Monday, 12 February 2018

E-Soar Plus 3.0

A year has passed since the last update to E-Soar Plus, my OpenTx template for sport and F5J. In the meantime, OpenTx 2.2 has been released, one of the key enhancements being an increase in the number of logical switches from 32 to 64. And I've also been receiving some feedback from users of the template.

Which brings us to  E-Soar Plus 3.0. This new version takes advantage of the extra logical switches to provide a choice of three motor arming methods, thereby addressing the main complaint from users. In this post I'll describe the background to this and other changes.

Kev Newton launches Vic Eldridge's MPX Heron at La Muela. Taranis X9D and E-Soar Plus

Arming options

Previous versions of ESP offered a highly secure arming method however it did not lend itself to disarming and re-lighting the motor whilst flying the model - at least not without putting the model through some potentially terminal aerobatics. Rather than simply replace the old arming method, I set about giving users a choice. So the options now are as follows:
  • Arming method 1: this as in previous versions, i.e. 'stick in corner and pull a spring switch'. This offers the best protection against accidental spinups, and is the default. 
  • Arming method 2: pull spring switch for a couple of seconds to arm, and similar to disarm. Secure enough, and easy enough to do whilst flying.
  • Arming method 3: uses a spare 2-position switch. Down to arm, up to disarm.  This method is the quickest, and provides tactile indication of arming state. The switch is 'smart', in the sense that the motor is disarmed at intial switch-on regardless of the actual switch position. This means there is no need to set up switch checks (which I find terminally annoying!). My thanks to 'Jesper' on RC groups for the safe switch logic.
All this required a complete redesign of the logical switch scheme. There's now a core framework which handles all the common stuff like validation and alerts. The arming and disarming methods are defined separately (users with some knowledge of OpenTx could add their custom methods). The active arming method may be changed by editing a couple of logical switches.

Other improvements

There's now a warning if you attempt to arm the motor with the motor lever advanced (as always, the motor can only start from idle - this applies to all the arming methods, and is for safety).

The voice alerts sound more natural, as I've switched from AT&T Text to Speech to TTS Automate for creating the tracks. Leading and trailing silences are trimmed using Audacity.

To help with programming of the 39 logical switches, I used a VBA-driven spreadsheet which offers smart insert/move/delete of logical switch definitions - this allowed the switches to be organised in logical groups, making it much easier to identify bugs before data entry in Companion.

ESP v3 switch layout

Emulate a dedicated height limiter

Detailed documentation of the logical switches is included in the Settings Reference. For those with a good understanding of logical switches, it should be possible to emulate a dedicated hardware time/height limiter, using a FrSky vario telemetry sensor and an unused timer (clue: L18->FORCE_DISARM).

E-Soar Plus version 3.0 runs under OpenTx 2.2.1 and later (support for 2.1 has been dropped). Setup and adjustment is virtually identical to previous versions. More info and + download from here.


Ivan Williams said...

Bless you for the work you are doing here.
You cannot imagine how much you help less technical pilots like me.

RC Soar said...

Thank you Ivan :)

Keith Burrage said...

Ditto Mike, I have put it on my X10 for the MPX Heron. I loved the simplicity and accuracy of setting up with curves. I don't feel brave enough to try and switch everything around to suit my S8R but setting it up on a G-RX8 was a piece of cake. All I need now is some weather!
Brilliant stuff, I totally endorse Ivan's comments.

RC Soar said...

Thank you Keith - glad you're enjoying the setup!

Marcus :) said...

Mike you're a star.
I've just seamlessly upgraded my X9E and the new X7 to the latest V2.2.1 and them put in your new templates. So happy with the whole process, and your templates are soo good.