Bought a couple of the Spirit FBL controllers a couple weeks ago after they became available stateside. What drew me in was the way they integrate with the Jeti radio system so you have full access to all features and settings of the Spirit right from the radio.
Due to work, it took me a bit to finally get a chance to set one up and fly it. Decided to start with my X3 because I'd heard great things about the governor in the Hobbywing 50V3 and the Spirit doesn't have governor support yet, plus if I pile it in from a stupid mistake I've got all the parts and they are cheap.Setup
The Spirit comes in a tiny red anodized case. It is a bit smaller than the Ikon that it replaced. I stuck it down with clear 3m tape, same as I use with everything else. The only thing that stands out to me here as something I don't like is the vertical placement of the plugs. The wiring never is as neat with vertical plug as horizontal. It can be mounted vertically, so I suppose I could get around it like that, but I'm Goldilocks and want it just right.
Setup is through the computer if you want to use the wizards, or could be done in the transmitter with the Jeti. Since this is number 1, I went with the computer so I could use the wizard. A nice touch here is that it supports Mac, so I didn't have to go into parallels to run the software. I hooked it up using the supplied interface cable after installing the drivers. It opened right up and I loaded the newest firmware. Went through the wizard with the help of the manual with little difficulty. Setup is pretty standard, although there are fewer steps and less hand holding than an Ikon. Using the manual cleared up most confusion.
The first issue I came to was that it wasn't responding to throttle form my Jeti using EXBus (like sBus, except supports full telemetry and signal over a single port and cable). The manual said that you have to run the throttle through the receiver, not the Spirit itself, and the firmware update contradicted that and said it'll work with the unit itself. Good thing because I don't have a servo port on the RX I am using. Had to jump out of the wizard to tell it to use CH1 for throttle, or I could do it right from the TX. I changed it from the Device Explorer in the TX.
Second was where to plug each servo. 1,2,3 are for the 3 swash servos, but it doesn't say which one it expects to be pitch and which one it wants Ail. I did some reading on forums and they say to just try them each way until you find the combination that doesn't require reversing. Fair enough. It would be nice if it said so in the software.
Next it has you setup pitch range, and show it what the max Cyclic is, then tell it what 6deg is. Easy. It also gives you the ability to level the swash at top middle and bottom. Tail setup is what you're used to, piro compensation is done by rotating the machine and watching the swash, same way the CGY-750 does it.
In all, setup was easy. Outside the wizard you are able to adjust every parameter you can think of, I left it all stock. Reprogrammed the ESC using the sticks (wish I knew where the programmer box I bought years ago went), and it was ready to fly. Threw on the old cracked canopy and went out.Flying
Impressive. From first lift off it felt better than the Ikon I took off did after tuning it for a few packs. Super locked in and stable, yet responsive. Feel wise it's between an Ikon and vBar. I like it. I had a slight tail wag at higher head speeds, jumped into the radio and remotely tuned it out in seconds on the first pack. I flew in front of my house, so nothing too crazy, but some high speed passes, sideways loops to test the tail, backwards, tick tocs showed that it was locked in and flying VERY well. I haven't tuned it at all aside from tail gain, and I'm not sure how much I will tune it. It feels great as it is.
Rescue is fantastic. I've had a Bavarian Demon before, and there is no difference between the rescue of the 2, which makes sense knowing that Spirit licensed that technology. Hit that switch, it no longer loses any altitude and it starts climbing. I tried it from inverted, knife edge, and a few things in between and it always leveled out perfectly (to upright or inverted, whichever is closer) and starts heading up. I've been fine with how the Ikon works just leveling, but this is easier and better. It is always perfectly level, and climbs at a rate I choose.
Something I didn't realize it would do until after I flew it and went to look at the signal and voltage logs on my radio is that it also sends back vibration levels as telemetry. I was able to graph the vibration it was experiencing in flight over time right on the radio. I knew my X3 was smooth from looking at it, but seeing the graph on the TX confirmed it with real numbers.
So what do I think? As soon as they have finish the governor support, I'll be switching everything over. I've got one more on the shelf for my Synergy N5c, and I'll be ordering another later today for my DT520. I really like this unit.