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Spektrum DX6i PC Backup

Old 06-17-2008, 09:39 AM
  #26  
radweld
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Originally Posted by Sabrehawk View Post
Hmmmm, well a much simpler solution would be for memory cards to be employed such as what we use in our flycams and such. And im surprised it hasnt been implemented as yet. Especially since SD cards are so inexpensive and common in todays electronic devices.

Now as for your radio, I'm not sure what you mean by it being dead.
Dead as in batteries dead, or dead as in radio not operational even with fresh batteries.
So, have you replaced the batteries? Are you sure they are all in correctly, with proper polarity?

Also check the battery contacts, and insure they make good contact. It could be just that simple and would only take one of them being a bit too compressed and could have lost connection as you moved the radio around or even tilted it while holding it.
The radio just died, literally after I had just landed. of course I had checked the usual stuff, changed batteries, checked for proper orientation etc.

After three months use, it just died. No power, no control, nothing, dead.

I really cant see why the vendors are not providing what the likes of the Futaba radios are doing with their Campacs, although the latter is much more propriety and expensive to engineer in. All computer radios store settings on some kind of Flash memory, it's exactly the same kind of flash memory in any other kind of removable storage device however I suspect it's probably only a couple of KB in most computer radios.

Now the vendors might not want you to have all your models in one radio but in all honesty, who out there will own multiple TX's to store more than 10 or 20 models? These kind of features are long overdue and really not that hard to integrate.

If you can buy a Brushless ESC with this facility, then it's definitely possible for a Computer Radio.
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Old 06-17-2008, 04:34 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by radweld View Post
...These kind of features are long overdue and really not that hard to integrate...
It appears to me that you either didn't read what I wrote, or you don't understand it, or you don't believe it. It IS that hard to integrate. It may be relatively easy to tack the hardware on, but you have to consider the whole system, especially the software and the testing...
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Old 06-17-2008, 04:52 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by adhoc View Post
It appears to me that you either didn't read what I wrote, or you don't understand it, or you don't believe it. It IS that hard to integrate. It may be relatively easy to tack the hardware on, but you have to consider the whole system, especially the software and the testing...
It's not that hard to provide this kind of functionality at all providing it's part of the core design. I'm not talking about a bolt on to existing equipment (although this is still possible). Of course there is a cost associated with everything and I guess this isn't suitable for an entry level radio like the DX6i. We sent men to the moon 40 years ago and your saying it's hard to add PC connectivity to a computer radio system? How do you think they program these things in the first place?

It's not hard to do, however by the sounds of it, it seams nobody but me wants it.
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Old 06-17-2008, 04:55 PM
  #29  
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It also cost the Apollo program 25 billion dollars
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Old 06-17-2008, 04:56 PM
  #30  
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Yeah, this is true. I didnt say it would be a cheap option lol.
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Old 06-17-2008, 05:46 PM
  #31  
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First, I want to apologize for being snippy, rad. I was tired and frustrated when I posted that...
Originally Posted by radweld View Post
It's not that hard to provide this kind of functionality at all providing it's part of the core design. I'm not talking about a bolt on to existing equipment (although this is still possible). Of course there is a cost associated with everything and I guess this isn't suitable for an entry level radio like the DX6i. We sent men to the moon 40 years ago and your saying it's hard to add PC connectivity to a computer radio system? How do you think they program these things in the first place?
Perhaps part of the problem here is how we're thinking of "hard." Yeah, in terms of pure technical ability, it isn't hard to do removable memory. I'll bet you anything the engineers designing these radios considered it, wanted it, and proposed it. But I'll also bet they were reined in by their managers, who have to prioritize a lot of competing pressures (of which the king is probably cost) and consider the big picture (life-cycle cost, maintainability, support, safety, etc.)

Originally Posted by radweld View Post
It's not hard to do, however by the sounds of it, it seams nobody but me wants it.
Just to be clear, I would also really like either removable memory, or the ability to transfer to and from a personal computer. As a software guy I'm frequently frustrated at the limitations of consumer products. (example: it takes five screen presses to set my GPS to take me home -- I know I could design a better user interface!) But I don't have the whole organization it takes to design, produce, and support a GPS or an RC radio, and certainly not the funds.

