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Author Topic: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module  (Read 3756 times)

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Offline Devon Flyer

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Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« on: July 26, 2011, 17:03:25 PM »
Thought it might be useful to post how I converted my Futaba 6EX to 2.4gHz using the Corona DIY module.
Easy conversion and rock solid.
I've been using a Corona plug in module in my FF9 for the past 2 years and have had absolutely no problem with it. Decided to convert another tranny for slope soaring use, as I don't like to take the FF9 in case I damage it.

Here is how to do it:

1: Remove the crystal.

2: Remove the four screws that attach the back transmitter case half to the front case half. As you open the case reach in and disconnect the battery. Just leave it in the back half of the case.

3: Once you have the case open, you will see the RF board sitting on 4 pins. It's the board with the trainer connector. Pull the RF board off itsí mounting pins being careful not to tear out the wires.

4: Cut the red power lead to VCC3 at the connection point  on the RF board and join it to the power wire (+) of the   2.4 module.  This removes the power to the RF board and redirects it to the hack module.
5: Cut the white wire to the MOD  connection point on the  RF board and join to the banded end of a Schottky Diode . Join the PPM signal wire of the 2.4 hack module to the other end of the diode. This redirects the PPM source signal from the Tx  RF board to the one from hack module and protects the hack module from being over powered by the PPM source voltage from the Tx.
6: Solder the negative (-) wire of the hack module to one of the GND pads on the RF board, one  can be found below the VCC3  & MOD  connections on the RF board. This provides a negative feed for the hack module.

7: Fit the LED/Switch PCB with 2 screws on face below the aerial outlet . Removed the 35 Meg aerial, reduced the depth of the aerial socket on the case to accept the new aerial lead socket.
8: Solder wire from aerial onto aerial connection point on hack module.
9: Replace cover and battery.
NB. Make sure all connections are soldered and covered with heat shrink.
 




Offline TonyKing

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2011, 18:27:09 PM »
Therefore leaving you with an unapproved and illegal transmitter, not to be recommended.
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Offline Phil_G

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2011, 18:37:24 PM »
Excellent, well covered.
Cheers
Phil
(PS I see my diagram is still doing the rounds...  :D )



Offline Yoyo

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2011, 20:05:14 PM »
Therefore leaving you with an unapproved and illegal transmitter, not to be recommended.

In what way?

The CE-approved RF module (which is the only bit needing to meet CE and OFCOM legal requirements) is being used correctly through the purpose designed three wire PPM interface.

Saying that makes it illegal and unapproved is like saying you have to use a Multiplex battery pack in a Multiplex TX or it becomes illegal...

I will admit it does stop it being a CE-approved 'Futaba 6EX Transmitter' and instead becomes a CE-approved Corona module with some variable resistors and stuff supplied by Futaba attached, but that's irrelevant.

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Offline Phil_G

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2011, 23:28:42 PM »
The box with joysticks often referred to as a 'transmitter' cannot influence the operation or spectral cleanliness of a digital RF module, which is what matters to the authorities. It merely provides stick position data and nothing more - its just a pulse generator. In a modular set, the module is the transmitter and if its an approved module, and you have fitted it correctly, then all is well.
Cheers
Phil

Offline TonyKing

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2011, 23:31:35 PM »
I will admit it does stop it being a CE-approved 'Futaba 6EX Transmitter'

Not wishing to get into a debate but that is exactly my point  :study:

(Did'nt the BMFA advise against modifying Transmitters for example re-routing the antenna lead through the case as in the Spectrum module for Futaba TX's).

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Offline Yoyo

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Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2011, 08:13:30 AM »
Not wishing to get into a debate but that is exactly my point  :study:

So you don't want a debate, you just want everyone to accept you're right?

What does it matter that the 6EX is no longer certified, it's also no longer a transmitter - the module is the bit that transmits and all of the approval and legal stuff applies only to the module.

If it helps, imagine there are two boxes connected by 10' wires, a box of sticks and switches generating a ppm signal, and a transmitter which sends that signal out over the air.

Which bit needs approval?
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Offline TonyKing

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2011, 08:29:14 AM »
So you don't want a debate.

No!

you just want everyone to accept you're right?
No, its called having an opinion.......If poeple want to tinker with their radio equipment then that is up to them, End of.





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Offline Rob Thomson

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Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2011, 08:40:19 AM »
Well... I have to say that most modellers have forgotten what pleasure can be found in working with the electronic side of things.   I feel one should just have to point out the name RCM&E.   What does that little E on the end stand for?

Seems to me in this day and age there are to many who have forgotten our roots. 

Any responsible modeller will make sure their kit works well and is safe.  Just because you 'diy' does not make it unsafe - it just means you are on a different path through this great hobby!  I would like to think the path that says 'I know exactly how my kit works, and if/when it breaks I am a resourceful Modeller who will fix it!'. 

