The FPV community is going to be super excited about the Jumper T16 TX! With the amount of features offered by the Jumper T16 at this affordable price, the popular Frsky Taranis X9D and QX7 are finally facing some serious competition.
Learn about the basics of radio transmitter for multirotors.
Where to Buy
- GearBest (China): http://bit.ly/2UTHVoq
- Heli-Nation (US): http://bit.ly/2CCCJhG
- Flying Machines (EU): flyingmachines.de
Table of Content
- Specs and Features
- What’s in the box
- Screen, Buttons and User Interface
- Switches and Sliders
- External Module
- Battery Bay & SD Card
- Playing FPV Simulator with T16
- First Impression
- Jumper T16 Vs. Jumper T12
- The Good’s and Bad’s of Jumper T16 Radio
Specs and Features
Jumper is ambitious with the T16, quoting their email:
… to create the most affordable, high-performance open source remote control on the market today. The T16 truly is the ONE radio to rule them all…
What makes them feel so confident? The answer is in the list of features:
- Color 4.3” LCD display (480*272px)
- Removable battery – takes two 18650 batteries, or a 2S LiPo
- Supports external JR modules, such as the TBS Crossfire and Frsky R9M
- Includes a multi-protocol module – Supports Frsky, Flysky and more
- Runs OpenTX (technically JumperTX, but same thing really)
- Voice Reminder
- Haptic Vibration Feedback
It basically does everything the Taranis X9D-Plus do, and more, for only $150!
Here is the basic specifications:
- Powered by STM32F429BIT6 MCU
- Input Voltage: Voltage: 7V – 8.4V
- Current Consumption: 350mA without external module
- Dimension: 180*190*58
- Weight: around 860g
What’s in the box:
The T16 radio comes with the following accessories:
- Mini USB cable
- Neck strap
- Spare gimbal parts (throttle return springs and parts)
- Screen protector
With these already installed in the TX:
- SD Card (512MB)
- 18650 two-cell battery holder
- JP4-in-1 Multi-protocol Module
And there is no manual included, I hope they can fix this in the future.
When I took the T16 out of the box, I was pleasantly surprised by the full size form factor. Finally it’s not “another toy” like the T8 or T12.
The T16 is slightly taller than the X9D, but skinnier.
The back handle sticks out too much, and takes up a lot of space when you put it in the bag. The rubber handles on the back and the sides are a nice touch though.
The handles can be removed quite easily. Maybe we can design and replace with custom 3D printed handles for this radio.
It has a neck strap hook located in the centre of the radio. When using with the neck strap provided, the radio is perfectly balanced without using a balance bar,
To turn on the radio, simply hold down the power button for 5 seconds. The LED lights up when it turns on. Same thing for powering it down. This is similar to how it works in the QX7 and Horus X10S. I think this is a better solution than the toggle switch on the X9D, because it often gets turned on accidentally inside my bag, and it also prevents accidental shutdowns.
Screen, Buttons and User Interface
The large color screen is just awesome! It’s basically the same LCD screen from the $420 Horus X10S. Note that it’s not a touch screen. The Flysky Nirvana uses a color touch screen, sounds cool, but to be honest, i still prefer using buttons because it’s more precise.
The user interface is identical to Horus X10S on OpenTX. And if you are already familiar with the QX7 or X9D, it would feel just like home.
On the left side of the screen, there are four push buttons: SYS (radio setup), MDL (model), PAGE and TELE (telemetry).
On the right, there is the RTN button (return/cancel), and a roller button (wheel) – this thing is so easy to use! A bit like the button on the iSDT Q6 charger. BUT, why did they put it side way when it’s actually controlling up and down… It would be more intuitive to rotate it 90 degree. I guess it’s for aesthetics reason.
I believe these T16 gimbals are just “pot gimbals” (potentiometer), not “hall sensor”. (I will explain more on “how it feels” later in the First Impression section).
There is a M2 screw next to each gimbal, it elevates one side of the gimbal, so you can adjust the tilt angle left or right (only slightly). Pretty cool feature, first time I have ever seen this.
The height of the sticks can be adjusted. And in case you want to get custom stick ends, the gimbals stick thread is M3 (3mm diameter).
My Jumper T16 came in Mode 2 (throttle/yaw on the left, pitch/roll on the right). However you can change it to other modes if you want (I will do a how to in the future).
Curiously, there are six trim buttons – four for the two gimbals, and two spare (T5 and T6) are user assigned to anything you wish to program.
