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9Xtreme

9Xtreme

Supercharge your 9X radio with this powerhouse add-on board. With our flagship kit you gain the ability to use advanced 3rd party firmware, display telemetry data on-screen, have important information spoken to you and more. Most importantly, we're mainstreaming 32-bit processing for the 9x community!

$69.00

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  • Description
  • Installation Instructions
  • F.A.Q.
  • Updating Firmware
Update:  [Jan 24, 2017] We're now sold out of the 9Xtreme boards. At this point, there are no immediate plans to produce another batch. Demand was not high enough considering the high minimum product run necessary for this complex board. I'm considering a couple of options. It would be helpful if you could let me know what features are most important to you and which ones we could remove, if I were to produce a simpler version in the near future.

Building on the convenience offered by our SmartieParts Solderless 9X Programmer and TelemetrEZ boards, we've now combined all the major mods people love into one very potent package!

You get custom firmware flashing, you get telemetry integration, you get voice capability, backlight control, expanded model memory and power... so much power.  The major features are discussed below.

Firmware Flashing:

The roots of 9X modding have always been about getting custom firmware onto your radio.{since, frankly, the stock firmware just sucks}  The 9Xtreme effectivelybecomes your 9X, and comes pre-loaded with ERSky9X, an unleashed version of the extremely popular ER9X.{In fact, ERSky9X is developed and maintained by Mike B, the guy responsible for ER9X's development}  Updating the firmware and transfering models and settings is as simple as a USB connection to your computer.

Expanded Model Memory:

Got lots of models?  Good, because we've got lots of space.  Full support for 60 of the most advanced models you can dream up, plus infinite more using the Micro SD card slot!  And those 60 don't even push the boundaries of the physical space we have so more potentially could be added later if people have the need for it.  The 9Xtreme boasts the most available internal memory available for the firmware developers to make use of.

Telemetry Integration:

What was once a complicated exercise in patience and steady hands, was made simple thanks to our TelemetrEZ board.  That same simple and effective solderless solution is integrated into the 9Xtreme in one clean package.  No more need to run a whole plate of spaghetti through your radio!  With telemetry, your model talks to your radio.  With the 9Xtreme, that data is displayed on screen and/or spoken through your speaker!{Telemetry enabled transmitter module and receiver required.  See FAQ for more information}

Backlight:

First we brought you the EL backlight, then we provided advanced support for the HobbyKing LED backlight, but now we're upping our game!  Included in this kit is a custom made RGB backlight!{RGB stands for Red/Green/Blue and can form almost any color the eye can see}  RGB means you can select any color you want, and change it as often as you want, within the firmware!  Not sure if you like Blue, or Red or Green... maybe you have a hankering to try Pink or Purple.  Now you can.  Again, no soldering, cutting, splicing or dicing required.  Hey, and wouldn't it be cool to have your radio's screen flash a different color to alert you to something?{At time of this writing this hasn't been implemented in the firmware but is certainly possible}

Sound / Voice:

Sure we give you dazzling colors for your screen, but how about you keep your eyes on the flying lawnmower!  Get audio feedback from your transmitter so you don't have to look at the screen to know what's going on.  This is particularly useful when combined with telemetry functions... know when your plane's battery is getting low, or you're reaching your range limits, or.. your heading East, I don't know!  What it says is up to you... giving you a solderless, simple method for hearing it is our job!   A speaker is included in the kit so all you have to provide is a Micro SD card to hold the voice files.{Almost any MicroSD will do.  We tested with various classes and sizes up to 16GB.  1GB is plenty of space so don't waste a perfectly good 32Gb Class 10 card on this}

Power (the processing kind):

It is amazing what Mike B and those before him have managed to coax out of the 9X's relatively dinky processor.  If you want technical specs, you can Google Atmega64A (what the 9x uses now) and STM32F205 (the beast we're augmenting it with), but really its kind of like this:

The little blue guy is the 9X that we're taking for a ride.  What happens when you combine a beast of a firmware developer like Mike with a beast of a chip?  It is going to be fun to find out.

Power (the electricity kind):

The last thing I want to bore you with is volts and amps, but I've got to mention the power handling.

