9XR-Pro into Vintage Futaba FP Build, questions and progress pics!

Hardware Support for the 9XR Pro
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BiggsDarklighter
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9XR-Pro into Vintage Futaba FP Build, questions and progress pics!

Post by BiggsDarklighter » Mon Aug 17, 2020 5:52 pm

Hello guys! I have a cool build started and I need some hardware info! My much unloved ersky 9XR-Pro is getting a new lease on life and its soul is being stuffed into a vintage Futaba FP-T6FG/K.

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(Yikes REALLY big sorry, somebody please holler at me if they need to be smaller or if linking my pics hosted on RCG is a bad thing? I looked and didn't see any mention in the FAQ's)

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Pulled out of the Turnigy case and testing to get it all working again. And here is the thread by Vikar that inspired this build. This is what I am doing with the LCD.

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Vikar's LCD mount is being redesigned/remixed for me to fit the stock 9XR-Pro LCD screen and backlight (or for whatever size LCD I use) Here is where I need help. I can't find any information on the screen type, cable type, etc. I believe it is a 30 pin, but I don't know enough about it to even start trying to find a cable extension for it. I think this might be it...??? If somebody can verify the pitch and any FPC/FFC or whatnot catchphrases I need to look for, I would be extremely grateful!

And a question on backlights, I would like to change to red, or even an RGB setup. But again I haven't been able to find any info on the LCD itself. Is there another LCD that plugs in and can be gotten working easily enough? In fact a smaller screen would be even better for this project, like this one.

EDIT: It actually looks like this one is a workable LCD replacement! I haven't verified the pinout yet, but I did find an apparent reference to this particular one working on the 9XR. Hopefully that is the same as the 9XR-Pro... Being pulled in so many directions, it is easy to get lost in this.

ALSO: I am pretty sure (after a couple hours of digging) I need a 30pin 0.5mm pitch FPC cable. If somebody smarter can verify this... LOL! Cable width on the factory LCD is 16mm, but the LCD I was looking at above was a different measurement. Like .5mm off if memory serves.

I can wade through the firmware updating and well documented things like that, but trying to compile drivers is likely out of my reach without a LOT of guidance... The only repeated info I found is a reference to using the 9x screen and cutting off pin 1.
Last edited by BiggsDarklighter on Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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mentero
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Re: 9XR-Pro LCD screen extension cable and other info needed!

Post by mentero » Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:03 am

Nice upgrade on a classical radio. I love it.

I suppose you are familiar with this schematics: If not it can be very helpful.
See the post sent by SkyNoth with the atachements.

(edited to change non working link) :
https://openrcforums.com/forum/viewtopi ... ic#p137060

Best
Miguel
We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty. Douglas Adams.

BiggsDarklighter
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Re: 9XR-Pro LCD screen extension cable and other info needed!

Post by BiggsDarklighter » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:06 pm

I was not, thank you Miguel! I figured if I dug deep enough I would find something like that here somewhere though! I have found just about everything else!!! :D Except verification of the LCD cable and screens HAHAHA!

As for the last picture, remember I can't take credit for that! It was my inspiration made by Vikar over on RCG (link in the first post). Check it out, he did some other impressive conversions too! As long as I don't go too far over the edge with mine, it should turn out pretty well. I don't have a 3D printer, so I am relying on Nick of NicksDesign. The more original bits I use, probably the better. I did order some FrSky M9-R sticks... In red. :P So I may already have tossed the subtlety out the window there.

ALRIGHT, CABLE INFORMATION VERIFIED! I thought I ordered ONE cable from Amazon, but twenty just arrived. I am going to have to make more radios! :lol: So yes, it is a 30pin with a 0.5mm pitch FPC FFC cable. That means the extension adapter should be good too (arriving tomorrow) and that I can probably go ahead and order a couple additional screens to try out.

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mentero
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Re: 9XR-Pro LCD screen extension cable and other info needed!

