Tom from Botmag has a great write up on a new receiver for robots that will default to a preprogrammed defaults for failsafe actions, good if you have a huge bot that you don’t speeding away on its own…A few months ago Horizon brought the 6-channel, programmable Spektrum DX6 radio to market for electric park flyer model airplanes. It is a spread spektrum system but not frequency hopping, rather it locks onto two of 80-odd available channels for a redundant rf link. Because it operates in the 2.4GHz range, it is not susceptible to typical glitches and electrical interference problems that can plague 72MHz (air) and 75MHz (ground) channels typically used by RC buffs. It also automatically picks unused channels and up to 40 vehicles can be operated simultaneously. It abides by standards that have been agreed to by European and Western countries. It appeared to be the perfect combat robot radio and we reviewed it as such in issue two of robot (you can see the table of contents. No more frequency management or accidentally turning on two transmitters on the same channel.

No sooner had the story hit the presses than everyone learned its failsafe system was problematic for robots. Instead of defaulting to a preset or pre-programmed set of signals for the channels being used, it defaults to throttle-off and the other channels continue operating using whatever signals that were being communicated when the rf link was broken. This not good if you have a 100-pound buzzsaw and flame-thrower rolling across an arena.

We called the Spektrum people at Horizon to see if a solution could be provided. Then some other people in the combat robot world inquired about the same thing, and then I received an email from Brian Nave, avid combat robot enthusiast and a member of our editorial board, who commented on how the robot folks are “fast.” Here’s a hack to fix the problem as reported. All of this motivated Spektrum to come up with a no-cost fix (swap-out)for those who have the airplane radio, and to offer a robot radio with preprogrammed defaults for failsafe to boot.