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Finding the Right RC Hobby Receiver and Transmitter

Radio-controlled, or RC, hobbyists require two things to make their battery-powered plane, car or boats run with ease: a receiver and a transmitter. These two systems communicate via matching radio signals. Each type of model vehicle requires a different number of radio channels to operate steering, throttle, pitch, and yaw. The radio signal is then translated to the battery-powered motor using a servo. To avoid interference with other radio frequencies, most RC vehicle receivers and transmitters function on 27, 72 or 75MHz while a collection of new receivers operate on 2.4GHz. Receivers and transmitters range from switch type, antennae length, and accessories depending on the RC setup and the preferences of the collector.

What Are the Main Varieties of Transmitters?

Variations of Ghz transmitters items vary depending on the RC item being controlled. RC cars and boats require different hand-held controls than an airplane, for example. Varying levels of GHz work best depending on the vehicle, personal preference, and type of receiver.

  • Two-Stick Variety: Ideal for the use of RC airplanes, two-stick controllers move on two different axes, one up and down and one left to right. This allows the driver to control the pitch, throttle, and yaw.
  • Pistol Grip: Most commonly used for its comfort and control, the pistol grip transmitter works well with most receivers on RC boats and cars. A trigger switch controls the throttle while a side wheel, operated with the other hand, manages steering.
  • Computer Radios: Many modern transmitters include additional perks such as a control screen, switching between multiple radio channels, holding memory, and controlling the RC vehicle's lights and sound.

What Are the Requirements of a Good RC Receiver?

The receiver, often referred to as RX, transfers radio frequencies from the transmitter which is then translated by the servo. There are a few basics to know about modern receivers.

  • Antenna length: More modern receivers that run on 2.4Ghz have shortened their antenna to only one to two inches.
  • Number of channels: Each RC car, boat, or airplane receiver requires a different number of radio frequencies. A proper RX should host more than enough to direct the vehicle.
  • Match brands: Many of the 2.4Ghz receivers should be matched with the same brand transmitter to work smoothly without interruption.

What Are Some Common Brands for RC Transmitters and Receivers?

As with all technology, it's worth exploring reviews and specifications before finding the right brand for each particular remote control system. Below are some commonly well-rated RC brands for transmitters, receivers, and servos.

  • FrSky: Known throughout the industry, FrSky offers a wide range of two-stick and pistol grip transmitters all with wide, 2.4Ghz RX ranges and many with light-up LCD screens.
  • Futuba: Offers a wide variety of channel sizes, including 4-channel and 6-channel receivers, depending on the needs of the RC device
  • Spektrum: Spektrum's hobby RC receivers, transmitters, and servos are noted for their easy-to-configure set up, making their DX6i particularly good for beginners.

Additional quality brands include Turnigy, Quanum, and Airtronics.

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