The most powerful 2.4 GHz ExpressLRS module you can buy // RADIOMASTER RANGER

By | November 17, 2022

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00:00:00 – ELRS has an unfair advantage. And a hidden down-side.
00:03:11 – Why Radiomaster is different
00:05:48 – Three form factors: big-boy, micro, and nano
00:07:58 – OLED screen and XT30 external power plug
00:10:55 – It detects when you set it down
00:12:52 – Shorcut buttons
00:14:57 – How much power do you need?
00:16:06 – Does it overheat?
00:18:10 – Dipole vs. moxon antenna
00:19:50 – How to unlock 2W output power
00:21:04 – Price

The radio Master Ranger is the most Powerful 2.4 gigahertz Express lrs Module in the world But that's actually not the thing about It that I think is most interesting I'm Joshua Bardwell and you're going to Learn something today Express lrs is an incredibly high Performance incredibly long range Control link and what makes it different From other modern high performance Control links like TBS Crossfire TBS Tracer and immersion RC ghost is that it Is created by open source enthusiasts Hobbyists it is not put out by Businesses who are trying to make money Well that's not entirely true and that Starts to get to the heart of what I Think is so interesting about these Radio Master modules the original Express lrs Hardware was hand soldered By enthusiasts and was just completely Inaccessible to the average hobbyist who Didn't want to solder up their own Module or their own receivers then People figured out that you could flash Express lrs to freesky R9 hardware and Get the advantages of free Skies really Quite good Hardware manufacturing but With the flexibility and performance of The espresso lrs system and then Express Lrs kind of blew up it just got super Popular and it's easy to see why it has Similar range and latency and features

To things like Crossfire Tracer and Ghost but manufacturers can make this Hardware without having to pay for the Research and development of the software And that's kind of unfair it's unfair That these open source developers do all The r d work for free and put out Reference designs that manufacturers can Follow and sell Hardware in the Manufacturer can just make money on the Hardware the customer gets a lower price And it's unfair but it's fine the Expressillaris divs are fine with it They're happy with it the customers are Happy with it and the only people who Mostly aren't happy with it are Competitors like T Black Sheep and Immersion RC Well that's not true there are other People who are unhappy with it such as The people who bought this beta fpv Express lrs module which was released With some missing components on the Board that meant that it was impossible To flash firmware to it And that's not the only example of a Company putting out half-baked Expressillarous Hardware that then ends Up with people buying it and being Annoyed and that is when as as I said When I reviewed a different beta fpv Module that also had manufacturing Problems sensing a theme here as I said In that video the biggest problem with

Express lrs is that people are not used To thinking about their control links in Terms of is this good Hardware or is This kind of Half Baked and shoved out The door with defects they're used to Buying a module and expecting it to be Correctly made and correctly performing And that's just not true for all Express Lrs hardware and that's what's so Exciting to me about these three new Radio Master modules because radio Master has a history in the fpv Community of making relatively good Relatively Reliable Hardware this right Here is my radio Master tx16s it's been My daily driver in one form or another For several years and most of the people Who buy a tx16s get a unit that works For a good long while and that doesn't Sound that sounds like really faint Praise it works it's not dead out of the Box mostly and mostly they stand behind It if there's with their warranty if There's an issue well in the fpv Community we kind of have low standards We're used to getting crap Hardware from Chinese manufacturers who don't take any Responsibility and if you get a dead Unit maybe you'll get a discount on a Replacement unit and for radio Master to Come in at a half decent level a pretty Decent level maybe not the level of Something like a Futaba Or maybe a Horizon Hobby Spectrum Radio

But still pretty freaking good that's Saying a lot so I could open up these Modules and show you the components on The inside and we could look at it and Go ah and I don't know if there's good Stuff or bad stuff in here but you know Who does know if there's good stuff or Bad stuff in here the express lrs devs One of the things that you need to look For when buying Express lrs Hardware is Has the manufacturer worked with the Express lrs devs to get their designs Vetted the way it works is the Manufacturer sends the product to the Express LS devs and they open it up and They look at it and they go oh no no you Missed a capacitor here or oh no no no You did this thing that's wrong this Oscillator is out of spec they For free I think for free I mean the Manufacturer has to send them Hardware To look at they don't buy the hardware But I think for free is that they just Look over the designs and they they find Mistakes that the manufacturer has made Before the product is released and you Would think that every manufacturer Would take advantage of this free Consulting service that would make their Products better but many of them don't But I've confirmed that these modules Were made by radio master in cooperation With the express lrs devs and so we can Be reasonably confident that they've