It is just a frustrating reality that sometimes we have to accept limitations and compromises in the products we buy. But I strongly suspect Spektrum is thinking about and working on these and other issues for future products. I can see the design improvements between the DX6 and the DX6i.

p.s. You should definitely send your radio to Spektrum/Horizon for service, whether it is in warranty or not. I've had both my radios fixed by them; my DX6 was out of warranty, but they fixed it for free anyway. I'm not promising they'll always do that, but they're generally good folks. Also, tell them your request for some way to backup model memory; I'm sure they're listening. Each time a customer asks, it gives the engineers more support with their managers, who definitely do care about keeping customers happy... :-)
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:06 PM
  #32  
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I think you need to defer to the expertise of people who work in the fields of programming and electronics. We have repeatedly said that this would be very costly to add - NEVER that the technology doesn't exist or that it would be impossible to engineer.

However, and you're just going to have to take my word for this - the cost of just doing the software upgrade to add that feature would probably exceed a million dollars. Think about that salary info I posted - a change like this is a year-long project if it goes well, and you're going to probably have two of those embedded systems programmers and an electronics engineer working on it full time - so you're talking about $400,000 just in salaries. Then add to that the overhead of management of the project, advertising and marketing the new feature, product testing, user interface focus groups, god-knows-what-else... and you're looking at a million dollar investment easily. This means it would need to make the product 5 million dollars more marketable for it to be even worth doing the project in the first place and you'd have to re-coup that expense by raising the price of the product because you have a limited time to make a profit on a new project you just spent a million bucks on before the investors want your head on a pike, and raising the price of things usually doesn't make them sell better.
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:18 PM
  #33  
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Well put Jasmine,

Sometimes, I think hardware/software engineers have a better understanding of the world than anybody else.

Originally Posted by jasmine2501 View Post
I think you need to defer to the expertise of people who work in the fields of programming and electronics. We have repeatedly said that this would be very costly to add - NEVER that the technology doesn't exist or that it would be impossible to engineer.

However, and you're just going to have to take my word for this - the cost of just doing the software upgrade to add that feature would probably exceed a million dollars. Think about that salary info I posted - a change like this is a year-long project if it goes well, and you're going to probably have two of those embedded systems programmers and an electronics engineer working on it full time - so you're talking about $400,000 just in salaries. Then add to that the overhead of management of the project, advertising and marketing the new feature, product testing, user interface focus groups, god-knows-what-else... and you're looking at a million dollar investment easily. This means it would need to make the product 5 million dollars more marketable for it to be even worth doing the project in the first place and you'd have to re-coup that expense by raising the price of the product because you have a limited time to make a profit on a new project you just spent a million bucks on before the investors want your head on a pike, and raising the price of things usually doesn't make them sell better.
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Old 06-18-2008, 12:34 AM
  #34  
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I don't think it cost several million dollars to provide such a function on my E-Flite ESC. Or if it did, they must have sold loads to recoup the cash. I work for HP, I work with embedded systems all day long, please don't preach to me about development cycles.

It's called "Development" If there was no development we would still be using steam engines, if there was no development, we would still be living in caves! manufacturers have to add new functions to their technology in order to maintain a competitive advantage, it only takes one vendor to provide the function and the rest will follow.

Modern ABS brakes were originally fitted by Mercedes Benz to the S Class, I'm sure there were people around at that time who said its far too costly to fit this technology to regular cars but guess what? every car on the road now has ABS brakes.

Sat Nav? you can buy very highly specified portable hand held units for 100 which can be configured and updated by PC. At one time, Sat nav was a rich mans luxury, it took one or two manufacturers to invest, mass produce and drive the costs down. I'm sure back in the day, a computer radio was an expensive luxury, now they give them away with RTF deals.

Were not talking about re-inventing the wheel here, just adding an already existing technology to enhance another piece of technology, the technology exists, the software is the simple part, it's easy and it probably will happen sooner or later. Like I said in my previous post, if designed in from the concept stage, this feature wouldnt cost much more than the LCD screen. The market drives product development, if the market wants something, the manufacturers oblige.
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Old 06-18-2008, 12:50 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by radweld View Post
. . . the software is the simple part, it's easy . . .
You just lost all credibility with me. You obviously don't know what you're talking about.
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Old 06-18-2008, 01:52 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by radweld View Post
I don't think it cost several million dollars to provide such a function on my E-Flite ESC.
That's a completely different kind of thing. ESCs are fairly simple devices - computer radio transmitters are a whole different thing. It is comments like that which make me say that most people just don't understand the cost of R&D, particularly when it comes to things they don't understand.

