Tuesday, 17 April 2018

FrSky Q-X7 - an F3F-ready transmitter for £100!

The FrSky Q-X7 may not have the looks - or the price tag - of a premium radio, but don't be fooled - it's a remarkably capable device. In this post I'll highlight key aspects of this transmitter, and explain why it offers such ground breaking value.

FrSky Taranis Q-X7

Operating system and features

The operating system is the heart of any radio, and the QX-7 has the perfect start in life, with OpenTx pre-loaded. It offers the same programming capability as the more expensive X9D, X10 and X12S - the only real difference is in the number of switches and sliders. The OpenTx version is 2.2.0, and if you want to use my templates the first tasks will be to flash 2.2.1 as this contains some important bug fixes.

FrSky's propietary operating system FrOS is not available for the Q-X7, it's purely an OpenTx platform - and all the better for it in my view. FrOS is too limited for F3X, and personally I find it awkward to program. Well, let's be honest - I find it awful to program. (That said, your mileage may vary, so please do your research first!)

Other features of the Q-X7 include: external module bay, audio/speech output, vibration alerts, integrated telemetry, and data logging. Pretty darned impressive for a £100 radio!

Widgets

The Q-X7 is equipped with six switches and two rotary knobs, sufficient for most slope soaring applications. If you need more switches, or sliders (for example for my F3J and F5J templates), then the X9D is the better option.

Batteries

The unit comes without batteries. On the positive side, it means you can choose your favourite chemistry (NiMH, or 2/3S Lipo) and use your existing charger. A battery hatch provides access for charging and swapping packs.

Menus

Due to the smaller screen, the programming menus are organised slightly differently compared with the X9D, X10 and X12S, however all the functions are there. A nice touch is the scroll wheel in place of the +/- buttons on the X9D.

Gimbals

The gimbals on the Q-X7 are ball raced and equipped with potentiometers. If you really must have the latest Hall gimbals, then you can replace the stock units with a pair of M7s. Alternatively go for the Q-X7S which has these pre-installed.

FrSky Q-X7S - similar to the Q-X7 but with Hall gimbals and angled switches

RF link

The RF link and supported protocols are the same as that of the X9D Plus.

Summary

The Q-X7 has all the basic controls required for slope soaring and - thanks to OpenTx - it can handle the complex mixing required for F3F sailplanes. Note however that it doesn't have any sliders so if you fly other types of model like F5J electric then you may wish to look at the X9D, X10 or X12S.

The video below, by Ade Chapmanlaw, shows the Q-X7 running my F3F template v5.0. Ade is planning a return to competitive F3F with this combo.


It's worth noting that the total cost of the Tango/Q-X7 combo is just £900, making for a relatively affordable combo for F3F.

Here's Ade again, this time dynamic soaring the Tango with the Q-X7 and F3F template:


Links

F3F Template (OpenTx Clinic)
FrSky QX-7

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