Been given the once over and that they Don't have any serious flaws major Design defects or anything like that Especially when combined with radio Masters relatively good history of Making solid hardware and taking Responsibility for their customers the Ranger module comes in three form Factors the big boy the micro and the Nano the Nano is used with radios like The radio Master Zorro that have the Light module Bay on the back the micro Is used with radios like this tx16s that Have a Jr module Bay on the back and the Big boy module can be used with either Or none more about that in a second so This module comes with just a flat back And then you use an adapter like this to Adapt it either to the Jr style or the Light style module Bay and that adapter Is going to plug into the back of the Module and then it screws onto the back Of the module with some included screws And it plugs into the back of your radio But why didn't they just design this Thing in the correct form factor in fact Why does this thing even exist at all All three of these modules have exactly The same capabilities they all support Up to one watt of output power they all Support the fastest 1000 Hertz packet Rates that espresso or supports they all Support the latest firmware what's the Point of this extra big extra chunky

Extra expensive module that hangs out The back of your radio taking up lots of Space and weight what's the point well One of the points of this module is that There are radios out there that don't Have a Jr Bay in the back of the radio But that can still interface with these Express lures modules this is actually Not one of them this is a dx6 but if you Have a dx9 or higher you can actually Interface with an external module using The Crossfire protocol which is what These modules use and you could Literally General get some double-sided Sticky tape or something and stick it on The back of your radio and wire it up With a wiring kit that you get from Radio master and you could use it with Your spectrum dx9 or higher or the Futaba I think it's the 12 or higher the High-end Futaba Radios can also do it And that means that people who want to Use those high quality radios but who Don't want to use those older Legacy Control links they want a high Performance modern controlling can do it With this module but there are other Reasons why you might choose the thick Boy module over the micro or the Nano Module the normal way that Express lrs Is managed on radio Master radios any Radio running the open TX or Edge TX Operating system is that you run a Lua Script and a Lua script is a little

Program that runs on your radio on the Screen of the radio that lets you change The parameters that of the Express lrs System the output power and so forth Other parameters now if you've got a Radio like a spectrum or Futaba radio They don't run Lua script so how do you Manage the system and in order to answer That question let's just power up this Module by plugging in a battery to the Oh what's the rated input voltage let's Not blow it up what's the rated input Voltage let's not blow it up Almost plugged a 4S battery into my Expensive module now it is killed Forever This was a bad idea What's the input voltage six to oh yeah Six to four s voltage baby I'm okay I Didn't blow it up let's power this Module up by plugging in a battery to This xt30 connector on the bottom the Battery can take between 6 volts and 16.8 volts of 4S lipo uh the purpose of This xt30 connector is twofold number One some radios can't run the module at Full power because their radio's Internal power supply just can't deliver Enough power to the module safely and in That case even if you set the module to Its Max output power it won't actually Go to Max output power it'll say it is But if you actually measure the output Power which we're going to do later in

This video you'll see it's not making The rated output power so in order to be Sure that you're making the maximum Rated output power you can plug an xt30 In here you don't need a separate Battery you can just knock this little Knockout out of the back of your battery Cover and run a wire from your main your Main radio battery Um but it makes through the radios going To full power the other thing you can do Is you can plug a secondary battery in So you're not stuck in your controller Battery dry quite as fast if we plug That in the module will power up and we Will see one of the advantages of the Fancy thick boy module which is that It's got this built-in screen and this Joystick and these buttons and that Means that we can manage the express lrs System shut up I want it there we go I Want to demonstrate this without Connecting it to a radio we can manage The express alert system through the Module and that's nice because even if You have a radio that runs the Lua Script A lot of people just find them Cumbersome and awkward and they like to Be able to go through the menus and Change the settings simply by using the Joystick on the back of the radio that's Kind of convenient one of the problems With a high powered Express lures module Is that it runs down the battery on your

