Mods for your Taranis X9D

Mike Shellim 4 Dec 2013
Updated 4 March 2018

[Update March 2018: After four years and a bit, my X9D continues to provide sterling service. The tally of issues amounts to a broken gimbal spring and a couple of dead trim buttons. Considering mine has a serial number of several noughts followed by 77, I think that's pretty acceptable! In December of last year I replaced the stock gimbals with a pair of M9's. These splendid units have Hall sensors and should ensure trouble free operation for a while to come.]

1. Make room for your fingers

Switches should come with a government warning: 'sprinkle sparingly'. There are rather a lot on the X9D and they can get in the way of each other. So get your soldering iron out, and disconnect any that you know you won't need. Make sure to insulate the cable ends to prevent shorts.

Block the holes with blanking plates (above) or exterior-quality black tape (below).

tx image


2. Switch around your switchgear

Every pilot will have their own ideas about switch layout. One of the first things I did was to swap switches SA and SB, as I prefer a long stalk on my main flight mode switch (SA). This involved de- and re-soldering the switch wires. I also slipped some fuel tubing over the longer stalk, for a more tactile feel.

I also replaced switch SE with a sprung 3-position centre-biased switch. Useful for voice callouts on demand - push one way for RSSI, push the other for rx voltage. Note that 3-position switches can be swapped for 2-pos types, but you cannot switch from a 2-pos to a 3-pos.

3. Battery charging

Early X9Ds were supplied with 800 mAh NiMH batteries of uncertain brand. I replaced these pretty soon with 2100 mAh Eneloops. These hold their charge well, and unlike LiPos they don't mind being stored fully charged (and they don't carry a fire risk).

The Taranis' internal charger is simple and convenient, however it does not allow the charge current to be altered, and there's no way to monitor the amount of charge. For this reason I prefer to use an external charger with a proper display (I use an iCharger 106B). This connects to the battery via a 3-pin MPX connector. The only drawback is that the battery cover has to be removed to gain access but it's a small price to pay. I set a charge current of 1.2A.

4. M9 gimbals

In December 2017 I replaced the original gimbals with a pair of M9's. These are equpped with Hall sensors - so no more worries about pots wearing out.

Fitting is pretty straightforward, though I found it necessary to remove some material off the inner mounting plate in order to clear the trim assemblies. Unlike the original gimbals, there are no axis markings.

In use, the main difference is the action around centre which feels better defined. The throw angles are pretty well identical to the original gimbals so familiarisation was minimal. All in all I would definitely recommend the M9's - the Hall sensors alone make them a worthwhile upgrade.