Review: Jumper T18 Radio Transmitter – Better than T16 and TX16S?

by Oscar
Published: Last Updated on

The Jumper T18 radio is the upgrade version of the popular T16. They might look similar, but it has several improvements from the previous version. Should you choose the T18 over the very competitive Radiomaster TX16S? Let’s find out!

New to FPV? Don’t forget to check out my radio buyer’s guide.

Where to Buy Jumper T18?

The Jumper T18 has 3 variants: T18 Lite, T18 and T18 Pro. The one I am reviewing here is the Pro version.

Here are the differences between the 3 versions:

Features and Specs

Here is a summary of the T18 features:

  • JP5-in-1 Multi-protocol module, supports 915/868mhz R9, and 2.4GHz protocols, including DSM2/X, FrSKY, SFHSS, FlySky, FlySky AFHDS2A, Hubsan and more
  • Supports OpenTX and JumperTX
  • Voice feedback
  • Adjustable LED Backlight
  • Haptic Feedback
  • USB-C Connector
  • JR module bay – supports Crossfire
  • 6 Flight Mode Buttons (for APM and Pixhawk flight controllers)

Here are the T18 specs:

  • STM32 F4 Processor
  • Gimbal Type: Hall Sensor Gimbals or RDC90 depends on version
  • Input voltage: DC 7V – 8.4V (two 18650 Li-ion cells or a 2S LiPo, 18650 holder included)
  • Channels: up to 32 channel
  • Display: 4.3″ IPS480*272
  • Size: 180*190*58mm
  • Weight: 708g (without battery and external module)

Closer Look at the Jumper T18

The T18 really does look similar to the T16 at first glance. Same form factor, same layout.

Jumper T18 vs T16

The carbon fibre look is absolutely beautiful, really well done!

Finally, they listened and used USB-C port, which is located on top of the radio. This is for connecting to your computer to play FPV simulators, or accessing the SD card inside the radio.

Sadly, you cannot charge the battery via the USB port, as it doesn’t have charging circuit in the T18. Strangely they added USB charging in the latest version of the T16 Pro V2 and didn’t do it in the T18. Upgrade kit in the future perhaps?

JP5in1 Module (Supports R9M)

The T18 has an upgraded “JP5in1” multi-protocol module built-in, not only it can practically bind to almost any 2.4GHz radio receivers, it even supports 868MHz/915MHz long range system! It’s basically a JP4in1 module and Frsky R9M module combined!

Here is a list of 2.4GHz protocols the JP5in1 module supports:

Note that the external antenna is only for the 868/915MHz R9 system. It’s interesting the size of that antenna is the same as a 2.4Ghz antenna. Normally antennas at this frequency are at least twice longer.

The external antenna is removable and uses SMA connector.

“Where’s the 2.4GHz antenna”, you might be wondering. Well, it’s a PCB style antenna, located inside the housing.

Both the T18 and T18 Pro come with R9 built-in. But since the T18 Lite doesn’t have R9, the removable external antenna is for 2.4GHz.

The output power of the built-in R9M is 100mW to 300mW, while that of the 2.4ghz unit is 100mW.

Dual Power Buttons

Kind of a weird one.

There are two power buttons, at first I thought it’s for avoiding turning on or shutting down the radio by accident (as you need two fingers to do it). But later I realized you can still turn the radio on and off by only pressing one of the buttons… WHAT?!

So what’s the point here Jumper? I don’t get it :)

When I turn on the radio, I found the speaker volume is set to maximum by default. It is very loud, but it also has some hissing noise. You can fix this by turning the volume down. However the TX16S doesn’t have any hissing even when volume is at maximum, so this is potentially a hardware issue.

Buttons and Switches

The 8 auxiliary switches, 6 mode buttons and 6 trim buttons are in the same locations as the T16, quality is the same too.

Sliders are also similar to the T16’s and TX16S’s, pretty sloppy to be honest, and you can hardly feel the mid point. I wish they used something like the Taranis, though it’s no big deal if you only fly quads.

Jumper also added LED backlights for each switch/button label, to help you find them in the dark. It’s kind of cool and it dims with the screen.

This is how it looks at night.

They improved the neck strap balance by adding two more holes in the hook, in case the external module or battery changes the weight of the radio. Very nice touch.

Gimbals

The gimbals in the T18 Pro are the RDC90, which are meant to be the ultimate gimbals in the 3 variants. They are indeed very nice and smooth gimbals, spring tension is medium out of the box and can be adjusted.

But honestly, I don’t really find much different compared to the hall gimbals in terms of stick feel. Even the notch in the middle feels the same.

Note that these gimbals are adjustable outwards by turning the screw next to the stick. This is a welcome feature for pinchers as it helps to reach the ends of the stick.

Unfortunately this feature is not available on the hall gimbals.

