Transmitters & recievers


Compatible RC Transmitter and Receiver Systems (Pixhawk/PX4)

This article provides an overview of the RC Transmitter and Receiver Systems that can be used with Pixhawk (and PX4) along with guidance on how they are connected.


Pixhawk is compatible with PPM RC receivers, Futaba S.Bus receivers, and Spektrum DSM,DSM2, and DSM-X Satellite receivers as discus. For traditional single-wire-per-channel (PWM) receivers a PPM encoder can be used to convert the receiver outputs to PPM-SUM.
Futaba S.BUS2 receivers are not yet supported.
To connect a PPM receiver, Futaba S.Bus receiver, or PPM encoder, connect the black ground, red power and white signal wires to the RC pins. These S.BUS receivers have been tested and are known to work: R2008SB, R6008SB.
rc input wiring
For a Spektrum DSMDSM2, or DSM-X Satellite receiver, connect to the SPKT/DSM port.
spektrum connect

Radio systems that support PPM-Sum or S-Bus directly

This section list radio systems that support PPM-Sum or S-Bus directly.

FRSKY Taranis PPM-Sum Compatible Transmitter

This solution is very highly recommended for all RC uses
The FRSky Taranis RC Transmitter is a very high quality open source RC Transmitter that is compatible with a wide variety of high quality FrSky PPM-Sum compatible receivers.
This transmitter is a real bargain. At time of writing they are in short supply and hard to find. Currently in the US Range Video has them in stock and Aloft Hobbies should be getting them in stock also.

FRSky Delta 8 MultiProtocol PPM-Sum Receiver

  • This PPM-Sum compatible FRSky Delta 8 Receiver is multi-platform capable including Hitec Aurora 9 and Futaba RC transmitters.
  • For an Aurora 9, install a jumper between receiver signal pins 6 and 7 (Hitec AFHSS) and pins 3 and 4 (CPPM mode) in order to bind.
  • Note: For a Hitec Aurora 9 system you need to have version 3.01 or later of the firmware in the transmitter’s AFHSS 2.4ghz module.
    • If your module does not have version 3.01 or later firmware you will need the Hitec HPP-22 programmer module in order to upgrade it.
    • Upgrade both the AFHSS 2.4ghz module and the transmitter itself to the latest versions following HP-22 online instructions.
    • If the transmitter’s AFHSS module’s blue LED will not illuminate during binding you will need to perform this firmware upgrade.
  • I am using the Delta 8 successfully with a PX4 and an Aurora 9, I had to complete the firmware upgrade procedure before I could bind.

Turnigy Transmitter Compatible With FRSky Transmitter Module


FRSky Transmitter Adapter Module and PPM-Sum Receiver

The FR-Sky PPM Sum Receiver and conversion module below will work with Turnigy 9x, 9XR (above) and other RC transmitters.
FRSky makes several receivers, some are compatible with PPM-Sum, some are not, check at FRSky’s web site.
The receiver shown is PPM-Sum compatible and is recommended (4 channel receivers still do 8 channel PPM-Sum)

Futaba Transmitter Compatible With Futaba S-Bus Receivers

  • Support for Futaba SBUS is not fully implemented, although some receivers do work at this time, including Futaba R6303SB.
  • Connect the SBUS receiver to the PPM input, not the adjacent SBUS output.

Spektrum Satellite Receivers Operate on PPM-Sum

  • Although Spektrum main receivers do not communicate by PPM-Sum their range extending “satellite” receivers do.
  • So it is feasible to use a single Spektrum Satellite Receiver to act as a PPM-Sum receiver with PX4 and Pixhawk.
    • Simply pre-bind the Spektrum Satellite to your transmitter using a conventional Spektrum receiver with satellite attached.
    • Then connect the tiny Spektrum Satellite receiver to the special “Spektrum” connector on either the PX4IO or Pixhawk.
  • Currently satellites only work with the Spektrum DX7 and DX8 transmitters, Transmitters with more channels are (in progress).
  • Please note that you can use a Spektrum Satellite receiver with Pixhawk or PX4 if you bind it to the transmitter using a main Spektrum receiver module. It is not currently supported to bind the Satellite receiver directly to the transmitter while the receiver is connected to the Pixhawk or PX4.
  • Being a satellite, range is limited with this configuration and the preceding receivers and methods will provide greater range.

3DR PPM encoder and 3DR telemetry radio

The 3DR PPM Encoder will allow you to use any Conventional RC receiver. Both the new and previous versions of the 3DR PPM-Sum encoder are shown below:
Newest 3DR PPM-Sum encoder
Newest 3DR PPM-Sum encoder

Original 3DR PPM-Sum encoder
Original 3DR PPM-Sum encoder
There are some downsides of using this encoder:
  • The 3DR PPM Encoder does require quite a bit of additional wiring to the receiver.
  • It uses quite a bit of power making it likely you will need to plug in your battery while doing radio setup with USB cable in Mission Planner.
  • The 3DR encoder also costs as much or more than several of the available PPM-Sum receivers including the FRSky Delta 8 below.
There is addition information about connecting and configuring the encoder here.

Using the 3DR PPM Sum encoder in a system

The diagram below shows how to use the original 3DR PPM-Sum encoder. The new encoder is used in the same way.

Using a Standard RC Radio Receiver with 3DR PPM Encoder

    • You can use a standard radio receiver with an 8 channel PPM Encoder in place of the PPM-SUM receiver.
      • An 8 Channel PPM Encoder is available from 3DRobotics Here!
      • Solder a 3×8 Right angle connector from the top into one end of the 8 Channel PPM Encoder board.
      • With the 3×8 connector up and facing away from you, solder a 3×1 Right angle connector on the right edge of the 8 Channel PPM Encoder board.
    • Connect 5-8 output channels of your receiver to the inputs of the 8 Channel Encoder (signal wire furthest from board) with 5-8 female to female servo jumpers.
      • Connect the PPM-SUM output of the Encoder with a 3 wire cable to the PX4IO boards PPM sum input (1×3 connector).
    • Note:
      If you are using a 3DR PPM Encoder it is important to know that when you are calibrating your transmitter you will quite likely need to hook up your flight battery to the PX4IO because the USB port alone can’t supply enough power.

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