Calibration Mode

Mike Shellim 4 Dec 2013
Updated 22 August 2017

Introduction to Calibration Mode

Calibration Mode is a special flight mode which you can add to any model. It eases the process of calibrating your servos. Calibration mode can also facilitate the precise matching of paired surfaces like flaps and ailerons.

When Calibration Mode is active, all mixers and trims are disabled, allowing absolute end points and centres to be visualised directly.

heading image

 

Example

CAL mode is implemented via a 'REPLACE' mix at the end of each servo channel.

Here's an example applied to Channel 1:

MIXERS MENU

CH 01

[...]

[...]

Src=Ele wt=100 Multiplex=REPLTrim=NO Flightmode=FM1 Name=CAL

When the CAL mix is active, all the mixes above are ignored (because of the REPLACE directive). The elevator value is passed directly to the Outputs layer, where it's scaled according to the values of Min/Max/Subtrim. This results in the following behaviour:

In practice, the channel numbers and mix parameters will depend on your model, and how you want CAL mode to operate.

How to integrate Calibration Mode in your setup

This section explains how to implement CAL mode in more detail.

Step 1 - create CAL mixes

For each of the servo channels, append a mixer-line as follows:

Src is the stick or 3-pos switch to set the end points and centre. You can choose any convenient control - it need not be the same as the control used in flight. If using an analog control (stick, lever, or pot) make sure to specify the raw stick for example Ele, Ail (inputs for example [I1]Ail should not be used as they may include rates and expo).

Use a single control to calibrate a pair of related surfaces. Here's a typical scheme for a sailplane:

Step 2 - activate using a switch

The CAL lines may be activated directly via a switch, or indirectly via a dedicated flight mode. The flight mode method has the advantage that the flight mode is displayed on the screen, but requires that you use FM1 (the highest priority mode). If this is inconvenient (maybe you already have flight modes assigned), then the direct switch approach is fine.

Whichever method you choose, I strongly recommend using a virtual switch - the last thing you want is to accidentally activate calibration mode in flight!

Step 3. Set servo rotation and mixer weights

To make the calibration procedure as intuitive as possible, set the DIRECTION of each servo so that:

The easiest way is to try it and see: go into the servos menu; for each servo, adjust SUBTRIM back and forth, and see which way the control surface is moving. If you reverse the direction of a channel, remember that effect of any mix will be reversed. To correct this, reverse the sign of the wt parameter of all the mixers affecting that channel.

If you've set the direction of rotation as suggested above, then the weights in the CAL mixes should all be set to +100. This will ensure that all surfaces will move in a consistent direction during calibration - this is particularly useful for surfaces, like ailerons and flaps, which have been paired up for calibration.

Screenshot

Below is a screenshot from OpenTx Companion, showing two aileron channels and the extra CAL lines. The 'R' at the beginning denotes a REPL directive.

C9X screenshot

Demo

For OpenTx 2.0, 2.1, 2.2

calmode.zip

SF-down to activate CAL mode

Stick calibration

For correct operation of your radio, remember that your sticks must also be properly calibrated as well! This is achieved via the OpenTx hardware calibration menu (Long press Menu -> Page x 8)