  • First, we're off-loading pretty much all the power responsibilities from the 9X's super-cheap, low-grade voltage regulator and putting it on the shoulders of our board's dual-regulators.  Our switching regulator is up to 96% efficient, compared to the 40% efficiency of the stock regulator (when used with a fully charged 3S LiPo battery).  Your battery lasts longer and you fly more without worrying.
  • It also means you're free to use the battery you want to use, without compromise.  Before you had to either waste the majority of a 3S's voltage to heat, or else squeak by with a 2S that wouldn't last long due to the high drop-out of the stock regulator.  Our system runs happily on either one.
  • Our system can easily handle 500mA{the regulator can handle much more than that!  But we're designing everything around a 500mA max} for any future add-ons you might dream up, compared to the 100 or so mA we're limited to with a stock 9x.
Contents: Your package includes:  A) the 9Xtreme; B) hardware (2 silver screws, 2 black screws, 2 plastic standoffs, 2 plastic barbed supports); C) FrSky module connector cable; D) USB connector cable; E) MicroUSB header; F) Jumper cable; G) 2x promotional stickers; H) 9Xtreme adhesive badge; I) RGB Backlight panel; J) Adhesive foam; K) Speaker.  If you are missing anything please contact us.
Here is a closer look at the small hardware. Note: You have two pairs of screws which are identical other than color. You'll be using only one pair (curious why?)

Before you begin

Make absolutely certain you have your battery situation sorted prior to installing the 9Xtreme. A reverse polarity event will destroy your new board! Please read the 9X Batteries page if you have any hesitations at all.
This has nothing to do with installation, but please remember this. Swapping transmitter modules with the radio powered on can damage the 9Xtreme. Always power down your radio before removing or plugging in a module!
Confirm your 9X works properly before continuing.  This will help with troubleshooting if you have a problem later.  Remember to remove your battery while performing the installation.
Make note of your current models and settings.  Keep in mind that you're starting fresh with new firmware. Any existing models and settings will need to be re-created in the new system. Making backups (ie. write down) can save a lot of time.
Consider installing a CR1220 battery before performing the install. The battery is optional{it runs the Real Time Clock (RTC) function, which is only typically important for data logging} but it is easier to install ahead of time since it goes on the bottom of the board
Step 1: Turn your 9x radio over and remove the 6 case screws with a basic Philips style screw driver.
Step 2: The two halves of your radio are connected with a single cable highlighted in the picture. Carefully disconnect that cable by gently pulling while rocking the connector side to side.
Step 3: Identify what screws your 9X uses. Carefully review the picture. If your 9X has all the screws shown in this picture, including the one highlighted in green, then the 4 corner screws are slightly larger than the 5 interior screws and you'll want to keep them sorted. It also means that the screws we've provided you are too large to fit in your 9X without a little modification. In this case, please drill out the two screw holes marked in blue with a 3/32" drill bit (metric 2.3mm) to save the post from cracking. In any case, remove all 8 or 9 screws.
Step 4: Gently lift the main circuit board up so you can remove the foam and replace it with the thinner one we've included in your kit (J). Take care not to stress the circuit board while removing the foam and don't be overly concerned with getting every trace of glue off.
While you're in there, check to see if they left your LCD's shipping protection film on like they did mine. Is so, remove it and discard. It is thin clear plastic and comes off easily.
You can also remove a similar film from your new backlight panel. although it isn't really necessary. It can be tricky to find and peel off and be sure you aren't peeling off the thicker white films!
Step 5: Position the RGB backlight panel so that the wires exit from the lower-right, as shown in the picture. Take a moment to be sure the LCD glass and the plastic buttons haven't moved out of their proper positions. Be sure no wires are being pinched, lower the main circuit board back into its normal position and secure it with a couple of corner screws. at this point, press the front buttons on the 9X to make sure they properly engage. If they feel wrong, then something isn't quite in place so try again. If all is OK, secure the rest of the screws except the two marked blue in Step 3.
Step 6: Press the two included barbed plastic supports through the two larger on holes the 9Xtreme board, as shown.
Review steps 7 and 8 and determine for yourself what order you want to do it. Some people are going to find it easier to plug the cables in first while others are going to want to secure the board down first. Both ways have their challenges and benefits
Step 7: Position the two included plastic spacers over the remaining unoccupied screw holes on the 9x (again, those marked in blue in Step 3) and carefully lower the 9Xtreme in place then secure with two of the included screws. Do not over-tighten.
Step 8: Connect the cables. The picture shows where they go (not shown is the black and white FrSky cable "C"). The headers marked with blue circles are populated with cables we supply,{the letters matching the contents picture at the top of this page} while those in purple use the 9x's cables usually located near the header in question.  The 12-pin receives the main power harness from the back half of the case.  The two headers marked with grey circles are for future use.  Note that the right-hand 6-pin cable stays in connected to the 9X.
Take particular care with the 12-wire jumper cable that it is seated properly, as it can take a bit of force to get it in. Fully seated it should look like the picture.
Step 9: Place the speaker in the space below the antenna as shown. You can use some hot glue to hold it in place.
Alternatively, re-use some of the 9Xtreme packaging as I've done here.{I just folded the soft foam a couple of times and stuffed it in... seems to work fine}
Step 10: Connect the 4-wire USB connector cable to the Micro USB Header.
feed the header through the back of the case's battery compartment as shown.
Step 11: Close up the case, replace your case badge and you're done!