Controller much much faster and yeah you Can use an auxiliary battery via the Xt30 connector but wouldn't it be better To just just not waste all that energy In the first place the big version of The Ranger module has a feature that Helps address that you see it has an Accelerometer and a gyro built into it And that means that it can detect when The unit is set down and detect when the Unit is sitting still and if we go to The motion detect setting we can see That by turning on motion detection Watch What Happens so here I am and I'm Holding the radio in my hands and I'm Flying the quadcopter and you can see That it's outputting one watt if I then Disarm and don't forget that espresso Arrest knows that your disarm switch is Aux 5 high for armed and ox5 low for Disarm there's a reason they require That the module can tell that I'm Disarmed if I then set the radio down And wait After about 20 seconds it drops down to 25 milliwatts and then as soon as I pick The radio up again You can tell I've moved and It immediately jumps back up to full Power so hopefully this means that Whenever I'm not actually using the Radio and it's just sitting on the table I am saving battery power but this Shouldn't disrupt hopefully shouldn't

Disrupt my normal operation of the radio I guess there's a theory that if the Quad is far far away and the radio goes To low power then I could fail safe and I guess if the quad is far far away and You set your radio down on a table that Could happen but realistically I think There's a lot of people for whom this is Just going to be a net win and let's Face it if you don't like it you don't Have to turn that option on one of the Things that makes the thick boy module Stand Out is these two buttons to the Left and right of the five-way joystick And they are buttons they're not just Colorful blinking lights in order to Demonstrate how they work we are going To connect to the web interface of the Module the module has been powered on For a few minutes without a connection And so it seems to have automatically Gone into web interface that's very Convenient and that should mean that if I go in my phone and I look for Wi-Fi Networks I should see Express lrstx Wi-Fi network being broadcast it's a hot Spot that the module has set up and the Password is Express lrs Shocker and if I just connect to that And then we open up our web browser and We go to the address 1001 some devices will do this Automatically like if I just tap this Sign into Wi-Fi it brings it up

Automatically so all modern Express lrs Devices do this receivers modules radios They all have a web interface where they Set up a hotspot and you can manage some Of their settings easily in your phone Or laptop web browser in our case we're Going to go to the buttons section and You can see here that we can change the Button colors to whatever we like I Don't know more red for one and green For the other and then we can change the Button shortcut so we've got two buttons Here and we can assign up to two actions Per button so for example let's say that This first button will enter binding Mode when we do a short press three Times for those of you who don't like Putting in binding phrases you could Just easily go up up and put it into Binding mode we can increase the output Hour we can change the video transmitter Band and channel send the video Transmitter settings we can also jump to Specific menus in the radio in the Module settings and we can control short Press long press long press for longer Than so many seconds this is extremely Configurable and you get these shortcuts On the outside of the module that's Pretty cool the other thing that the Thick boy module does that the other two Modules don't is it is capable of going To two watts of output power and that Makes it the most powerful 2.4 gigahertz

Express lrs module in the world now a Lot of people feel that one watt is Plenty how much power do you really need And I would say that if you're using Lower packet rates like 50 hertz or 150 Hertz then even as little as 250 Milliwatts is enough to get more range Than most people are ever going to need Because of the limitations of your video System but if you're running it faster Packet rates like 500 Hertz or a Thousand Hertz or if you just absolutely Need the most possible range and Penetration the most possible link Reliability then more output power is Obviously better and the reason that This guy can go to one two watts and not Just one watt is because of its heat Dissipation and that goes back to the Middle case and the fan design in fact Let's take a look at the output power of This module and its heat dissipation in A little more depth so we can start with The unit outputting 25 milliwatts and we Can see here with our immersion rcrcrf Power meter it is right about dead on at 25 milliwatts and we could continue Going up 50 milliwatts a 100 milliwatts Uh 250 and each time it is pretty close To the correct value if we max out at a Thousand milliwatts or one watt we can See it is darn near dead on at 1 watt And that's exciting because well first First of all it's nice to see that it's

Roughly hitting its Max output power but Also I haven't got the external xt30 Plugged in at this moment that means That my tx16s is able to give it enough Power to run off the internal battery Without a supplemental power that's kind Of nice not all radios could do that but This one apparently can now this is only One watt this is not the promised 2 watt Max output power in order to unlock that There are some steps you have to go Through that I'll tell you more about Obviously later in the video but let's Just let this sit for like 15 minutes on Max power and see if it overheats and Shuts down See in like 15 minutes all right the Radio's been sitting here for about a Half hour the RF meter has turned off And gone into sleep mode so we're gonna Have the big reveal together the output Power after about a half hour of sitting At a full one watt output power is 1-1 uh we should run the test with the Smaller module as well and sure enough It is also outputting one watt or a Little more than one watt at Max output Power so uh the rate of Master Zorro Also capable of delivering full power to This module without any external power Source but it's going to suck your Batteries down for a pretty darn quick So especially if you've got these little 18 oh they're not even 18 650s are they

