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Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller

Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller


Brand: Spirit System

Retail Price: $174.94 - $215.00

Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller



Hardware:

  • Very rigid, CNC milled, anodized and sandblasted enclosure
  • Color: Aluminum satin
  • Dimension: 33x32x14mm, weight: 20g
  • Power supply: 3 - 15V @ 25mA
  • Operating temperature: -10°C to 60°C
  • Latest generation, Ultra Fast
    32bit ARM processor: 210 DMIPS
  • MEMS sensor with 9-axis sensor fusion
    (rotation to 2000°/s !)
  • Gold plated PCB with Pb-Free soldering
  • Integrated S-BUS Inverter
  • 2x native Spektrum connectors
  • 3x connector for power supply, 5x for servos
  • Additional peripheral support with future updates (GPS, vario, data logger)

Features:

  • Super-smooth flight control
  • Paddle simulation with inexpressible feeling
  • Paddle mechanics support
  • Extreme vibration immunity for all helicopter types
  • Spectrum analysis for model diagnostics
  • Flight log with recorded events
  • Easy configuration with setup wizard
  • Smartphone or tablet support via Bluetooth
  • JETI-Control with transmitter integration
  • Available for Windows, OSX, Linux and Android
  • Stabilization for scale pilots and beginners
  • Reliable, full-featured rescue system
  • Integrated Bank Switching
  • Governor for Electric, Nitro and Gasser Helicopters
  • BEC tester with load verification
  • Support for PWM, Futaba S-BUS, PPM,
    Spektrum DSM2/DSMX, Full JETI Duplex integration,
    SRXL/SUMD/UDI/X-Bus receivers
  • Support for all servo types:
    1520/960/760us @ 50 - 560Hz
  • Support for CCPM 90/120/135/140°

Package Contents:

  • Spirit Pro unit
  • USB interface
  • 15cm receiver cables
  • 4x 3M VHB double sided adhesive tape

Warranty:

  • 2 year warranty for the original purchaser
  • 50% discount for damage replacement of the unit


We received the Spirit Pro Flybarless Controller along with the Bluetooth Adapter. The Spirit Pro unit itself came packaged in a white box with the Spirit logo/name embossed on the front. Inside was a foam insert that housed the unit itself along with the necessary servo patch cables for use with connecting to a standard rx, double sided foam tape and the usb programmer. The Spirit Pro was a little bigger then expected, but given the amount of ports on the unit, it didn't seem that big overall. Each port is clearly marked and associates with the manual for what each connection port is for. The Spirit Pro seems well assembled, the case lines are smooth and the finish looks pretty cool, being that it's an aluminum housing. The Bluetooth adapter was sent in a resalable type bag and if this is the standard packaging, no big deal as I don't think many Bluetooth adapters come any other way. No manual was included, but got a cool decal sheet.


Installation was fairly simple, used a flat and level surface to mount the Spirit Pro. The unit has all the connections vertical to the unit, so it did require re-running some servo cables to be able to reach and not be taught, as the previous FBL unit that was installed used side/end connections. Once all the wiring was complete and everything was long enough, it was time to start the setup. The Spirit Pro PC software was a wizard to walk through the setup step by step. One of the first setup steps is to select the Rx type, in this case it was to use SRXL (JR X Bux Mode B), once set, had to assign the proper channel assignment in the Spirit Pro. Referring to the JR Manual for the X Bus Mode B channel outputs, that was matched in the Channel Assignment section of the setup. Unfortunately, when this was done, some of the channels weren't operating as they should have been and they didn't correspond with the JR Manual. After some changing things around, was able to get the proper Channel Assignment done and continue with the setup process.

During the setup wizard, have to select the mounting position and swash type, but also have the ability to select from a list of "Model Presets" that have a good selection of todays popular models. Like some of todays popular FBL systems, the Spirit Pro makes you choose the Cyclic and Rudder Servo pulse and frequency, allowing for better performance of the system. One issue at this point was to connect the servos to the unit on order to continue setup properly and while a previously shows connection diagram was displayed after choosing the Rx type, it did not show a diagram of the different swash styles to correspond with which particular servo connects to the Spirit Pro. Because of this, it took a few times of moving connections around to get the proper servo to the proper channel, then the swash was moving as it should once the next step was competed on servo reversing. The next step was to set subtrim in the servos for 0 degrees and this was able to be done to all 3 cyclic servos and the rudder servo from this same screen, followed by setting collective pitch range, cyclic range and rudder end points. At this point, setup is just about completed, just needed to do set to 6 degrees of cyclic and pirouette optimization to ensure the swash is moving in the proper direction when rotating on the Yaw axis. This is important to make sure is set correctly if using the rescue mode.

The Spirit Pro is equipped with a built in gov for both electric and nitro models and we used the electric gov, so that also required being setup as well. When setting up the gov, you can at this point also select the servo frequency too. If using the built in gov, enable it as well in here too. Once enabled, some options become available, sensing divider, gear ratio, max head speed, spoolup rate, response and performance. Now that the unit is connected and seems ready to fly, it was then gonna be time for flight tuning.

There is also the ability to use 3 different banks that can be changed during flight for different flying styles, etc and this too was setup and assigned to a 3 position switch.