Post by mentero » Thu Aug 20, 2020 6:26 pm

My own homemade tray radio also has the brains of a 9XR-Pro, with a multi-protocol module and improved gimbals and speaker.
I kept the original LCD, and also had to use a ribbon cable. Very happy with the results.

I have been blessed with a horrible memory, but I remember that the connection was straightforward.

Keep us informed of your progress. Photos are always appreciated.

Miguel
We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty. Douglas Adams.

BiggsDarklighter
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Re: 9XR-Pro LCD screen extension cable and other info needed!

Post by BiggsDarklighter » Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:13 pm

I would LOVE to see pictures! PLEASE feel free to post some up here since it is actually a very similar type of build! I am not jealous, I share thread HAHA! The 9XR-Pro is such a great radio. I paid a good bit for mine and the rest of the setup when it came out. Then I HATED how it felt in my hands. Balance was off so you have to hold it, and switches are out of reach if holding the radio. Sounds like you know this though as a tray radio is the perfect solution to all the above.

I have felt guilty for having it and not using it. So this solution not only keeps me occupied, but it is cool af! :twisted: And it allows me to play with OpenTX and add dumb stuff like bluetooth. :geek:
Getting balance right on this is likely to be difficult...

My connection wasn't exactly as planned. The cables were flipped. So one row of contacts on one face, and the other on the other face. Weird not sure why they did that. So I peeled off the stiffener and folded the cable end back over itself and stuffed it into the adapter board. NOT an easy fit there. But after about 10 tries, I got it powered back up.

I do have a build thread going on over at RCG. Futaba FP Ultimate Sailing Radio Build It isn't getting much apparent love there, but it is also in the sailboats forum and it is getting good views at least.
Last edited by BiggsDarklighter on Mon Aug 24, 2020 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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mentero
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Re: 9XR-Pro LCD screen extension cable and other info needed!

Post by mentero » Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:12 pm

Nothing fancy, just a wooden tray radio, mainly because I prefer long sticks and cannot fly with my thumbs.

In relation with the lack of love in your thread, I am afraid that 9XR-Pro has been discontinued for too long, but also Rc diy in general does not seem to spark a lot of interest lately. (just my impression, but I am often wrong).
Radio.jpg
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jhsa
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Re: 9XR-Pro LCD screen extension cable and other info needed!

Post by jhsa » Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:50 am

mentero wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:12 pm
.....but also Rc diy in general does not seem to spark a lot of interest lately. (just my impression, but I am often wrong).
Unfortunately you are right.. Happy were the times when we were modding and flashing the 9x radio :( I really miss a project like that again.
I did work on a few nice projects, but for the moment got a bit busy working on stuff for audio :)
I will be back to RC projects soon. I also need to repair some of my planes.. Electronic problems :)

João
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BiggsDarklighter
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Re: 9XR-Pro LCD screen extension cable and other info needed!

Post by BiggsDarklighter » Sun Aug 23, 2020 11:55 pm

That is a well executed radio! And most importantly, it works for you! That is likely why the 9XR and 9XR-Pro failed. While they are amazing radios, and ESPECIALLY the Pro, the ergonomics just don't work and they looked too funky. I maybe used mine 5 times. When considering a radio for this project, I looked at them all. My 9XR-Pro was complicated enough inside, I almost didn't use it, and in fact put it back together. But nothing else even comes close to its feature set and flexibility. The biggest issue I have come across for utilizing it, is the lack of replacement screens or info on alternatives.

They can be found on eBay pretty regularly between $50-100. Even at $100, it is a better donor radio than anything else out there. But the price of the effort and additional parts, case, all that going into it, isn't worth it in most cases. But I had a few unusual requirements that make it WELL WORTH it to me.

My main rc discipline is sailing. I have some really cool projects going on, including a vintage 1930's "forgery." A brand new modern transmitter sitting next to a boat that is supposed to look that old, would look way out of place. But I still needed modern functionality and wanted an OpenTX computable platform.