Rob


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Offline JohnB

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2011, 11:00:34 AM »
I have to agree with Tony on this one, the situation has been explained by MacMan many times. The 6EX is not a modular Tx as far as I'm aware and therefore the conversion to 2.4GHz has to be done by modifying the Tx. If the manufacturer of the module makes it specifically for the 6EX and has it certified as such then yes it may be possible to convert it with CE approval, from what I understand this is not the case in this instance.

Blame the EU for the rules not the BMFA or even Tony, what difference does it make? turn up to fly at the Nats or some savvy clubs and you wont be flying.

So as Tony said no debate, read up the BMFA stance in BMFA news, look at Macmans threads is all there.


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Offline The Stig

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2011, 21:55:19 PM »

 all the regular flyers at our club have now "converted" to Corona 2.4 either Futaba or Sanwa , .

there has never been an "incident" of any kind whatsoever  with the Corona stuff, mine is 3 years old , used 3 days a week , and the clock is stuck at 99.99 hours  , unlike all the recalls from the "big Boys " in the business.
we all have enjoyed 100% reliability .

stig   

Offline Phil_G

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2011, 22:09:13 PM »
CE is only relevant if you are selling the converted sets.
Phil

Offline Yoyo

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2011, 22:19:06 PM »
CE is only relevant if you are selling the converted sets.
Phil

Although apparently the BMFA (and LMA etc.?) have chosen to gold-plate that in the traditional British way and say you can't fly at their shows/competitions unless the manufacturer has certified the module and tx as a whole.

Not an OFCOM regulation, not a legal thing, just a BMFA rule.
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Offline Phil_G

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2011, 22:21:28 PM »
But you can, of course, switch it off and fly free-flight.
Phil

Offline JohnB

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2011, 07:52:25 AM »
Although apparently the BMFA (and LMA etc.?) have chosen to gold-plate that in the traditional British way and say you can't fly at their shows/competitions unless the manufacturer has certified the module and tx as a whole.

Not an OFCOM regulation, not a legal thing, just a BMFA rule.
Rules, guidlines or whatever, is it really worth the risk and potential litigation in the event of a problem?

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Offline Yoyo

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2011, 08:04:13 AM »
Rules, guidlines or whatever, is it really worth the risk and potential litigation in the event of a problem?

It's always self-certified anyway - you are at no more risk with CE approved third party modules than with a big brand TX, as long as you honestly believe it is safe to fly with.

The two-box scenario I outlined above is exactly the same as a buddy box system - a set of unregulated controls sending a PPM signal to a CE marked RF transmitter. I really can't see why the BMFA think there is an issue here?

And if there is an issue there, presumably all of the 1960's single channel homebuilt sets will be banned from BMFA events too?
 
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Offline JohnB

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2011, 08:54:10 AM »
It's always self-certified anyway - you are at no more risk with CE approved third party modules than with a big brand TX, as long as you honestly believe it is safe to fly with.

The two-box scenario I outlined above is exactly the same as a buddy box system - a set of unregulated controls sending a PPM signal to a CE marked RF transmitter. I really can't see why the BMFA think there is an issue here?

And if there is an issue there, presumably all of the 1960's single channel homebuilt sets will be banned from BMFA events too?
If what you say is true then why the big song and dance with imported Tx's from the USA, it doesn't exactly rain aeroplanes in the USA so why should it be a problem here. As I understand it, the EU law is clear and the BMFA interpretation of that law is also clear, no CE = no fly. It's all well and good talking of self certicication, how many people have the equipment to check power output for example? take a situation where it was belting out 500mW instead of 100mW and trampling all over other systems, your aircraft might fly perfectly ok but you've just downed several others. Hypothetical I know but IMHO it's a very grey area that could lead to some uncomfortable circumstances for the operator for the sake of a few gallons of fuel in cost why not have the peace of mind rather than being a maverick and campaining against the rules etc.

J
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Offline Yoyo

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Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2011, 11:39:13 AM »
As I understand it, the EU law is clear and the BMFA interpretation of that law is also clear, no CE = no fly.
...
why not have the peace of mind rather than being a maverick and campaining against the rules etc.

No problem with any of that. What I'm complaining about us the overzealous application of rules.

There is no need to have power meters and the like, the module is CE certified and has a defined electrical interface into which you feed ppm and power.

What the bmfa are saying is that the whole system including whatever supplies that signal has to have been certified as well. Which is not what the CE marking scheme is about at all.

Under those guidelines you couldn't fit a new car radio without invalidating the CE certification on both the car and the radio.

Yes, have rules covering the RF module. But why expand them to cover the tx as well?

