes (and why to never use acro for helis, even for simulators)

The DX6i allows programming of model type to be HELI or ACRO. If you are flying a helicopter, use HELI.

ACRO is for fixed wing aircraft. It eliminates the pitch curve. The “ADJUST LIST” menu options are changed, even some of the “SETUP LIST” menu options change. Gyro and Pitch are replaced by Gear and Flaps.

Without the pitch curve, no collective pitch helicopter can be flown (or properly emulated). You are familiarizing yourself with the wrong options.

When used to control a simulator, the DX6i is attached by the trainer cable. The only signals sent to the computer are the PPM channel signals (6 channels every 22ms). The switch positions are not sent, only the results those switches make on the channel signals (as seen by the monitor screen). Consequently, there is no reason to use ACRO mode for emulating a helicopter.

If you are using a helicopter in a sim, set up a SIMHELI model. If also wanting to fly a plane in the simulator, create a separate SIMPLANE model.

If the heli simulator only takes 4 stick channels and 2 switches, the normal switches wanting to emulated are flight mode and throttle hold. To do this, set up the throttle curves for Normal AND Stunt modes to be 100,100,100,100,100, Hold to be 10 and Gyro to switch on f.mode and have normal as gyro 10% and stunt as gyro 90% (this maps Gyro channel to -100 for Normal and +100 for stunt). Pitch curve for Normal AND Stunt modes should be 0,25,50,75,100. DR for all channels should be 100 during calibration. Also during calibration with the sim, flick the Flight Mode and Throttle Hold switches to ensure those channel values are recorded for sim switches. Once calibration is complete, DR and Expo can be altered according to taste (see “DR, Expo and Travel Adjust, how it works and what you need to know” in this guide) for more details on DR and Expo.

To put this in Manual terms (as used to configure the mCPX in the quick start.
Setup List:
  • Model Type: Heli
  • Reverse: THRO-N, AILE-N, ELEV-N, RUDD-N, GYRO-N, PITC-N
  • Swash Type: 1 Servo 90
  • Timer: 4:00
Adjust List:
  • DR&EXPO:
    • 0-AILE 100% 20%
    • 0-ELEV 100% 20%
    • 0-RUDD 100% INH
    • 1-AILE 100% 20%
    • 1-ELEV 100% 20%
    • 1-RUDD 100% INH
  • Thro Curve
    • Norm 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
    • Stunt 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
    • Hold 10% 10% 10% 10% 10%
  • Pitc Curve
    • Norm 0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
    • Stunt 0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
    • Hold 0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
  • Gyro
    • Switch: F-Mode
    • Norm 10%
    • Stunt 90%
  • Travel Adjust
    • THRO 100%, AILE 100%, ELEV 100%, RUDD 100%, GYRO 100%, PITC 100%

By doing this, you control the sim EXACTLY the same was as you control a real heli.

So no more ACRO mode for controlling sim helis with a DX6i please.


Known Bugs / Quirks (Timer, Throttle hold)

There are a couple of known quirks with the DX6i. First involves the throttle hold, second involves the timer.

With the throttle hold, 0 is not 0. Spectrum decided that for the DX6i, 10 should be 0 (sounds like dodgy accounting to me ). It's really not a bug, but a feature (that is never explained in any manual). Set hold to 10 on a DX6i and it will output the same of throttle a 0 in normal or stunt modes. That is all you NEED know. (There is a deeper explanation, but that is for another time)

With the timer, there is a case where it can switch from count down to count up. This is real annoying and can kill batteries (or at worst aircraft).

When the timer expires in count down mode, it starts counting UP (to tell you how long you have overshot). Even stopping the timer, it remains in count up mode. IF YOU CHANGE MODELS IN THE ADJUST MENU, THE COUNT UP ON TIMER REMAINS (even if you switch back to the model later). If you turn off the transmitter and only switch models from a newly switched on transmitter, this problem does not occur.

If using trainer to start timer. Holding trainer for 3 seconds when the timer is stopped resets the timer.


DX6i throttle hold quirk for those who must know


* Read this section if you really must know what is going on with T.Hold 10 = 0 *

Spectrum RC channels tend to go from -150% to +150% (all channels 1-6). Remember channels control servos, servos usually have swing arms with push rods 90 degrees from center. 0% is a reliable middle so variances either side are consistent.

A DX6i takes an input (stick, switch, etc), transforms that into an output, filters the output through sub-trim and travel-adjust and sends it to the transmitter (this transmitter signal can be intercepted by the trainer port too).

Now for ease of understanding, throttle is always positive (how can you have negative throttle ), so throttle 0 becomes output -100 on throttle channel, throttle 50 becomes output 0 on throttle channel, 100 becomes output 100 on throttle channel.

By convention the 0 on the throttle channel is -100%. By setting hold to 0 on a DX6i, the throttle channel outputs -125%. So in hold, the throttle channel has a pre travel adjust of -125%/+125% (this is not the same as actual travel adjust). In math terms, out = (2.5in) - 125. So to output -100, we need an input of 10.

This automatic pre-travel adjust alteration ONLY affects throttle throttle when on hold.

(Travel adjust intercepts the output signal and varies it prior to transmission, monitor show the "to transmitter values").

btw, the optional throttle cut (if enabled) outputs -150% on the throttle channel and cannot be altered.

Only reason I can think of is for combustion engines where hold is idle, cut is off. Hold will keep the engine at an idle state, cut pulls the throttle channel to full negative to stop the engine.

Other note: The pre-travel adjust alteration also applies to Gyro. So Gyro 10 = Gyro channel output -100 and Gyro 90 = Gyro channel output +100.




DR, Expo and Travel Adjust, how it works and what you need to know

If you are new to RC flight, you will be new to the terms of DR and expo.

DR is short for Dual Rate. What this means is that the rate the stick moves from end to end does not match the speed the servo moves from end to end. In short it is a limit on how far the servo is supposed to move at maximum stick defelction. A DR of 50 means at full stick deflection, the servo moves half the distance from middle to end.

