Newbie - Alias swap out flight controller recommendations

Inspired by Benedikt’s videos, I picked up a Traxxas Alias and am learning to fly line-of-sight. Super fun drone!

I would like to swap out the flight controller so I can use it as an excuse to buy a “real” transmitter: to that end:

  1. Any reason not to use the same fc as in Benedikt’s videos? I presume this is the same $20 fc available on the website?
  2. What tools might I need to mount the fc to the Alias? I have a dremel, I presume I may need to drill / shave some of the alias frame.
  3. Any DSMX receiver will do? The “Orange” one from rcplanet?
  4. I am looking at the FrSky X9D: any reason not to go with this transmitter for now?
  5. Other “gotchas” to look out for? I understand I may lose telemetry and have to start watching my flight times more closely - but other common beginner mistakes?

Thanks in advance for any advice,

Sam T

50 or 60 watt solder iron or
a solder station if you prefer.
63/37 solder is great for learning to solder. Less chance of a cold solder joint.
A practice board for solder basics. IE
How long your iron takes to melt solder
Patience lots of patience that’s all I got bro.

Sam: Welcome to the Micro Motor Community! :smiley:

On points 3 and 4, a DSMX receiver will not be compatible with the FrSky radio (without an additional multi-protocol module).

DSMX is the protocol used by Spectrum brand radios. FrSky radios typically use the ACCST (D8 or D16) protocol. This year FrSky also introduced their new ACCESS protocol, which is only available on 2019 and later radio models.

Unfortunately, FrSky’s 2019 ACCESS transmitters are not backwards compatible with the older D8 protocol, which is what most quadcopter FCs with built-in RX use. They only support the more recent D16 protocol (after a firmware update) and ACCESS.

All this said, FrSky radios offer excellent value and performance, and are most popular with quadcopter pilots. My recommendation would be to pick up a FrSky Taranis X9 Lite (only $70 at Aloft Hobbies). Then get an FC with built-in D16 RX, or get an FC without RX and solder an FrSky XM or XM+ directly onto the FC.

If all this sounds too complicated, I hope that others will chime in with a simpler solution as well as specific FC recommendations.

Gentle winds and good luck!

According to the Micro-motor-warehouse site, the AlienFlight FC requires an “external DSM receiver. We recommend the LemonRX DSMX satellite RX.”
But I understand not wanting to get a Spectrum radio when it seems like the community has embraced the FrSky protocols. I recommend a multi protocol “Jumper” TX then… I got the Jumper T8SG v2 Plus and it is great. I control my FrSky whoops and my DSMX usb stick (for simulators) with it.

AND… welcome to the Alias club… I love my Alias fleet and even converted one to FPV. Although I haven’t tried converting one to an alienwii fc yet, It’s been a blast and has been a good way to learn to fly LOS and FPV. I started out in easy mode (self leveling) and transitioned to expert mode (acro) as soon as I could. After a while, I changed the rates using the tx and now it can really move. My favorite mod is the dark edition motors from Benedikt. they make a huge difference and are way more durable than the stock motors. I also break way fewer gears now, maybe because of the delrin pinions on the new motors.

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I too am interested in this. I have quite a few Alias parts which I would like to use.
I really want to use a different (non-stock) TX. I was hoping the Traxxas Alias proto would be
reverse engineered and added to the multiprotocol source but that now seems
very unlikely.

I wonder if there is a better FC to use now (several years later).

Definitely looking at the X9 Lite as per your recommendation!

Thanks for all the feedback!

I am looking at the X9 Lite transmitter for now.

However, the options for flight controllers are quite mind boggling! My main confusion is that I won’t use the FPV features at first.

E.g.: if I get something like this Lumenier Lux v2 — https://www.getfpv.com/lumenier-lux-v2-flight-controller.html — for example, is this overkill, or a problem, that I am putting it on an Alias with no camera?

Hoho, now I see this choice of flight controller is quite silly for my little build: a “2S” controller with ESC pads will not do at all for our little Traxxas Alias.

Now looking more modestly for “brushed, 1S” controllers, like perhaps this one: https://www.getfpv.com/alienwhoop-zer0-brushed-flight-controller-frsky.html?

And a receiver: https://www.getfpv.com/jumper-r1-d16-frsky-compatible-micro-receiver-with-s-port-and-s-bus.html?

Fun times.

Yes, you want a brushed 1S FC, the Zer0 however will only run the Silverware Firmware, not Betaflight.
While this will also work and IMHO Silverware makes for better flight on brushed, you may want to consider a different FC for this because Betaflight is easier to setup correctly on a custom build like this.
You can still go Zer0/Silverware once you have the basics down.

A BetaFPV F4 Board should make setup more straight forward and has the the added benefit that it already comes with a Frsky RX.
A AlienFlight Board will require an external RX, but is cheaper and reallly well tested.

For the receiver: yeah that one will work, haven’t used Jumper RXs tho. I usually stick with Frskys very own XM/XM+ Recievers.

If you consider my choice of the X9 Lite transmitter, Benedict, how might this change your recommendations?

As I understand the X9 Lite does not support D8 (for the BetaFPV board), nor is it a DSMX protocol unit (for the AlienFlight).

Curious to hear your thoughts on this transmitter.

As far as i understood they added D16 support (not D8 however) to the X9 Lite with a firmware update. see https://www.frsky-rc.com/taranis-x9-lite/

This should make it work with XM+ and will probably make it work with the betafpv board (on BF 4.x anyway, they fixed D16 there for me).

TBH i would not buy a X9 Lite. Not because its a bad radio, the price point is certainly appealing, but because i think some of the design decisions done here are customer hostile. (dropping backwards compability, switch from a standard module bay to a proprietary one)
Just my two cents.

I ended up toughing it out with the Alienwhoop Zer0. It was a hard fought battle, a couple of weeks of hardware mistakes, wiring mistakes and transmitter settings mistakes, but she is finally hovering!

Now I need to tweak my … rates, filters … pids? Anyway now I get to play around with the software a bunch, which is my stronger suit anyway. Super fun.

Side note: one of the CL-8020-17 motors (a red/blue wired one) was spinning the wrong way so I had to reverse the wires. Not sure if maybe I bridged something on the fc by accident to cause this, or… maybe it came with the wires reversed? Anyway working now with the reversed wires (correct spin direction).

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