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The "Library" Post

Post by BiggsDarklighter » Mon Aug 24, 2020 4:24 pm

Okay I renamed this thread and turned it into an official build and catch all. -=cough=- Hopefully BEFORE I get in trouble for essentially cross posting trying to find answers in all the wrong places. I will use this as my roadmap and link to the questions I am asking as I work through this. I got some cleanup to go do lol..

Alright so one of the first problems I have had to solve, what type of plugs does this thing take?! I posted up a thread here: The short answer is most of the mainboard plugs are JST-JH. These appear to be the standard for Turnigy and FrSky radios for switches and gimbal connectors. YMMV, but it is at least what this 9XR-Pro takes for switches, gimbals, and encoder. And my FrSky M9 gimbals use the same plug type too.
Last edited by BiggsDarklighter on Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 9XR-Pro into Vintage Futaba FP Build, questions and progress pics!

Post by BiggsDarklighter » Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:16 pm

Well LOTS of progress, and a MAJOR setback... It appears I have fried the mainboard. Somebody more skilled, could possibly repair it. But it is past my skills to do without lots of help, and already quickly approaching my max aggravation tolerance levels.

I think the best course of action is going to be to either try and get another 9XR-Pro and tackle this again a little more carefully, or step back to a 9X radio that I can easily get replacement parts for. The 9X radio though unfortunately has more boards taking up even more space, and still needs additional stuff added to it to even get close to the same level of the 9XR-Pro.

I am super discouraged right now. For the moment there is a 9X radio available I can snag with the SmartieParts board and most of the necessary mods already done to it, that wouldn't completely break the budget. And there is only one 9XR-Pro on eBay... I bid on it a week or so back just to try and get a second parts radio on hand, and while I don't know what the reserve is, I know my high bid last time wasn't enough to break it. And seller didn't send me a second chance offer, so likely I wasn't even close. He has a module on it (I don't need) that is selling for a small fortune, even used.

Problem is, all the development so far has been done with the 9XR-Pro. My lcd mount, was designed for and fits the 9XR-P screen. My internals are setup, for this radio. I have worked out where everything is going to go, with this radio.

SUPER FRUSTRATING. My next step was going to be a fun one too! I was ready to wire up the encoder and see if I could navigate everything needed through that alone.

I don't know if this is even SMART to continue with a 9XR-Pro as the donor radio. When I started this project, I thought I had found 9XR-Pro mainboards available. For the life of me now though, I can't find any. I suspect I had actually found the 9X board, and didn't look closely enough. I had spent about a week researching radio choices before using the 9XR-Pro I had on hand. I knew going in that the risk of damage was high, and wanted to make sure I could replace anything if I did.

Oh well. I should post up some progress pics. That might cheer me up... I probably will a little later. For now, a workshop to clean up, and some auctions to stare at. To make matters worse, an RC car I have been looking for for a while, finally turned up on ebay. I can afford it, but I can't afford it AND a replacement radio. And I don't know when another 9XR-Pro will come up again.

Edit: I now have updated pictures over in my RCG thread: Futaba FP Ultimate Sailing Radio Build I will bring some over here in the next day or so. That did make me feel a little better. It does look AWESOME! Here is a teaser...

Image

BiggsDarklighter
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Re: 9XR-Pro into Vintage Futaba FP Build, questions and progress pics!

Post by BiggsDarklighter » Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:17 am

Well I have two options on the way for this, a 9X, and another 9XR-Pro. I am still not sure how I actually killed the other mainboard. :oops: Above you can see a good view with the switch surrounds and the strap balancer. The balance blocks the switch from accidental bumps. It takes a small bit of effort to power it on or off.

Proof it actually worked, at one point...

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A better close up, sticks are not hooked up. Blue backlight makes getting clean pictures difficult.

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Using the original unsoldered board as a shield and a mounting point. The only circuit remaining is the trimmer for the analog battery meter.

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Rough placement idea of the Turnigy boards. It is starting to get a little crowded...

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Glamor shot #1 with the bezel installed. Notice the little holes in the bezel?

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And the holes in the bezel are for a cool slip in sunshade!

