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Long time no see… We’ve currently got a new product to test — iRangeX IRX4 2.4G 4-in-1 (CC2500,NRF24L01,A7105,CYRF6936 RF chips) Multiprotocol external JR-type Module based on STM32 that is capable of controlling a large amount of different receivers and RTF models. If you happen to have some popular R|C models but want to be able to control all of those with a single radio — this module would be the best choice!

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Watch our short video review about this product:

Now, let’s have a closer look at iRangeX IRX4:

Technical Specifications:

  • Band: 2.4GHz
  • Weight: 40g
  • Hardware: STM32F MCU with 128KB Flash memory
  • Dimension: 49x22x65mm
  • Antenna Length: 108mm

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Compatible Transmitters:

  • All Frsky transmitters
  • Futaba S-FHSS transmitter
  • Flysky TH9X (Note: The plastic base of the pins on the transmitter needs to be removed to fit this module.)
  • Turnigy 9XR, 9XR Pro
  • Others: other transmitters that can use OpenTX/er9x firmware.

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Features:

  • Upgraded STM32 board, all protocols are included from the box.
  • For OrangeTX, all CYRF6936 based protocols are included.
  • Suitable for many brand’s quadcopters, helicopters and airplanes.
  • Multiprotocol TX module, as long as your transmitter can use the OpenTX firmware, then it is compatible with module.
  • Multiprotocol hex/bin files attached have been compiled with the source files dated of 19/12/2016 using the default settings AETR, telemetry enabled, serial mode enabled and ppm mode enabled using default table. INV versions have inverted telemetry set which is a must for OpenTX while the others are compatible with Er9x/Ersky9x.
  • For Atmega328 boards, some RF modules (and associated protocols) have been included in each hex to fit in the Atmega328. For example: Multiprotocol_V1.1.5_A7105-CC2500-CYRF6936.hex means that protocols depending on NRF24L01 protocols are excluded.

So, according to the specifications and features, this external module requires any radio that meets two stated criterias: it should be capable of running latest OpenTX (er9x) FW (2.2) and should have JR-type external module bay. All FrSKY and Turnigy radios do support that as well as Flysky TH9X does.

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Package:

Comes in a soft plastic bag with omni-directional 2dB antenna. That’s it.

Build and design:

This product looks good and well crafted. Plastic case is neat and fits JR-module bay perfectly. There are 2 status LEDs under the stickers that reports whether the connection with the model is active or not. No other buttons or jumpers.

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The only drawback that we have experienced so far is that side module grips|clamps are short and it is kind of tricky to get module out of the bay — not enough grip to get it out while squeezing clamps. But it still can be done by pulling the module put using antenna connector.

Internals:

Pretty neat as well. No signs of bad soldering or large amount of flux. Seems that electical part is nothing to worry about. I would prefer antenna connector to be hot glued to keep it in place but it is not necessary because this module has a case which would be kept closed and there is no need to open it.

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Module compatibility:

This is the most important part… Manufacturer claims that this module can be used with the following brands/models:

  • Flysky (Generation I protocol, based on A7105, tested)
  • Hubsan (Based on A7105, tested)
  • Frsky (Based on CC2500, tested)
  • Hisky (Based on24L01,tested)
  • V2x2 (Based on 24L01)
  • Dsm2 (Based on CYRF6936, tested)
  • DSMX (you would need to update FW of this module to use DSMX) starting from V 1.1.5 FW release
  • Devo (Based on CYRF6936, tested)
  • YD717 (Based on 24L01 )
  • KN (V977, Based on 24L01, tested)
  • SymaX (Based on 24L01)
  • SLT (Based on 24L01)
  • CX10 (Based on 24L01)
  • CG-023
  • BAYANG
  • SIMAX5C

The most important feature if this module is that it is using STM32F MCU with much more memory (128KB) than was used in the previous iRangeX product based on Atmega328P (32KB). This means that a user no longer needs to reflash the module to be able to use different types of protocols whenever he wants to control different models from different brands. All protocols for all stated models and brands are already inside the FW file and the selection is done in OpenTX FW on the radio side. Module FW updates would now be used to add new models or protocols and to fix bugs only whenever there are some. These are very good news — all-in-one solution for many-many products out of the box ((V 1.1.6 FW from the box))!

Here is Github page for this module — how to do FW updates, compiling, docs, etc HERE

Compiled FWs and updates for this module can be found HERE

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The model I’ve got to test it with the module is very popular now FrSKY Vantac GT90 — 90mm brushless FPV racer with AC800 receiver (made for FrSKY). So, this is kind of tricky — not only the module is a third-party product, but also the receiver is coming from the third-party.

Operating the module:

As it has already been mentioned — this module requires you to have the latest OpenTX /er9x FW on your radio. I have FrSKY Taranis X9D Plus with the latest OpenTX 2.2 (371). If you have FW older than that — it can be downloaded from OpenTX official website and flashed to the radio (you can find the instructions how to do that HERE). The only additional thing to before downloading latest OpenTX FW build to your PC and upload it to radio — is to check «multimodule» option in the radio profile settings.

So, pretend that you are using the latest OpenTX version:

You would have to insert this module into the external bay, attach the antenna and create a new model with AETR (first four) channels order.

Of course, another main thing is to go to the model options, switch off internal module and switch on external one. OpenTX FW would let you choose current protocol that would be used for a model (among all stated above options). For Vantac GT90 it should be set to MODE: MULT -> FrSKY -> D8.

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The only thing left now is to try to bind the model. Vantac GT90 would require power on with radio off to enter into bind mode after 10 seconds of inactivity. Done. Than I would enter into the BIND mode on the radio and that is it — model and radio works together.

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Note: there are other options like autobind in OpenTX when using multimodule. Autobind would start the bind process upon model selection which can be handy with some models that require bind each time on power on.

Other settings necessary to fly this model using OpenTX FW, AC800 receiver and FrSKY radio could be found HERE.

Performed about 20 flights and found no issues with the signal. Flies perfectly, no flaws. Link strength is mostly dependent of the AC800 receiver itself which is kind of weak in terms of the range. But I was able to fly the same distance as I would do with my internal FrSKY XJT module (~100 meters).

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Conclusion:

This is really a very good product to use with OpenTX/er9x FW radio and many different models. It is very easy to deal with, doesn’t require you to dig deep into FW flashing process and stores large amount of different protocols out of the box. Build quality is also very good and the price is not high for something so universal and convenient…

You can buy this product HERE 

Full list of campatible models can be found HERE

Stay tuned, more reviews to come…

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