Switches and Sliders
It has the same amount of switches, pots and sliders as the Taranis X9D-Plus. This should be more than enough for most pilots, especially mini quads.
To be specific, there are eight switches, six of which are 3-position switches, one 2-position switch, and one momentary switch. Two pots (potentiometers), and two sliders, one on each side.
For mini quad pilots we normally only need two to four of the switches, the rest are normally used by plane and fixed wing pilots.
In addition, there are six more buttons numbered 1 to 6 in the centre, under the pots (S1 and S2). These are the “function keys”, presumably for flight modes in advanced systems like APM and Pixhawk flight controllers
It has a module bay on the back that supports external JR modules, such as the R9M and Crossfire.
Just like its little brother, the Jumper T12, the T16 doesn’t have a built-in RF module. It relies on external module to work. That’s why the T16 comes with the same Jumper JP4IN1 Multi-Protocol module.
The JP4IN1 is a pretty powerful module as it supports many popular RF protocols, including FrSKY, Flysky, Hubsan and more. This means if you are coming from Frsky or Flysky systems, the transition would be seamless. You would be able to keep using the same receivers in your drones. (just need re-binding)
Protocol can be changed inside the model setup menu.
Here is a list of protocols it supports:
Note that the JP4in1 module looks slightly different than the one in the T12. They’ve removed the rotary switch and bind button. Not a big deal really, because we can do everything inside OpenTX menu, and never use these physical buttons. The mini USB port is still there for updating firmware on the JP4in1 module.
In Jumper’s marketing material, they emphasized numerous times that “TBS Crossfire is supported out of the box”, making me wondering if they are going after Frsky here.
All the new radios from Frsky after the X9D, stopped supporting Crossfire. It’s possible to use, but you’d have to do some DIY mods, which is annoying. Many speculated this is a move to push their own 900MHz long range system – the R9M.
Battery Bay & SD Card
The Jumper T16 comes with a 2-cell 18650 holder, the batteries are not included.
You can also use a 2S LiPo to power the T16. The dimension of the battery bay is 75x42x16mm (estimation), in case you want to check compatibility.
One tiny problem though, is the battery holder doesn’t fit snugly and rattles inside the radio. Some foam can easily fix that. Jumper also confirmed this will be fixed in production.
It doesn’t have internal charger, so you would have to remove the batteries for charging.
They should have made the 18650 holder capable for charging as well – it just needs an extra discharge lead, and add a middle wire in the balance plug… Not sure why they didn’t do that, maybe to save cost.
The SD card slot is also inside the battery bay. It comes with a 512MB SD card pre-installed so you don’t have to buy it separately! Kudos to Jumper.
Playing FPV Simulator with T16
There is a mini USB port on top of the radio, under the rubber cover. (should have used micro USB really…) It’s for:
- playing FPV simulators
- accessing the SD card inside the radio
- flashing radio firmware
I checked, the T16 works with FPVAir 2 and Liftoff FPV simulators out of the box. The channels are different from the Taranis, so it needs re-calibration. If your radio doesn’t appear as joystick on your computer upon connecting, check USB mode is set to Joystick.
Right next to the USB port there is a connector, looks like it’s for headphone jack. But I checked and it doesn’t work with headphone so not sure what it’s for at this moment. (maybe trainer port, but it’s not mentioned in the specs)
Update: This is the Trainer port.
The Jumper T16 radio comes with a very recent firmware version 2.2.3, dated back in March 17 2019.
The user interface looks identical to the OpenTX firmware that runs on the Horus X10S. Apart from the logo, I really can’t tell the difference.
JumperTX is basically the forked version of OpenTX. It’s a legit firmware, not a ripoff. They have to fork OpenTX because they are not allowed to use it. Since OpenTX is an open source project, they can fork their code as long as they keep their project open source as well.
By the way, multicopter is missing when creating a new model. Hope this gets fixed in future release.
Jumper confirmed we can update the firmware via OpenTX Companion software, or you can update via the SD card.
Size and Weight
The Jumper T16 is bigger than I expected. Initially when I look at the images, I thought it was going to be smaller like the T8 and T12, but turns out to be similar form factor to the Taranis X9D or QX7, which is a good thing for me :)
And the weight is roughly the same too: T16 with two 18650 batteries is 860g, vs. 870g of the Taranis X9D also using two 18650 batteries.