You may as well say you have to get each plane certified to work with each specific rx. That's exactly the same issue.
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Offline Rob Thomson

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Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2011, 13:59:08 PM »
Do u think they would complain if we wired our own battery packs?  I am sure that using some not sourced by the manufacturer would also be non ce compliant?

And then... Consider projects like er9x.   Replacement software for the system.   The stock firmware is so buggy it sucks...  Er9x is solid and just works.   Does changing software on a stock radio void ce compliancy? 

I think not!

Ce compliancy is about making sure that the transmitter is manufactured to eu standards, and that the systems do not cause interference with other people.   The bmfa have taken a safe stance - simply because gaining clarity     of the many facets of the law is so difficult.   The simple solution is to simply rule out anything that is not understood or not made by the manufacturer.   I personally think this approach is wrong, and the bmfa needs to readdress the approach they have :).

Sadly... I doubt they will because it all gets very complicated!

Rob




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Offline RobC

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2011, 14:40:34 PM »


Ce compliancy is about making sure that the transmitter RF SECTION is OPERATING to eu standards,
I think that's what you meant Rob, at least it's what I understand OFCOM specify.
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Offline Yoyo

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Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2011, 16:15:10 PM »
The simple solution is to simply rule out anything that is not understood or not made by the manufacturer.   I personally think this approach is wrong, and the bmfa needs to readdress the approach they have :).

Sadly... I doubt they will because it all gets very complicated!

Ditto, and ditto.

The thing that gets me is how it's completely at odds with their support for scratchbuilt modelling. If the same 'don't mess' guidelines applied there then presumably we could only fly things built by a certified manufacturer and would have to send it back to them for a certified repair if it broke...
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Offline GlowFly

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2011, 21:47:44 PM »
CE compliance is about a lot more than just an RF stage/module transmitting within a set of rules. For example there are susceptibility requirements such the whole Tx will not malfunction when subjected to around 3v/m external Rf fields. This is usually achieved by the manufacturer testing a sample constructed to normal production standards. Adding/changing internal wiring can easily affect this susceptibility. The fact that it hasn't shown to be problem so far doesn't mean it never will. I suggest the situation is more complicated than some posts imply.

I've built own design Txs over many years. I mention it only to show that in principle I'm in favour but can see how an insurer may decide not to cover use of such sets. There's no way of determining the competency of every modeller. (BTW Is there an actual statement that this is the case with our insurer?)

Steve

Offline Yoyo

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Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2011, 22:26:16 PM »
CE compliance is about a lot more than just an RF stage/module transmitting within a set of rules.
...
 (BTW Is there an actual statement that this is the case with our insurer?)

I agree with all that, but it just serves to show the complexity of the situation. As far as I understand it, the CE marking is only required if you intend to sell the modified tx, so a homebrew or modified tx is fine for your own use. It does have to still meet the ofcom regs, but that shouldn't be an issue for plug-in module or wired hack variants.

As for the bmfa insurance, what I've seem is the statement on their website (I'll find a link when I'm back on a pc) regarding use of modules at shows and events, and the general insurance stuff that just says you have to be satisfied that you are flying safely, plane, radio, site and all.

I'm not sure why third party radio gear is being singled out - homebrew radio is ok, as you know - and anything goes for aircraft. The pilot has to be satisfied it's safe, that's the 'rule' that applies everywhere else.

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Offline GlowFly

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2011, 23:20:49 PM »
As far as I understand it, the CE marking is only required if you intend to sell the modified tx, so a homebrew or modified tx is fine for your own use.

CE marking is required when a commercial product is first placed 'on the market' in an EU country. The manufacturer or importer is responsible for ensuring this.

I agree that there is too much emphasis put on R/C CE compliance when there are at least as many avenues for causing consequential 3rd party risk/damage during model construction. Too big an engine, poor linkages, poor structural choices and so on. We've all seen them. If you don't understand the risks and how to avoid them then don't tinker with radio equipment. Same goes for model construction when they become large enough to pose potential risk.

Steve

Offline JohnB

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2011, 07:37:43 AM »
So I buy a DSX12 from the states, remove the JR badge from it and apply my JB12 badge to it, re-route some cabling inside and now it's a homebrew Tx as opposed to a commercial item, are you guys happy that I'm on the flightline whilst you're flying your £3k jet? Would you be happier if I had a CE'd Tx in my hands rather than a homebrew or non CE'd Tx ?

I do understand totally the points you're raising, years ago I used to fly a Sperling, there was only 2 in the country. We operated ours under PFA rules (essentially we could do our own maintenance). I did an engine overhaul and the inspector came to have a look he said 'you can't work on that engine, it's a plated engine' It was indeed a Rolls Royce aero engine. After seeking some advice, I removed the plate and fitted a new one stating the make to be a Bureaucrat and the model to be an FO2U. The inspector was recalled and was quite happy to sign off this home designed and manufactured engine. It went on to fly many hours.