First Use

Consider updating your unit's firmware prior to first using it. There have been several changes since the version that comes pre-installed, including a few bug fixes. See the Updating Firmware tab on this page.

Your 9Xtreme comes pre-loaded with ERSKY9X firmware, a very powerful version of ER9X. Turning on your radio for the very first time, the 9Xtreme will detect that the 9X itself doesn't have the proper supporting firmware so it takes a moment to bring it up to speed. It only takes a couple of seconds before the 9Xtreme has completely educated its host body, and you'll soon be presented with the ERSKY9X logo on your screen.{Or you might see errors/warnings relating to switch positions.  Follow the on-screen prompts.  If you see an EEPROM error with no on-screen prompt, reboot the unit and it should fix itself}

For help with using your brand new hunk of awesome, head on over to the official 9Xtreme section on OpenRCForums.

Pre-sales / General

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The 9X was sold under several names over the years. The company that actually makes it is FlySky {not to be confused with FrSky} and the official model number is FS-TH9X-B, though it is usually referred to simply as the 9X. While FlySky is the manufacturer, HobbyKing popularized this radio, selling it under their in-house name as the Turnigy 9X.{not the same thing as their 9XR!} It was also sold under iMax and Eurgle brands, although I haven't heard of either in years. Be sure your unit isn't an early V1 model (see question below).
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Nope. Despite the (deliberately) similar sounding name, the Turnigy 9XR or 9XR Pro have absolutely nothing to do with the 9X.
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Regardless of what the seller of your radio told you, there's no way to know what version your board is until you open it up and check. Our products work with all but the earliest "V1" boards. If you bought your radio since around 2011, you probably don't have to worry about it, but you should confirm your version. Most people refer to there being only 2 versions ("V1" and "V2"), when in fact FlySky is at least up to V15. But for our purposes, there's "V1" and then there's everything else. The "everything else" works. If you do have a V1 board, it can still work but soldering will be required and that sort of defeats the purpose.
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The kit comes mostly complete but, depending on what you want to use it for, there are some things you'll need to supply. A common Micro USB cable to connect the 9Xtreme to a computer{not entirely necessary, but very useful}. A MicroSD card is necessary for the voice functions. A CR1220 battery is needed for RTC.{Real Time Clock. If you want the clock on your radio to keep time when you shut your radio off, you'll need this. Also required for some data logging functionality} For telemetry integration, you'll also need a FrSky DJT, XJT{recommended} or DHT transmitter module and appropriate receiver.
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At the time of writing{November 18, 2015} the 9Xtreme is compatible only with ERSky9X{A more powerful version of ER9X} firmware, which utilizes the eePskye software.{Which is installed along with EEPE} The other firmware projects, such as OpenTX, will probably adopt the 9Xtreme as people ask for it, but give ERSky9X a shot... it is pretty great.
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No, it augments it. We did this for two good reasons: #1 there's no sense wasting the original 9X's circuitry when it is perfectly suitable for handling mundane tasks. #2 we can deliver the board to you at a lower cost by not having to recreate things like the LCD connection and all the pushbuttons on the front of the board. Having the board smaller also means lower production and shipping costs. It just made sense.
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Everything. The SP Basic is just that... basic. The *ONLY* thing it does is give you the capability to flash custom firmware onto your 9X. However, that particular task is the only thing the 9Xtreme isn't used for. The 9Xtreme carries its own powerful firmware, along with all its great features such as voice, telemetry integration, RGB backlight and killer processing power. But if you want to use a specific firmware and are willing to forgo all those features, then this SP Basic is the right tool for the job.

