Assan 2.4Ghz X8D hack

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

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This is not really a "review", more of testing and I had no place to put my thoughts and pics down, and maybe it will help others.

I just felt this needed a short review since many are interested in a cheaper alternative to 2.4Ghz radios / receivers.

I bought the X8D hack for my Airtronics RD6000 along with two of the mini 4ch 2.4Ghz receivers.

The RD6000 is a great radio, I like it. Having many berg receivers that I've never had an issue with, I didn't see the reasoning to acquiring an expensive "big name" radio and all new receivers. I would have bought the new Airtronics 2.4Ghz radio, but the receivers are MASSIVE and expensive!

With the X8D hack, there are only 3 wires to solder onto your existing transmitter. Typically this is easy and with forum help the chances of someone knowing your radio is great. I had help from Agrabusic since he has done this to his RD8000 (same thing really). So thanks to him!

Assan makes snap in modules for the guys that have the futaba, JR, etc. type module on the back of the radio. For everyone els, this X8D hack is the way to go.

Here is how my hack went. But first, take a look as these receivers next to my berg.

Tiny. Like gum.

Taking apart the transmitter is simple. Remove the battery (no you wont loose your model memory), unscrew the main antenna and remove that too. There should be phillips screws around the edge of the unit for you to remove (be sure to get them all). Then just un-snap the casing apart.

The RD6000 has pretty easy acces to everything.
Here is where I need to solder my X8D to my PCB.

For the negative, there is no solder point. I just scratched away a spot on the PCB (remove some green). Made a nice shiny circle and heated a spot of solder to it.
I then cut off the stock little pins that come on the hack module leads, stripped the 3 wires and tinned them with solder.

Once you know where your +, -, sig connections are - solder up. I think this is my trainer port wires..

Plug up the lipo and test the TX. The normal TX sound should happen and a couple seconds later you should see the light on the X8D and hear a loud BEEP.

Once I tested, I decided to find a spot to land this module. This spot is fine and the battery bay just barley touches it once everything is put back together.

At this point you can use a zip-tie, hotglue or reinforced packing tape all which are non conductive to make it stay. But even if it's not "tied down", this thing wont be able to move anyways.

Be sure to test the 72mhz antenna in place while finding a space for the X8D.

Once I knew things where going to sit properly, it was time to make the external antenna for the X8D stick out of the TX. To do this, use a 1/4 drill bit -it's a perfect fit.
Just screw it on and test the fitting. One nut for the outside and one for the inside. Tighten down once you have the proper length sticking out for the duck antenna.

Anyways, done.

It works as it should. To "disable" 72mhz broadcasting, I will just pull the CH crystal out.

Here are other options you can do during this procedure:
* Make a physical switch for "72/2.4" on the outside. (I wasn't sure where the wires for the 72 where..)
Here is a diagram for this mod:

* Make the LED from the X8D to the external of the casing (It's a loud beep, not needed for me)
* I wanted to make a physical switch for "throttle hold". (so the TH trim pot just wont work - I wasn't sure how.)

So far, I have not yet flown with this but just bench testing it works great. The old worn SuperFly will be the test subject.

- Very cost effective 2.4Ghz "freedom" ($60 for module and $20 for RXs)
- Very fast controls (over my 72mHz)
- Small light RXs
- Easy to install
- Support is great

- You will have to void your warranty on your TX (ahhhh)
- Not quite as "smooth" control surfaces as my bergs (although throttle is smooth)
- The system only works with a PPM radio and in PPM mode
- They don't offer a long antenna 'full range' 4ch RX (why not?)

The pros outweigh the cons for me. I will still use long antenna Bergs for my gliders and sailplanes. But.. I think the smaller planes will be slowly moved over to 2.4 as I test.

I will update this page once I get to really try this out.

If you need specific help here are two threads that can help you.
thread how it bench marks
thread specific radios