Expo is short for exponential. Exponential describes the type of deflection from a linear curve you want the movement of the servo to have.

All you really need to know is that for Spektrum transmitters (like the DX6i), positive expo makes the servo have smaller defections round centre stick but accelerates till it meets full throw at maximum stick deflection. Negative expo has the reverse affect (more sensitive round centre stick and still slows near maximum stick deflection).

** Warning mathematical explanation following **

An exponential is a “to the power of” curve (ie. To the power of 1 (^1) a curve is linear 0=0, 1=1, 2=2, 3=3, 4=4 ... 9=9, 10=10, to the power of 2 (^2) a curve is exponential 0=0, 1=1, 2=4, 3=9, 4=16 ... 9=81, 10=100).

One curious thing is that we work in percentages. So the previous example becomes (Linear (^1) becomes 0.0=0.0, 0.1=0.1, 0.2=0.2, 0.3=0.3, 0.4=0.4, ... 0.9=0.9, 1.0=1.0. Exponential (^2) 0.0=0.0, 0.1=0.01, 0.2=0.04, 0.3=0.09, 0.4=0.16, ... 0.9 =0.81, 1.0=1.0 ). Note that 0.0 and 1.0 is the same for linear and exponential curves.

When we add an exponential percentage, the curve from 0% to 100% changes closer to the (^2) curve. 50% expo is the same as a squared (^2) curve. 100% is the same as to the power 4 curve (squared square).

I did an explanation of this in another thread on helifreak called “DR expo graphs” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread....84#post4693084). The thread goes into the mathematics behind the exponential curve.

The curious thing about this is that it is easy to implement in electronics as it is the same as a gamma correction function (like contrast on a TV set).

** End mathematical explanation **

Expo is applied OVER DR. What this means is that softening to full speed happens over the DR range.

To make a heli easier to fly, first reduce DR on the cyclics. This reduces the maximum speed at which the helicopter will flip and roll. Once this is done, then increase expo to taste. The goal is to make the controls natural enough that the helicopter moves as much as you expect based on the stick inputs you give. This will change for each different sized helicopter.

Too much expo, a heli feels mushy. You have to chase the corrections around with the stick, then all of a sudden they rush in. Too little expo and the heli feels twitchy, it's hard to get it to stabilize properly.

Too many new people equate expo with experience. It is just not so. Bert Kammerer uses 20% expo on most helis. Few have more experience with RC helicopters than Bert. Expo is a personal preference thing, nothing more.

For the mCPX, some may like to start with 100% DR and 0 expo, others may start with 70% DR and 30% expo, others may start with 40% DR and 20% expo. Until you get a good feel for flying helis start with a low DR and work up.

For a beginner thumb flyer start with 40% expo and DR to suit level (40 - 70).
For a beginner pinch flyer start with 40% expo and DR to suit level (40 - 70).

As you get more comfortable, increase the DR.

Some higher end transmitters (like the DX8) allow DR values as large as 150. Until you are trying advanced 3D smack moves, a DR of 100 should be fine.

Travel Adjust

What you NEED to know about Travel Adjust is do not touch it unless told to.

Some experienced fliers use Travel Adjust on a flybarless system to command the flybarless system to pitch or roll faster. This works, but should not be tried unless you have a good idea of what you are trying to achieve.

If you must know how Travel Adjust works, if you have not read through the “A little about RC Transmitters” section earlier, do so before continuing on here.

As mentioned in the “A little about RC Transmitters” section, servos vary from a mid-point. Travel Adjust is to alter the outgoing signal from the DX6i to the receiver so that it accurately represents the travel expected of the servo. Sub-Trim represents adjustment to the 0 (or centre point) of the servo, Travel Adjust alters the point the servo is to move to when a move to +100% or a -100% command is received. Consequently we need to adjust both sides, the “-” side and the “+” side.

In the DX6i the adjustment of “-” side and the “+” side travel adjust for a channel is done separately. In order to adjust one side, you move the channel to the side that needs adjusting (move a stick, or with gyro, flick a switch). Once the switch or stick is on the side to adjust, select the channel it is affecting and adjust it's travel. If you move the switch or stick to the other side, the adjustment should be replaced with the other side adjustment that can then be altered.

In the mCPX setup, the setup had a travel adjust for the tail of +/-75%. This could also have been achieved by having a DR set on the tail of 75. (since there is no trim or sub-trim).

This travel adjust is applied in combination with sub trim BEFORE any servo reversing, but AFTER all the control adjustments are taken into account.

If tuning a physical model it is best to do sub-trim and travel adjust alterations on the default model BEFORE adding pitch and throttle curves and DR and expo.



Trim vs Sub Trim, why two modes of trim

When reading forum, some people say adjust trim to solve some problems, others say adjust sub-trim to solve issues. Some say do not alter sub-trim, etc.. The following paragraphs are to explain the difference between the two and when each should be used.

To be brief, trim affects perceived input from the sticks, sub-trim affects centre point of an output channel.

The best way I can describe this with an analogy to shooting a gun (I am not a shooter, but you don't need to be to understand this). You are shooting at a target on an inside range, barrel, bullets, etc.. between shots are identical. The gun is on an adjustable rack and the trigger is pulled mechanically, so there is no variance (heartbeat, etc) to worry about. You line up the shot through the sight and pull the trigger. The bullet hits the target 1cm to the left. How do you correct the gun? Move the gun to aim 1cm to the right (trim) or correct the sight to move the aim 1cm left (sub-trim). Both have a similar effect in the current situation when the gun is re-fired, but moving the sight (sub-trim) mechanically aligns the machine so that if the target is twice as far, the left-right aim balance is still the same.

Why should you care?

When you are using mixes (like swash mixes) to control a helicopter, adjusting elevator trim changes output values on all 3 cyclic channels. Adjusting elevator sub-trim only affects the elevator servo.

