So who's doing this reviewing then?
Well I've been building and flying or driving radio controlled models for over 40 years and during that time I like to think I've built up a reasonable amount of knowledge.
I'm also a qualified electronics engineer who has worked in radio frequency, analog, digital systems and software for more than three decades. In fact I designed and built my first RC set back in 1969.
For the past nine years I've also been involved in the design and manufacture of some rather sophisticated engine technology and UAV flight control systems.
So, chances are I've been there, done that and have a huge pile of tee shirts to prove it.
Right now I'm heavily into 3D flying and enjoy all aspects of the RC hobby. I may be old but I don't feel it.
In the Pipeline
Here's just a little bit of what's to come on this site...
RC explained: Demystifying terms such as PCM, PPM dual conversion, single conversion, full-range etc., this feature will explain it all.
Cheap Chinese Engines: Just how good are those cheap Chinese glow and gas engines that sell for half the price of their "brand-name" equivalent? I put several to the test.
Build your own radio gear?: Back in the old days, building your own RC gear was not uncommon and now the arrival of 2.4GHz has made it practical again.
Review: FASST-compatible TFR8 receiver
CAN THEY REALLY BE AS GOOD AS FUTABA'S?
Dated: 10 Aug 2010
The brand-name RC manufacturers have made a killing in the shift to 2.4GHz.
Just as with PCM, buying into a brand-name 2.4GHz system means that you then have only one source of new receivers and those receivers will cost whatever the manufacturer thinks the market will bear.
While RC fliers love the reliability and convenience of 2.4GHz systems, they hate the fact that brand-name receivers are often three to five times as expensive as the Chinese-branded equivalent. The only problem is that until now, you couldn't use anything but a Futaba-made receiver with your fancy FASST transmitter.
Well it could be that the days when Futaba could demand an arm and a leg for a tiny bit of plastic, solder and a few electronic components has just come to an end.
In this review, I take a look at the first-ever Chinese-made FASST-compatible receiver, a unit that looks set to reshape the hobby for those who have found themselves locked into high prices through brand-loyalty.
The review sample is one of only five in existence at the time this was written.
Despite obviously being a pre-production sample the TFR8 is well made and reflects good design decisions in respect to construction and layout. It is a little wider than the equivalent Futaba receiver but much thinner due to its single-deck construction, versus Futaba's two-deck method (as seen below).
This is obviously not a "clone", the differences are many and varied so there's no risk of law-suits on the basis of simply copying the original. This is good news for prospective buyers and sellers.
The unit I tested was "naked", simply a circuit board with no case or even heat-shrink, I suspect the production units will be encased in something to avoid accidental short-circuits or damage to the components.
To bind the receiver was a piece of cake. Following the instructions, I simply held down the "bind" button on the receiver while turning on and "bingo" it was bound.
I did note that switching back and forth between 7-channel mode and 8-channel mode required the receiver to be rebound - but the fact it supports both modes is great.
These receivers have user-definable failsafe settings on all eight channels and configuration is dead-simple. Just press the receiver's bind button once the system is linked up and the servo positions in effect at the time will be stored as the failsafe settings.
Comparing to the 8-channel FASST
It seemed most logical to compare the FASST-compatible receiver to the equivalent genuine Futaba product so I used a genuine 8-channel Futaba R608FS FASST receiver as a benchmark for the performance of the TFR8.
The transmitter used for these tests was the Futaba 10C with 2.4GHz module.
Updated: 20 Sep 2012
Here's a blog that will keep you informed just what's going on behind the scenes at RC Model Reviews and also tells you a little more about myself.
23 Mar 2010
How come there's no compatibility between different brands of transmitters and receivers? Why can't you use a cheap Chinese receiver with your Futaba FASST radio?
4 Mar 2010
Since this has become a very frequently asked question, I've posted this simple guide to getting your product, or a product you're thinking of buying reviewed here at RCModelReviews
Useful information on what's inside your servos and how they work.
Important facts you should know about the oils that are used in our model engine fuels.
How well do five different 2.4GHz systems stack up when hit by interference? The answers are here, with more to come.
Yes it does work on model airplanes but there are some limitations involved with this bargain-basement radar speed gun.
These are possibly the world's worst servos, find out exactly why you should avoid these boat-anchors at any cost.
It's cheap but can it really stack up against other glow engines in the .90 market? Find out in this review.
How does this cheap 9-channel 2.4GHz radio system perform when compared to big-name systems that can cost two or three times as much? Have the Chinese finally developed a real contender with the iMax 9X?
Does all this 2.4GHz stuff have your head spinning?
I've done my best to demystify the whole subject so if you feel like a bit of learning, this is the stuff for you!
How can you tell when your engine needs new bearings? Who has the best prices and service on replacements? Just how do you change them? Get all that information and watch a great video tutorial anyone can follow.
The Chinese are now churning out a huge number of very reasonably priced no-name servos. But are they any good?
Nicad, NiMH, Li-Ion, LiPoly, LiFePO4, A123... the range of different battery types has never been greater. So how do they differ and what type should you be using?