Thought for the day - How well do you know your radio controls

The best way to learn about your transmitter is to talk to someone who has a similar device and compare notes. I have a flysky transmitter and having analysed all the detail have returned to a very basic setting. The left toggle adjusts the sheet, the right the rudder. I experimented with exponential settings on the rudder but have returned to linear controls. The notes below may help you get into the details of your transmitter if you do not already know. There is also a video.



Know your radio controls

As a player you just want to focus on controlling the controllable - Carli Lloyd

What you need to know

How to use a transmitter menu (Flysky i6)

How to layout the circuit and components on the boat

Operating and setting the Functions menu

Failsafe mode. Lost signal to the boat. Boat sails in circles with sheets eased.

The details

Video of the Flysky i6 setup (14 min)

This is a long post as it explains how the radio controls work. If you know your radio control inside out then please ignore this post. Otherwise read on. Other transmitter brands use similar terms to this page.

How complicated can this be. When I bought my radio system last year I had a transmitter (Flysky i6) with 4 switches, 2 turning knobs, 2 controls that moved 4 ways between them, 4 fine tune buttons and a menu with initially unfathomable navigation. Clearly it was designed for flying a plane or helicopter but it took so long to figure out how to setup 2 channel operation when it could have been so easy.

Putting the bits (receiver, switch, winch, servo) in the boat was little simpler, although I did have to learn how to use a soldering iron so I could replace receiver style connectors with larger XT30U connectors which are more robust in a hostile environment.

So following the RG Winch guide, my layout is as follows. The 1600 mA LIPO battery is connected to a switch fitted on the bulkhead aft of the foredeck. The switch is connected to the RG winch and then to the 3rd channel of the 6 channel receiver. Channel 1 on the receiver is reserved for the rudder servo. Power to the receiver runs through channel 3 so the receiver battery slot is left empty.

Once all was connected, basic operation was easy. I move the right hand toggle left and right to move the rudder which centres automatically and the left hand toggle moves up and down to control the sheet. The latter (sheet) toggle stays where you put it. So far so good but how do you do the fine adjustment.

Switch on your transmitter and boat battery and enter the menu. But how I hear you ask.

The screen is back lit. The light goes off after a few moments. You need to press ON to get the screen to light and then you press and hold ON until you see SYSTEM and SETUP.

When you open the MENU on the Flysky i6, you have two options, FUNCTION or SETUP. We are interested in SETUP which you get to by pressing the UP or DOWN key once. There are two pages of functions. I will only go through the ones relevant to sailing the boat. They are END POINTS, DISPLAY, SUB TRIM, DUAL RATE/ EXPonential.

END POINTS allows you to set limits on the rudder movement and extreme sheet positions (hard on the wind and running) Leave the rudder at 100%. Adjust channel 3 (Sheeting) which you get to using the ON button rather than the UP and DOWN button. The UP and DOWN buttons allow you to adjust the percentage number to fine tune the sheeting. Setup your boat with the sails rigged and adjust the sheeting for downwind with the boom just touching the shroud, then wind in the sheet for on the wind with the boom a few mm off the centre line. Once happy save your settings, save them by pressing and holding down the cancel button. This will take you back to the previous menu. Once done whenever you wind the sheet in hard it will alway wind the booms (main and jib) into the same place.

DISPLAY is useful if ever you have a problem eg, like me with the rudder not returning to centre. For 3 months my rudder had a mind of its own. Sometimes it would centre, sometimes it would centre a few degrees left, then right but always in a random manner. It made the boat impossible to sail and I thought it was something wrong on the boat. 3 servos later (well I thought they were the problem) and after a bit of You Tube research, I took the back off the transmitter to find a wire was misaligned and was pressing on the rudder gimbal. This was causing the problem and a quick realignment solved the issue forever. The clue was in the DISPLAY menu where you could clearly see the rudder was being held one side or the other by the wire. At long last I had a boat that would go in a straight line.

SUB TRIM

Sub trim allows you to fine tune the rudder or the sheet. It performs the same same function as the fine tune buttons below the rudder stick and to the left of the sheet stick. Before every race I sail the boat in a straight line with the sails eased to see if the boat tracks straight. If it doesn’t I fine tune the rudder until it does and then leave it for the duration of the race. Move up and down the menu using the ON button. Remember channel 1 is the rudder button and 3 is for the sheet control.

DUAL RATE/EXP

In summary this allows you to vary the range of movement of the rudder and make steering less sensitive at the centre of the steering range which helps avoid oversteering in tight situations. You see a panel with Ch1, rate and EXP on the left and four boxes on the right with a line. Move up and down the menu with the ON button. Limit the range of rudder movement with the rate setting. It defaults to 100 so reduce the range to whatever works for you.

The EXP adjusts the sensitivity of the steering. Click on the down button to read -100 and see the effect this has on your rudder. You should find small movements of rudder stick has minimal effect on the rudder but as you move the stick towards the extreme of the range the rudder will turn faster. Adjust the EXP value to suit your style of controlling the boat.

Lastly you can set this up twice. The top left hand switch allows you to have a course setting or a fine tune setting for sailing in straight lines. You do this by pulling the top left hand switch down and you will see the settings change. Try adjusting rudder RATE to 30 and see what happens. Remember to save the setting holding the CANCEL button down for a few seconds.

FAILSAFE

If you run out of battery on your transmitter or you lose signal, you can set your boat to sail in circles with the sheets eased until you rescue the boat or regain signal.

On the System menu, scroll down to the RX SETUP menu, click OK and then scroll down to and click OK on FAILSAFE. On channel 1 you can set the rudder position. Click OK with the arrow on the left of the screen on channel 1. Move the rudder joystick to the position you want in FAILSAFE mode. Hold CANCEL down until you hear a beep. Press DOWN button to get to channel 3 and sheet sails in the same way. Hold down CANCEL until you hear beep and repeat to save setting and get back to the menu. You can test this on the water by switching your transmitter off and see what happens.

When you have done all of this you will be ready to sail and all that is required is a minor fine tune each time you launch on the water.

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