In short. When hovering a perfectly balanced helicopter in still conditions you should not need trim. If the helicopter is unbalanced (incorrect load distribution), battery too light/heavy/mounted wrong, trim provides a constant stick input to counteract the imbalance.

Sub-Trim affects the centre point of the servo ravel for a channel (ie, When the DX6i's control signal believes the servo should be at it's centre point). This is used in conjunction with travel adjust. Travel adjust is used to set the position signals when the DX6i believes the servo should be at +100% and -100% of it's control path.

Trim affects the stick input signals. Trim is signal the gimbal (stick) should supply when it is centred.

I rarely use trim.

With digital signals to Blade RTF and BNF helicopters (and most FBL units), sub-trim (and travel adjust) should not be used. The exception to this is the Blade 130x if the main board has a drift problem. This is outlined in “How to zero out pitch/roll/yaw rates at center sticks for the bad mainboards” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=462484) and the Horizon Hobby 130X Addendum on “Calibration and Troubleshooting” (http://www.horizonhobby.com/pdf/BLH3...l_Addendum.pdf).



Monitor, your best friend for TX problems

Apart from the main screen, this is/was the most used screen on my DX6i.

The monitor screen shows the output of the channels. These are the values for each channel being transmitted to the receiver.

From the “Quick Start”

Steps:
  • Turn on transmitter
  • Go to “ADJUST LIST” menu
    • <select> - Screen changes to “ADJUST LIST” menu
  • Go to “SETUP LIST” menu
    • <highlight> “SETUP LIST” (12) then <select>
  • Go to “MONITOR” screen
    • <highlight> “MONITOR” (3) then <select>
    • (<return> will get you out to menu, <menu> will get you to to the main screen)

I use this screen to check that the output values being sent on each channel are as expected.

The values include all changes travel-adjust, sub-trim and reverse apply.

If there are no alterations in any of the settings of travel-adjust, sub-trim and reverse, the output is the result of mixing of all the control inputs.

As you move sticks and switches, the triangular arrow pointer on each channel will move. The marking for each channel represent -150 (end-point), -100, -50, 0, +50, +100, +150 (end-point).

By watching the monitor screen you can see the effects of DR&expo, confirm pitch and throttle curves and verify switch settings (like gyro).

The biggest problem I found with monitor on the DX6i is that is does not show exact numbers. This makes it hard to see if calibration is out or fine-tune mixes. However, this is an entry level programmable transmitter.


(continued in another post as hit character limit for this one)
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:35 AM   #2
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Wow! Thank you. I am your core audience (newb w/DX6i). If it wasn't for threads like this, and sites like this, I'd be totally lost.
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Old 10-17-2013, 04:52 PM   #3
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All Boeing and Airbus do is convert a photo or a drawing into a graphic. Photo editors now days do that in a snap. If you want a photo converted into graphic in seconds it is a done deal.
Now
Most photo editors have a free version that will do just that.
and
For photo's just Gooogle image and you get tons and tons of photo's to pick from.
Free is Good.
Graphics Good
Photo's Bad
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Memphis3 View Post
...
You have to have graphics. It would almost be impossible to explain Heli blade lift with out graphics. ...
True, but this is a transmitter programming guide. Maybe some "graphics" for servo function may be good. (rotary servo, exploded view showing gears and positional potentiometer plus swing arm and attached pushrod with + / - from centre point highlighted).

The other place I may have "pictures" is of the actual transmitter screen at certain points during the programming process.

Other place for a graphic would be differences between Mode 1 and Mode 2 for sticks, switches and button layout. Maybe a graph on mix operations. (and my graphs on D/R & expo).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Memphis3 View Post
...
Graphics Good
Photo's Bad
Got it. Just looking for where is the most pertinent part to put in said: "graphics" and what they may be.

My thread on “DR expo graphs” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread....84#post4693084) has graphics (graphs actually), not pics.

Unfortunately, I cannot just go to the "graphics division" as it is only me putting this together. I have to be be my own "graphics division" I'm pretty handy with gimp if that helps
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:10 PM   #5
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Cool Free Photo Editors

Hey
Free is good.
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Old 10-21-2013, 09:28 PM   #6
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Added:
  • DR, Expo and Travel Adjust, how it works and what you need to know
  • Trim vs Sub Trim, why two modes of trim
  • Monitor, your best friend for TX problems

Also now understand the math behind and working on explanation of 3Servo120 mixing for "Swash types, who invents this stuff?"

Still to complete:
  • Understanding Throttle and Pitch curves
  • Stunt mode, not only for the advanced pilot
  • Throttle hold, why you need it
  • The secret life of "gyro"
  • Mixing, mysteries revealed
  • What on earth is "revo mix"
  • Swash types, who invents this stuff?
  • Buddy boxing, just the facts
  • Range checking, why and how
  • Using you DX6i with a sim

Hope to finish by the end of this week.
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:50 PM   #7
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Wow! Really good info on the DX6i! Quite a lot to take in for a newbie though (no, I'm not a newbie) Once you complete it you could probably compile it into a pdf. If only I found info like this about a year ago I may have progressed a little further!

The only reason why I came across this thread is I was searching for transmitter handling technique. I do remember downloading that particular pdf quite a few months ago but that was before I started practicing inverted. Up until now, I've used the thumbs only method. But after trying the pinch method for a short time today, I'm going to give thumbs down () to the thumbs method and start pinching! For me, the support of the index finger really does help in guiding the heli to where you want to go without over-correcting, and that's with no expo or dual rate at all!
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:15 AM   #8
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Default Part 2

(Continued from main post)

Understanding Throttle and Pitch curves

Imzzaudae did a great post on this “Pitch & Throttle Curves Explained View Single Post” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread....30#post3909330)

I'll just expand on this here.

For an RC helicopter perspective, throttle and collective are controlled by the same stick. For an RC plane, only the throttle is controlled by the stick used for helicopter throttle and collective.

