TEST: iRangeX IR8M, another universal radio 4-in-1 multimodule/DeviationTX based

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INTRODUCTION

The iRangeX IR8M is the new cheap radio integrating directly the 4-in-1 multimodule coupled with DeviationTX. Thanks to this magic combinaison, you can control hundred of different machines and protocols. It’s a “quasi” universal radio transmitter. The radio comes after the Jumper T8SG, the first introducing this concept. Compared to the T8SG, we have more a gamepad style radio chassis, a larger screen more swiches and better gimbal ball-bearing based. Let’s check this new radio.

BOX CONTENT

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+ 1 x iRangeX IR8M
+ 1 x 2.4G FlySky AFHDS-2A receiver
+ 1 x Receiver cable
+ 1 x USB to mini-USB cable
+ 1 x Allen key

No instruction manual…… It’s strongly advised to visit first the DeviationTX homepage: www.deviationtx.com

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OVERVIEW

The full caracteristic of the transmitter is written on the back side of the box. The 4-in-1 multimodule with the CC2500, the CYRF6936, the A7105 and the nRF24L01+ is here…. This great piece of electronic mainly developped by DeviationTX’s gurus and copied by a chinese chip maker is the core of this radio. Thanks to this chip a lot of protocols can be selected via the OS… several hundread of machine can be flew with and the most important radio protocols are already present: FrSky D8/D16, Spektrum DSM2/X, FlySky AFHDS-2A, Futaba S-FHSS.

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First suprise, the DeviationTX version installed in the IR8M is a (modified) versio, of the Jumper T8SG…. It means that the compatibility with DeviationTX is almost here out of the box :).

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In comparaison with the Jumper T8SG, the I8RM is much more larger….

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The Jumper’s screen is much smaller but with better backlight capacity. The IR8M screen can be almost invisible in strong day lights.

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On shoulders, two pots and two 2-way switches

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Notice my pots are black while for some IR8M they are silver. Unfortunatly the dot reference point is not perfectly aligned with radio chassis. Maybe it can be tuned by removing the pot with the provided Allen key. Notice also for some I8RM, some 3-way switches have been installed instead of two-ways… Strange…. Clearly, the first batch of the IR8M lacks of consistency in term of hardware.

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In the main battery bay, you can find a tray for 4xAA.

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Unfortunatly, the connector is the balancer plug… so you won’t be able to connect directly a 2S LiPo. It’s a 3 pad 2.25mm connector where only the on the right are used. The red wire is a +7.4V or 4×1.5V if connected via AA batteries.

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You will have to design you own cable first to use a 2S LiPo.

Another minor point is the absence of a trainer port at least visible.

-WEIGHT
With the four AA installed, the machine is close to turn around 500g… so 100g more than the Jumper with a 2S LiPo installed inside.

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It’s not a big deal breaker and far to reach the 1Kg for a Taranix + the IRangeX IR4X+ module combo.

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Disassembling

The two latteral rear rubber elements must be first unclipsed to access to the four screws hidden behind.

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Use a good screwdriver, I noticed that the quality of these screws are relatively bad… You can damaged them easily.

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First surprize the multi-module is not shielded. They removed the top metallic casing. I don’t know why… it’s not a question of space to fit the radio…. Strange because, the radio transmission performances can be (deeeply) negatively impacted.

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At least the 2.4G antenna is attached with a uFL/iPX connector. It will be super easy to change another coaxial cable in order to install more an external antenna. The actual antenna is hidden read the main PCB but is at least folded

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All buttons, switches, dial are linked with connectors to the main PCB. A P11 connector is free maybe to connector another switch ?. According to Vlad_vy it’s more the trainer port connector….. So at least there is a way to create one.

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The same on the throttle side with the B1. Here it’s more to install a vibration system. The gimbal system has ball bearing but is basic. Notice the sping tension is not very important and in order to limit dead zone, it’s a good idea to fasten more the corresponding scews.

