Setting up a Fr Sky Taranis for Pylon Racing

Do you have an Fr Sky Taranis or have you been considering an Fr Sky Taranis for pylon racing? If so, you are in luck as the Taranis is one of the best performing radios for the high speed and demanding needs of pylon racing. In addition, the Taranis's programming versatility make it ideally suited to the needs of a racer.

For the sake of simplicity, this tutorial will demonstrate all setup procedures using the OpenTX Companion application installed on a local computer. If you don't have this application installed, it is possible to still use the settings outlined by programmed directly to the radio, but direct radio programming is much more difficult and will indeed take a lot longer. This tutorial also has saved model settings of a Proud Bird attached which can be opened in OpenTx Companion and uploaded without change.

Note: There are two downloadable files at the end of this article.  One file is a zip of all the model settings ready for import into the Companion application and the second file contains custom sound files.

Setup Page

Model and Timers

The Setup tab contains the basics. Give your model a name and choose a model image. The attached settings use a stock image of a Shoestring. The sample settings have two timers configured, one that counts up as a running time, and one that counts down from one minute and 30 seconds. Being that an average 10 lap race is less than 1:30, the countdown is an excellent guide.


 

Warnings

The warnings are a very critical step if you intend to configure multiple rates as these warning ensure that switches are in a default position on startup. For the sake of simplicity, the sample model has all switches into a uniform down (away from you) position.

Internal Radio System

If you are pylon racing with a Taranis, then “X” series receivers really should be used. My recommendation is to stick with either the X8R or the X6R with PCB type antennas. The compact PCB type antennas are an easy fit into a pylon place. Plus the dual antennas standard mean that no type of satellite is required.

Assuming X series receivers, choose the Protocol: FrSky XJT D16 with a Start of CH1 and Channels of 8 (Yes, the X6R is actually an 8 channel receiver even though it only has 6 external ports).

Note: the Failsafe Positions are critical and should not be set to a default! Be sure to set the Failsafe Mode to Custom and configure the failsafe on the Throttle channel (channel 1 on the example) to a value of -100. I recommend all other defaults be set to a value of “0.0”, or neutral.

Inputs Tab

The Inputs tab is where you match up the input channel to the servo position. In the case of the example model, the channels are assigned as follows:

  1. Rudder

  2. Elevator

  3. Throttle

  4. Aileron

Also, this inputs tab is where Exponential throw and Dual Rates are configured. The example configuration makes use of one of the best Taranis features, curves, instead of exponential curves for every channel.


 

Being that the rudder is not used very much on a pylon plane, the example model makes use of simple pattern of Dual Rates configured at 80%, 90%, and 100% with a standard 40% expo on each value. To add a dual rate slot, simply right-click on a channel and choose “add”. Simply name the “Line Name” based on the rate type desired (High, Med, Low), set the Curve to “Expo” and then enter the desired expo value to the right of the GV checkbox. Finally, assign the desired switch so that the values can be toggled.


 

While Exponential is great and suits most purposes, I personally prefer the ability to use configurable curves instead. This allows you to customize the feel around center, but also to configure the bleed off feeling of the dampening as the stick moves across the threshold. This is an optional step of course, but it is included in the example model.
 

In the case of the example model, Curve 1 is defined for the Aileron as a 9 point curve with values that give the model very precise center control with an advancing response as the stick reaches 40%, and then a very nice gradual advance in response as the stick is pegged. I find this curve avoids the “falling off a cliff” feel that expo often imparts to precise control surfaces.

I created a very similar curve in the “Curve 2” slot for the elevator. Again, the goal of the elevator is to keep a smooth throw throughout the range without and noticeable “expo jump” at any particular stick position.


 

If you choose to configure curves in place of exponential, the only change required is to setup the curves as described above and then set the dual-rate slot on the Inputs tab to use the curve instead of Expo.


 

Mixes

Mixes are not really necessary for a simple single servo aileron pylon plane. Though, can be used to configure differential in the case of a dual aileron model. Being that the example model is for a single servo Proud Bird, no mixes are required.


