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Problems with FrSky Futaba 2.4Ghz modules

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Published on Dec 24, 2010

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If you own an older Frsky module Please read the update below for info on how to fix an a serious intermittent problem with older FRsky modules that could cause loss of control.
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As requested by FrSky this video is a intended as a demonstration of problems with two FrSky Futaba 2.4Ghz modules.

Please excuse the quality of the video and the noise from the parrots in the background. We were in a rush to get this video uploaded as soon as possible and were not concerned with production. quality. Our only intention was to demonstrate the problems as quickly and in the shortest time possible. Other then transcoding to Xvid this video is unedited and complete as recorded.

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IMPORTANT UPDATE ..!!! Please read ...!!!!
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I guess I should have updated this video sooner. I finally decided to put the module on my RF test bench and as suspected I confirmed that the one working module was indeed generating an interment signal.

Upon opening the module for closer inspection I discovered that FRsky had used a standard female header pin assembly for interfacing the module to the transmitter contacts.

This header pin assembly is of poor quality and design and was never intend for this type of use. Not only was it making intermittent contact but was also at times allowing two pins to enter the same hole in the header assembly which was resulting in a direct short in the transmitters interface output.. This is what was causing the fluctuating voltage and could potentially have damaged the transmitter.

As an experiment I replaced the Frsky female connector with one out of an old Futaba module. This immediately resolved all the issues with the Frsky module..

I was quite surprised at the difference in quality of the Molex connector that Futaba was using as compared to the connector Frsky was using. The Futaba connector was of extremely high quality gold plated and the connector was so precisely made that it would be imposable for two pins to enter one hole..

What's interesting is that it appears as though FRsky had planned on using a similar connector as Futaba because the circuit board was pre-drilled and had the proper contacts to simply solder in the much higher quality Futaba connector or a similar Molex from a vendor such as Digikey connector to replace the low quality header pins assembly they were currently using in this production run..

The intermittent nature of this problem presents a serious potential danger to anyone using this early module as you have no idea when the module might stop working as a result of bad contact between the header pins and the module..

As such I immediately contacted FRsky and made them aware of my discovery.. The Rep at FRsky acknowledged the potential problem and was kind enough to mail me some good quality molex style connectors..

I have since replaced the header pin socket with a proper molex connector in all my FRsky modules and they have been working fine ever since. I highly recommended this mod to anyone who has an older FRsky module because the stock interface connector is an accident waiting to happen..

Frsky did tell me that they had planned on using the higher quality Molex connector in the future. I haven't bought any more FRsky modules so I can not confirm this..

If you happen to own a newer Frsky Module and are competent enough to open it, It would be nice to know if they have indeed started using a higher quality connector...

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