In a real helicopter, the collective is controlled by a pull arm (like a handbrake in a car - usually on the left side of the pilot's chair), throttle is by a twist grip on the collective arm. Cyclics are on a single control stick (usually controlled by the right hand) and rudder (or counter-torque) is done by foot pedals.

When flying a helicopter, often the main rotor is brought up to speed and collective is controlled to perform lift and descent. When flying a plane, throttle tends to be a set and forget style of affair. Most of the time, there is no hand on the throttle (apart from when it needs changing).

What has this to do with throttle and pitch curves.

To fly a collective pitch RC helicopter, there are two methods of flying “Normal” (which ironically is rare) and “Idle Up” (which is most common). In Normal, the pitch and throttle values BOTH change as the throttle stick is moved, altitude is determined by both engine speed and collective pitch value. In Idle Up, throttle is always on (unless held) and collective controls altitude. Most real world helicopters are flown “Idle Up”.

In order to facilitate both modes on the one stick, the output values for both throttle and collective must be varied as the stick moves from bottom to top. Since the values may be non-linear (or describable by travel-adjust and sub-trim), we need a way to convert the throttle/collective stick position into values for both throttle and collective.

Say we are setting up a fixed pitch helicopter. For this, we set the collective to a constant value as the throttle/collective stick moves from bottom to top. We also ensure the output of throttle is linear (from 0 to 100) as the throttle/collective stick increases.

When we are setting up a collective pitch helicopter, we need to specify what we want the collective pitch to do as the stick changes. Ideally we want below mid stick to push the heli down and above mid stick to push the heli up. In normal mode, we usually only want slight negative to allow the blades to get up to speed without much blade resistance, but without launching skyward and above mid stick the pitch is greater to allow much greater lift (to fight gravity). In Idle Up mode, we want the negative and positive pitch to be equal above and below mid stick to allow inverted hovering.

The DX6i allows a 5 point curve for throttle and collective output. Each point corresponds to a percentage travel on the throttle/collective stick. Low (or 1) is -100, 2 is -50, 3 is 0, 4 is +50, High (or 5) is +100. (I use the -100 to +100 nomenclature as this is what the servos, rudder, elevator and aileron use, the DX6i uses 0 to 100 nomenclature for presentation of throttle collective for ease of user understanding, but this maps directly onto the servo values. When describing input values I will use 0 to 100 nomenclature, but for stick positions -100 to +100).

An example normal throttle curve from the mCPX was 30, 40, 50, 75, 100. This means the the lowest position (-100) on the throttle/collective stick output a collective signal of -40. (-40 = (30-50)*2 ie. The conversion from 0 to 100 to -100 to +100 nomenclature: ((x-50)*2)). A negative collective signal will push the heli downward. Mid stick (0) has a collective signal of 0 ((50-50)*2), which is level so the helcopter will not lift until over mid stick. Mid up stick (+50) has a collective signal of +50 ((75-50)*2), half maximum positive pitch. Full stick has full collective signal.

You will notice with the mCPX the Idle Up throttle curve is 100, 100, 100, 100, 100. This equates to always full throttle (+100) regardless of throttle/collective stick position. To allow the mCPX to be flyable with this, the pitch curve is linear 0, 25, 50, 75, 100 (collective channel -100, -50, 0, +50, +100). If you have the skill to flip the mCPX upside-down while flying. The engine will not cut off when the throttle/collective stick is below mid-stick. As negative collective pushes the heli in the direction of it's skids (which are upwards in out example), this allows the helicopter to hover inverted.

Throttle and pitch curves are only available in Heli mode on the DX6i.

When flying a heli with the DX6i (even if it is a fixed pitch helicopter), to stop the helicopters engine quickly, ALWAYS use throttle hold. The habit of “chopping” throttle (usually learned with “mall” helicopters - often fixed pitch to make them cheap and easy to fly), will force a collective pitch helicopter into the ground at high speed. This will all but destroy a large collective pitch helicopter. Even most micro “crash resilient” collective pitch helicopters will not survive this treatment long.

What is a V curve for throttle (and why would I use it)?

Before ESC or FBL governors, when RC helicopters had less power to weight, a V curve was quite common. A V curve would try to maintain rotor speed when collective is applied (up or down) in Idle Up mode, by requesting more power to the engine when collective was likely to add load.

A flat curve is like what was in the mCPX stunt mode (100, 100, 100, 100, 100). A V curve would be (100, 90, 80, 90, 100). This way, at mid collective, the speed is lower and easier to handle, but at full collective (when pitch makes the blades encounter more air resistance), the motor works harder (at this point you are usually doing forward flight and need the extra power to overcome winde resistance as well).

With a governor (a device to keep the motor at a certain speed), a V curve is not necessary. For a brushed motor, a V curve is also not usually a good idea. Only on a non-governed combustion system (nitro or gas), should you consider a V curve for throttle.

Programming Throttle and Pitch curves

I assume at this point, you have the curve values you want for the 5 points on the curve.
I also assume you have the mode for which you wish to program the curves. (normal or stunt).

