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FAQ FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

0. What do I need to start practicing with a flight simulator?
1. What is the difference between "Input/Output", "Input-only", and "Output-only" transmitter cables?
2. Which transmitters and receivers support 'Output PPM' mode?
3. How to tell if my RealFlight G2 is Interlink or non-Interlink version?
4. Can I use all switches and knobs of my transmitter with your interface cable?
5. Will your interface cables work with Mac OS X?
6. How do you ship?
7. AeroFly Pro/Deluxe: is it really compatible with your USB cables and what's the deal with "as a secondary interface only"?
8. Where are the set-up instructions for your old v.2 and v.3 USB interfaces?
9. How E-flite Blade CP and Walkera Dragonfly transmitters implement CCPM support?
10. Are all Walkera transmitters compatible with your interfaces?
11. Do your CCPM interfaces support Idle Up button of my E-flite / E-Sky "Channels Six" transmitter?
12. What's the deal with FMS, why it sometimes has trouble reading the Rudder channel and how to fix it?

 

0. What do I need to start practicing with a flight simulator?
To start practicing with a freeware simulator (assuming that you already have a PC or a Mac computer and a transmitter with a trainer connector), you need to buy our USB interface together with a transmitter cable: please select a package for your transmitter at USB v.4 Interface page. A transmitter cable alone, without the interface, is not sufficient! We sell extra transmitter cables only for people, who already purchased our USB v.4 interface and wants to use it with a different transmitter.
Togeteher with the interface, we ship a complementary CD with several freeware flight simulators for Windows. If you have a PowerPC Mac with MacOS X, you can download Mac versions of free simulators CRRCsim and Slope Soaring Simulator (SSS), which also includes several very decent helicopters.


1. What is the difference between "Input/Output", "Input-only", and "Output-only" transmitter cables?
"Input-only" cables transmit data only in one direction--from TX to computer. Most transmitter brands can use a single cable to carry data both ways, so, a single "Input/Output" cable is sufficient to support both 'Input' and 'Output PPM' modes. For example, Futaba uses 6-pin plug, in which one pin is 'Input PPM', another 'Output PPM' (there's also a ground and +V wires). Unfortunately, JR opted for 3.5mm mono plug, which only has 2 wires. In order for our interface to receive the PPM signal (in 'Input' mode), we have to receive the signal on one pin of our mini-USB connector, while the output PPM signal (in 'Output PPM' mode) is sent from a different interface wire. Therefore, two different cables have to be used with JR transmitters: one for 'Input' and another for 'Output PPM' mode.


2. Which transmitters and receivers support 'Output PPM' mode?
Not all transmitters support 'Output PPM' mode because some of them are not PPM transmitters (like Walkera PCM model WK-0701 or E-flite Blade CX-2 P5DSM) and some others not having a Trainer switch.

The list of transmitters* supporting both 'Input' and 'Output PPM' modes (they must be equipped with a trainer plug):

  • all Futaba PPM transmitters, including old Gold Series transmitters with a 5-pin trainer connector, all recent transmitters with a 6-pin round connector, and all new transmitters with 6-pin a rectangular "mini" connector
  • all Hitec PPM transmitters
  • all JR transmitters**
  • all Airtronics/Sanwa PPM transmitters
  • all Multiplex PPM transmitters
  • all E-Sky transmitters, including "Channels Six" CCPM models, and their clones sold under different names (e.g. E-flite Blade CP or Twister)
  • some Parkzone and Art-Tech transmitters (not all of them have a trainer plug)

Notes:
*The list is certainly incomplete as there are many other transmitters sold under various names, which are compatible with our USB v.4 interface and support 'Output PPM' mode.
**JR transmitters require two separate transmitter cables, "Input-only" and "Output-only", due to the design of JR trainer system.

The list of transmitters not supporting 'Output PPM' mode:

  • all Walkera transmitters, including both PPM and PCM models
  • E-flite Blade CX-2 LP5DSM transmitter, which uses digital DSM2 protocol and can't translate the incoming PPM stream

Please note that, in order for a receiver to process a computer generated PPM stream, transmitted by the TX in 'Output PPM' mode, the receiver must not employ Transmitter Signal Recognition (TSR). Some new receivers, which employ TSR to recognize the transmitter they are tuned to, will reject the computer generated PPM stream, as its signature (e.g., the shape of the PPM pulses) may be slightly different from the signature of the transmitter. Most old "dumb" receiver don't have TSR and work fine with 'Output PPM'. We have several popular Corona receivers, which employ Digital Signal Processing (DSP) but lack TSR--they all work fine.


3. How to tell if my RealFlight G2 is Interlink or non-Interlink version?
All copies of RealFlight G2 sold by Great Planes/Tower Hobbies after April 2002 are Interlink versions (though, smaller hobby shops might be selling non-Interlink versions of G2 for quite some time after that).

Non-Interlink RealFlight G2 was originally sold with either parallel port interface or with a "dummy" game port controller. If you've purchased only software CDs, call RealFlight technical support and ask them which version you have. In any case, G2 Interlink will refuse to start if the genuine Interlink controller is not connected to the PC (thus, if you are running the sim without the Interlink controller, you have a non-Interlink version).


