Press Release: September 16, 2020
In this review article, we will look into the FrSky Taranis X8R receiver and answer the question as to whether you should get one for your craft or project over any other receiver. We will also look into the feature list, compatibility and other such details of this receiver.
Hardware & Pin Layout of the X8R Receiver
The X8R is a FrSky receiver that is mainly targetted towards planes and larger size quads or crafts where size is not a constraint and where you need pure PWM pins than S.Bus or PPM. The X8R has a plastic cover to protect it from the elements (which you can remove to save space and weight).
The FrSky receiver X8R outputs 8 individual PWM channels and also has an S.Bus port if you want to use with modern flight controllers like the PixHawk or micro quad flight controllers. The 8CH PWM is especially useful when you want to control a lot of servos and systems especially on planes and such systems where PWM is mainly used.
There is also a PWM RSSI output pin for getting Raw Signal Strength Indication for your Flight Controllers.
On the backside of the FrSky receiver X8R, there is a Smart Port pinout as well! This is great in case you want to connect external FrSky Sensors or provide telemetry data from your Flight Controller to your FrSky transmitter radio. It is weird that they have chosen to place the Smart Port pins at the antenna side of the receiver than on the right side where all the usual pins are situated; this will bring up an untidy wiring setup.
Speaking of the antennas, the X8R consists of 2 patch antennas(PCB antennas) instead of the normal dipole stranded wires. What does that have to do with the performance you may ask, quite simply, patch antennas provide more range than dipole antennas. In the case of the X8R, FrSky claims an additional 20% more range! So why not put patch antennas on all receivers? The reason is that patch antennas are highly directional with higher gain than traditional dipole antennas. Simply put, they receive signals very well in a particular direction ( parallel to the antenna orientation ) but have low signal strength in other directions.
This can be useful in some cases where the craft is moving parallel to the transmitter but once it changes its heading, it can lose some signal strength. In most cases, this wouldn’t make much of a difference, so you needn’t worry ;)
On the top side of the receiver, you will find the F/S (Bind) button as well as the two RED/GREEN indicator LEDs.
The X8R from FrSky is an ACCST supporting receiver. We have already discussed about ACCST & ACCESS in other posts, so we are not diving into that in this one.
The PWM as discussed is 8CH output and the S.Bus pinout would be perfect for stabilizers and flight controllers.
The Smart Port connector on both the FrSky receiver X8R also supports FrSky FBVS from with A2 port for simple voltage monitoring as well as other sensors and telemetry systems from FrSky like the TEMS-01 for temperature monitoring of your craft or engine etc. or another example would be the FSH-01 sensor hub, so you can connect multiple sensors to one board which then relays the data to the X8R receivers for telemetry.
This feature is quite useful in helis and places especially the ones with a petrol or nitro engine where you have to monitor temperature and RPM along with other data.
You can use the S.Bus to output all 16CH from the receiver and in case you need to use 16CH PWM channels, you can get an S.Bus to PWM decoder which will translate the S.Bus signals into individual PWM channels for all your servos
But that isn't all the Taranis X8R receiver can do. It can also work in the D8 Mode to work with transmitter modules such as the DHT, DJT, DFT and DHT-U. In this mode, you have 8 channels and at the same time, you can use the Smart Port.