Radio Review/frsky Taranis Q X7S
16-CHANNEL FLEXIBILITY AT A PRICE YOU’LL LIKE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.