Flashing F-30a ESCs with SimonK

Flashing F-30A or F-20A ESCs is easy with a USBasp adapter.

You’ll need the following:

Reference This Spreadsheet and find your ESC.  In this case, I am flashing F-30A ESCs, so I will use firmware file “bs_nfet.hex”.

Using the following images, I can match up the 6 or 10 pin connector to the necessary points on the ESC.

6Pin ISP ISP 10-pin connection-pinout

This image shows the corresponding points on the ESC.  Rather than removing the entire case, use the razor blade to cut open a window to the solder points we need our wires to contact.

showatt

I used two servo extension wires with the male leads pressed into the 6 pin connector of the USBasp programmer.  On the other end, I stripped the wires back a little bit and dabbed a little solder on them to keep them stiff.  I can then hold them in place with my fingers while the programmer does its job.

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Open the kkMulticopter Flash Tool and note the settings in the screenshot.

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I can choose the file directly by using the disk icon and then flash that file with the arrow next to it, or I can allow the tool to download the firmware file automatically by selecting the firmware shown and then use the arrow next to the firmware section.

My firewall blocked this app, so I manually downloaded the file and flashed it using the file option.  If you want to allow the tool to download the firmware, you can skip downloading from the firmware link above.

Be sure to hold the wires steady and firm onto the ESC during flash.  If it fails the first time, adjust your grip and try again.  I flashed 4 ESCs in about 5 minutes with a couple failures while getting the wires to touch all pads firmly.

Good luck!

FS-TH9x mods

Now that I’m knees deep in this hobby, I need a better transmitter that supports multiple models.  The FlySky TH9x (Same as the Turnigy 9x) is a 9 channel transmitter which has a ton of options for upgrade.  This is a very versatile transmitter when it comes to modification, firmware, and upgradeable parts.  For a $79 price tag, it’s a deal compared to higher priced models.

Changing firmware is my first upgrade.  The popular ER9x code is available from HERE which fully supports any of the FS-TH9x flavors.  Flashing the 9x can be somewhat daunting and usually requires some soldering, engineering a connector into the case somewhere, and programmer such as a USBASP.  I chose the route of the SmartieParts 9x Solderless Programmer Board.  This is a drop-in board that adds a small USB port inside the battery compartment.  All you have to do is open the case, install the board with a few screws, mount the usb port, and you’re done!

While the case is open, you may as well order a back-light for your screen.  This is a great $5 upgrade you can find HERE.  The smartieparts board above even has a port to power this back-light.  It only requires cutting the existing lead that comes with the back-light and soldering the two-wire plug that comes with the programmer board to the existing wires.  After that, it drops in as easy as the programmer board.

Flashing ER9x was a breeze with the exception of one hang-up.  Use the driver and flashing software for the programmer board that SmartieParts provides on their website.  I did not get regular windows drivers to work.  After that, it’s smooth sailing into a powerful firmware.

My next upgrade is a FrSky DJT transmitter module with Telemetry receiver.  Smartieparts also sells a board to easily integrate FrSky telemetry into the 9x display.  I opted for the FrSky add-on display mostly because I forgot about the SmartieParts adapter.  D’oH!  Those parts should arrive in a couple weeks, so I will update this entry at that time.