PitMode Background

Team Black Sheep (TBS) has several versions of their Unify Pro Video Transmitters (VTX) that include the TBS UNIFY PRO 5G8 V2, TBS UNIFY PRO 5G8 HV, TBS UNIFY PRO 5G8 HV Race and TBS UNIFY PRO 5G8 V3. You can identify which version you have by looking at the underside of the component’s silk screen.

For this article, we’ll focus on the HV Race version.

The TBS Unify Pro manual (see references below) refers to PitMode being either Activated, Deactivated, On, or Off. There is confusion between Activated/On and Deactivated/Off so let’s try to clear that up.

When you do not activate PitMode (Deactivated), it’s like having a VTX without PitMode. In that case, On/Off is not applicable because you don’t have a PitMode to turn on. However, when you activate PitMode, PitMode automatically turns on when you power up the VTX by plugging in your battery.

Activating PitMode, and turning PitMode on, allows pilots in the pit (those pilots who are getting ready to fly) to power-up their drones without the VTX broadcasting more than 2 or 3 meters. This significantly reduces broadcasting range and is beneficial at events where there are more pilots than available frequencies.

While the VTX is powered, and PitMode is off, your reception is the normal distance you would expect at the given power level and environment you are flying in.

NOTE: Once you turn PitMode off, the only way it can be turned back on is by cycling the power of your VTX (turning it off and then back on).

The micro (menu) button, on the VTX, allows you to activate and deactivate PitMode, by holding down that button as you apply power.

PitMode Hints

  • PitMode Deactivated
    • The VTX is without any PitMode features. It is like a VTX without PitMode
    • Turning PitMode on or off are not options, even though these options may show up as available settings in some interfaces, such as an LUA script for the Taranis
    • The VTX has full broadcast range when PitMode is deactivated
  • PitMode Activated
    • The VTX has PitMode features
    • PitMode ON
      • PitMode is automatically turned on when the VTX is powered on
      • PitMode only broadcasts up to 3 meters
    • PitMode OFF
      • PitMode is turned off manually via…
        • menu button on the VTX
        • Taranis LUA script
        • On-Screen-Display (OSD)
      • PitMode can only be turned back on when the VTX power is cycled (turned off and then on)
      • The VTX has full broadcast range when PitMode is turned off

The Problem

Drone pilots don’t want to use their fingers, or a tool, to exit PitMode while their drone is powered on and prefer to do that via their Taranis or OSD.

The Solution

There are a few ways to manipulate PitMode remotely. This article will focus on the use of the BetaFlight LUA script to turn PitMode off when you are ready to fly First Person View (FPV).

Before We Start…

This article assumes you have the following:

  • TBS Unify Pro HV Race with SmartAudio correctly setup
  • FrSky telemetry receiver with telemetry correctly setup.
  • FrSky Taranis with betaflight-tx-lua-scripts LUA script installed and functional

The links in the References section below will help you get setup to this point.

Steps to Activate/Deactivate PitMode at Power-up

Following the steps below to activate or deactivate PitMode.

  1. Press the menu button on the VTX and apply power
  2. Release the menu button on the VTX
  3. Remove power from the VTX
  4. Power-up the VTX

After powering up, a solid red LED on the TBS Unify Pro 5G8 Race VTX indicates that PitMode is active for every power-up. We can deactivate PitMode by following the same steps outlined above.

Steps to turn off PitMode for FPV Flight (PitMode has been activated and is on)

With PitMode activated, we need to turn it off to broadcast our video signal, allowing us to fly FPV.

The following steps will allow us turn PitMode off, via the Taranis, while the VTX is powered on.

  1. On your Taranis, after you power up your model, hold down the page key to navigate to the Telemetry screen where your LUA script is displaying data.
  2. Press the menu key (short presses) until you get to the Betaflight/VTX screen as you see in the screen shot on the top of Page 1 (Betaflight / VTX screen)
  3. Navigate down to the Pit setting and short press this field to toggle Note: This should show as ‘ON’, If not, go to the Steps to Activate/Deactivate PitMode at Power-up
  4. Change the Pit setting to OFF by using the +/- key
  5. Short press the Ent button
  6. Long Press the Menu button Note: This brings up a menu screen where you should select Save
  7. Once save is selected, click the Ent button

You have now turned PitMode off and are ready to fly with expected FPV video range.

Once you cycle power to your VTX, PitMode will be on and you will simply follow the steps above to turn PitMode off prior to your next FPV flight.

Please consider activating PitMode. PitMode (turned on) allows you to change your frequency band and channel without effecting other pilots. It’s good flying etiquette.

Technical review by: Michael Renish