4.Can I use all switches and knobs of my transmitter with your interface cable?
Short answer is yes, you can.
Please note that some of the TX switches have direct effect on the transmitted signal, while the others affect the signal only indirectly.

In other words:
1) There are some switches/knobs, whose position controls one of the channels. For example, flipping Gear switch causes the signal of the corresponding channel to vary change between MIN and MAX.

2) Other switches do not have any immediate effect on the signal of any channels. For example, if you have configured your radio so that, say, switch D controls dual rates of channel 3 and this channel is currently in its neutral position, toggling switch D will have absolutely no effect (unless you move channel 3 control away from the center and observe the difference in the signal magnitude).

In other words, some switches are immediately visible in a simulator (when you flip a switch, the corresponding channel jumps between MIN and MAX levels), while some other switches have less visible effect (they only affect signal magnitude when you move other controls, enable/disable mixing, etc.).

Our interface acts similarly to the receiver: it senses all changes in the incoming signal and transforms them to the control surface deflection (with the only difference than RX sends each channel signal to the corresponding servo and our interface changes the "position" of the corresponding axis of the virtual Windows joystick). If the signal leaving the TX changes (e.g., you've switched to high rates), the interface will immediately notice this change and adjust the joystick state accordingly.


5. Will your interface cables work with Mac OS X?
Our USB interfaces are fully compatible with Mac OS X.

We have our USB interface with X-Plane, CRRCsim, and Slope Soaring Simulator and they worked flawlessly.

 

6. How do you ship?

We ship all orders in the USA via US Postal Service (USPS) with Delivery Confirmation for $5.00 (delivery confirmation number offers only limited tracking and is not updated by USPS in real time).

USPS does not provide any tracking information like FedEx or UPS do. A Delivery confirmation is what it is - a delivery confirmation.

This USPS e-mail notification of mailing :

    "The U.S. Postal Service was electronically notified by the shipper or shipping partner on mm/dd/year to expect your package for mailing. This does not indicate receipt by the USPS or the actual mailing date. Delivery status information will be provided if / when available. Information, if available, is updated every evening. Please check again later."

Domestic delivery confirmation is updated ONLY when the package is delivered.


Due to the recent price hike by US Postal Service, we can no longer offer USPS Priority Mail International shipping, it has become too expensive. Instead, we will be shipping USPS 1st Class International, which offers no tracking. If you want your order to be shipped with a different service, please contact us before ordering.

We ship to Canada via USPS 1st Class International for $5.00. Tracking is not available.

To the rest of the world, we ship via USPS 1st Class International for $10.00. Tracking is not available.

The only way to ship to Spain, Italy, or Mexico is via EMS for $35.00.

S/H fee is not refundable.


7. AeroFly Pro / Deluxe: is it really compatible with your USB cables and what's the deal with "as a secondary interface only"?

AeroFly Pro and AeroFly Pro Deluxe are, like many other commercial simulators, copy-protected software. Their copy protection scheme includes a so called "dongle" integrated into their original interface. Such a simulator will not even start if its original interface is not connected to your computer!

Fortunately, AeroFly Pro / Deluxe permits the use of a secondary interface (as long as the original cable is connected too). This way, you can use your transmitter, which is not supported by the original interface (like Walkera or E-flite/E-Sky "Channels Six" transmitters), by connecting our cable in addition to the original AFP/D interface and configuring the former to control the first plane or helicopter. The detailed description of this configuration procedure is provided on a CD we ship with every USB interface.


8. Where are the set-up instructions for your old v.2 and v.3 USB interfaces?


9.
How E-flite Blade CP and Walkera Dragonfly transmitters implement CCPM support?

Even though E-flite/ESky transmitter employ the same mini-DIN trainer connector (same as S-video plug), they use different connector wiring. More importantly, though, is the difference how Walkera and E-flite implement CCPM.

Collective Pitch helies need CCPM (Cyclic Collective Pitch Mixing), which can be implemented in several different ways:
  • mechanical mixing by means of interconnected control rods/arms in the heli itself
  • electronic mixing (used by all Chinese micro helies including Walkera CP models), which can be implemented in the transmitter or with the help of a special mixing board on the receiver side.

Transmitter mixing is most popular because it doesn't require any additional electronics mounted in the heli. "Serious" computer transmitters by major radio manufacturers allow the CCPM to be enabled for flying or disabled for using the TX with a simulator. Unfortunately, one family of Chinese transmitters sold under the names of E-flite, ESky, and Twister (may be some other names too) implements CCPM in the transmitter and doesn't allow this mixing to be disabled. As a result, such transmitters can't be used with regular TX-to-Computer interfaces as their signal would be mixed and unsuitable for any simulator. For these E-flite/ESky transmitters, we developed out CCPM "un-mixing" interfaces.

Walkera transmitters, from the other hand, don't offer CCPM mixing. Instead, Walkera CP helies carry a special mixing board, which performs channel mixing. Unfortunately, the shape of PPM signal produced by Walkera transmitters is rather unusual and most of the interfaces have trouble deciphering Walkera signal. Our Serial PIC interface manages to process Walkera PPM frame successfully, and our USB interface implements special Walkera compatibility mode.


