Monday, August 27, 2012

SmartieParts -- one per Turnigy 9x?

I sent this query off to the SmartieParts people:

 Can I use one SmartieParts board to configure 2 
 Turnigy 9x units? in other words, can I use
 the SmartieParts board to install ER9x or similar
 and then remove the SmartieParts
 board?  (Of course, that 9x unit won't be
 able to take advantage of the enhanced
 LED features.)

And got back this response.  It's pretty good information that I haven't seen elsewhere, so I'm taking the liberty of posting it here.  I ended up not ordering a second 9x, so the issue became moot for me anyways!

(update: after installing my SmartieParts board and getting some experience with it, I find I agree with Steven's notes below.)

Steven writes:

Yes you *can*... but I don't think you *should*.  And its not just because I want to sell more kits :) Honestly... there are good reasons:

  1.  Most people quickly realize that they need to update *frequently* because the firmware is in constant development.  There are regular updates (it is slower than it used to be... but still).  Swapping is a pain.
  2. The plastic that you're screwing into... it just isn't designed for constant assembly/disassembly.  You'll strip out the plastic eventually.  That goes for both the main case screw holes as well as the risers that my board screws onto.
  3. Even if you don't frequently update your firmware... one of the huge benefits of a permanently installed programmer using er9x/eepe combination is that you can easily and quickly define and tweek your models' settings on your computer and transfer them to your radio rather than using the less-intuitive radio menu controls.
  4. Similarly, you can hold literally millions of models on your computer but only a handful on your radio.  But with the programmer, all you need is to hook it up via USB and you can transfer whatever models you want at that particular time.

So really... its best to have a permanent connection in each radio.  That's the biggest "complaint" (if you can call it that) people have about my kit is that it is too expensive to outfit it in multiple radios.

At the risk of talking myself out of a sale... I usually advise people with multiple radios to instead buy one cheap-o USBasp programmer and practice up on their soldering skills and solder a permanent connector into each radio and use the one USBasp externally.  See... comparing my $35 programmer to a $10 programmer for one radio is only a $25 difference and that's easily justified by not having to solder and risk damaging the radio... but when you do the math for 2, 3 or 4 radios (or whatever)... now the difference is much larger.  With that said, there are MANY people who have bought multiple kits from me!  There's one guy that has 8 radios and 8 of my kits and he swears by it!

I hope that helps with your decision making.

Steven Morehouse

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