 

Servos

The servos tab is a very critical screen for a pylon racer as this is where you setup:

  • Subtrim – To center a servo

  • Min/Max – Set these values to configure both equal throws and also throw limits for each servo

  • Direction – Set servo reversing if needed

  • Curves – Curves are also possible directly on a servo. Though, this is a really not required for a pylon racer and thus not covered in this tutorial.


 

Advanced Setup

The following sections will cover some slightly more advanced and completely optional topics. In fact, if you are following along, I recommend that you setup the model as above and get it flying first before you dive into these settings. Also, if you do configure any of the following, be sure to use the OpenTX Companion simulator and then ground test your model to verify your settings before you fly.

Logical Switches

The Logical switches in the example model are configured to provide the following functions:


 

  1. a>x on the Throttle channel to a value of -100 while SH is up as a logical “Throttle Cut”. This essentially puts a kill switch for the model right on the radio. I personally arm my model, place it on the ground, walk back to the racing position, and only arm the throttle when ready and all is clearly safe.

  2. L2 is configured to be “On” when the throttle cut is “armed” and also the three-position SE switch is fully up. This switch is used to control the timer.

  3. L3 a<x on A2 with a value of 13.56V is a logical switch to used to check the battery voltage. A special function is configured to announce the voltage when the voltage drops below this threshold.

  4. L4 a>x Timer2 set at 00:01:30 and L2. This logical switch is used with a special function that will vocally announce the timer time as long as the SE switch is the in up position. To shut up the timer announce, simply flick the SE switch anywhere but down.

  5. L5 AND SH is up and not SD up. This switch is used to announce a warning when not in Low Rate modes while the throttle is armed.

  6. L6 AND SF is down while SH is up. This is used so that SF can be a timer reset.

  7. L7 AND SF is down and SH is down

  8. L8 a<x on Throttle of 100. This swtich is used with a special function to vocally warn when the throttle is not at 100 (but it is combined with other switches to follow)

  9. L9 a>x on Throttle of 60 and combined with L8. This switch is logically true when the throttle is over 60 and less than 100. The vocal warning of a “throttle low” is configured on this switch.

  10. L10 a>x on Throttle of -100 when SH is up.

 

Special Functions

This is the tab where are the logical switches are assigned functions.

  • SF1 SH is up will play track as a vocal announcement of thrhold (“Throttle Hold”)

  • SF2 SH is down will play track of engon (“Engine On”)

  • SF3 SD is up will play track of norma (“Normal”), to announce normal rates

  • SF4 SD is middle position will play track of hirates (“High Rates”)

  • SF5 SD is up will also play track of hirates (“High Rates”)

  • SF6 when L1 will start logging telemetry values every 0.2 seconds to the SD Card.

  • SF7 SH is up overrides Channel 1 to -100 and deactivate sthe throttle when the switch is up

  • SF8 L6 is defined as SF is down while SH is up. This is used so that the SF switch can be a timer reset.

  • SF9 L3 as defined above triggers when voltage on the main battery is low causing this special function to speak the current voltage value audibly. This is an excellent warning when your battery is low and you might need to prepare for a landing.

  • SF10 L4, as defined above, is when the count up timer crosses 1:30 so that the radio will begin speaking your count-up time as a warning that the flight is running long.

  • SF11 - Configures the audio volume to the S2 rotating POT

  • SF12 – L5 as defined above, speaks that the SD switch is in a “High Rates” position.

  • SF13 – L7 as define above, resets all the timers when SH is down (“engine on”) and SF is up (toward you)

  • SF14 – L9, as defined above, speaks the phrase “Throttle Low” when the throttle is above 60 and below 100 as a warning.

  • SF15 – L10 as defined above, speaks the phrase the “Throttle Hold” when the SH switch is up (towards you).

  • SF16 – Speaks the name of the model when you first switch to it.

Telemetry

The example model above is configured with only two telemetry values:

  • A2 reading from a smart port voltage sensor on channel 2 with warnings when the voltage drops below 13.49 and a critical message when voltage drops below 12.99. Note: Keep in mind that these values are voltages under load.

  • RSSI is configured to warn when signal strength drops below 45 decibels and reports a critical message when signal drops below 42 decibels.

Files: 
AttachmentSize
Package icon Proud Bird Taranis.eepe_.zip6.42 KB
Package icon ef1-custom-sounds.zip427.9 KB