Taranis X9D Plus 2019 Standard (non-SE) Edition Review

As an owner of a Taranis X9D Plus I was intrigued to see the new updated Taranis X9D Plus 2019 edition.
I have got the Standard edition which was sent to me for a review by Banggood.

 

Following the release of the FrSky Taranis X-Lite Pro and FrSky Taranis X9 Lite this is the FrSky’s third released radio with the new ACCESS (Advanced Communication Control Elevated Spread Spectrum) protocol that is replacing the ACCST.

 

What’s new

On first look the 2019 edition looks almost the same as the old version.
The only visible changes on the front of the radio are the power button and the roller that replaces the + – and Enter buttons which makes the navigation more easier than on the old Taranis.

The power button is not a sliding switch but a button that you have to hold for 5 seconds in order to start or turn off the radio which helps not to turn off the radio accidentally mid flight. There is also a multicolor LED that lights the power sign and also serves as an indicator of the battery state (green when charging and yellow and red on alerts) which looks more up to date than the regular slider switch.

The back of the radio looks exactly the same, with the same connectors on the back, same JR module bay and also the battery compartment is the same size as on the regular X9D. Please note that FrSky is continuing the practice of shipping the radios without the battery which in case you are a previous owner of a Taranis radio is not a big deal, otherwise you will have to get a 2S LiPo or LiIon battery that could fit, or just order the original one for the Taranis. Just a side note if you plan to make your own LiIon battery the 18650 cells will not fit lengthwise so you will have to use 18500 cells. The battery connector is regular 2S balance lead.

You should note that the SD card is not provided with this version.

All switches are the same. The only exception is the clickable button / switch (momentary button) on the top of the left side. One interesting thing is that the markings on the switches are missing compared to the old Taranis.

There is no port for DC charging because on this version the charging is done through the mini USB port but only 2S LiIon batteries.

 

The non-SE version

The version that I have got is the regular edition that in comparison to the special one comes with no hall effect gimbals, regular switches, no wireless training function and non removable antenna.

The box includes the radio, sticker sheet, manual, neck strap and gimbal protectors

 

Internals 

In contrast to the external look, the internals have gone through a fair bit of changes.
The PCB has been redesigned, the internal RF module is now integrated into the back of the PCB.
FrSky have upgraded the old STM32 F205 to STM32 F407 that provides more processing power thus enabling you to execute more complex LUA scripts.
The SE version comes with integrated bluetooth module which is used for the “PARA” wireless trainer system.

 

Powering the transmitter

The Taranis X9D Plus 2019 edition comes with a stable 2.3 open TX version which supports the following protocols:

  • ACCESS protocol
  • ACCST D16 which enables you to connect on D16 so you could bind your old x series of receivers like the R-XSR, XM+, XSR and X4R-SB
  • ACCST LR12

There is no D8 support so you will not be able to use the D series of receivers without an additional XJT module.

As for external modules at the moment it supports

  • PPM
  • XJT D16
  • DSM2
  • R9M
  • SBUS

In order to add support for protocols like Crossfire, R9M ACCESS or Multimodule, you will have to flash your transmitter with the latest nightly build.

 

The ACCESS Protocol

The ACCESS protocol features a bit better range and lower latency,. Features that are really important if you aren’t using Crossfire or R9M.
There is also an over the air (OTA) update available for the newer receivers. The exact list of receivers that support this feature is not yet known. A quick search on google returned mostly R9 MM 2019 version receivers.

Also the ACCESS protocol is declared to support up to 24 channels but there is no info on how it will accomplish that since both SBUS an FPORT protocols support only 16 channels.
Increasing the channel number also increases the latency and on the other side when flying drones you don’t really need that many channels.

 

Conclusion

When FrSky released the radio there were rumors that it will end the support for Crossfire since it entered the market with a 2.3 OpenTX version that was not supporting Crossfire, but soon after that the support for Crossfire was added in the nightly builds.

Also the D8 and D16 protocols support was not clear at that time, but it turned out that all X receivers will be supported so the owners of FrSky products will be able to upgrade to the new Taranis without worrying that they will need to replace the receivers on all their models or spending additional money for a module that supports those protocols.
Unfortunately the support for D8 was removed and you will not be able to use the D type receives.

All in all the new Taranis X9D Plus 2019 is a worthy successor of the old Taranis X9D and if you are in the market looking for your next radio, I would gladly recommend it.
Now that the old Taranis is already discontinued this is one of the logical solutions especially if you are used to the form factor and Open TX based solutions.

You can get the Taranis X9D Plus SE 2019 version here for a discounted price of $219.99 by using the coupon code BG12X9DPSE. The offer is valid until 31.10.2019

Also if you are looking for a transmitter with similar functionality based on the Open TX, I would recommend you to check the the Jumper T16.
Here is a Joshua Bardwell’s video explaining why he switched from taranis to the Jumper T16

 

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