10. Are all Walkera transmitters compatible with your interfaces?

There are four incompatible groups of Walkera transmitters:

  1. Transmitters implementing a so called "Zhen Hua 5-byte" protocol. It seems that such transmitters were only made for Fixed Pitch helies, they only have 4 channels (the switches and knobs on top of the transmitter are not connected anywhere). Zhen Hua supporting transmitters can work with a simple 4-wire cables as the TX encoder chip generates digital signal compatible with PC serial port. Only the simulators, which support 'FMS Serial PIC' protocol, can work with such transmitters.
  2. Transitional models--Zhen Hua support was dropped but no signal was sent to the trainer connector yet. We have a one year old 22A transmitter of this type. Such transmitters won't work with ANY interface unless hardware modifications are made to the TX board (a couple of wires soldered).
  3. Some 6-channel Walkera transmitters send non-standard Walkera PPM signal to the trainer connector. We have tested #35 and 36 transmitters made in 2005...2006 and they were of this type. Special processing of this non-standard Walkera PPM is needed for such transmitters to work with an interface--our interfaces support it.
  4. Lately, most of Walkera Collective Pitch (CP) helicopters are shipped with Walkera PCM radios. Unlike PPM, PCM protocol has never been standardized and each manufacturer implements its own, incompatible with anyone else version ob PCM. We have added support for Walkera PCM to our USB v.4 interfaces.

Most of Walkera transmitters look alike, they don't have model numbers or manufacturing dates. There's no way to tell, just by looking at a transmitter, to which group a particular TX belongs to...


11. Do your CCPM interfaces support Idle Up button of my E-flite / E-Sky "Channels Six" transmitter and how is advanced aerobatics possible without Idle Switch support by the interface?
First, you should understand what Idle Up switch does when you are flying the real thing: Idle Up is a way to quickly change several transmitter settings using a single switch. While computer transmitters offer flexible control for many parameters/curves with the help of this switch, E-flite / E-Sky transmitter only changes the pitch and throttle curves from one pre-defined shape to the other (pitch curve = relationship between the throttle stick movement and equal displacement of the three swashplate servos; throttle curve = relationship between the throttle stick position and motor RPM). These entry level transmitters don't offer any means to edit the throttle/pitch curves or to disable CCPM.

Now let's look at the simulator side: As none of the existing simulators can work with CCPM-ixed servo signals but expects from the TX interface/controller the signal describing the stick deflections, our interface "un-mixes" the CCPM and sends to the computer exactly what the simulator expects, stick deflections. These deflections are not affected by the pitch curve and the whole CCPMixing arrangement. (Also, as the Idle Up switch changes the mixing parameters, our "un-mixing" algorithm only works with the switch in down position.)

Finally, let's consider a question if "advanced aerobatics" is possible without our interface and E-flite / E-Sky CCPM transmitters. This question is mostly about the simulator you are using--how/if it models the helicopter and what user input is needed to switch the simulated helie from Idle Down (pitch curve going from small negative to large positive pitch) to the Idle Up (pitch changes from large negative, for inverted flight, to large positive; throttle curve assumes V shape, if not in simulated governor mode). Simulators, which support different flight modes (FMS in not one of them!), are usually switched between Idle Up and Normal flight by either an additional discrete channel (which would require a 5+ channel transmitter, which E-flite / E-Sky TX is not) or by a keyboard. If your simulator supports switching between the flight model and you've got E-flite / E-Sky transmitter, you have only the second option--assigning this switch to a keyboard key. Instructions how to assign Idle Up and Throttle Hold keys in RealFlight G2 to channels 5 and 6 of a true 6-channel transmitter are given in the Set-Up guide, which is shipped with every interface.


12. What's the deal with FMS, why it sometimes has trouble reading the Rudder channel and how to fix it (v.1 interface only)?
FMS is a freeware simulator and, as any piece of software, it has bugs. One of the bugs is that FMS sometimes does not read one of the channels, even though this channel works fine in Windows Control Panel.

There are two possible causes of this:

1) There are more than 1 joysticks in the system and FMS can't read all of the channels of the second joystick.
Solution: Disconnect all the extra joysticks from the PC and remove them from Windows Control Panel list.

2) FMS doesn't read a channel of a single joystick (usually, Rudder for Futaba transmitters). The funny thing is that FMS can't read 6th joystick axis in Windows 2000 but it reads it fine in Windows XP. If Rudder is set to 3rd joystick axes, it is not accessible in Windows XP, but works fine in Windows 2000. Go figure!
This is a real bug in FMS, so, unless FMS developers fix it, we can only try one of the workarounds:

  • Switch the button on USB interface to a different state (and repeat Windows calibration). This will toggle Futaba's Throttle and Rudder channels between 3...4 and 6...7 axes of the joystick.
  • If your transmitter offers arbitrary channel mixing, program it so that the channel missing in FMS is mapped one-to-one to a different channel accessible to FMS.

 

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