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Simple set up for Turnigy 9XR (or similar) 6 position mode switching with APM Autopilots – No Hardware/Flashing Required

This is a cross post for one of my original blog posts on DIY Drones. It is included here for permanent reference.


Until recently my main TX was a Turnigy 9X and I (like many others) was using a hacked in 6 position POT switch to select modes on my various aircraft. Unfortunately the 9X has died so has been replaced by a shiny new 9XR. Rather then hack apart the 9XR (too pretty) I wanted to experiment with using the existing controls to select modes on my aircraft. I have seen several tutorials on this but none met all of my requirements below.

  1. Not relying on guessing the position of the continuous POT switches
  2. Gives a easy to read visual indicator of current mode
  3. Uses only a single radio channel
  4. All performed with the default software and hardware – no flashing/hacking required

The method I used was to combine the 3 position switch (ID0/1/2) with the Aileron Dir switch. Between these two switches there are six possible combinations which neatly matches the 6 modes of the APM ecosystem.

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Team West Coast UAV in the 2016 Medical Express UAV Challenge

One of my passions is UAVs or drones of which I’ve built a number. Over the past year I’ve been working with a local team of fellow enthusiasts preparing an entry for the 2016 UAV Medical Express Challenge.

The competition involves a simulated scenario where teams must send an unmanned, autonomous aircraft a substantial distance (10-30km) away to locate a person who is unwell. Once located, an aircraft must land near the unwell individual and a blood sample will be placed in the aircraft. Next, the aircraft must autonomously take-off and return back to the launch site where that sample would be “tested” to help diagnose and treat the simulated casualty.

In September 2016 we received a “go” decision from the judges to proceed to Deliverable 2 where we must demonstrate our capability to complete the challenge. We submitted this yesterday and from here the judges will short-list the 20 teams that will get to attempt Deliverable 3 and enter the competition.

Our team blog contains the full details from Deliverable 2 including the written report and the accompanying video is below:

This challenge is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate the abilities of technology for doing good in our world. The fact we can develop this on tiny budgets with a DIY approach is a real testament to the amazing world we all live in.