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These will look AWESOME! But they are going to require either modding the mounting plate, or making up new surrounds and drilling new case holes.

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Re: 9XR-Pro into Vintage Futaba FP Build, questions and progress pics!

Post by BiggsDarklighter » Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:31 pm

Well the 9xR-Pro is/was apparently coming from San Bernadine county in California.... Payment has been pending for 4 days now with no response from seller. Appears SB is under mandatory evacuation orders due to the fires. Hopefully the seller (and my radio lol) are safe. I’ve been through the fires out west before. It is scary stuff.

But the 9X is in my hands at least! The former owner did an amazing job modding it. Almost feel guilty using it. This thread may be temporarily out of place until the 9XR-Pro arrives, or I find another one. For now I will likely move forward with the 9X.

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Re: 9XR-Pro into Vintage Futaba FP Build, questions and progress pics!

Post by BiggsDarklighter » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:52 am

Alright this post is defiantly not in the right place, but after staring at the forum menu, I really don't know WHERE that right place is?! So if somebody messages me a better location, I will edit this post accordingly, and start a thread there.

eBay has failed me. My replacement 9XR-Pro is unlikely to ever get shipped. I have an agitated seller being told I never paid, BY EBAY REPS, and no way to pay him through eBay, or PayPal. Ebay now has it labeled as a "failed transaction" kinda comical. But hey, in the end I have my funds back, well they were never even taken to begin with. And the seller still has a useless to him 9XR-Pro radio. But lets move on from this.

I have searched this site high and low, and I can't find any lists of supported radios and firmwares. OpenTX has one, but it is VERY incomplete. And that is for OpenTX firmware anyways, not as interested. I simply want firmware I can utilize to mod, change, improve my radios functionality. I ran ersky9x on my Pro, thinking that was OpenTX. And I think I installed it VIA OTX. Whatever, important part is being able to get in and mod/play with features.

I need/want a radio with a board footprint no bigger than the Pro, smaller is much better. I would LOVE a radio that the M9 gimbals plug into. I would prefer a radio, or a board, I can get for under $100. I can grab the Taranis X9D Plus board for $82, but I don't have the rest of the supporting boards to make that feasible. And not sure what I would need, without a full radio in my hands... I am not sure if I did, or didn't check to see if the gimbals plug right into the 9X board. But the Taranis already has a big issue for me, a MUCH larger screen than I can fit.

The Mega2560 is a little-lot more complicated than I want to go. While footprint is nice, cleanly building the additional support circuits needed seems out of my reach. Sucks too as I have a 2560 and some support modules already in hand, before I realized more supporting custom circuits were required. Wiring up the gimbals to fit another board or plug, is preferable to trying to cleanly build some sort of "shield" circuit board.

The IDEAL radio would be a FlySky FS-i6s, if it had firmware with customizable names, and a simple on/off switch. A FS-i6 would work, again with customizable firmware. It already has custom names. I can't figure out if either of these has supported firmware though. Doesn't look like it.

Why not just use the FS-i6 and give up on OpenTX or ersky? Splash screen. I want this to still look like a Futaba when it is turned on.

The FrSky QX7 might work. Cheap enough I guess.

I will most likely go with the 9x, since I have that on hand already. It falls short in a couple places though. Mostly that while most of of the functionality of the 9XR-Pro can be added to it, it isn't simple plug in mods. I was excited to actually utilize some of the 9XR-Pro features like the crazy amount of voice prompts available. The 9x doesn't have SD card available, and as far as I can tell, no support to add it.

Maybe the best question here, is what exactly can I do with the 9X? Mine has the smartieparts program board with backlight added. It has a plug in module stuffed with the original FlySky module, and FrSky internal with telemetry. So really both the only protocols I am likely to care about. Yeah sure I would love more, and this is still doable. But this isn't a radio aimed towards my drones or flying. I almost exclusively use the FlySky receivers in my sailboats. Silly cheap. I want FrSky for some more advanced experiments, and I do use that mostly in my flight builds.

