MikroKopter - Forum » Subversion - Projekte » Spektrum DX8 Channel Expander for 12 Channels!

Spektrum DX8 Channel Expander for 12 Channels!

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MK-Betatester
Registriert seit: Jan 2008
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SEXPANDER – A small Spektrum DX8 Channel Expander

A normal DX8 (with the little Satellite Receiver) can only send on 8 Channels (4 Channels for Throttle, Yaw, Nick & Roll), 3 Switch-Channels and a poti. There are much more switches, but their output is not send to the air :(
I build this little “Modulator” which reads these additional switches and transmits them over a single channel which is normally used for the Flight-Mode switch. On FlightControl this signal will be decoded “on the fly” using a firmware patch.
So you get 12 (twelve!) fully usable channels!

The data uplink runs at ~80 bit/sec (including Sync- and Parity-Bit). The response time is between 100 and 150 ms which is totally fast enough for a switch.
Using these additional switches is not destructive, that means you can use them in DX8 itself, such as mixing Elevator on Throttle for example.

If you want to use your DX8 temporarily in normal mode (un-modded), just use a Jumper between GND and MISO (Pin 9+10) on the ISP-Connector (or if you don't have a ISP-Connector, pull down Pin 18 of Tiny2313 directly to GND - via a Switch or something).


For easier configuration I changed the channel assignment as follows:
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The schematic itself is very simple as you see. The only thing needed is an Atmel ATtiny2313, a capacitor and a few wires. The ISP connector (3,3 Volts!) is only needed once for programming the code when you don’t have a parallel programmer. It's hardware-compatible to the old DX7-Sexpander!
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If you want to build your own, take these pictures as help:

You have to lift up the gum back-things a bit, to get to screws #5 and #6 on both sides:
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The gum side-things have to be released also a bit: (it's no problem to get them nicely together afterwards)
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Fix the ATtiny first:
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You have to solder at this points:
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Now you connect the wires to the described pins:
(Between points PD0 and PA1, and also between PD1 and PA0 are original wires - you have to remove both first.)

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You can grab the needed power (3,3 Volts) for the ATtiny and for the optional ISP-Port here:
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The ISP-Port can be fitted nicely into the battery-chamber:
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Take care that no cables can get into the sticks!
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You can enable/disable the mod with a jumper:
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Use this settings in “System Menu” (hold down scrollwheel while power on):

Re-assign some channels:
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Reverse AUX3 and GEAR!
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When some problem occurs, check that the frame-rate equals the rate which was shown after binding.
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You can use -THIS FILE- to import all necessary settings via SD-card to your DX8.




Telemetry Module TM1000
You can use the telemetry module as well (without AR8000 main-receiver).
But you will only see voltage, temperature and optional the RPM-Input. There are no receiving-stats because you don't fly with the AR8000.
The Module just needs some voltage on the Data-Connector (same voltage range like the AR8000 itself). You can connect it easily to the Spektrum Diversity Module with a normal satellite-cable for getting power.
Firstly put the satellite(s) into bind mode and power up your TM1000 while pressing the small bind button.
After satellites and telemetry module are in bind mode, start your DX8 with pressed bind button.



Notes
• Do not reverse the “Flight-Mode” channel – That’s our data-uplink.
• FlightControl firmware patches are available for several versions. But be sure to use the old WinAVR-20060421 compiler, which does not have the performance-problem like newer versions. (For FC 2.1 you additionally need the MK-patch for WinAVR)
• Precompiled builds are available in /SVN/Projects/Spektrum-Expander/
• When using an old satellite receiver (like from DX7), the analogue "Aux 3" channel is dead. (11 channels only)
• If you want to reverse some of the "emulated" channels, you can change the sourcecode or you simply reverse the wire(s) on the switch. (additional wires only)




Flashing the code to the tiny2313
You can use a ISP-programmer to flash the code. The Fuse-Bits stay at default (1 MHz internal RC-Oscillator)
I used avrdude to flash code+fuses at once:
avrdude -p t2313 -P COM1 -c ponyser -U lfuse:w:0x64:m -U hfuse:w:0xDF:m -U efuse:w:0xFF:m -U flash:w:sexpander.hex

Be sure that your programmer supports 3,3 Volt levels when you flash him in the DX8!



You can DOWNLOAD code, docu, patch, and precompiled FC firmwares from the SVN-Repository.



Now for sale
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Flashed and soldered ATtiny2313 with long and labeled breakout cable for easy identify before cut-off to needed length.

Complete Set (like on pictures + Jumper + ISP-Connector): EUR 20.- (USD $29) (including worldwide shipping)
Single flashed ATtiny2313: EUR 8.- (USD $12) (including worldwide shipping)



Thank you for your attention.
« Bearbeitet von form am 15.04.2011 23:57. »
Mitglied
Registriert seit: Mar 2010
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Ort: Aachen
WOW!!!