The Spirit Pro was installed in a 700 size Heli running 690mm main and 112mm tail blades and set to a max headpseed of appx 2250 rpm.

After the first flight, it seemed most of the default settings were pretty good and just needed some tweaking and fine tuning.

First thing to tune was tail performance. The first flight, after adjusting the gain in the radio, the tail held extremely well, but stops were fairly slow and rotation rate was not as fast as it could have been. So adjusted the rotation speed, rudder delay and rudder dynamic parameters through the Bluetooth App and was able to get it locked in very easily after just a few attempts of "fly, land, test". Needless to say, the tail is extremely solid and not any bounce back in any direction with smooth, crisp stops and holds great under high collective inputs without coming close to blowing out. There is also the option for revomix, but non was used and left at "0" and performance is nothing short of AWESOME.

After the tail was tuned, it was time for doing the same for the cyclic. The first flight felt that the cyclic inputs were a little slow on the sticks as well as the rotation speed. First thing that was done was to up the rotation speed to a comfortable level, then to get the stick "feeling" and responsiveness, just made adjustments to stick deadband and cyclic feed forward until the desired amount was reached. Once this was done, it really came alive. Now for tuning the actual swash/cyclic gain because at this point the elevator seemed to have a bit of wobble/bounce back, so the cyclic gain was tuned accordingly until it was pretty much gone, but one parameter is the elevator filter, which addresses just this issue, so it was also adjusted accordingly. At this point, the heli was about as locked in as it could be. The cyclic held extremely well in smooth aerobatic style flying just as good as it did in higher demanding 3d maneuvers.

The Gov built into the Spirit Pro worked well, but also needed minor tuning to be able to hold a headpseed better, but in terms of its performance, it did well and held to within 100rpm of the set headspeed once set correctly. One thing that was noticed is that no matter what rpm was set to, it always wanted to go to the max rpm settings, regardless of the flight mode, but once it was taken from idle2, then back down, the rpm would follow what was set. After an email from Spirit, there is an RPM Filter parameter that can be adjusted to remove potential noise on the rpm signal line, so this was also adjusted. In this case, it was taken down to the setting of 2 and then the gov was able to respond properly. The gov was running on the esc soft start setting and once that was disabled, it was time to check the Spirit Pro soft start feature. On initial spoolup in normal mode, the soft start was non existent and followed the throttle curve in linear fashion. Tried the various settings for spoolup rate and there was no change, but when spooling up from a throttle position above 40%, soft start was activated and worked nicely. So it appears for the soft start to work correctly, the gov has to also be activated (throttle position above 40%). This was no big deal, just changed the normal throttle curve from 0-42-84 to a flat 84-84-84 (using a 3 point curve) and the soft start worked as it should. Would be nice to see a future update that would allow soft start be active at all times, regardless of the set throttle curve.

The Spirit Pro also has a rescue feature, so after all the flight performance testing was done, it was time to test this. There are several rescue modes, but we chose to test the normal rescue mode that would right the model skids down. So after setting up the parameters and making some transmitter setting changes and adding a program mix (only used the mix because it was setup to use the train switch that was mixed to the rudder gain), it all seemed to work on the bench. Got the heli in the air, flipped inverted, hit the rescue switch and it immediately flipped over the right direction and started to climb, just as it was supposed to. Did the same thing while in a elevator and aileron tic-toc and it immediately flipped over and climbed. Tried the rescue feature while doing several other maneuvers and getting the model into different position and everytime, it did exactly what it was supposed to, flipped over the right way and climbed out.

All that can be said about the Spirit Pro is just plain WOW!!!


We didn't know what to expect when the Spirit Pro arrived because quite frankly, there wasn't that much hype about about. It was packaged well and looked great. Again, it seemed a little bigger then expected, but because it has the additional ports, it's really not that big and seems as though it could mount in most sized helis. The setup was easy, with the exception of the channel assignment issue and servo connections not having a diagram to associate which swash servo went to where on the unit, but that literally only took an extra 10 minutes to get sorted out. We did contact Spirit System about these 2 issues and hopefully there will be an update in the manual with the servo swash diagram and possibly something added to the forum about the use of the JR X Bux Mode B channel assignment as well (we didn't see anything about it).

The Bluetooth module was great to be able to have at the field so no laptop was required for tuning. Personally I don't like to leave the BT modules connected, so it was modified to be able to "hot swap" in and out. The Android App did take a few times of using it to get to know where everything is, but after using it a few times, it was pretty easy to know where to go to make the changes that were needed.

We noticed that price wise, it seems to fluctuate depending where you get it from. If you go right to Spirit Systems website, it's a $175.00+ cost, but if you go to a dealers website, it could be upwards of $215.00, so it just depends on where you purchase from. It may seem high compared to other brands on the market, but it has the built in gov, auto bailout and rescue feature. Either way, it is definitely worth the cost because the performance and features just show that the developers have done a wonderful job on the Spirit Pro and you definitely won't be disappointed with it.

Check them out for yourself at www.spirit-system.com or your favorite hobby shop...


   
First Impression: 5 Stars
Installation/Setup: 4 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Price: 4 Stars

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