Written by Jay Smith Spektrum iX20 20-Channel DSMX Transmitter Review As seen in the March 2020 issue ofaircraft models.
take a look
frames per second:11ms o 22ms
Memory model:250 interna
modes:User selectable modes 1 to 4
Resolution:1024 o 2048
SD card/AirWare compatible:Sim
Transmitter Battery Type:Lithium-ion, 10,500 mAh
- Transmitter Spektrum iX20
- 10,500 mAh lithium-ion transmitter battery pack (installed)
- custom carry case
- custom neck strap
- Optional short and long tips
- USB magnetic adapter cable
- Magnetic Micro USB Adapter
- orange handle set
- Fast guide
- iX20 decal sheet
- High-resolution 5-inch 720p color interface.
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
- Capacitive touch technology.
- Integrated camera.
- Good ergonomics.
- Model 250 memory (internal).
- Does not include an AC adapter.
Access additional content by visitingwww.ModelAviation.com/bonuscontent.
HORIZON HOBBY AND SPECTRUMreleased its first Android-powered streamer, the iX12, in December 2017. It brought in some new features, but could have benefited from some extra processing power.
The Spektrum iX20 is the latest Android based transmitter and I am happy to report that it is much faster and offers many innovative new features.
Included in the box is everything you need to be successful with your new transmitter, except the manual and an AC adapter. As the English version of the manual covers 343 pages and can be viewed online, or even on the streamer, it's understandable that the company decided to save some trees and leave them out.
I have to admit, skipping the AC adapter baffles me, given the price of the transmitter and that it came with the iX12. A charging cable is included, but without the adapter to connect it to a wall socket. Of course, most people probably have one or more with their other devices; however, I wanted to have one available in the transmitter case.
When supplying your own AC adapter, for best results the manual recommends a USB power source capable of outputting at least 2-3A.
Equipped with a 5-inch touch screen offering a high-resolution, 720p HD color interface, a Spektrum transmitter has never looked better. It's also equipped with a faster processor, more RAM, and a newer version of Android that gets the radio ready to use in about a minute. Sleep mode and model switching are almost instantaneous.
Its most exciting new feature is probably its capacitive touch technology. This works with any of the 10 switches, the I-switch button, or the gimbal sticks to respond to user-programmed voice prompts without interrupting the programmed mechanical movements assigned to them.
Once activated, you can touch a switch and the iX20 will announce what the switch does and what its current setting is. If you touch the rate switch, it can tell you the current rate setting. Other uses include confirming the retract key or providing telemetry data if a telemetry receiver is used. I also used it to provide updates on the time remaining on the transmitter's timer.
The iX20 brings another new feature to Spektrum radios: a built-in camera. The 2-megapixel camera is designed to allow the user to photograph their aircraft, which can be viewed on the main screen along with the model name. The camera is capable of recording videos; however, a cell phone would probably be better suited for the task.
The radio also offers the new speech-to-text functionality made possible by Android, which allows you to access and configure personalized telemetry prompts, reports and more through voice recognition software.
The iX20 has 24 program mixes, which are the most offered on a Spektrum radio. In each mix, a curve is available for each position. For example, if you assign a combination of flight modes, you can have up to 10 flight modes. You also get up to 10 different curves for complete flexibility.
Another cool feature is the inclusion of a magnetic micro-USB adapter that plugs into the back of the transmitter to charge the radio. This is useful in case the transmitter is accidentally dropped or the charging cable gets caught on something. It allows the cable to come off easily, which can prevent damage to the transmitter.
The iX20 is a transmitter that is comfortable to wear. It's slightly larger than the previous iX12 and feels good whether you use your thumbs to fly it or the pinch method. The radio was ergonomically designed by Mirco Pecorari of AircraftStudioDesign.
Its quad bearing gimbals are smooth and their tension can be easily adjusted from the front of the radio. Just remove the screw covers. Using a small Phillips screwdriver, turn the appropriate screws near the posts slightly clockwise to increase tension on the post and counterclockwise to loosen it. The manual provides the screw locations. You can also add or remove the pawl on the throttle stick in the same way.
The transmitter includes a Quick Start Guide, which is helpful in getting started with the iX20, especially if you're new to the iX12 or Android. Using Android as the operating system provides additional functionality compared to previous Spektrum transmitters; however, it also requires a bit of additional knowledge when initially getting into this new technology. Realizing that people might need a little help, Horizon Hobby posted several videos on YouTube about the radio and its functionality.
