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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Baltic-Seagull iVol 2 G16 review - PART 1 -


Behind this code name is a very innovative RC transmitter, designed and made in Germany by Baltic-Seagull, which I would summarize in 2 main features that are:

  1. Jeti inside
  2. Programmable via a PC
The HF part beeing Jeti, this means that you can operate any receiver of the Jeti product range, up to 16 channels. No need of external box as the JetiBox is smartly integrated into the transmitter.

What you get

The iVol2G16 transmitter case is very unusual, somewhere between a normals transmitter case and a game controller. On the external side of the case, there are 2 big rubber pieces that maximize the grip of the hands, while holding the transmitter. The prehension is absolutely excellent, and the transmitter well balanced. Sticks are smooths and precise.
the trims, all digital, are on the interior side of the sticks, and very close to each other. While holding the transmitter, there are easy to reach and manipulate.

A display is located at the top middle of the case, which has 2 main functions: Jeti box, and system display. It is not very large, but is well located, and very clear and readable, even outside, under a strong sun. A wheel and 2 buttons allow to navigate, select, enter data in the various menu, change of main function, etc ...

There is no visible antenna like on usual transmitter. The antenna is located inside the case as will will see later.

The iVol2G16 transmitter arrives by default in blue, with a basic configuration including 2 sticks, 2 potentiometers, and 2 switches (2 positions). The 2 potentiometers are very smooth and convenient to use. 4 slots allow to extend the transmitter with additional 2 positions or 3 positions switches.

On the top of the case, you have 2 connectors. The first one is a mini USB format allowing to charge the battery, or transfer data from a PC. The second one is not documented.
On the back of the case, you find 2 access trap doors, to give an access to the back of the additional switches when installing them. A mini tool is also incorporated to the case, which allow to harden, or soften the sticks.

The case is in plastic, gives the feeling to be robust, with no visible flex, which is a good point. It's weight is about 750 grams. The iVol2G16 transmitter arrives with a high quality mini-USB/USB cable, but no documentation, as the documentation is only available on the website, as a sort of wiki, which is updated regurlarly.

The internals

The iVol2G16 transmitter is a 16 channels transmitter, that integrates a JETI Duplex HF module and a JETIBox. It is relying on a ARM Cortex M3 processor, with 2.5Mb Flash and 64Kb RAM memory. The battery is a 700 mAh Lipo, USB compatible which gives up to 5 hours of batterie life. The recharge is done via the USB cable, either from a PC, or from a USB charger delivering 300mA.

When opening the transmitter case, we discover a single PCB which include everything, including the Jeti HF module, which means that this is a full integration of the JETI technology, not just a connection of a TU module on the main PCB. The quality of the PCB is very nice, using surface mounting components. The 2.4 antenna is secured in the top front of the case with some glue.

The display is a transparent LCD display, which is back illuminated with 4 LEDs. The back illumination color can be changed easily via the system menu to fit your taste and needs.

Installing additional switches

Depending of you need you may have to install additional switches on the trasmitter. To do so, you need to remove the top front color panel (4 screws on the back of the transmitter case), then place the additional switches in the slots, and finally solder them on the PCB via the back access trap door.

Operating the iVol2G16

There is no dedicated power/on/off buttons. To switch ON, you need to press simultanesouly during several seconds the 2 buttons at the top of the case. This is convenient and safe at the same time. While the transmitter is "booting" you see the "iVol" logo on the display, then it switches to the menu that you have defined as menu to display at startup.

Today, the firwmare is only talking German, even if the Hangar programming software is German or English. Baltic Seagull is of course planning to make the firmware to also speak english and possibly french, this is just a matter of time. At the moment, the menu are intuitive enough to navigate through them and understand them. I don't speak german but I was however not lost.

Let's have a look to the menu structure:

Starting from the root menu, the upper menu (Hauptmenu) give access to the model menu or the system menu.

Model menu is articulated into 3 sub-menus

  1. Modell auswahl to change of model memory
  2. Modell einstellungen which give access to the parameter sub-menu (empty at the moment), the trim sub-menu, and the servo monitor sub-menu that displays bar graphs moving with sticks, depending of the configuration, mixing.
  3. Stoppurh will allow a countdown

    • Start
    • Zurucksetzen
    • Aufwarts

System menu

  1. Setup: give the firmware version installed
  2. Jetibox: go to the Jetibox mode. Then you navigate using the rigth stick trims or left stick trims. This is very convenient.
  3. Spräche: to select the language. Only German is available at the moment
  4. Menu: allow to select what page will dsiplay at start
  5. Anzeige: allos to change contrast, and color of the display
  6. Ton: allows to change the loudness of the beep

At any time, the front right button allows to switch from jeti menu to trim menu to system menu. You don't need to go back to exit a menu.

In the next part I will cover the programming part, be patient :) !

Company website

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