To program a curve:
Steps:
  • Turn on transmitter (Should be on the model we are programming)
  • Go to “ ADJUST LIST” menu
    • <select> - Screen changes to “ ADJUST LIST” menu
    • (If not on correct model, use “MODEL SELECT” (1), select model, then back to menu)
  • To Set Throttle Curve Values
    • <highlight> “THRO CUR” (6) then <select>
    • (Note: You can only set curves for Normal and Stunt, Hold will be a single number)
    • <highlight> mode (“NORM”, “STUNT” or “HOLD”) then <select>
    • (If “NORM” or “STUNT”)
    • <highlight> the position to change (“L”, “2”, “3”, “4” or “H”) then <select>
    • <highlight> the value you want on that part of the curve (“0.0%” - “100.0%” in “0.5%” increments) then <select> - Notice the graph changes dynamically as you change the value, and once you select the value is stored and you return to mode selection. Remember throttle channel output value is ((VALUE*2)-50), ie. 25 = -50 throttle channel output.
    • (If “HOLD”)
    • <highlight> The value you want for hold (usually “10.0%”) then <select> - Notice the line for hold on the graph changes as you change the value. Due to “Hold” properties, the channel output value of hold is ((HOLD*2.5)-75) (ie. 10 becomes throttle output of -100).
    • (Once all throttle point wanted are entered, then exit).
    • <return>
  • To Set Pitch Curve Values
    • <highlight> “PITC CUR” (7) then <select>
    • (Note: You can set curves for Normal, Stunt and Hold)
    • <highlight> mode (“NORM”, “STUNT” or “HOLD”) then <select>
    • <highlight> the position to change (“L”, “2”, “3”, “4” or “H”) then <select>
    • <highlight> the value you want on that part of the curve (“0.0%” - “100.0%” in “0.5%” increments) then <select> - Notice the graph changes dynamically as you change the value, and once you select the value is stored and you return to mode selection. Remember pitch channel output value is ((VALUE*2)-50), ie. 25 = -50 pitch channel output.
    • (Once all throttle point wanted are entered, then exit).
    • <return>
Turning off the DX6i will save changes.


Stunt mode, not only for the advanced pilot

Stunt mode is not just for 3D smackers. It's for all pilots.

All stunt mode is another programmable flight mode. It has another set of pitch and throttle curves. It can be used to switch gyro settings. It can be used to switch DR and expo settings.

In other transmitters, the flight modes are call f.mode, so you would have FM1, FM2 (and FM3, etc... if more than 2).

The printed recommended configurations for helicopters using the DX6i usually have a normal mode and an idle up mode. For normal mode, the throttle curve varies from 0 to 100 (or so) becoming greater as the throttle stick is raised. The collective usually starts around 30 or 40, raises to 50 at mid stick and then rises to 100. For stunt mode, the throttle curve is usually flat 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, the collective is usually linear and starts around 0 raises to 100 at full stick.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE THE RECOMMENDED CONFIGURATIONS. They are a guide. A start point for those who do not fully understand what is going on. As you are reading this (and have some idea of how it all works now), you can decide what you would like to vary.

On a number of my models, I have no normal curve. I fly Idle Up all the time (does not mean I am in STUNT mode, just that there is no point where the throttle is off unless hold is engaged. I use the ESC soft start to start the motor (if the model detects the throttle channel leaps from -100 to -20 (or greater), the motor starts a timed spool up taking a few seconds to climb to the desired setting. When I fly, I turn on the DX6i, engage hold, switch to flight mode I want, connect the model battery, toggle trainer (to start timer), then disengage hold to fly. My nano uses normal 75% throttle (flat) and stunt 100% (flat).

As mentioned earlier in “Programming Throttle and Pitch curves”, “Most real world helicopters are flown “Idle Up”.”. If you want to fly like a real helicopter, or you want to fly aerobatics, learn to fly “Idle Up”. After a little practice, you will find this far easier than normal mode and you will have more control.


Throttle hold, why you need it

Throttle hold is the preferred method to bringing the speed of an RC helicopters engine to 0.

I don't say stopping as this has different meaning for electric vs combustion heli (gas/nitro). For a combustion heli, throttle cut should be used to stop the engine, throttle hold just brings it to idle.

When learning on coaxial helis, or fixed pitch helis (usually prior to having a programmable transmitter like a DX6i), the normal way to stop the heli's blades rotating was to bring the throttle stick to it's lowest point (sometimes rapidly, known as “chop throttle”). Do this “chop throttle” when flying idle up on a collective pitch heli and you will perform a rapid powered descent (possibly destroying the helicopter if driven into the ground). Helicopter pancake anyone?

Therefore, even if flying a coaxial, or a fixed pitch with the DX6i, please get used to using the hold switch to rapidly remove power from the main blades. You want to completely eradicate this “chop throttle” response.

On the DX6i, hold takes precedence over any other flight mode. If you are in normal or sport, engage hold and the throttle channel is set to the hold value (regardless of where the throttle stick is positioned).

On the DX6i, you can set the value of the throttle output channel value when hold is engaged in the throttle curves menu. Set HOLD to the value you want, BUT THERE IS A CATCH.

The HOLD value does not match the throttle curve values. 0 hold does not equal -100 throttle channel output.

HOLD value of 10 is equal to -100 throttle channel output.

For the NORM and STUNT throttle curves, throttle values = to channel output values; 0 = -100, 25 = -50, 50 = 0, 75 = +50 and 100 = +100.

For the HOLD throttle values, throttle values = to channel output values; 0 = -125, 10 = -100, 30 = -50, 50 = 0, 70 = +50, 90 = +100, 100 = +125.

(This is assuming travel adjust is 100% for + and – throttle).

TO MATCH NORMAL AND STUNT THROTTLE VALUES OF 0, SET HOLD TO 10.

*** The actual math is <channel output> = (<set value> – 50) * 2.5 ***


The secret life of "gyro"

Gyro is short for gyroscope. But in a helicopter it is really short for gyroscopic counter-torque stabilization (or gyroscopic tail stabilization).

As a single main rotor helicopter's rotor spins, it produces a torque on the main body. The tail (counter-torque rotor) exerts a sideways push to prevent the main body rotating. As the main rotor speeds up, slows down adds collective or reduces collective, this changes the torque the rotor places on the main body. The tail must vary it's push to exactly counter the main rotor torque to stop the helicopter body spinning.

A gyroscope exerts a force when twisted from the axis of rotation. This force can be measured and applied to adjust the counter torques force from provided by the tail to slow or stop the main body spinning.

The gyro setting is how aggressively to apply this counter force when rotation is sensed by the on-board gyroscope.

Old helicopter gyros were heavy spinning gyroscopes (extra weight is bad in flying models). Modern gyros use electric mems gyros which are much lighter and easier to integrate into electric control circuits.

There are two main types of RC helicopter gyros. Rate mode and heading hold gyros.

