Sort of wrong to call DS-12 to “baby”, it is a full-fledged transmitter as we’ll see. Just couldn’t help myself. Let’s start with a nice picture shall we, RCT is a hobby-site after all!
(Anssi’s 25% Stinson Reliant SR-10, 125.6″ wingspan and 80cc Zenoah, weight around 17-18kg and flies with REX Assist 12. And a few transmitters.)
DS-12 – What’s it About?
A new more affordable transmitter from Jetimodel! And it looks pretty nice too!
The Jetimodel’s lineup of handheld transmitters is as we know DS-24, DS-16, DS-14 and now the new youngster in family. DS-12 is clearly targeted a bit differently than it’s bigger brothers. This is clearly seen in the choice of design, materials and the way software features are handled.
While the transmitter does have the same “feet” on the bottom just like DS-14/16/24 there is no option for bracket’s. It’s also a material-thing, DS-12 is plastic while others have aluminium-chassis. And here’s straight away one thing, DS-12 is light. And I really mean light! Comparing to Futaba 14SG (980gr), Futaba 16SZ (1130gr) or Graupner MZ-16 (1030gr) to name a few the DS-12’s 700gr is really light. Not only that, the one thing that usually bugs me the most is the balance when hung from neckstrap, in DS-12 Jetimodel have managed to get it just right so that’s a great plus.
Does It Fit Your Hands?
I know, this is a sensitive area when talking about handheld transmitters. Not all hands and fingers are the same so I always say to people “you have to try” when they ask “does it fit my hands?” For my fingers it’s not fully without issues, let’s have a look on the switches on the top-side of transmitter:
Left side (above) has two switches and USB-port and right side two switches and PPM input/output port:
The issue for my fingers is the lower switches. Since I’m a pincher I use these switches with my middle finger and it’s just on the edge to be too far away. If I would be a thumber there would be no issues at all. So, we really are in the situation “you have to try”.
No, no sliders in DS-12. I’m pretty much fully a heli-dude so I’m basically never using sliders anyway. Instead of slider’s there’s two pot’s and they are (to me) way more comfortable and more precise to use than slider’s in the DS-16 I had or DC-24 I have now. Again, this is highly a matter of taste and again, “you gotta try-thing. The precision I can get when using the pot’s is remarkably better so I think this is a plus.
Let’s open the back and see what’s inside, usually Jetimodel delivers clean view without any “chinese spaghetti” inside. (This is bigger picture than I normally use, open to new tab if you wan’t to see the details!)
And so they did this time too. Battery is a 6200MAh Li-Ion and this makes sure for a pretty good flying days ahead. (Remember, backlight-settings can help you here! Look here for more info) Also note that charging-port is now at the bottom.
So, what’s inside? Lower left corner shows us the vibrator motor. DS-12 being so light it’s now possible to have it, for those aluminium-chassis transmitters a quite hefty vibrator was needed, not here. otherwise lower part is quite similar to what we’ve seen in the past with other Jetimodel transmitters.
Going up start’s the differences. First of all the PCB-layout is a bit different, most likely a bit of a cost-issue too. There still is “all the goodies” like the PPM-input/output on the PCB, the now revealed expansion port’s and easily accessible SD-card. Also nothing new with switches, same ribbon-cables here just like in other handheld transmitters.
Then, the radio-part. Here we have some things to talk about. DS-12 has one 2.4GHz transceiver with dual antenna instead of two separate transceivers as in for example DC- and DS-24. The antenna format for 900MHz in DS-12 is also new, instead of wire- or flat antenna it’s now a coil-antenna.
The 900MHz is not the same 900MHz as in DC/DS-24, this is now called 900 New Generation. Frequencies for EU is 863 – 870MHz, for US 902 – 928MHz and for Japan/Au 918 – 926MHz. What’s really interesting the new generation has new tranceiver and modulation, with that comes also capabilities for LoRa meaning “Long Range”. This is really interesting, the 900MHz solution have so far been a pure backup-solution ie. it takes over if 2.4GHz fails but maybe we’ll see a possibility for using 900MHz only in the future? Quite a few of FPV-guys are already using 900MHz to run their racers so this could get interesting in the future!
As a side-note, did anyone of you notice the ground-plane missing in the upper part of PCB where the antennas are? No ground-plane near the antennas makes for better range. As a hobby-guy drawing my simple PCB’s now and then these kind of “let’s think what we are doing”-things really warms my heart :)
Gimbals? Plastic Any Good?