Compared to the M9 gimbals on my X9D, the T16 gimbals are considerably stiffer. There is more resistance in the centre and less toward full deflection, and the “click” in the centre crossing is noticeably harder. But it’s still slightly “smoother” than the stock gimbals in the Taranis.
Jumper confirmed they will use slightly softer springs in the production units.
Comparing to the Taranis
Build quality wise (just from the outside), is similar to that of the Taranis X9D-Plus.
The biggest difference to the X9D is probably the screen and housing. Just purely based on my experience in the last few days, I still prefer the ergonomics of the X9D for pinching. Maybe because I have been using it for so many years, and I am more used to it.
Out of the box, the gimbal sticks are quite short, though they can be adjusted longer. Yet, it’s not 100% ideal for pinchers due to the location of the gimbals. They are placed quite far out towards the top, and there is not quite enough space to hold the radio while pinching. It just feels awkward.
Further Reading: What’s pincher and thumber?
I can hold and pinch at the same time with the X9D, I just can’t with the T16, unless I use neck strap. Maybe someone can create 3D printed custom handles to “fix” it in the future. For thumbers, it’s absolutely fine, maybe I should go back to using thumbs only :)
The Taranis X9D is facing some real competition here from the Jumper T16! The non-SE X9D is priced at around $220 (Pot gimbals, NOT hall sensor gimbals), while the T16 is only $150 (add $10 for battery)…
And is the T16 better than the Taranis QX7? I would say so just based on the features. And if you are looking for the cheapest worth having radio, the T12 is even cheaper anyway.
See my comparison between the X9D and QX7 if you want to know more about Taranis radios.
The T16 so far appears to be a solid radio, but I am still a bit hesitant about it mainly because of the ergonomics. If they can improve that for pinchers, it will be a clear winner for me.
And finally, I wish they had the 4in1 RF module built-in, so when you want to use an external module like the R9M you don’t have to swap it out every single time. But I guess that’s a limitation from the firmware. Doing what they are doing, avoids making massive changes to the software.
Jumper T16 Vs. Jumper T12
I previously reviewed the Jumper T12. It can do pretty much everything the T16 can do: supports external JR modules and runs “OpenTX” firmware. But the T12 just wasn’t competitive enough in my opinion.
Yes, the T12 is a great value radio that is packed with features, but it feels more like a toy, the gimbals are too small and I didn’t like how it handles in my hands (same reason why I don’t like the X-Lite that much). Of course this is a personal preference.
I guess if someone prefers the T12, it would probably because of the smaller form factor, and cheaper price. It’s only $90 after all.
The Good’s and Bad’s of Jumper T16 Radio
- massive color screen, absolutely love it!
- user-friendly wheel menu button
- removable battery – supports both 18650 and 2S LiPo
- full size gimbals – quality not bad for a cheap radio
- more than enough switches, sliders and pots, with 6 extra flight mode buttons
- supports Crossfire, and other JR external modules
- comes with multi-protocol RF module – supports Frsky, Flysky and more
- only $150!
- most importantly, finally there is some real competition in the radio market!
- not 100% ideal for pinchers (okay if you use neck strap)
- not hall sensor gimbals
- there is no manual – update: a manual is under progress for final production units
- back handle takes up too much space
- 18650 battery holder cannot be used for charging
More Testing Coming Soon
So here is my initial review of the Jumper T16. I hope that was useful! It took me a lot of time writing this and taking/editing all the photos, please help me by sharing the review to your groups :)
In the next few weeks, I will be testing the performance and reliability, and I will report back! What I want to find out are:
- How’s the range when using Frsky protocol with XM+ and R-XSR receivers?
- How’s the performance with R9M compared to Taranis X9D?
- How long does 18650 batteries last per charge?
- Are all the popular OpenTX features working as expected, like LUA script, special functions etc…
If you have any questions just leave me a comment.
Can I turn off the screen while flying?
The large color screen can be quite power hungry. You can’t turn it off while flying, though you can disable the backlight, simply by setting it to be activated only by menu buttons. This is a good way to save battery life. Same as the Taranis really.
Can I replace the gimbals to M7/M9?
At this stage, I don’t think directly swap is possible, it might be possible with some DIY modifications, will confirm later.
Can I adjust gimbal tension?
Gimbal tension can be adjusted. I will show you how in future review update.
Can I charge LiPo or 18650 battery inside the radio?
No, the USB port doesn’t charge the battery, you have to remove them for charging.