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First look: PowerBox CORE Radio System

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  • First look: PowerBox CORE Radio System

    After some 30+ years with the latest JR radio in my hot hands, I’ve been reading up on my selection for the 2019 flying season as part of joining Team PowerBox-Systems Americas. That is, the new PowerBox CORE radio system due to the public at the end of this year.

    We’re blessed today in our hobby with many wonderful radio systems each with strong brand loyalty and to say one is definitively better than all others is really nothing more than hubris. So, I’m not whatsoever advocating that anyone toss their trusty axe, only sharing what I’m learning about my choice.

    The following is a quick summary from the materials. As a long-standing user of other PowerBox products, I am excited to experiment and learn more.

    Features….
    • 26-channels
    • extremely secure against interference, redundant 2.4 GHz transmission, extreme long range
    • redundant power supply
    • high-performance real-time telemetry, up to 800 telemetry values per second
    • open bus interface for servos and telemetry
    • aluminum stick units with hall sensors for sticks and slider controls
    • 20 transmitter controls + 2 optional stick switches
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    CORE overview…

    Interestingly, as PowerBox approached development there was an effort not to make any compromises about compatibility with other systems. Foremost is CORE’s security and functional stability. The radio link employs the proven frequency-hopping process developed by Weatronic known for outstanding interference rejection and long range. The CORE’s radio link features integral redundancy monitored by the receiver. CORE’s power system incorporates two separate 7.2V Li-Ion battery units, each rated at 3400 mAh and the entire power regulation circuit is also duplicated - a feature currently available only in the CORE.

    PowerBox is offering 5, 7, 9 and 26-channel receivers, the 9 and 26 versions offering dual redundant receiver circuits. The 26 is priced under $100 but is a receiver only, intended to be used with PowerBox or FLB power distribution systems. All other receivers accept servos plugs in their sides. I’ll likely be using the 26 along with a PowerBox Competition SRS.

    The CORE provides 26 channels, each with 4096-bit resolution. Despite this, the control data are transmitted using a 10 ms frame rate with zero delay. All channels have full resolution, and there are no limitations to the frame rate.

    Beyond telemetry…

    Telemetry handling and transmission has been redesigned, with the arguably insane result that up to 240 sensors can be connected to the P²-BUS!?! For the future this level of performance opens entirely new possibilities, such as real-time servo monitoring inside the model. The P²-BUS telemetry interface is also accessible to third-party manufacturers, which means pilots are not obliged to switch to new sensors for their models; a software update of the sensor system would be enough. The telemetry configuration and parameter setting are conveniently carried out from the transmitter using the radio link.

    Linux with smartphone intuition…

    The basis of the CORE transmitter is a high-performance Linux PC, which is controlled using the touch-screen. The software’s look and feel are identical to the typical smartphone. An intuitive user interface provides fast access to settings, with the result that models can be programmed with minimum input effort. The transmitter screen is clearly legible even in bright sunshine.
    Internal data communication is implemented via the CAN-BUS. This proven bus system has already been employed successfully in the car and aviation industries for several decades.

    Controls…

    The standard controls are two primary stick units machined from solid, exploiting Hall sensors with 16-bit resolution and a further four linear controls. These are also based on totally wear-free Hall sensor technology, and each feature twin ball races.

    The transmitter is equipped with eight toggle switches, of which the bottom pair are two-position; all others are three-position. However, this arrangement can be altered at any time by the user; for example, it would be possible to fit latching switches, or switches with different-length toggles. If desired, potentiometers could be fitted. The inputs for the transmitter controls are designed to offer maximum flexibility. Another new feature in the overall design is the pair of momentary switches to left and right of the primary sticks.All the switches are laid out in the pattern familiar from other high-end systems. Obviously, the aim is to give pilots a pro “tool” which they can immediately use to the fullest. One seriously atypical step is the Alcantara leather hand-hold facings.
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    One seriously atypical step is the Alcantara leather hand-hold facings. Here you can see the red stitching in the leather.

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    Special features of the transmitter include integral GPS, a 9-axis motion sensor, USB and a WLAN socket. The latter is employed for updating the software for the entire system. Receivers can be updated very conveniently via radio link, i.e. it is not even necessary to remove them from the model.

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    So, there you have the highlights. I’ll be sharing more about my “all black” version of the CORE in the coming weeks.

    Final looks... inside the rear panel...