They're like 18 350 or something yeah You're probably gonna want an external Battery in that case but the modules Will output their rated power and keep Outputting it without a concern about Heat buildup the modules ship with this Dipole antenna which is going to have a Roughly spherical coverage pattern there Aren't going to be any big dead spots in Any particular direction relative to Where the antenna is pointing there will Be a small reduction in range when you Are lined up with either end of the Antenna but that's not going to be Noticeable to most people under most Real world conditions if you need even More range you can spend about I think It's about 15 bucks to get this moxon Style antenna which is a more Directional higher gain antenna it's Going to give you more range in One Direction at the expense of less range In other directions basically the way This antenna works is the that you point The antenna at the aircraft and you get A lot more range out here with a small Reduction in range to the sides and a Big reduction in range behind you also Bear in mind that this is not a patch Antenna if it were a patch antenna you Would probably expect to face the flat Side of the paddle at the aircraft That's not how it works you face the Narrow edge of the antenna at the

Aircraft given how much inherent range Express lrs has especially if you're Only running at the lower packet rates And especially with the up to one watt Output power most people are going to Get fine range out of the dipole style However the additional range of the Moxon is going to mean that you can get Equivalent range at lower output power For longer battery life you'll get just A little bit more as long as you don't Need to fly directly behind yourself I Guess you could go with the moxon and Just turn to face your aircraft Although if you're under the fpv goggles That might be easier said than done Throughout the video I've been kind of Teasing you with the potential to get Even higher output power from this Module and it's time to make good on That promise it turns out that the heat Dissipation and power amplifier in this Module are enough to increase the output Power safely not just a one watt but to Two watts and that is only true for the Big thick boy module not the micro or The Nano they're limited to one watt Like basically every other Express lrs Module but the big boy can go up to two Watts you just have to go in and change A couple of settings and this was Revealed to the World by Wesley vardy He's an espresso RS developer and a long Range test pilot and rather than just

Steal his clicks I'm just going to put a Link to his video down in the video Description his instructions are very Clear concise and uh you get to listen To his nice Australian accent while You're at it that makes this an Incredibly Unique Piece of Hardware in The expresslrs world because there is Not any other 2.4 gigahertz module that I'm aware of that goes over one watt This is it And you're going to pay for the Privilege Have we talked about price yet yeah The big boy module is a hundred dollars That's a lot for well it's it's a lot For a crossfire module they're only 60-ish dollars for an Express lrs module That usually comes in closer to forty Dollars that's a big premium it's worth Pointing out that you are getting things That you don't get with any other module Including higher output power and these Button shortcuts that let you access Some functions as well as you've got an OLED screen and joystick on the back but There are there are other modules out There in the 60-ish dollar price range That also have the OLED module and so Forth the axis flying Thor Comes in a similar form factor can do One Watt and has a screen and module it Can hook up to a spectrum or Futaba Radio or just like this one can so

You're really paying for that extra that Extra two watt output power pretty much The other two modules come in at forty Dollars which is completely in line with Other Express lrs modules with similar Capabilities and I would wager that you Are getting some of the best build Quality out of any of the express lrs Modules just based on radio Masters History and reputation So what does that mean at the end of the Day if I was looking for a new Express Lrs module these would be near the top Of my list radio master has worked with The express lrs devs to get all of the Kinks out of these and make them as user Friendly as they can be I can't be sure That we won't run into a kink or run Into a manufacturing issue everything is Sort of possible but I feel like your Odds of getting good Hardware that you Can rely on are as high as with the Radio Master modules as pretty much any Other Express lrs Hardware available now If you do pick up one of these modules The very next thing you're going to need To do is Flash firmware onto it and if You are new to express lrs then that is Going to be a little bit of a learning Curve I have an espresso arrest Definitive starting guide video and I Recommend everybody getting into Express OS checks it out number one because it's Going to teach you what you need to know

To get comfortable with and know all the Options about the espresso or a system But number two because if you're not Sure whether the learning curve of Express alerts is too much for you Watching that video might make you go oh Yeah I can do this or it might make you Go oh yeah this is not for me so I'm Going to put a card on screen linking to That starting guide video as well as the Express lrs 3.0 release overview that I Made showing you some new features that Have come out in the latest version of Expresslrs that are are pretty well some Of them are going to be like oh I have To have this and are going to get you to Switch to express lrs maybe from Whatever you've got those cards are on Screen right now I'll see you there Happy flying