Review: BetaFPV LiteRadio 2 radio transmitter

BetaFPV has released the small batch of their new LiteRadio 2 radio transmitters. This batch is more like pre-release beta units for testing. I have purchased one as I found it interesting to test. Mine has FrSky D16 FCC firmware built in from the factory.

LiteRadio 2 features/specifications

Real gimbals (smaller size than full sized radio)
8 channels
4 switches: 2 – two pos and 2 – three pos 
Optional protocols: Bayang, Frsky D8, Frsky D16 FCC ans D16 LBT
Runs on OpenTX firmware
Can be used as USB joystick for simulators
Trainer function
Bind and setup functions

BetaFPV LiteRadio 2 radio transmitter comes with 2 pcs BetaFPV 300mAh batteries and 1S BT2.0 battery charger/tester.

BetaFPV LiteRadio 2 has real gimbals with adjustable height sticks. Stick thread is 3mm.

Radio has power button in the middle. You need to press the button for at least 2 seconds to turn the radio on and at least for 3 seconds to turn the radio off.

On the bottom side of the radio you can find the MicroUSB socket for connecting the radio to the computer and 3.5mm socket for trainer connection.

There are 4 switches located on the top side of the radio.

One three position and one two position switch on the each side.

On the back side of the transmitter you can find Setup and Bind buttons.

BetaFPV LiteRadio 2 is powered by 2S battery. There is a 2x 1S battery adapter for connecting two 2S batteries (that are supplied with the radio).

However the battery bay is too small and you need to figure out how to manage to fit the batteries inside.

Luckily there is small slot for battery leads and somehow you can fit them inside.

Fully charged BetaFPV 300mAh batteries last for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, when the LiteRadio 2 starts to flash the power button led.

BetaFPV LiteRadio 2 comes with the BT2.0 battery charger/tester. It is handy tool for checking the 1S BT2.0 battery voltage. It would be nice if the radio had internal charging circuit for charging two 1S batteries or one 2S battery internally.

Charger has two sockets for BT2.0 batteries.

The size and shape of the radio is perfect fit for thumbers. The same feel as having the game controller in hands. The pointer finger can access the switches easily.

However the LiteRadio 2 is just too small for comfortable use for pinchers and hybrid type users.

The power button has three color LED light. It is lit in GREEN while powering (starting) the radio, turns into RED if the sticks/switches check failed and turns into BLUE on normal operation.

Inside the radio

You have to unscrew the 8 screws to open the LiteRadio 2.

Mine came with one screw missing.

Inside you can find the main board, RF board, gimbals and switches.

Closer view of the left gimbal. You can see the metallic throttle tension bar. You can adjust the tension by screwing or unscrewing this bar.

Right gimbal with two springs.

Gimbals have simple potentiometers for each axis.

Closer look at the main board. On the top part of the board you can find the power supply circuit.

On the bottom part of the main board you can find the MicroUSB and trainer sockets as well as SW1 (setup) and SW2 (bind) buttons.

RF board has CC2500 RF Transceiver and CC2592 power amplifier/ range extender chips.

Below the RF board you can find the STM32F205 MCU chip. There are also SW16 bush button and JP15 socket for ribbon cable. Their purpose is unknown.

On the top of the radio case there is patch antenna attached.

RF module

Binding the receiver

In order to bind the receiver to the LiteRadio 2 you need to

  • Power the transmitter on.
  • Put the receiver into bind mode.
  • Press the BIND button from the back of the transmitter.
  •  


The transmitter will enter the binding mode and last about 10 seconds, indicated by BLUE and RED LED flash alternately.

  • Check if the receiver bonded successfully. If not, redo the steps above.

Binding procedure is really simple and I succeeded to bind the Meteor 65 from the first try.

How to switch the protocol (D16/D8 Version)

Press and hold the bind button, then press the power button until the purple light is flashing. The flashing LED indicates different protocol the LiteRadio works on.
LED Status Protocol Version
Flash Once Frsky D16 FCC
Flash Twice  Frsky D16 LBT
Flash Three Times  Frsky D8
 

Use with Simulators

In order to use this radio with PC simulators, just power the radio and connect it to the PC via micro USB cable. The LiteRadio 2 will be automatically detected as joystick device (Taranis).