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    The Titanium version. BTW, both also come as a tray radio
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    Thanks for the bandwidth!
    Black version Titanium version Access panel
    Team PowerBox Systems Americas ............You can't buy happiness. But, you can buy a sailplane and that's pretty darn close.

  • #2
    Adding a look at a couple of the new receivers.... 9 and 26 versions. The 9 channel is the largest typical receiver, but offers redundant receiver circuits and should retail at about $135 USD. The 26-channel is a remote intended for use with a PowerBox unit and should be just about at $90 USD.

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    In total, five receivers will be available:

    PBR-5S receiver with a single receiver circuit and an integral Chip aerial. P²-BUS interface for servo and telemetry data, the choice for small models.

    PBR-7S with a single receiver circuit. P²-BUS interface for servo and telemetry data, and an auxiliary output which can be configured either as SRXL bus or as channel 8.

    PBR-9D nine-channel receiver with two redundant receiver circuits. P²-BUS interface for servo and telemetry data, and an auxiliary output configured either as SRXL bus or as channel 10.

    PBR-8E an eight-channel receiver with two redundant receiver circuits. The unit features 8 PWM servo outputs and telemetry data for battery voltage and RF-data.

    PBR-26D is a satellite receiver featuring two redundant receiver circuits. P²-BUS interface for servo and telemetry data, and an auxiliary output which can be configured either as SRXL bus or S-BUS. This unit has no servo plug-ins as it is designed to be connected to PowerBox power supply systems or a flybarless system.
    Team PowerBox Systems Americas ............You can't buy happiness. But, you can buy a sailplane and that's pretty darn close.

    Comment


    • #3
      Steve, any idea on pricing!

      Jeremy
      SCCAAA TT TN

      Comment


      • Steve P
        Steve P commented
        Editing a comment
        The actual street price in the U.S. for CORE remains to be seen but directionally it will be up there with the other high-end systems -- currently promoted at $2800 USD "retail". I think the JR 28x was listed at $3200 retail but typically sold for far less, toward the end like $2400. So, we shall see.

    • #4
      Cool, thanks Steve

      Comment


      • #5
        I love it when a plan -- eer radio -- comes together. Mine is the fouth one on the right.

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        Team PowerBox Systems Americas ............You can't buy happiness. But, you can buy a sailplane and that's pretty darn close.

        Comment


        • #6
          Video from Nexus Modelling Supplies unboxing their first production CORE...

          Needs to be viewed in full screen mode.

          Team PowerBox Systems Americas ............You can't buy happiness. But, you can buy a sailplane and that's pretty darn close.

          Comment


          • #7
            Preview instruction manual is now available. The detailed version will actually be loaded on the radio so it's accessible everywhere the radio goes...

            https://www.powerbox-systems.com/upl...ox_CORE_en.pdf

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            Team PowerBox Systems Americas ............You can't buy happiness. But, you can buy a sailplane and that's pretty darn close.

            Comment


            • #8
              An amazing visit in Donauwörth today. I had the opportunity to spend a good amount of time both with the CORE and with Richard and Emmerich. As fantastic as the new radio feels in my hands, it is that much better to quickly understand and to program — an incredible amount of thought and planning has gone in to this product. Intuitive. Exceptional flexibility. The redundant power, rf and antenna features RULE!

              Regarding comments in some other forums, for the US market the radio will be delayed a couple months. The FCC was being a bit slow to respond, then a lengthy government shut down, and a few details to attend to all come together to make much more sense that PowerBox focus on shipping product to Europe and other markets first.

              I’m not sure that once the radio gets into peoples’ hands that programming tips here on this forum are even going to be necessary?? If you can use your cell phone and operate your television remote you’re about 99% there. Being able to control multiple servos in multiple mixes all on a single screen is phenomenal. Oh in that screen? That screen has better clarity than my brand new mobile phone.

              Watching the team assemble the component parts and then each finished radio is an exceptional experience. The care and passion that has gone into designing the components together with a team member sweating over every screw and every detail during assembly is really wonderful. No mass production here — these are as close to a bespoke radio as I think we’re ever going to get. When each one is finished, final testing and small things like making certain the play of the sticks is just so perfect really underscores the family commitment to delivering a great product.

              I have many more photos to share, but for now here’s a bit of eye candy.

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              Attached Files
              Team PowerBox Systems Americas ............You can't buy happiness. But, you can buy a sailplane and that's pretty darn close.

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              • #9
                Steve, thanks for sharing.....

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