In programming, we refer to this as "the bike shed problem" - everyone thinks they know how to build a bike shed, so if that's what you want to do, you're going to get opinions from everyone from the CEO to the janitor - and most likely they will be wrong. This is because they think a bike shed is a simple thing to build - it's not. The reverse situation is if you want to build a nuclear power plant, people usually have the common sense to realize that they know nothing about that, and they keep quiet and just approve the budget for it.

What we have here is the first case - people think a radio is a simple thing, and they think they understand it, but they don't.
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:02 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by adhoc View Post
You just lost all credibility with me. You obviously don't know what you're talking about.
Your probably right, I'm not a software developer nor am I a hardware engineer however I have experience of both sides of the coin. Fundamentally, all your doing is reading and writing memory locations, if you want to set the byte for rudder direction, you set the byte to the value associated it. A Helicopter pitch curve again is just a data set, you set the values associated with it. Every value in the radio is just a byte of data stored in memory. You need to identify whats stored where and your programming application is then able to read or write data to those memory locations in order to set the associated values. The technology applied to the ESC in order to program it via PC uses exactly the same technology I'm talking about integrating into a radio, it has to be scaled up massively but it's basically the same tech.

This is totally plausible guys, I'm not trying to be argumentative here. I agree it isn't as simple as I think and and the manufacturers may not be motivated to provide this feature due to lack of demand but the technology exists and is simple enough/cheap enough to make it possible. I'm surprised that more people don't want this.

I found out that my Radio is to be replaced because of a terminal fault on the PWB but they said they will install the default Blade 400 settings for me, all I need to do is rebind. I've still got to tweak my settings to get it back to how I like it though.

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Old 06-19-2008, 02:33 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by radweld View Post
....
This is totally plausible guys, I'm not trying to be argumentative here. I agree it isn't as simple as I think and and the manufacturers may not be motivated to provide this feature ...
Yes definitely. As I pointed out earlier, it makes the radio cost 600 bucks. It's not impossible technology, just that it would raise the price. Spektrum is not in the business of high-end radios. They have partnerships with JR and Hitec I believe, and JR does make some high-end radios with expandable memory - I think Hitec does too. Futaba of course, has their own 2.4GHz system, and they do have memory card radios, but the cheapest one is $600. So, it's available, but I can totally understand why Spektrum probably doesn't want to compete in that market with mainstays like JR and Futaba. They are coming out with some better stuff recently, so maybe they're headed that way, and it might be a good idea to send them a link to this thread, and the last one where we discussed this, just so they can get an idea of what the 'talk' is 'on the street'...
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:40 AM
  #39  
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I got a shiny new DX6i back from Horizon yesterday, the original one was beyond repair, they did download a default Blade400 setup that will need a bit of tweeking but should get me started. The other planes were anoying but not that much of a problem.
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Old 06-20-2008, 05:38 PM
  #40  
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I made copies of the setup sheets in the back of my DX-7 manual. When I have a plane / heli dialed in, I copy all the parameters to the sheet. If I had to re-enter my data it would be pretty simple with the sheets as guides ..... and entering data is how you learn to use the radio so you can make changes in the field. I'm old school where we used to have sticks and no programming features! I am extremely pleased with what I currently get for the money spent.

"Sounds like when NASA spent a ton of money to get a pen that wrote in space. The Russians just used a pencil."
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Old 06-20-2008, 05:47 PM
  #41  
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"Sounds like when NASA spent a ton of money to get a pen that wrote in space. The Russians just used a pencil."

You have to sharpen, and resharpen a pencil I love those little pressurized pens
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Old 06-20-2008, 07:27 PM
  #42  
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There is always a better way to do something. You probably chose not to get up off your seat to change the channel on the TV because someone thought it was a better idea to provide a remote control to do it. I guess an old school viewer still prefers to get up and change channel though lol.
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Old 06-20-2008, 08:12 PM
  #43  
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When remotes came out, my old man figured out that jingling dimes changed the channel and quarters turned up the volume. He was too lazy to reach for the remote!