Thanks a lot!

LG archikopter

I need much more time (Cam mount is shaking, new firmware is out, alpha gel, videocut etc.), but i come back to this great feature later
Mitglied
Registriert seit: Nov 2009
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Wow... Thanks a lot again!
Mitglied
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Gibt es diese Seite eigentlich auch auf Deutsch??
Mitglied
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Ort: Moorweg - Ostfriesland
Deutsch würde mir auch helfen. Englisch ist das immer so eine Sache. Hat jemand vielleicht schon den Umbau gemacht???

Danke Gruß Andy
MK-Betatester
Registriert seit: Jan 2008
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Ort: Helmstedt
Patched Firmware v0.86a
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Hi,

this modification seem great.


Can you confirm that the Spektrum DX-8 is a solid Radio for mikrokopter ?

I have read that some DX radio would stop working for 10 sec ?

Are these problem related to other DX Model ?

Also with this modification what can we operate on the mikrokopter ?

Can you give examples Camera GPS.

I'm pretty new with all this and would like to buy the bast radio which will have no problem when flying.

Thanks,

Guillaume
MK-Betatester
Registriert seit: Jan 2008
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Ort: Helmstedt
Patched Firmware v0.86b
MK-Betatester
Registriert seit: Jan 2008
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Ort: Helmstedt
@ bougui
I never heart about Spektrum Radios which stop working.
When you want to buy a new radio system, its maybe a good idea to take another, which has MK-supported telemetry, like Jeti or HoTT.
MK-Betatester
Registriert seit: Jan 2008
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Ort: Helmstedt
Patched Firmware v0.86c
MK-Betatester
Registriert seit: Jan 2008
Beiträge: 1358
Ort: Helmstedt
Patched Firmware v0.86d
Mitglied
Registriert seit: Nov 2010
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Hello,
I am interested by the sexpander; Can you say to me how to pay and where to send the money ?
Is Paypal possible ?
I am in france.
MK-Betatester
Registriert seit: Jan 2008
Beiträge: 1358
Ort: Helmstedt
Hi,
i just sent a mail to you.
Mitglied
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form wrote:
I never heart about Spektrum Radios which stop working.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9UPLDCFfN8&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4N9scC9yu4&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpf_swTP6Hg&feature=related
and many more!

This funky chinese firecracker seem to be full of bugs and hardware issues coming up after the warranty period expired.
You got the idea.
Mitglied
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@form:

Do you ever are removed cover from AR8000?
I want ask you about some pin on some IC in the AR8000, on which (may be) clean PPM is present, like on Futaba Rx'es?

Yours,
Eugenijus
MK-Betatester
Registriert seit: Jan 2008
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No i didn't opened it. And i don't think its present.
Its a reveiver from 21st century.
Mitglied
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Very first message:
Full respect for your job - only 45 min. of careful soldering and everything goes just nice!
All 12 channels are working clearly and smoothly.
I have no idea for now how to utilize R-trim, but let it be as is, may be later :)
So only one (!) switch on box is dead, former Flaps. (I use L-trim for emergency Throttle cut and Rudd D/R for changing curves).

Now, back to AR8000, if you allow me

Tell me, please, am I correct if I claim:
- it is possible to collect AR8000 servo output signals back to PPM with serializer;
- serializer for 8 channels is enough in this case, for this mode;
- connecting AR8000 together with satellite Rx will increase reception range and quality;
- usage of AR8000 will provide an telemetry option (through TM1000) for MK, and "Data" channel on it is compatible with MK.

Hope you answer.

Yours,
Eugenijus.
MK-Betatester
Registriert seit: Jan 2008
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liutas4x4 meinte
- it is possible to collect AR8000 servo output signals back to PPM with serializer;

That should be possible.


liutas4x4 meinte
- connecting AR8000 together with satellite Rx will increase reception range and quality;

Yes.
By the way, you can get a better reception without AR8000, too - when using multiple satellites with this:
http://forum.mikrokopter.de/topic-22520.html
But no servo signals or PPM are possible then. But you get 12-channels with it :)


liutas4x4 meinte
- usage of AR8000 will provide an telemetry option (through TM1000) for MK, and "Data" channel on it is compatible with MK.

The TM1000 is not very useful - It is not compatible with the MK-Downlink like with Jeti systems.
it can be used without AR8000, too - You get a voltage level and a temperature back - Not very useful.
With AR8000 you get one more thing back: the receive-quality.
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Thank you, form, for your quick and complete answer.

In this case AR8000 will wait for some another project.
Reception quality (and many other things) it is easy to obtain through OSD/Wi232, yes?

Am going to read the link you provided.