Tip: if LiteRadio 2 is not recognized a joystick, then check this guide: OpenTX Radio not working in simulator issue fix

Setting up the radio

OpenTX settings are accessible only via OpenTX Companion. Only the special Companion version works with the LiteRadio 2.

Download link: https://github.com/BETAFPV/opentx/blob/LiteRadio/companion/companion-windows-2.2.4.exe

By default the LiteRadio 2 connects to the PC in USB Joystick mode. In order to connect the transmitter to the OpenTX Companion you need to Press and hold the SETUP button from the back of the transmitter. Press the power button on the transmitter. And then release both buttons. The power LED ring will not power on. Now the transmitter is in SETUP mode and you can scnnect the transmitter to the computer via a USB cable.

Open the OpenTX Companion software. Set the radio type to Lite Radio in the settings page.

Download the all the Models and Settings from the Radio by pressing the button shown below.

One of the most important settings that you might want to change is trim the center point (midpoint) of the Roll, Pitch and Yaw axis.

In order to calibrate the midpoint of the axis, press Edit Radio Settings button and select the Calibration tab.

Check the midpoint value in the Betaflight Configurator Radio tab. In our case the Aileron (Roll) axis midpoint value is 1506 (should be 1500).

Calculate the calibrated Mid Value according to the equation below. Calibrated Mid Value = Original Mid Value + ( Mid Value from Betaflight Configurator  – 1500) * 2
On our case it is Calibrated Mid Value = 1075 + (1506 – 1500)*2 = 1087

After this save the settings to the radio by pressing Write Models and Settings To Radio button.

That’s how the calibration of the midpoint is done. Now the Roll axis is perfectly centered.

Conclusion

The small size of the BetaFPV LiteRadio 2 makes it very portable. Actually it is the smallest OpenTX radio. Game pad style shape is common for gamers and is really comfortable for thumbers. The radio is just too small for pinchers and hybrid users.

The LiteRadio 2 comes with batteries and charger included, which is not a common, but great thing – you don’t need to worry about additional batteries and chargers for this radio. It would be great if the radio would have internal charging capability via microUSB connector. 

The LiteRadio 2 has no LCD screen an no navigation or setup controls except BIND and SETUP buttons. This radio is made to be super simple to use. Just bind and fly. However the lack of LCD screen and ability to change the settings directly on the radio is a huge disadvantage for advanced users. Of course there is possibility to change settings via OpenTX Companion software, but is much less convenient.

The gimbals on this radio are surprisingly good. They feel like normal full sized radio gimbals, they center very well and they have almost no dead band in the middle. You can adjust the tension of the throttle axis, but no spring tension adjustments on other axis. Have in mind that there are no trim buttons on the radio, so you will have to use OpenTX Companion for adjusting the center of the gimbal axis.

A built in speaker would be nice! User is unaware that battery is depleting – nobody sees the flashing lights on the radio while wearing the FPV goggles. Haptic feature would also be great addition to the sound warnings.

There are a number of things that could be improved and there is no such thing as perfect radio. However this could be a good option for the first beginner radio or as a part of ReadyToFly quadcopter kit. 

Update 2020-04-21: BetaFPV has just released the production version of this radio transmitter. Noж the user can select the radio protocol (Frsky D8, D16 EU or D16 FCC) by holding the bind button. Radio also can be charged by micro USB cable with built in charger! Radio also comes with one 2S battery instead of the 2 pcs of 1S batteries. Great improvements.

Fun fact: the LiteRadio 2 is the cheapest OpenTX radio on the market.

BetaFPV LiteRadio 2 can be purchased @

BetaFPVhttps://betafpv.com/collections/tx/products/literadio-2-radio-transmitter

GetFPVhttps://www.getfpv.com/betafpv-literadio-2-radio-transmitter-frsky-d8-d16.html

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