Ra­dio Re­view/frsky Taranis Q X7S

16-CHAN­NEL FLEX­I­BIL­ITY AT A PRICE YOU’LL LIKE

Electric Flight - - CONTENTS - By Gerry Yar­rish

16-chan­nel flex­i­bil­ity at a price you’ll like

Fea­tur­ing a dis­tinc­tive trans­mit­ter case de­sign (avail­able in blue and painted car­bon-fiber black), the new Taranis Q X7S is an up­graded ver­sion of the pop­u­lar ACCST 2.4GHZ Taranis Q X7. It fea­tures im­proved, ball bear­ing–equipped Hall-sen­sor gim­bals; six up­graded switches; and two con­trol knobs. The ra­dio runs on Opentx, so it can share files with the pop­u­lar X9D Plus. The mi­cro SD card slot of­fers un­lim­ited model-mem­ory op­tions, and a USB port al­lows soft­ware up­grades and con­nec­tion to your PC to ad­just pro­gram set­tings. The wheel and cen­tral Enter but­ton (to the right of the main screen) make nav­i­gat­ing the back­lit menu easy and pre­cise.

UNIQUE FEA­TURES

As al­ready men­tioned, the con­trol sticks are equipped with M7 Hall-sen­sor gim­bals. The stock con­trol sticks on the older Q X7 use typ­i­cal po­ten­tiome­ters and small con­tacts, which can, over time, be­come worn. The Hallsen­sor gim­bals use mag­nets to de­ter­mine the stick po­si­tion more pre­cisely; this over­all setup is more durable and pro­vides a smoother feel. The ra­dio also in­cludes a vi­bra­tion feed­back sys­tem to com­ple­ment voice- and sound-alert warn­ings. The 16-chan­nel Q X7S can op­er­ate with up to 32 chan­nels, and other fea­tures in­clude re­ceiver match, real-time flight-data log­ging, and su­per-low la­tency for quicker re­sponse. Equipped with au­dio-jack out­puts and a trainer port, the Taranis Q X7S sup­ports wire­less trainer func­tion and is com­pat­i­ble with Frsky Freelink (frsky-rc.com/app) to mon­i­tor the sen­sor data dur­ing the flight. An added bonus is that the Q X7S has an ex­ter­nal ra­dio-fre­quency mod­ule bay that can be used with Jr-type ra­dio-fre­quency mod­ules, so the trans­mit­ter can be used with other pro­to­col re­ceivers as well as with the Frsky XJT mod­ule.

OVERVIEW

The Q X7S comes in a well-padded soft case along with a wall charger and adapter, ba­sic in­struc­tion sheet, de­cal sheet, neck strap with bal­anc­ing con­nec­tion bracket, and color cat­a­log. Two molded stick pro­tec­tors come in place over the main con­trol sticks. The sticks them­selves have nicely made spi­ral-cut alu­minum “lo­tus” tops, which are com­fort­able for ei­ther pinchfin­ger or thumb fliers.

There are six three-po­si­tion switches (three per side) at the top front cor­ners, two twopo­si­tion switches on top, and two con­trol knobs on ei­ther side of the front-mounted speaker. Com­pared to other ra­dios in this price range, all the switches have a higher-qual­ity feel, and their lo­ca­tions are easy to reach for a more er­gonomic feel. Above the main dis­play screen, there are four dig­i­tal trim levers and the main power switch. To the left of the screen are the Page/exit and Menu but­tons, and to the right of the screen is the Wheel Se­lec­tor/enter but­ton. On the bot­tom of the case, pro­tected by a rub­ber cover, are (left to right) the Smart port, a mi­cro SD card slot (card not in­cluded), and a mini USB port. On the back of the case are the ex­ter­nal ra­diofre­quency mod­ule bay and the bat­tery com­part­ment cover, which pro­tects a NIMH AA 2000mah 7.2V 6-cell bat­tery pack; this is a nice upgrade from the stan­dard Q X7 ver­sion, which uses AA bat­ter­ies. The 2.4GHZ an­tenna can ro­tate 180 de­grees and tilt 90 de­grees. To get

the strong­est sig­nal, you should have the sides of the an­tenna fac­ing your model while fly­ing; do not point the an­tenna at your model.

There is no charg­ing jack, so to charge the bat­tery, you have to un­plug and re­move the bat­tery pack from the trans­mit­ter and con­nect it to the charger; this is a bit of an in­con­ve­nience but not a deal breaker. The charger has a mod­ule, so you can switch it for ei­ther the NIMH or a Lipo pack. Be sure to use the proper se­lec­tion. For the wire­less trainer func­tion, a built-in Blue­tooth mod­ule within the trans­mit­ter al­lows you to con­nect this ra­dio to an­other Frsky ra­dio that has wire­less ca­pa­bil­ity. Blue­tooth also al­lows you to con­nect the Q X7 to your phone and use the Frsky Teleme­try app.

PRO­GRAM NAV­I­GA­TION

To power up the ra­dio, you hold the power switch down for a few sec­onds and it turns on; this is a good fea­ture for elim­i­nat­ing ac­ci­den­tal

ac­ti­va­tion and drain­ing your bat­ter­ies. A mild vi­bra­tion lets you know that the sys­tem is ac­ti­vat­ing (or de­ac­ti­vat­ing), and there is also a throt­tle stick po­si­tion warn­ing. The back­lit LCD main screen is easy to read in all light­ing con­di­tions, and all the screen fea­tures are ad­justable.

