6 position mode switch for APM - Around $16 total

 My last blog post on this subject was incomplete. Now I have photos I actually built and tested it. 










After reading a recent blog I have decided I REALLY need to get out there and fly this year. I spend far too much time in front of my computer... So thanks to Max Levine's wonderful blog, http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/ardupilotcopter-mega-6 I've decided to go ahead and modify my Turnigy 9X to add a 6-position switch. This is going to be more or less a mini-build log as all I've done so far is order the parts....and they're all available from a single supplier, so save money on shipping!!!



Again, props to Max Levine for his original blog on this topic.


Parts ordered (the resistor values came from an experiment with a Turnigy 9X and potentiometer):


(1) X ALPS 6-position switch = $7.06/ea or (1) X ALPS 6-position switch = $9.40/ea

(1) X 6mm knob = $0.59/ea


7 resistor solution:

(1) X 1.3K ohm resistor - $0.11/ea

(5) X 1.5K ohm resistors = $0.11/ea = $0.55

(1) X 1.0K ohm resistor = $0.15/ea


5 resistor solution:

(1) X 2.8K ohm resistor = $0.15/ea

(3) X 1.5K ohm resistors = $0.11/ea = $0.33

(1) X 2.5K ohm resistor = $0.15/ea





EDIT Sorry to keep changing the resistor values on you, but I'm trying to get as close as possible to the middle of the band for everyone. AR Projects read a min and max of 1085 and 1921, where I read a min and max of 1047 and 1878.


Current Cost (not including shipping all ordered from Mouser.com) = $8.46

Shipping is "estimated" at $6.40 so I'm in for $14.86 so far.


For those that don't want the hassle, you can buy a 6 position switch pre-made from one of our fellow DIYdroners - AR Projects - http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120731012907&fromMakeTrack=true&ssPageName=VIP:watchlink:top:en


UPDATE 6/11/2011

I didn't wait for Mouser to get the switch in stock, so I ended up spending $9.40 including shipping to get the switch from eBay. If you can wait, the original price of $8.46 plus shipping still stands. If not, you're looking at $3.40 for the knob plus $6.00 shipping and $1.40 for the resistors and knob plus Mouser charged me $5.20 in shipping. Total cost with shipping was $16. If I could have waited I would have saved about $2.00 on the total cost.



These are the target and actual PWM values achieved using 7 resistors. (6) 1.5K and (1) 768 ohms


Pos 0: <= 1230 = 1165 Target - 1175 Actual
Pos 1: 1230 - 1360 = 1295 Target - 1300 Actual
Pos 2: 1361 - 1490 = 1426 Target - 1431 Actual
Pos 3: 1491 - 1620 = 1556 Target - 1555 Actual
Pos 4: 1621 - 1750 = 1686 Target - 1684 Actual
Pos 5: >= 1750 = 1815 Target - 1811 Actual


That's about as perfect as it can get.



A few things worth mentioning during the "build."


1) Before you try to solder the wires going to the switch, take a pair of large cutters and trim off the bump on the switch. If you look at the top of the switch, you'll see a keyed piece of metal that would be used to keep the knob from rotating, if the plastic housing was designed for it. If you try to clip it after the fact, you may run the risk of breaking off a resistor like I did.


2) Take an x-acto knife and ream out the hole a little bit. The threads on the switch won't go through otherwise.


3) The radio case will be a bit tight to get back together in the corner where you installed your switch. I forced mine ever so slightly....but I could have done a better job cutting the metal tab off my swtich.


E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • Thanks for this nice work. I will do it later on my er9x, but started with my cheap HK HK6S, which only have one switch and a potentiometer. Now I have 6 flight modes and one switch on it, thats nice,giving it a second life. However I had to change R1 up to 3k ohm to make it match APM2.6, but now it is fine :)

  • hi guys,

    nice thing this switch   :o)

    i've seen that page doesn't exist : http://www.diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/5-flying-modes-with-a-spektrum

    if you are interested, i've done on my DX6i a system with a cheap module V-tail mixer in my copter that allows 4 pwm levels with combination of "gear" and "flap" switches on the radio

  • First thank you for this post.  I did this on a cheap 6ch HK-T6A controller, but I had to mess with the resistors a little.  One was kind of close( about 10 from the edge of that mode range), but it was stable.  Here is what I had: G-P0-750ohm-P1-1.5k-P2-1.5k-P3-750ohm-P4-1.5k-P5-1.5k-(+5v).  I tried the 7 resistor method first but it would skip one of the 6 modes.

  • Gents, firstly great work Paul on the write-up... longing for the LED Feedback part, I decided to figure it out and do a write up... 




  • I was able to get the screen to show the flight modes using open9x. 


  • I just finished this mod and thanks to all the great instructions it went quite easy.  Two things, rather than cut off the metal knob I just drilled a small notch into the plastic which worked perfectly.  2nd the knob that came with my ebay kit doesn't fit flush to the control panel surface.  There's a gap of 1/4"  is that normal?

  • My spektrum dx5e has a 2 position toggle switch on channel 5.   I can only select two flight modes 0 and 6.

    will this mod work on my radio ?

  • In theory, on any radio. The thing you need to find out is if that input on the TX board inside the transmitter will accept a variable signal on that channel vs an on/off. In other words, all the mod does is make known steps of varying resistance such that in normal usage a voltage divider is created to the input at the TX board, just the same as if a potentiometer had detents. It's suddenly very simple when you think of it that way.

  • Can this be done on Graupner MX-12,version without knobs..

  • Can this be done on a JR X9503?

This reply was deleted.