I love my home theater remote .... it replaces 5 other remotes!!!

Sure .... I'd love to have a USB interface to a computer....but I do like a cheap computer radio like a DX6i. I am so happy that I can grab the DX-7 and go flying ANYWHERE without fear of someone stepping on me. LOL
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:44 PM
  #44  
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The early remote controls that came out were simple clickers or sonic based so jangling change would have probably done it lol. There is probably the same level of tech in your home theater remote as there is in a basic computer radio lol, and they are usually USB programmable.
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Old 06-21-2008, 02:42 AM
  #45  
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The best back up there is, is still a hard copy.
My old R/C days I used index cards, two for each plane. One had all the radio settings, the other was a pre-flight checklist.
And believe it or not, I still have all those cards in my old airtronics radio case, never lost them.

And having a checklist for each plane is still indispensible, and still has to be on paper.
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Old 06-21-2008, 02:47 AM
  #46  
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Yep... I'm a software engineer and paper is still one of my favorite tools. Drives the young whipper-snappers nuts - but when they completely lose track of what they are doing, I'm always the one who's saying "here, let me draw you a picture"
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Old 06-21-2008, 03:00 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by jasmine2501 View Post
Yep... I'm a software engineer and paper is still one of my favorite tools. Drives the young whipper-snappers nuts - but when they completely lose track of what they are doing, I'm always the one who's saying "here, let me draw you a picture"
Excellent Jas, excellent!
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Old 06-21-2008, 04:36 PM
  #48  
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Since I don't know anything I will jump in here with $.02 worth!! Sometimes I ponder modern marvels engineering - why didn't this have that etc., etc.. It has occurred to me to wonder about the SD card memory too and I wonder that it has NOT yet been done as it would be a feature that would not be specific to any one system or type and would need to be engineered into the system - the basic control system of all future models produced. This would not be a "Super" feature or an "Exclusive" feature as it would apply to all the models so R & D funding wouldn't be recoverable unless a totally reworked system was NECESSARY and this were an added feature to make a new system purchase more attractive. It would be available on the cheapest radio produced as well as the most expensive in basic system programming and main board design from the ground up.

Add-on features are usually just that. Something that a 3rd party vendor figured out and made available as an add-on to a system at cost. Since I'm into scale planes a servo "slower" comes to mind. A rate adjustment device that when connected between a servo and receiver allows the servo to be operated at a VERY slow rate of travel. Allows for retractable landing gear to be slowly retracted in a scale like manner instead of just snapping into place in the blink of an eye. Not a feature found on or with any radio system - but available as an add-on.

I guess my point is why can't this be done. Perhaps a reader working through the "trainer" port to "read" all stick outputs and record them - then a reverse process to transfer that data to the computer via a SIM cable or other USB cable. Even if it only worked to record one "model" at a time - back-up would be possible via repetitive use.

I use Futaba radios. I have and use both 72 and 2.4 for control. I have a "buddy" cable sometimes used for aspiring pilots. I have noticed that the trim settings, response settings, expo, dual rate, etc., etc., must match on both transmitters - or else when you hit the "trainer" switch the plane will revert to what ever setting the other remote has!! What this means is that the cable IS transferring this information from one TX to the other TX via the cable. It would seem to me this makes recording this "data" a matter of capturing the I/O from the trainer port and saving it in some manner. I'm not saying it would be cheap, easy, simple, etc. etc. - just saying I think it COULD be done.

OK - like I said I don't know anything - but it's just my $.02 worth of thought on a subject I find VERY interesting!! LOL!!


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Last edited by hillbille; 06-21-2008 at 04:39 PM. Reason: Spelling and punctuation!! LOL!!
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:48 PM
  #49  
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I work with new and exciting back office computer hardware so find anything I can configure from my PC very exciting. I get bored with repetitive button presses, scrolling though countless menus on a smallish screen. Given then chance, being able to configure the model on my PC and download the model to the radio for use excites me to the point that I can't believe we can't do this already.

I just hope I can do this at some point soon.
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:02 PM
  #50  
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Hillbillie, it has been done - read up - it makes the radio kinda pricey, but it's definitely available, and 72MHz and FASST systems.
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