Rate mode gyros limit the amount of instantaneous drift that can be felt by the gyroscope (hence rate, what is the limiting allowable rate of drift from one moment to the next). Rate mode is mainly used for scale or speed flying. In rate mode, a helicopter tends to weather-vein with the tail tracking in behind the line of flight. Great for forward flight. Rate mode makes hovering hard as the helicopter will also track nose-in to wind (which may not be a convenient orientation for landing).

Heading hold gyros accumulate the amount of drift felt over an extended time period and correct the heading of the helicopter to try always face in the same direction. Hence heading hold. Most RC helicopter pilots use heading hold 100% of the time.

One thing to be careful of with heading hold is that the helicopter remembers the heading the gyro was activated in. If you connect the battery in one orientation, then turn the heli as you walk it out to the field to another orientation, this can confuse takeoff. One trick I have found that works well to counter this is to move the rudder before takeoff while the heli is on the launch spot to ensure the tail pitch slider is in the middle of the tail pitch slider range. This way the helicopter “thinks” it is facing the heading you have told it, not the heading it had when the battery was connected.

Helicopter gyros work by utilizing a PID controller (proportional-integral-derivative controller - http://en.wik%69pedia.org/wiki/PID_controller). Should this controller have modifyable parameters, normally the P (proportional) gain is adjustable by the gyro channel.

Too much proportional gain, the tail wags as it overshoots on each correction. The gyro instructs the tail to adjust too aggressively, it overshoots, and has to correct again, which overshoots and so on.

Too little proportional gain, the tail drifts and corrects as it undershoots on a correction, then accumulates too much error before having to correct again. It seems like the tail hunts for it's place instead of just finding it and sticking to it.

As the gyro gain channel goes from -100 to +100, often gyro manufacturers allow a heading hold gyro to adjust heading hold gain when using positive values, but work in rate mode for negative values. So +60 gyro channel is 60 gain in heading hold, and -60 gyro channel is 60 gain but in rate mode.

In the DX6i, the gyro values suffer the same problem as HOLD values in the throttle curve. 50 is the middle gyro channel value of 0, 10 is the gyro channel value of -100, 90 is the gyro channel value of +100. This means 50 is the mid point, > 50 is normally heading hold, < 50 is normally rate mode. The actual numerical value for gyro is less important as it is usually tuned on each helicopter based on main rotor size, tail rotor size, tail rotor pitch and other variables.


Mixing, mysteries revealed

Mixing is one of the most mus-understood aspects of programmable transmitters and the DX6i is no exception.

Mixing allows you to vary a channels input value based on the output value of another channel. These changes are applied in sequence on the output values and accumulated. You cannot accumulate the mixes in series (eg. Mix 1 gyro -> throttle, Mix 2 throttle -> rudder. The changes to throttle in mix 1 will not be used as part of the input for mix 2).

Mixing work by altering the output channel based on the input channel. If the input channel is 0, no alteration to the output channel is made. The offset used on the DX8 is not available on the DX6i. Offset is ALWAYS 0.

If you put in a mix of aileron -> elevator of -50, -30 and the elevator channel is at an input value 0, what is the elevator output when as you vary aileron by increments of 20 from -100 to +100. Aileron Inputs (-100, -80, -60, -40, -20, 0, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100), Elevator outputs (-50, -40, -30, -20, -10, 0, -6, -12, -18, -24, -30).

A mix I have seen used is to compensate for the lack of a piro-compensation mode for a n mSRX. Look to the reference setups for different helis at the end of this guide for more information.

Reference: “Solving the DX8 spectrum mix setting mystery” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread....51#post5370251)


What on earth is "revo mix"

** To be completed **

Swash types, who invents this stuff?

** To be completed **

Buddy boxing, just the facts

** To be completed **

Range checking, why and how

** To be completed **

Using you DX6i with a sim

** To be completed **
Reference: “Simulator setup” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=538755)
Reference: “Phoenix Setup with DX6i step-by-step guide” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=561059)

See also “Why acro and heli modes (and why to never use acro for helis, even for simulators)” in this guide.

Learn to fly reference: “From tail-in to all 8s and funnels in 6 months” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=531380)

Adjusting stick tension

** To be completed **

Recalibration (the hidden menu)

** To be completed **

Reference: “DX6i throttle problem?
” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread....51#post5367351)


Changing modes between Mode 1 and Mode 2 (Yes it is possible to do this properly)

** To be completed **
Reference: “Spektrum DX6i Change Mode 2 - to Mode 1 Procedure” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread....034#post717034)
Reference: “Change Mode for your Spectrum DX6i Radio From MODE 2 to MODE 1” (http://storage.vuzit.com/public/5qp/...ode_change.pdf)




References:

“1st U.S. R/C Flight School - Transmitter Handling” (http://www.rcflightschool.com/TransmitterHandling.pdf)
“From tail-in to all 8s and funnels in 6 months” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=531380)
“Simulator setup” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=538755)
“Phoenix Setup with DX6i step-by-step guide” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=561059)
“DR expo graphs” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread....84#post4693084)
“Solving the DX8 spectrum mix setting mystery” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread....51#post5370251)
“DX6i throttle problem?” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread....51#post5367351)
“Spektrum DX6i Change Mode 2 - to Mode 1 Procedure” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread....034#post717034)
“Change Mode for your Spectrum DX6i Radio From MODE 2 to MODE 1” (http://storage.vuzit.com/public/5qp/...ode_change.pdf)
“How to zero out pitch/roll/yaw rates at center sticks for the bad mainboards” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=462484)
"Horizon Hobby 130X Addendum on “Calibration and Troubleshooting” (http://www.horizonhobby.com/pdf/BLH3...l_Addendum.pdf)

“Pitch & Throttle Curves Explained View Single Post” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread....30#post3909330)

120SR setup, service and flying link for Newbies (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=496890)
mCPX setup, service and flying links for newbies (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=506789)


My Suggested Beginner Setups on the DX6i for Blade Helis
(Thank you to Imzzaudae for providing some setups)