Troubleshooting

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Admittedly, I didn't get the audio circuitry perfect on the first try. If you're getting "data chatter" noises, Mike B has narrowed the cause down to the unused (by default) I2C line. He has implemented an option in the firmware to disable I2C. For the more constant "hiss" sound, so far there's not much we can do about it. It bothers some people, but most have said it is nothing too terrible. Others can't hear it at all.
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If that is the only words on the screen, then the 9Xtreme was unable to flash the 9X with its slave firmware and you're seeing the stock firmware. The problem is not actually with your switches, but rather the spring pins on the bottom of the board aren't making proper contact with the 9X's pads. This could be a simple matter that the screws are too loose.{The board should be secure with no up/down movement allowed. Do not over-tighten} Flux residue or oils from your fingers could prevent a signal, so cleaning the pads and pins with 99%+ alcohol can make the difference. Inspect the pins {there should be 5 and they should be reasonably straight and the spings should function} and pads {they should be relatively flat and smooth and undamaged}. Finally, confirm that you don't have a V1 9X.
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This is your software telling you the hardware isn't (yet) connected to the computer. Be sure to read the "How do I update the 9Xtreme's firmware?" question in the Usage section below and follow those steps precisely. Additionally, I personally have experienced a few times where I've had to unplug and replug the USB cable for the drive(s) to be recognized, but it always works on either the first or second time. Note that sometimes my computer recognizes the drives quickly while other times it has taken up to about a minute. I'm not sure why the variance, but please give it some time then retry the operation and see if the error is still there.

Usage

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ER9X.com is where official releases of both are located. Mike also releases test (beta) versions on the forums.{see last question in this section}
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Please see the Updating Firmware tab on this page.
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I provide the hardware and have nothing at all to do with the software or firmware development. You'll get the best answers from people that use the software and/or firmware you've chosen, since they'll have a lot more experience than I have. OpenRCForums.com has a dedicated section now for the 9Xtreme, and that would be the ideal place to start. There is a manual for ER9X, which is very similar to ERSky9X, and that would also be a good resource.
The procedure for updating the unit's firmware is not intuitive, but it is simple. There are other methods, but following these steps should work:
  1. Pinch your two horizontal trims inward while at the same time flipping the power switch on. This puts the 9Xtreme into bootloader mode. Don't worry about any message on the screen about "no firmware".{Remember I said there were more ways to do the update. That message is referring to another way not involving a computer}
  2. Now plug in the USB cable between your computer and your radio. If you already had it plugged in, then start over because order matters!
  3. Wait up to a minute for your computer to recognize the new drive(s){There may be one or two. If you have a MicroSD card installed on the 9Xtreme, it will also present itself to your computer at this time}.
  4. In eePskye, click the Burn menu and choose Flash Firmware to Tx.  Choose the ersky9x9XT_rom.bin file you download from www.er9x.com.{Look for the "ersky9x for 9Xtreme" link.}  That should successfully update your 9Xtreme's firmware.

If you wish to update the firmware but do not want, or are unable, to perform the "pinch" method above {for example you have physically modified your case or one of those switches isn't working or you simply wish to update the firmware without physically installing the unit into a 9X} then this is an alternative method but it uses different software and these steps assume you're using Windows:

  1. Download and install STMicro's DfuSe software from the bottom of this linked page.  Run the application.
  2. In the software there is a box labeled, "Available DFU Devices" and inside that box should be nothing.
  3. Plug the USB cable into the 9Xtreme and "STM Device in DFU Mode" should appear in the aforementioned box.
  4. Right-click and save the following 9Xtreme (Rev 218) dfu file to your computer:  LINK {This may or may not be up-to-date. You can check to see if there is a newer version available at ER9X.com and let me know and I'll update this file}
  5. In the section labelled "Upload Action" there is a button marked "Choose...". Select the file you downloaded in the previous step and choose "Upgrade". There will be a warning about not being able to confirm if this is the correct file while in DFU mode, which you'll have to ignore to continue.