Yours,
Eugenijus
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@form:

Is there a way to reborn L-Trim?
I use it for throttle cut before, now it is dead.

May be I can correct it in 01kopter.spm manually?

Yours,
Eugenijus.

P.S. Even more: may be you know a place on web where expatiation of variables of .spm are shown?
P.S.S. AR8000 is a ... PWM servo tester now :) Trimming allows me very fine current tuning of BL-Ctrl's while testing it!
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liutas4x4 meinte
Reception quality (and many other things) it is easy to obtain through OSD/Wi232, yes?

Yes, but concern that this is only a "virtual" value which is displayed in FC/OSD. When some receiving-frames are missing, the value drops down. Its not a directly indicator for "half-bad" reception.


liutas4x4 meinte
Is there a way to reborn L-Trim?
I use it for throttle cut before, now it is dead.
May be I can correct it in 01kopter.spm manually?

You should be able to re-assign it in the channel-selection menu.
But you have to immolate another channel for getting a free "slot". Maybe you can disable "R TRIM" to get space for "L TRIM".


liutas4x4 meinte
P.S. Even more: may be you know a place on web where expatiation of variables of .spm are shown?

No, sorry.
Its a complete settings file - So you can change everything in the DX8-menu, too.


liutas4x4 meinte
P.S.S. AR8000 is a ... PWM servo tester now :) Trimming allows me very fine current tuning of BL-Ctrl's while testing it!

:)
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form meinte
Yes, but concern that this is only a "virtual" value which is displayed in FC/OSD. When some receiving-frames are missing, the value drops down. Its not a directly indicator for "half-bad" reception.


In not too "heavy loaded" 2.4G radio surrounding around me, value from FC is about "enough".
For long-range tasks I will use amplifier, as only ensured quality option. And diversity module, - from form, you see :)

form meinte
You should be able to re-assign it in the channel-selection menu.


You mean on FC side? I do not see it - it is dead on DX. And not accessible from "Switch Menu" on DX - just "Inh".

form meinte
But you have to immolate another channel for getting a free "slot". Maybe you can disable "R TRIM" to get space for "L TRIM".


I found right usage for R-trim: zooming of camera lenses. It will require some "smart" servo motor with a belted gear (each tick of R-trim must to be converted to fixed number of turns of the motor), but it will worth time spent to project.
On other hand (exactly - on left! :) ) L-trim is most secure for dangerous Throttle cut function.
If not - when let it be without it.

form meinte
... you can change everything in the DX8-menu, too.


If you read *.spm once, you will see: many, many things are outbound of Menu.
Look:

<Warning>
Vibrate=Enabled
Throttle=Over
Thresh= -717
Gear=%0000
FltMode=%0000
Flaps=%0000
</Warning>

It is possible thing, what there are a way to do a very custom warnings!

Or:

<DR_Expo>
*Index= 0
analogID= 17
conditionID= 63
activePositions=%0000
drHigh: 100 100 100 100 100
drLow: 100 100 100 100 100
expoHigh: 0 25 40 0 0
expoLow: 0 25 40 0 0
</DR_Expo>

... while through Menu you can program only 3 points. Of course, there are no one 5-pos switch to use them...

And many more things for fine-tuning (when a cold winter evening comes).

Yours,
Eugenijus
MK-Betatester
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Ah, nice. I never looked into that so deep. I was just saving my modifications made by menu.
Maybe you find something useful and create a wiki-page about it :)

With the "channel-selection menu" i mean the menu-page "Sw Select" on the DX8-display.
You have to set another switch to "Inh" to get a "free" output-channel - Then you can set L TRIM to the channelname of the before "freed" output-channel.
For example: Set AUX2 to Inh and then L TRIM to Gear.
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OK, I will share info if I will find something useful.

Thank you once more with switches: information about limited number of switches in scan loop always runs me into trouble. :)

It seems, Sexpander v0.7 will be 15 CH? :) But there must to be an firmware crack of a DX.

Yours,
Eugenijus.
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form!

Important addendum for your Sexpander Manual:

"If you want to export your custom settings, disable mode by setting a jumper (or a switch you dedicate for mode turning on and off) to Bypass modifications first.
Otherwise you can obtain corrupted, non-importable configuration file.
When export is complete, you can set mode back.
On importing model you should not count any problems with mode switched on."

I am experienced this about 9 times with 10 exports.
Looking at *.spm shows dropped parts (blank strings) in the file body.
Position of holes is random, - possible thing what there are interference because of modulation working during writing to SD.

I do not know, must to be there a message about disabling mode on updating DX firmware or it is kind of paranoia. But who knows, you see.

Yours,
Eugenijus

P.S. Remember to correct my English before using :)

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MikroKopter - Forum » Subversion - Projekte » Spektrum DX8 Channel Expander for 12 Channels!