MCX2 (coax)
  • Model Type: HELI
  • Model Name: MCX2
  • Swash: 1 SERVO 90°
  • D/R Combi: D/R SW: FM
  • Timer: 4:00 Trainer
  • ThroCur (0,15,50,75,100 - 0,15,50,75,100 - 10)
  • PitcCur (0,25,50,75,100 - 0,25,50,75,100 - 0,25,50,75,100)
  • Aile/Elev DR&expo (80/20 - 100/20)
  • Rudd DR&expo (100/0 - 100/0)

120SR (fixed pitch)
  • Model Type: HELI
  • Model Name: SR120
  • Swash: 1 SERVO 90°
  • D/R Combi: D/R SW: FM
  • Timer: 4:00 Trainer
  • ThroCur (0,15,50,75,100 - 0,15,50,75,100 - 10)
  • PitcCur (0,25,50,75,100 - 0,25,50,75,100 - 0,25,50,75,100)
  • Aile/Elev DR&expo (80/20 - 100/20)
  • Rudd DR&expo (100/0 - 100/0)
  • Mix1: Rudd Elev Act D-35% U-25% Sw:Gyro
  • Mix2: Rudd Aile Act L-40% R-10% Sw:Gyro
(note: See note on mSRX for mixes)


MSR (fixed pitch)
  • Model Type: HELI
  • Model Name: MSR
  • Swash: 1 SERVO 90°
  • D/R Combi: D/R SW: FM
  • Timer: 4:00 Trainer
  • ThroCur (0,15,50,75,100 - 0,15,50,75,100 - 10)
  • PitcCur (0,25,50,75,100 - 0,25,50,75,100 - 0,25,50,75,100)
  • Aile/Elev DR&expo (80/20 - 100/20)
  • Rudd DR&expo (100/0 - 100/0)
  • Mix1: Rudd Elev Act D-35% U-25% Sw:Gyro
  • Mix2: Rudd Aile Act L-40% R-10% Sw:Gyro
(note: See note on mSRX for mixes)


mSRX (fixed pitch - source: http://ganninger.de/DX6i-mSRX.pdf for mixes)
  • Model Type: HELI
  • Model Name: MSRX
  • Swash: 1 SERVO 90°
  • D/R Combi: D/R SW: FM
  • Timer: 4:00 Trainer
  • ThroCur (0,25,50,75,100 - 0,25,50,75,100 - 10)
  • PitcCur (0,25,50,75,100 - 0,25,50,75,100 - 0,25,50,75,100)
  • Aile/Elev DR&expo (70/15 - 100/0)
  • Rudd DR&expo (100/0 - 100/0)
  • Mix1: Rudd Elev Act D-35% U-25% Sw:Gyro
  • Mix2: Rudd Aile Act L-40% R-10% Sw:Gyro
(note: Mixes only work when gyro switch in pos 1, Mixes provide a piro-compensation type affect in a stable hover.

With this setting, mixes only work when gyro switch in pos 1.

The mixes provide a piro-compensation type affect in a stable hover.

The way to test this is to get into a stable hover and push rudder momentarily full right (turn nose right) then adjust mix 1 first number and mix 2 first number till the heli does not travel when the rudder is momentarily pushed right.

Do the same again for pulling the rudder left and and adjusting the second numbers in the mixes.

Do over carpet in room with still air (no drafts, fans or air-con). Don't want to do damage while tuning this.

Normal for a FP heli to go forward and right with nose-right turn (and backward and left with nose-left turn)).


Nano CPX
  • Model Type: HELI
  • Model Name: NANO
  • Swash: 1 SERVO 90°
  • D/R Combi: D/R SW: Rudd DR
  • Reverse: Pitch
  • Timer: 4:00 Trainer
  • ThroCur (0, 40, 60, 80, 100 - 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 - 10)
  • PitcCur (30, 40, 50, 75, 100 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100)
  • Aile/Elev DR&expo (60/30 - 85/30)
  • Rudd DR&expo (85/0 - 100/0)
(When comfortable on DR 85, move to DR 100)


mCPX v1 or v2
  • Model Type: HELI
  • Model Name: MCPX
  • Swash: 1 SERVO 90°
  • D/R Combi: D/R SW: Rudd DR
  • Reverse: Pitch
  • Timer: 4:00 Trainer
  • ThroCur (0, 40, 60, 80, 100 - 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 - 10)
  • PitcCur (30, 40, 50, 75, 100 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100)
  • Aile/Elev DR&expo (70/30 - 100/30)
  • Rudd DR&expo (70/0 - 100/0)
  • Travel Adjust: Pitch 70% (up and down)
(You could remove pitch travel adjust and put in a pitch curve of (35, 42.5, 50, 69.0, 87.5 - 12.5, 31 ,50, 69, 87.5 - 12.5, 31 ,50, 69, 87.5). This has the same affect as pitch travel adjust, but allows the DX6i to over-drive the pitch settings if re-configured. I would recommend leaving the pitch travel adjustment).


mCPX BL
  • Model Type: HELI
  • Model Name: MCPX BL
  • Swash: 1 SERVO 90°
  • D/R Combi: D/R SW: Rudd DR
  • Reverse: Pitch
  • Timer: 4:00 Trainer
  • ThroCur (0, 40, 60, 80, 100 - 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 - 10)
  • PitcCur (30, 40, 50, 75, 100 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100)
  • Aile/Elev DR&expo (60/30 - 85/30)
  • Rudd DR&expo (83/0 - 85/0)
(When comfortable on DR 85, move to DR 100)


130X
  • Model Type: HELI
  • Model Name: 130X
  • Swash: 1 SERVO 90°
  • D/R Combi: D/R SW: Rudd DR
  • Reverse: Pitch
  • Timer: 4:00 Trainer
  • ThroCur (0, 40, 60, 68, 75 - 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 - 10)
  • PitcCur (30, 40, 50, 75, 100 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100)
  • Aile/Elev DR&expo (60/30 - 85/30)
  • Rudd DR&expo (83/0 - 85/0)
(When comfortable on DR 85, move to DR 100. Manual suggests 40 expo, but I am reluctant to advise more than 30 lest you lose the “feel” for corrections. If you need greater expo, I would suggest reducing DR unless you know what you are doing. ie. “extreme thumber” in which case you may be looking at a better transmitter as well)
(Only use sub-trim to alter main-board drift as outlined in “How to zero out pitch/roll/yaw rates at center sticks for the bad mainboards” (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=462484) and the Horizon Hobby 130X Addendum on “Calibration and Troubleshooting” (http://www.horizonhobby.com/pdf/BLH3...l_Addendum.pdf).