My opinion is that they feel really, really close if not the same as the two different generation of alu-gimbals I’ve had and used on my DS-16 and DC-24. Unfortunately the small issue of non-consistent movement across the range on up/down is still here. This means that when moving the stick(s) from low position all the way up the friction is not fully same all the way. This is more for those who like their gimbals very light like I do. On the other hand, gimbals are plastic so this is likely to be fixed within time when using the gimbals.
Gimbals are multimode-gimbals and this means both sides can have a ratchet for example. So no need to start changing them in case you want to change mode. Also all the same adjustment-possibilities are there, only the material differs.
Another great thing is that even in the “entry level” DS-12 the gimbals can be rotated. The amount of user’s using this is unknown to me but it’s good to see “big brother features” on the little-brother too.
Is Old Gimbal-Bug Fixed?
When I got my DC-24 I had an issue with the gimbal tension adjusting, this is from the DC-24:
The arm (blue arrow) was on the same level and surface as the washer (red arrow) and this made it mandatory to bend the arm a bit. So. Let’s have a look on the DS-12:
And oh yes, the “bug” is fixed! The arm is now a bit raised from the surface of the washer, so the old issue is now solved. Great job on that one!
DS-12 is the first transmitter out with production-version of firmware 5.00 we have discussed a bit earlier. We know that since Jetimodels transmitters are extremely user programmable it’s not without issues, with many possibilities comes sometimes difficulties to remember what is done where and how. Add the fact that in many cases there are several ways to accomplish the same result. So, some help is needed sometimes even for seasoned users, and with firmware 5.00 this is now incorporated in the transmitter. A really great move actually!
Let’s take a look in to main menu:
Notice the question mark in the upper right corner? You also get a reminder if you stay in the menu for some time without doing anything, the reminder fades in and out:
When you are in (any) menu pressing the Menu-button on your transmitter opens the help-window:
Help-system is done with html, this is a quite great move since for starters it offers quite free possibilities to format text with font’s, highlighting etc:
Worth noting is also that help opens in the right place right way, for example if you are in the alarm-menu the help opens in the alarm-section of the help.
In the transmitter there’s a new folder “Help” including all the help-screens. After having a look it’s really straight forward so I see some potential in the future. For example a possibility to add help-function to lua-apps some of us release to others? How cool would that be? Already pitched that idea to Jetimodel, at the moment pressing Menu-button in lua-app opens the console. Maybe it could be selectable in the future.
DS-12 Software vs. Functions
DS-12 uses the same model DS-14 does, this means the transmitter is delivered with basic features:
For example, no logical switches or sequencer-option available in my plain demo-transmitter:
If and when user wants more features there’s the Jetimodels SW-shop where the features are bought. As a heli-dude I kinda like this approach, helps to keep the initial cost of transmitter low (At the moment 579€ at Hacker-Motor-Shop) and then user pays only for features the user really wants.
Software Options In Shop
Going to SW-Shop we can see the full pricelist of different options:
You’ll also notice the colored options “Basic”, “Medium” and “Full”. These are available as ready-made packages. When bought as package you get a discount, 10% for Basic, 20% for Medium and 25% for Full package.
Some price calculations:
- DS-12 transmitter 579€
- DS-12 + Basic SW-package 708,60€
- DS-12 + Medium SW-package 883,80€
- DS-12 + Full SW-package 960€
So even with “fully packed” DS-12 is under the 1000-mark (In euros).
(Don’t shoot me if I calculated wrong…)
Worth The Price?
Again, something only you know yourself. What you get is pretty much all the bells and whistles of “Jeti-world” including color-screen, multi-gimbals, lua, telemetry, a LOT of model-programming options etc. Having a look around for prices for other brands transmitters with similar or close to similar features the price should be about competitive.
What I Would Do With It….
Hmm. You know me. Some buttons to back connected to expansions ports, controlled with lua. Switches instead of pot’s, pot’s moved to slider-positions. Small stuff like that I would presume. Since chassis is plastic and not aluminium this is easy to do. I would maybe put some rubber or leather to backside too, just for the fun of it :)
Big Thanks Goes To…
Collaboration of Jetimodel and Propellerhead.fi for the possibility to borrow DS-12 for some days for this article! Also big thanks to Anssi for lending the beautiful scale-Stinson for the pics, You guys should see the cockpit, wing-lights etc, a remarkable plane!