To turn on the transmitter, press and hold the power button for a few seconds. The transmitter is designed to prevent you from inadvertently turning it on by touching the power button. Turning on the radio takes just under a minute.
Sleep mode is accessed by double pressing the power button. This will allow you to have your radio available in no time. Standby mode is used when you plan to use the radio again the same day. When you are done flying or working with the radio for the day, it should shut down normally.
Registration can be done on the transmitter after setting up Wi-Fi. Just swipe down from the top of the screen and select the Wi-Fi icon to connect to available Wi-Fi networks. Transmitter registration is done in System Settings and then Product Information.
You'll also need to sign up for Google Play if you don't already have an account. If you have an account, just link it. After accessing Google Play, you can update the transmitter software via the Spektrum AirWare software.
Spektrum AirWare software provides the interface for configuring your templates. When the transmitter finishes initializing, it will be in the AirWare software. This runs independently of Android, so even if Android crashes, you'll retain full control of your model aircraft.
Within the AirWare software, you will start at the main screen that provides information about the currently selected model, offset inputs, and enabled timers. In the upper left corner is the name of your model. Clicking on it will take you to Model Utilities where you can change models. When you change models, it saves your current model and loads the one you selected. In the upper right corner are the battery indicator and volume adjustment.
At the bottom of the screen is the Model Setup menu, which contains functions and settings used to finalize the setup of a model, such as servo setup, dual rates, exposure, and flap system.
The functions in the Model Setup menu are used for the basic configuration of the aircraft. Here you will find options such as audio events, timers, and model launch prompts.
System settings allows you to access system settings where you can set the mode and language used for the transmitter. Product information provides the transmitter serial number, app version, and firmware version. It is also where you register the transmitter.
The Calibration menu allows the user to ensure that the analog input devices (joysticks, sliders, and knobs) are working properly. To complete the calibration procedure, move all controls to the extreme and back to the center.
The screen shows a graphical representation of each input. The indicator turns green when the range of movement of each control is confirmed. The controller must be centered for the indicator to stay green. Select Save when all indicators are green. Calibration is required each time a stick mode change is made.
View Manual is the last option found in System Settings. It's helpful to have the manual handy if you have a quick question about one of the transmitter's features. You can even search for information and double tapping the screen will enlarge the text. Double tap again and it will return to its original size. While I don't use this option for extensive reading, it's great if you need a quick reminder about one of the transmitter's many features.
If you want to customize some of the menu options, the menu setup on the iX20 allows you to do so based on the specific characteristics of the receiver, adding or removing items that may or may not be relevant. Simply access the receiver drop down menu and use the power buttons to toggle items on or off or select the number of channels if the desired receiver is not listed.
The roller system used on previous Spektrum transmitters works well, but I found the touch screen to make navigation easy. All menus within the AirWare software are easy to understand and changes are easy to make.
On the Android side, it has many pre-installed apps and widgets that you can use and more can be downloaded. Many third-party apps that work with Android are available and more are in development.
The iX20 has a built-in auxiliary serial port with support for long range RF module. This includes the CRFS protocol for compatibility with TBS Crossfire and Crossfire V2. Additionally, the iX20 is designed to provide a 9.5 volt power source for external devices. Use of the iX20 transmitter with Crossfire will require an adapter (SPMA3090). Since flying beyond line of sight does not comply with the AMA Safety Code, I have not used or tested this functionality.
The iX20 has become my primary transmitter, leaving my iX12 and DX9 in their cases as I find the new transmitter easy to program and use. It has some great new features as well as a more refined Android experience.
For anyone comfortable with a smartphone or tablet, general usage and programming is intuitive and easy to learn. The inclusion of Wi-Fi and a touch screen make this new radio a joy to use. It's nice to be able to make tension, ratchet, and offset adjustments on the front of the transmitter.
Capacitive touch technology is the new feature I use most often. From timer updates and telemetry notifications, to a simple reminder of each knob or knob functionality without taking your eyes off the aircraft, it's a huge plus.
It is also good to update the transmitter or download the configuration files from the aircraft without the need for a computer.
The iX20 continues to build on the innovation that Spektrum has brought to its radio systems since 2004.
Por Jay Smith |firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Matt Ruddick and the author
Canal Spektrum RC and YouTube