450 3D (intermediate)
  • Model Type: HELI
  • Model Name: 4503DINT
  • Swash: CCPM 120
  • Swash Mix: A -100%, E -95%, P +85%
  • Reverse: Aile, Rudd
  • Travel Adjust: Rudd 90% (left and right)
  • D/R Combi: D/R SW: Rudd DR
  • Timer: 6:00 Trainer
  • ThroCur (0, 56.5, 72.5, 72.5, 72.5 - 72.5, 72.5, 72.5, 72.5, 72.5 - 10)
  • PitcCur (45, 51, 60, 73.5, 91 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100 - 42, 46, 50, 75, 100)
  • Aile/Elev DR&expo (50/7 - 75/15)
  • Rudd DR&expo (77/0 - 77/0)
  • Gyro: 77.5% (norm), 76.0% (stunt) Sw:F.Mode

450 3D (advanced)
  • Model Type: HELI
  • Model Name: 4503DADV
  • Swash: CCPM 120
  • Swash Mix: A -100%, E -95%, P +92%
  • Reverse: Aile, Rudd
  • Travel Adjust: Rudd 90% (left and right)
  • D/R Combi: D/R SW: Rudd DR
  • Timer: 5:00 Trainer
  • ThroCur (0, 56.5, 72.5, 72.5, 72.5 - 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 - 10)
  • PitcCur (45, 51, 60, 73.5, 91 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100)
  • Aile/Elev DR&expo (75/15 - 100/15)
  • Rudd DR&expo (87/0 - 87/0)
  • Gyro: 77.5% (norm), 76.0% (stunt) Sw:F.Mode
(450 3D uses CCPM mixing. Be sure to check swash plate movement before flying).


300X
  • Model Type: HELI
  • Model Name: 300X
  • Swash: 1 SERVO 90°
  • Reverse: Rudd, Pitch
  • D/R Combi: D/R SW: Rudd DR
  • Timer: 4:00 Trainer
  • ThroCur (0, 30, 60, 60, 60 - 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 - 10)
  • PitcCur (30, 40, 50, 75, 100 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100)
  • Aile/Elev DR&expo (85/0 - 100/0)
  • Rudd DR&expo (85/0 - 100/0)
  • Gyro: 77.0% (norm), 77.0% (stunt) Sw:F.Mode
(300X uses the AR7200BX FBL unit. Sub trim should be 0, Travel adjust 0, expo settings can be done in the AR7200BX unit. My preference is to have expo in the TX and disable expo in the FBL unit (B. Control Behavior - default is Sport (Red Flasing), I would recommend Transmitter (Blue Solid)) as this can be adjusted easier as skills progress or as the need calls for it. In this case use 15 for expo as a start point on Aile/Elev (ie. (85/15 - 100/15) ).


450X
  • Model Type: HELI
  • Model Name: 450X
  • Swash: 1 SERVO 90°
  • Reverse: Rudd, Pitch
  • D/R Combi: D/R SW: Rudd DR
  • Timer: 4:00 Trainer
  • ThroCur (0, 30, 60, 60, 60 - 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 - 10)
  • PitcCur (30, 40, 50, 75, 100 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100)
  • Aile/Elev DR&expo (85/0 - 100/0)
  • Rudd DR&expo (85/0 - 100/0)
  • Gyro: 77.0% (norm), 77.0% (stunt) Sw:F.Mode
(450X uses the AR7200BX FBL unit. Sub trim should be 0, Travel adjust 0, expo settings can be done in the AR7200BX unit. My preference is to have expo in the TX and disable expo in the FBL unit (B. Control Behavior - default is Sport (Red Flasing), I would recommend Transmitter (Blue Solid)) as this can be adjusted easier as skills progress or as the need calls for it. In this case use 15 for expo as a start point on Aile/Elev (ie. (85/15 - 100/15) ).


500X
  • Model Type: HELI
  • Model Name: 500X
  • Swash: 1 SERVO 90°
  • Reverse: Rudd, Pitch
  • D/R Combi: D/R SW: Rudd DR
  • Timer: 4:00 Trainer
  • ThroCur (0, 30, 60, 60, 60 - 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 - 10)
  • PitcCur (30, 40, 50, 75, 100 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100 - 0, 25, 50, 75, 100)
  • Aile/Elev DR&expo (85/0 - 100/0)
  • Rudd DR&expo (85/0 - 100/0)
  • Gyro: 77.0% (norm), 77.0% (stunt) Sw:F.Mode
(500X uses the AR7200BX FBL unit. Sub trim should be 0, Travel adjust 0, expo settings can be done in the AR7200BX unit. My preference is to have expo in the TX and disable expo in the FBL unit (B. Control Behavior - default is Sport (Red Flasing), I would recommend Transmitter (Blue Solid)) as this can be adjusted easier as skills progress or as the need calls for it. In this case use 15 for expo as a start point on Aile/Elev (ie. (85/15 - 100/15) ).
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:21 AM   #9
tom nelson
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Default Great info !

I have read the post many times and still find something new. Great post !
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Old 11-23-2013, 12:15 AM   #10
ArchmageAU
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Default

I have now finished the guide and reposed to the Newbies forum.

"Newbies guide to the DX6i for RC helicopters" (http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=580508)
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