I think my 9X has a screen the right size, if not probably still one I can work with. Nick said tweaking the files he made for a different screen and new prints won't be too bad if need be.

I think the 9x can be modded for an encoder, but it isn't a plug in mod... Although it is a lot easier to move and solder in new tactile switches on this one. So I could possible forget the encoder. But I have the encoder and some really cool support bits so ugh...

Again, super discouraged. I need to pump this build back up somehow and get it going again.

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Re: 9XR-Pro into Vintage Futaba FP Build, questions and progress pics!

Post by Kilrah » Sat Sep 19, 2020 7:53 am

BiggsDarklighter wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:52 am
I have searched this site high and low, and I can't find any lists of supported radios and firmwares. OpenTX has one, but it is VERY incomplete.
?
It's exhaustive: http://www.open-tx.org/radios

The boards of the X9 Lite and X-Lite are the smallest.

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Re: 9XR-Pro into Vintage Futaba FP Build, questions and progress pics!

Post by BiggsDarklighter » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:47 am

I have come across 3-4 radios at least not on that list. A quick look finds two by DYS, one called an ELF, another called a MR.Q. Both bad examples and useless for this purpose, but yeah. Originally I thought OpenTX and ersky were the same thing. I am probably still a bit confused about all that... :oops:

I have stared at every imaginable radio for this project, before I started with the 9XR-Pro, and again after I cooked it. I am going to keep looking for a 9XR-Pro replacement.

I took this 9X apart fully today, and it would be doable. But it requires some more work for less return than the Pro.

I finally found the encoder information I need for the 9X. Stock/er9x Rotary Encoder But there are a bunch of other issues to deal with. The screen fits in the LCD holders that I got made up, but the backlight has a weird bump out to the side that doesn't. The SmartieParts board relies on the 9X case to screw it down.

I am probably going to case mod this 9X too, but I am not convinced this will be the best project to use it for. We will see if I can get another Pro before deciding. In the meantime, I will start tinkering a little with this 9X and at least update it.

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Re: 9XR-Pro into Vintage Futaba FP Build, questions and progress pics!

Post by BiggsDarklighter » Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:49 pm

Finally some awesome news! A replacement 9XR-Pro is in the mail!!!! I found the eBay one on OfferUp, and got the deal done. Nice and easy.

So I can get back to where I left off. I have some micro relays to solve the analog power meter, and a safe place to power it. I’m pretty sure I did the damage messing with that. I’m going to set that up and get it fully tested and working as expected with the bad board first.

I need to wire the encoder up, pretty easy just got to put a plug on it. Well two plugs I guess lol. It has an RGB led in it. I have some Bluetooth controllers for the RGB part. They have a wide feed voltage range of 5-24v I think. But I might need them on a Regulated supply too.

Anyways I’m hoping for some good progress before the new one arrives next week.

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Re: 9XR-Pro into Vintage Futaba FP Build, questions and progress pics!

Post by BiggsDarklighter » Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:31 am

Progress made!!! I now have the switch powering up the mainboard and the analog power meter. The micro relay did the trick nicely. I used the 5v regulator pins to supply the switched battery power. I soldered a plug to it and also ran the 5v output back. I will use that to power up the RGB controller.

I have the correct encoder plug, and all the wiring info I should need to set it up. Tomorrow night I am planning to tackle that and at least get it wired.

Can anyone tell me if I can fully navigate with JUST the encoder and encoder pushbutton???

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Re: 9XR-Pro into Vintage Futaba FP Build, questions and progress pics!

Post by BiggsDarklighter » Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:45 pm

And YES the encoder gives FULL navigation functionality! I am almost ready to swapperoo.

The next step to work on is the trim buttons. Looks like I’m going to have to use them.... I may wait to deal with this with the M9 gimbal bezels. Haven’t really stared at the trim parts closely yet.

Gimbals... For now I am going to start off with the original Futaba gimbals. The M9 ones need to be sent off to my designer for the bezels.


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