It’s possible to change gimbals from Mode 2 to Mode 1, but it’s not an easy job, you basically have to remove all the screws in the back of gimbals. It’s best to order what you want on the product page than changing it yourself.

Screen and Menu Buttons

it’s a large colour LCD scree, but it’s not a touch screen.

Actually that’s good news IMO, I’ve used touch screens in radios in the past, and it wasn’t as effective and practical as using buttons. Not to mention the extra cost.

According to Jumper the radio is still upgradable to a 800×600 touch panel, which would be available for purchase directly from Jumper in the future for DIY upgrade. However this would have to wait for OpenTX’s support first.

The plastic roller button seems to be quite loose and has some play. I am a little disappointed at the quality after seeing how nice and more durable that metal roller is in the TX16S.

Handling

The feel of the radio, is the same as the T16.

The rubber plates on the back and sides are identical to the T16’s. I wish they made the back plates thicker like what Radiomaster did with the TX16S, the grip feels so much more solid.

Anyway, if you like the ergonomics of the T16, then the T18 is going to feel fantastic too. If you don’t, there are custom designed back plates you can download and 3D print on thingiverse.

Back of the Radio

The back handle is now foldable, much better for transportation.

Standard JR module bay, fully supports Crossfire module.

Although the battery compartment size remains similar to the T16 at 82x15x42mm, they changed the location of the SD card slot, making it harder to remove without tools. The TX16S has a bigger battery compartment which allows for a larger lipo battery. But if you only use 18650 this won’t be a factor.

The T18 will come with a 1GB micro SD card already installed.

Inside the Radio

Jumper seems to have redesigned the PCB from the T16.

Jumper T18 radio inside pcb

They’re no longer using ribbon cables inside the radio because they were fragile and causing reliability issues to a few users.

They replaced them with silicon wires and JST connectors, making it much easier to repair, and possibly more durable too.

Conclusion

Although I have to admit, the T18 outperforms the T16 in terms of aesthetics, it doesn’t really offer anything more significant than the T16 in terms of user experience.

Jumper T18 radio logo led light up

The built-in R9M module is certainly nice, but most people either don’t use UHF system, or prefer to use Crossfire. The fact that having the R9M antenna as the external antenna, compromises the more important 2.4GHz antenna, actually makes it a bad design decision in my opinion.

Having a PCB antenna hidden inside the radio is definitely not good for range, not to mention you will lose the ability to adjust antenna orientation / radiation pattern to optimize signal to the drone.

The T18 jumper does not have the ability to charge the battery via USB-C, while the Radiomaster TX16S has that, as well as a touch screen already installed! It is possible to have touch screen in the T18 too, but you will have to spend extra to have it replaced, by yourself.

Jumper T18 radio transmitter

T18 or TX16S?

Not gonna waste you time, so here it is.

The TX16S is by far the best value radio there is, all those features, for only $130. See my TX16S review to find out more.

If you are planning to get the R9M system, the Jumper T18 is indeed a great option! But if you want to use Crossfire, or you don’t want to use any long range system at all, then the TX16S is still the better option in my honest opinion.

Which T18 Version Would I Choose?

For me who is not a fan of R9M, I’d rule out the T18 Pro and T18, that leaves me the T18 Lite. It’s much cheaper and still has the Hall gimbals. Also the removable external antenna is for 2.4Ghz!

You can get the T18 from these vendors:

Tutorials For New T18 Users

Setup is similar to the T16:

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17 comments

Carlos 13th May 2021 - 1:55 pm

Hi there Oscar, have you tried to remove the internal PCB AirGain N2420 which as a higher gain 3.0dBi than a regular 2.4Ghz rubber antenna, and replace it by a external 2.4 (2.5dBi)?, the internal seems to me more directional due to the higher gain.

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R Mac 16th December 2020 - 12:28 am

I have had the T18 for a couple months now and have been looking to replace the module antenna with a good 900 Mhz antenna. The reason I want to replace the antenna is because they did a test on the original one and it comes in at 700 MHz or less so it’s not truly eight 900 MHz antenna. the small size looks like a 2.5 Ghz but if you remove the plastic cap you’ll see its a coil inside to increase the length but Jumper missed the mark on this cuz it’s high point on the meter is around 710Mhz. Will an R9 super 8 or similar antenna work on this jumper module? if not can some one recommend one with a link?

Rick

Reply
Richard Raimondo 12th November 2020 - 4:31 pm

Sorry Peter, I miss read your question. I am using RF8 flight simulator in the configuration I posted before.

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Richard Raimondo 12th November 2020 - 3:57 pm

Peter, this is what I would do. I did it with a taranis, and it should be the same for you: purchase a FrSky dongle, configure your T18 for FrSky protocol, bind it with the dongle and you are all set. As a matter of fact, in a couple of weeks I will do the same. Right now, I have some priorities with the T18, as I just got it a couple of days ago and need to have it running ASAP.