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No problem to change the radio into mode 1…. It takes a couple of minute. You will have also to change the setting in DeviationTX

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UNBOXING, ANALYSIS, DEVIATIONTX UPDATE, CONFIGURATION AND TESTING

First contact with the radio is relatively good with this large screen and this improve grab capacity. The swiches also are better than the Jumper with different lengths to not be too much in troubles when wearing some FPV goggles. I prefer also the metallic stick more longer than the basic plastic of the Jumper. For me the sping system look good…

What is really strange is for example the left shoulder switch is connected to the left dial. First thing you need to calibrate correctly the radio. If you plan to use only the dial, don’t touch the two shoulder swiched during the calibration. If you plan to use only the two shoulder swiched, don’t touch the dial… It’s strange but original. You can also touch both during calibration. You can in this case have a two behaviour of the dial according to the swich position, one with linear scaling, the second with a very strong expo value. The problem I see with this setting is the need to regulary recalibrate the sticks to select one of the three combinaison.

After a couple of minutes, you can find one the main problem of this radio… As soon as you turned off the radio and want to turn on it quick after… the radio refuse to be turned on….. You will need to wait about 10s… or disconnect the battery plug… It can very problematic in flight situation. The problem comes main probably from a caps in the voltage regulation circuit who don’t flush fast enought. One trick could be solder a wire and touch the main metallic chassis to fush the cap faster…. It’s not a big deal IHMO.
Another problem concerns the deadzones of the sticks. First…. out of the box, the deadzones are smaller than the Jumper’s ones …. but not yet perfect despite multiple recalibrations. You can a bit improve the situation if you
1) fasten more the springs
2) fasten more the screws locking the internal pots in gimbals

A video is now available in YT to show the exact procedure to follow

Notice also the Battery voltage alarm is not set correctly. It’s set to 7.4V synonym of 2S LiPo usage… or here by default you will use (rechargeable) AA batteries. Please change this value to 4.6V. I also not noticed any vibration capacities.

If you try to update directly the IR8M with the last Jumper’s NB, unfortunatly you will got a black screen sign of too high contrast setting.

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Furtunatly, it’s a basic setting to change in the LCD.c file and vlad_vy already produced a special build for the IR8M: https://www.deviationtx.com/forum/builds/7605-irangex-irx-ir8m-builds

This one works flawless but you will need immediatly to recalibrate the sticks, turned on the vibrations and set the correct battery voltage alarm.

Finally please find a generic Model file specialized for the IR8M where the switchD is AUX3, the switch B AUX1, the switch A the AUX2. The switch C is a D/R on AIL/ELE.

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CONCLUSIONS

Basically the I8RM improves most elements versus the Jumper T8SG: larger screen, better grab, better swiches and better sticks/gimbal…. The multimodule works fine and please update the last DeviationTX build to enjoy more protocols and protocol compatibilities. The two main concerns are about the no power on after a quick turn off… mainly linked with a problem in the circuit design and the second is the remaining presence of deadzones in the sticks whatever the introduction of ballbearing. Personally, I can overcome easily these two negative points and take the IR8M as my daily radio. I like the price, the same as for the Jumper radio but in bonus a small FlySky receiver is included. One last point, be aware in a couple of weeks, the Jumper T8SG+ will be available with Hall effect gimbals but sold around 110USD.

PROS

+ Builtin Multi-Module 4-in-1 to control hundreds of protocols
+ Better hands grab
+ Better gimbals with ball-bearings than the Jumper T8SG ones (but not yet perfect)
+ Metal sticks better than the Jumper T8SG ones
+ Larger LCD screen
+ Switches more easy to manipulate than the Jumper T8SG ones
+ 2 More switches than the Jumper T8SG
+ Sticks dead zones more limited vs the Jumper T8SG ones (but not yet perfect)
+ iPX/uFL connector for the 2.4G antenna
+ 2.4G receiver provided with
+ Shoulder switch & dial coupled togather (can produce interesting behaviour)
+ Same price than the Jumper

CONS

– Can’t repower on immediatly after a turn off
– Shoulder switch & dial coupled togather (need regulary stick recalibration)
– No vibrations
– No metallic shield on the 4-in-1 multimodule
– Batt voltage set for 2S LiPo not for 4xAA
– – No direct 2S balancer plug comptability
– No trainer port (but there is a connector on the PCB to create one)
– 100g heavier than the T8SG
– Quality build inconsisty for the first batch

This Transmitter have been courtesy provided by Banggood in order to make a fair and not biased review. I would like to thank them for this attitude.
You can find it actually for 86USD at https://www.banggood.com/IRangeX-iRX-IR8M-2_4G-8CH-Multi-Protocol-Transmitter-With-PPM-S_BUS-Mini-Receiver-p-1226058.html

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