Not long ago I adjusted my Taranis Gimbal sticks and it made a big difference to how well my quad flies. So I decided to share how I loosen/tighten TX gimbals for better performance.
Many people focus heavily on PID, expo, rates and thought they were everything that could affect their flying. NO! Transmitter gimbals are also important!
Tuning PID? How about Tuning your gimbals first? :-p
Some good quality transmitter gimbals help smooth flying, but if you can’t afford an expensive TX, at least tune it properly. Maybe your TX was designed for fixed wing, or maybe the factory gimbal settings doesn’t suit your flying style, either way some adjustment might be needed.
I am using my Taranis as an example.
Take Apart the Transmitter
I first remove the 6 screws on the back of my Taranis. Do not force it, slowly lift the front housing from the back, you will find you can’t pull it any further as the 2 top switches are inserted on the back housing.
You will need to loosen the nuts of these switches to take them out first, in order to lift the front housing completely off the back. (Remember to mark the orientation of those switches’! remember which way facing front, so you don’t mess up when putting them back)
Once you have done it, you can now proceed to the gimbal stick adjustment.
I use Mode 2, so Yaw and Throttle stick is located on the left, and Pitch/Roll on the right (looks opposite when you flip the TX over).
The stiffness of the gimbals is basically controlled by the tension in the springs, which can be adjusted by tightening or loosening the screws on the gimbals. I labelled these screws with numbers 1 to 5 in the above picture:
- “1” is the throttle ratchet.
- “2” is the stiffness of your throttle
- “3” is the stiffness of your yaw
- “4” is the stiffness of your pitch
- “5” is the stiffness of your roll
Remove Ratchet, Loosen Throttle
On my Taranis, there is ratchet on the throttle (the clicking feeling when moving throttle stick), and I really don’t like it :) It also feels pretty stiff. I guess it was designed for RC planes, because throttle tends to be pretty stable, so the ratchet and stiff stick keeps your throttle constant while yawing.
However with multirotors, especially mini quad (both free style and racing), we play with throttle a lot (by a lot I mean all the time). I found loosening the throttle stick gives me much smoother and quicker control.
I also found the notches of the ratchet skips throttle values so when I hover it’s always either too high or too low, and I had to move my throttle stick forth and back constantly. Removing this gives me better throttle resolution.
Experiment different spring tension and find your preference.
Tighten Pitch/Roll (to your liking)
When I got my Taranis, I found the Roll/Pitch/Yaw too sloppy.
I prefer to have these sticks as tight as possible. Not only it helps to keep the quad locked in when flying straight, it also prevents accidental movement of other stick (e.g. when doing a flip you might accidentlaly roll a little as well).
Some people prefer to have pitch a little sloppier than roll which makes it easier to adjust the quad’s attitude in fast flying.
What works for me, doesn’t necessary work for you, so experiment, and use whatever you feel more comfortable with.
After adjusting the gimbals, I felt like it literally set me free.
Especially improvement with the throttle stick, it’s almost like taking the invisible hand off my TX that had been slowing me down.
Although I have tightened Yaw/Pitch/Roll sticks to the max, I still feel like they can be tighter. Maybe I need some harder springs :)