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UPDATE [July 20, 2015]: Since the below announcement was made, we've now begun taking preorders for the new products discussed. Please look for them here.

This is a brief announcement so our valued customers know what we're hard at work on!

Our incredibly popular 9X Programmer board (aka: "SmartieParts board" or simply "SP board") and our convenient TelemetrEZ products are both being discontinued and are about to be replaced with something so much better!


Before I talk about the more exciting of the two new products, I'd like to introduce our upcoming SmartieParts Basic board.  This is essentially a stripped-down version of the existing programmer board.  It provides the core benefits of being 100% solderless and allowing you to easily upgrade your 9X's firmware to the extremely popular ER9X and OpenTX packages via simple USB connection.  We've removed the backlight circuitry, the integration for TelemetrEZ (which is discontinued anyway), and made the board smaller, simpler, and less expensive!  This is going to be for people that want to get custom firmware onto their 9X without any of the other fancy stuff.  Here's a preview!

Only US$21*
*Price is expected retail price.  Pre-orders, when announced, will be even less.  Wait, what?  Fine-print that's good news?



Now for the fun stuff!

The venerable Mr. Mike Blandford has been a huge contributor to the 9X community, as he's pretty much single-handedly been responsible for ER9X development over the past several years and he's done a fantastic job!  As many of you know, however, he has hit a bit of a wall in terms of what can be done with the 9X due to limitations of the 9X's processor, memory, and (to some extent) voltage regulator.  So we've been working together on a new product that not only provides the core functions of my previous products (firmware upload, telemetry/FrSky integration, and backlight circuitry) but also adds full-featured voice capabilities and expands the horizons of what can be done in future firmware development by giving Mike and others the processing power, memory space, and power requirements they need!

This isn't going to be the first project to try to tackle these goals, but it will be the first with a price tag that makes you forget about other radios like the Taranis or the (ugh!) 9XR Pro!

In short... we're going to make sure the 9X retains its Value King title!

Time to talk features of the SmartieParts 9Xtreme:

Firmware Flashing:

The roots have always been about getting firmware like ER9X or OpenTX onto your 9X.  Previously we helped you achieve that by bolting a programmer to your 9X.  This new board effectively becomes your 9X.  The process has changed, but the result is the same... easy, solderless, USB transfer from your computer to your 9X. 

Expanded Model Memory:

Got lots of models?  Good, because we've got lots of space.  Full support for 32 of the most advanced models you can dream up, plus infinite more using the Micro SD card slot!  [SUPRISE!  Mike just announced support for 60 models. Yay!]

Telemetry Integration:

What was once a complicated exercise in patience and steady hands, was made simple thanks to our TelemetrEZ board.  That same simple and effective solderless solution will be available again without the need to run a whole plate of spaghetti through your TX!


First we brought you the EL backlight, then we provided advanced support for the HobbyKing LED backlight, but now we're upping our game!  I plan to include a custom made RGB backlight with the kit!  RGB means you can select any color you want, and change it as often as you want, within the firmware!  Not sure if you like Blue, or Red or Green... maybe you have a hankering to try Pink.  Now you can.  Again, no soldering, cutting, splicing or dicing required.

Sound / Voice:

Sure we give you dazzling colors for your screen, but how about you keep your eyes on the plane!  Get audio feedback from your transmitter so you don't have to look at the screen to know what's going on.  This is particularly useful when combined with telemetry functions... know when your plane's battery is getting low, or you're reaching your range limits, or.. your heading East, I don't know!  What it says is up to you... giving you a solderless, simple method for hearing it is our job!   The plan is to include the speaker so your kit is complete out of the box.

Power (the processing kind):

It is amazing what Mike and those before him have managed to coax out of the 9X's relatively dinky processor.  If you want technical specs, you can Google Atmega64A (what the 9x uses now) and STM32F205 (the beast we're going to augment it with), but really its kind of like this:

The little blue guy is the 9X that we're taking for a ride.  What happens when you combine a beast of a firmware developer like Mike with a beast of a chip?  Let's find out.

Power (the electricity kind):

The last thing I want to bore you with is volts and amps, but I've got to mention the power handling.

  • First, we're off loading pretty much all the power responsibilities from the 9X's super-cheap, low-grade voltage regulator and putting it on the shoulders of our board's dual-regulators.  Our switching regulator is up to 96% efficient, compared to the 40% efficiency of the stock regulator (when used with a fully charged 3S LiPo battery).  Your battery lasts longer and you fly more without worrying.
  • It also means you're free to use the battery you want to use, without compromise.  Before you had to either waste the majority of a 3S's voltage, or else squeak by with a 2S that wouldn't last long due to the high drop-out of the stock regulator.  Our system runs happily on either one.
  • Our system can easily handle 500mA for any future add-ons you might dream up, compared to the 100 or so mA we're limited to now (the regulator can handle much more than that!  But we're designing everything around a 500mA max).
  • Finally, we're implementing a pretty advanced chip on board that protects your system from a battery-oops.  I can't count the number of customers who accidentally plugged the wrong thing in the wrong spot and let out the magic smoke!  While that was good for repeat sales, I figured if we can prevent it, we should.  Since we take over the majority of the power delivery of the 9X, it became possible to provide reverse current protection.  No more poof!

US$69 or less!*
*I'm doing my best to get the price down lower if I can, but I can say for sure it won't be higher than $69.  There WILL be a pre-order disount, so make sure you're on the mailing list!


So what's next?

You probably want to know "when?".  I'm getting closer and things are moving along at a nice pace, but still not there yet! I can't give you a solid time.  We're very close to getting (hopefully final) prototypes, and once those are confirmed it will take a few weeks for the production run to be done.  Some form of pre-sales will occur very soon, and if you'd like to be part of that make sure you're on our list for updates!  I'm working on a proper list feature for this site still, but for now please just use our contact form asking to be put on the list and I'll manually add you.  Pre-orders have started!


Thanks for reading!

Steven Morehouse

Authored June 17, 2015
Last updated July 2, 2015