The ra­dio runs on Opentx, so you can eas­ily share files with the pop­u­lar X9D Plus. The Q X7 has an im­pres­sive 60-model mem­ory, and the mi­cro SD card slot al­lows un­lim­ited model mem­ory ex­pan­sion. The mini USB port lets you con­nect the trans­mit­ter to your PC for up­grades and to ad­just pro­gram­ming set­tings. Press­ing and hold­ing the Menu but­ton brings up the nine-page Ra­dio Setup menu. By press­ing the Page but­ton, you can scroll through the pages for SD Card, Global Func­tions, Trainer, OS Ver­sion, Switches, Analogs, Hard­ware, and Cal­i­bra­tion. It is rec­om­mended that you cal­i­brate the con­trol sticks be­fore fly­ing by press­ing the Enter key and fol­low­ing the prompts. Also, be sure to cal­i­brate the two dial switches shown on the screen.

SETUP

To set up a model with the Q X7S, you can enter your set­tings in one of two ways. The first op­tion is that you scroll through the menu pages, start­ing from the main dis­play page and enter the Model Se­lect page by tap­ping the Menu but­ton. Once you have your model se­lected, hit the page but­ton to scroll through the var­i­ous setup menus. The next page is for gen­eral setup and in­cludes choices such as model name and timers, a pre­flight check­list, and var­i­ous warn­ings. There is also an in­ter­nal ra­diofre­quency mode, chan­nel selects, and a bind­ing func­tion for the re­ceiver. Page three has he­li­copter se­tups, and page four has flight modes. Page five is the In­puts page, where you’ll find the stan­dard TAER (1 through 4) setup for throt­tle, aileron, el­e­va­tor, and rud­der. Page six is for the mixer func­tions, and page 7 is for the out­put val­ues. Page eight is for set­ting up curves, page nine is for log­i­cal switches, page 10 is for special func­tions, page 11 is for teleme­try, and page 12 is for set­ting up screens 1 through 4.

The other way to set up the ra­dio is with the down­load­able Opentx Com­pan­ion dash­board. This pro­vides an on­screen ver­sion of all the menu pages, and you can make all the ad­just­ments us­ing your PC. The pro­gram is avail­able from open-tx.org. Once the pro­gram is down­loaded and running, turn on your ra­dio by tap­ping the power switch quickly while hold­ing the two bot­tom dig­i­tal trim levers to­ward the cen­ter. This brings up the X7 Boot­loader screen, and you are ready to con­nect the ra­dio to your PC us­ing a mini USB ca­ble (not in­cluded). From here, you can ad­just all the func­tions and set­tings and even save a backup of your trans­mit­ter’s set­tings as well as up­date the ra­dio’s op­er­at­ing sys­tem to the new­est ver­sion.

BOT­TOM LINE

As with all Taranis ra­dio sys­tems us­ing Opentx, the menus and pro­gram­ming pro­cesses are sim­i­lar, easy to ac­com­plish, and in­tu­itive once you be­come fa­mil­iar with the pro­gram­ming flow. The hard­ware is top-notch for a ra­dio in this price range, and I re­ally like the feel of the sticks with their Hall-sen­sor gim­bals. The trans­mit­ter is com­pact, easy to hold, and com­fort­able to use. The in­cluded neck strap even comes with an at­tach­ment bracket, which helps bal­ance the trans­mit­ter in a level po­si­tion if you pre­fer this type of setup. Give the Taranis Q X7S a try; I think you’ll quickly be­come a be­liever.

The Taranis Q X7S is a com­pact, easyto-use 16-chan­nel ra­dio sys­tem that is ver­sa­tile and loaded with fea­tures.

The top cor­ners have the fa­mil­iar group­ing of two- and three-po­si­tion switches, and on the top edge are two ear­phone jacks.

Above: On the bot­tom of the case are the Smart port, mi­cro SD card slot, and a mini USB port, all pro­tected un­der a rub­ber cover flap. Be­low: The front of the trans­mit­ter is cleanly laid out with four dig­i­tal trim levers, a re­cessed soft-touch power but­ton, and a speaker just above the neck-strap at­tach­ment loop.

This is the down­load­able Opentx Com­pan­ion dash­board. You can do all your ra­dio ad­just­ments and pro­gram­ming with it on­screen with your PC.

Above left:

The Model Se­lect page in­cludes all the mod­els you enter into the pro­gram. Above right: Both the In­puts and Mix­ers pages are where you add or ad­just your ba­sic con­trol chan­nels (shown here for throt­tle, aileron, el­e­va­tor, and rud­der). These screens are where you as­sign chan­nels and ad­just your mixes, dual rates, and expo set­tings.

Above left: This is the main dis­play screen, show­ing the model name, the bat­tery volt­age switch po­si­tion, stick po­si­tion, and dig­i­tal trim po­si­tions. Above right: By press­ing the Page but­ton while on the Model Se­lect page, you enter the Model Setup page.

On the back of the case are the ex­ter­nal ra­dio-fre­quency mod­ule bay and the cov­ered bat­tery com­part­ment.

Al­though the trans­mit­ter does not come with a re­ceiver, we re­viewed the ra­dio sys­tem with a Frsky X8R 8/16-chan­nel teleme­try/us­b­com­pat­i­ble ACCST 2.4GHZ re­ceiver.

The main dis­play is an easy-to-read LCD screen and on ei­ther side are the Page, Menu, and Exit but­tons as well as the Wheel/enter ring. These fea­tures make it easy to nav­i­gate the pro­gram menus.

The neck strap also comes with a bal­ance bracket, which is used to help make the trans­mit­ter hang level.

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