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Richard Raimondo 12th November 2020 - 3:51 pm

Hi, Oscar. May be you can help me here. I have been using Taranis for a few years and were able to do funny things with it what makes me very familiar with OpenTX.
However, Jumper has some things that are not documented anywhere I could reach. Here is the issue:
In the Special Functions page, Trainer has three options: All sticks, individual channels and Channels. What this last choice means? I assumed that means all 16 channels, but doesn’t seem to work. However, it works perfectly in the Taranis.
I want to pass through channels 5 through 8 for advance training. Can I do that?
I need to do that using the master/jack trainer mode.
Thank you

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peter Sylvester 17th October 2020 - 11:37 am

I have purchased the T18 TX and would like to purchase a flight simulator to work with windows 10. When I plug the TX in it just shows up as STM32 Bootloader please can you advise.

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Stashman 21st August 2020 - 8:12 am

Is it at all possible to remove the R9 antenna and connector, and also the “internal” 2.4 antenna, and place a regular 2.4 dipole in the spot where the R9 was?
I’ve heard MANY problems with distance in regards to the “internal” antenna, with some claims of only 60 meters range…

I’d like to “Frankenstein” the T18, as I use CRSF and would like to use a “normal” 2.4 antenna and place it in the spot of where R9 used to live.
Is this at all possible?

Reply
Skyo 20th June 2020 - 7:30 pm

Two power buttons give your options. you can long press one of two btns. or Press 2 btns in the same time, radio will turn off immediately. It is a good deign

Reply
Carlo 20th June 2020 - 11:32 am

I’ve the same problem on my new T18Pro about “NO SD CARD” message. It is an 8GB sd card. Tryed with another one of same size and one of 2GB size but I receive the same “NO SD CARD” message every time.
Thanks Carlo

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Oscar 22nd June 2020 - 1:42 pm

Jumper recommends only 1GB card for this radio due to compatibility.

Reply
PK 18th June 2020 - 3:45 pm

I just sold my TX16S. If this is all we have to get excited about in terms of radios, we must be hard up. The quality is just not there. Yes, it’s a budget radio with lots of features but I can’t get past how cheap and not well thought out this stuff is. Having to tune a radio to get good range? The knobs on the top pushed into the case. Gimbals aren’t what we used to think of when you think “Hall effect” in terms of quality. One of my gimbals was off center. I can go on. Seven things in particular made me decide to sell it and go back to my Steele Taranis X9D. A multi protocol module is $25. If you’re not a newcomer, just buy a module and keep the radio that works and is well built. Full disclosure- mine arrived with scroll wheel not working so I was not off to a good start to begin with.

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madmacs fpv 18th June 2020 - 12:23 pm

thanks, i’m heading towards the t16s, my flysky nirvana has great range and i really like the ergonomics, (no neckstrap sit down hybrid pincher) but the gimbals are awful, my yaw moves 12 points from zero throttle to full so i use 12 deadband on yaw, its not massively affecting control but its not as good as my old flysky cheapo radio. as for r9m and crossfire, if i do go for it, i would prefer the full power module.

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Gerhard Weixelbaumer 14th June 2020 - 5:19 am

No, it is a 1GB card.
I got a new OTX software from Jumper. This resolved the problem.

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Gerhard Weixelbaumer 12th June 2020 - 6:48 pm

Today i got my T18 Pro and I have a SDcard failure. When I switch on i get the message “No SDcard”. I tried other cards, which are working in my Notebook, but the T18 does not see the cards. I had renamed the SDcard from it’s original name to “JumperT18”.
Can that renaming cause the issue?
Can you tell me the original Name of the SDcard?
Thank you, Gerhard

Reply
Oscar 12th June 2020 - 7:04 pm

Is that a 4GB card? Try a 1GB card, there seems to be a compatibility issue with larger cards.

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Nescafé 12th June 2020 - 2:33 pm

Indeed, are you sure about the weight ? 676g is really lightweight !

With two 2.4G internal antennas it would be acceptable but this setup design doesn’t convince me at all.
Most people will be using Crossfire or the original R9M that can reach up to 2000mW so this under-powered 5-1 module is pretty much useless.

As a side note the R9M-like module seems to have some design flaws.
https://github.com/pascallanger/DIY-Multiprotocol-TX-Module/issues/303#issuecomment-641351686

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Kelven Ma 12th June 2020 - 3:56 am

hi, it is good to see the review of new T18, I ordered Pro version and waiting for it. I would like to know something on hardware, could you help to compare the roller wheel size (if possible even the roller wheel PC board) of the T18 and TX16S ? the roller wheel response on T16 is really bad, and from your review, T18 should be the same, so I want to replace the wheel / PC board of T18 with TX16S one. I am really hope they are the same, thanks !!

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