J
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Offline Yoyo

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Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2011, 09:43:52 AM »
The inspector was recalled and was quite happy to sign off this home designed and manufactured engine. It went on to fly many hours.

People fly homebrew planes. People modify kits, engines, all sorts.

Why can you do all that and yet you can't modify the radio?

All I'm after is a level playing field. A dodgy modification to an airframe is just as likely to result in a plummeting fireball as a dodgy modification to a radio. Why are they treated differently? Because the radio mod is easier to spot?
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Offline RobC

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2011, 09:57:50 AM »
Aren't we getting off track here, I understood that the compliancy requirements were only introduced to stop badly designed and tuned transmitters causing interference  with other radio band users - both RC and non-RC.  Certainly receivers, servos, batteries (including those in the TX) and airframes have no CE requirement either in the BMFAs eyes or the law, or am I missing something.
As for John's US tx, it would work just fine as would any other models flying on the same 2.4 band, it just might not be legal as the output might be higher than allowed in the UK.  I'd be happy flying alongside it.
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Offline Phil_G

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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #27 on: July 29, 2011, 10:48:05 AM »
John has hit the nail on the head there.
Theres a huge gulf between people who can afford to spend £3000 on a toy aeroplane and those who try to make the best of a limited budget by making and mending, and buying chinese modules is part of those economies. I wouldnt be flying alongside a 3k jet in any case  :af
Phil



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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #28 on: July 29, 2011, 14:02:07 PM »
People fly homebrew planes. People modify kits, engines, all sorts.

Why can you do all that and yet you can't modify the radio?

All I'm after is a level playing field. A dodgy modification to an airframe is just as likely to result in a plummeting fireball as a dodgy modification to a radio. Why are they treated differently? Because the radio mod is easier to spot?
Because in general a dodgy airframe will be visible, an iffy radio giving out interference etc isn't.

J
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Offline Yoyo

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Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #29 on: July 29, 2011, 14:18:30 PM »
Because in general a dodgy airframe will be visible, an iffy radio giving out interference etc isn't.

Not really, a lot of airframe failures are in hidden areas even the owner doesn't know about.

And which is more likely to be off tune and spewing noise, a homebuilt (or thirty year old) tx, or a recent tx with a CE marked RF module?

I know which I'd go for.
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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #30 on: July 29, 2011, 15:32:35 PM »
I know which I'd go for.

But like so many things in life what you'd go for isn't relevant, it's what the laws say that is.

J
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Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #31 on: July 29, 2011, 15:57:23 PM »
But like so many things in life what you'd go for isn't relevant, it's what the laws say that is.

The laws in this case are fine. To sell a transmitting device in the UK it needs CE approval. No problem.

It's the BMFA policy that is inconsistent. Fitting a CE marked module to a transmitter designed to use a module should not be an issue, yet it is not allowed for use at shows and events.

I'd also argue for allowing 'hack' modules too.

A telemetry rx is a transmitter, operating under the far more stringent 'airborne transmitter' rules. Yet it can have all manner of sensors, mixers, power splitters, servos, ESCs and the like (of any make) attached with no regulatory issues.

But the ground transmitter can't? The  0v, +v, ppm interface is exactly the same. Inconsistency again.
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Re: Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #32 on: July 29, 2011, 17:36:26 PM »
A telemetry rx is a transmitter, operating under the far more stringent 'airborne transmitter' rules. Yet it can have all manner of sensors, mixers, power splitters, servos, ESCs and the like (of any make) attached with no regulatory issues.

But the ground transmitter can't? The  0v, +v, ppm interface is exactly the same. Inconsistency again.

But the telemetry Rx is designed to have the user add external sensors and is certified as compliant when that is done. The ground Tx isn't designed to have the user add internal wiring or modules. That's the difference.

A 3rd party hack module manufacturer could certify that if their module is used according to instructions in conjunction with manufacturer A, B or C the whole Tx system would be compliant. It would be a pretty bold organisation that then banned their use. Plenty of opportunity for litigation then I think.

I really don't think there is a practical resolution to this problem, we'll just go around and around... The whole CE marking system has been flawed from the start and remains murky in it's interpretation.

Steve

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Converting Futaba 6EX to Corona 2.4gHz using DIY module
« Reply #33 on: July 29, 2011, 18:00:39 PM »
I really don't think there is a practical resolution to this problem, we'll just go around and around...

I agree, it can't be sorted here because it's an arbitrary decision by the BMFA so only they could change it.

It's a sad state of affairs though, to be so inconsistent in the concepts behind a hobbyist organisation.
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