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: FrSky/FriSky 2.4GHz FHSS module and receiver
VERY, VERY GOOD
Dated: 20 Jan 2010
I've tested a number of Chinese-made 2.4GHz module/receiver combos now and they just seem to be getting better and better. The FrSky 2.4GHz full-time frequency hopping system is no exception.
A few months ago, Chase Wu from FrSky (formerly FriSky) offered to send me a sample system for testing and review. I accepted his kind offer but, as regular RCModelReviews readers will know, the availability of "free stuff" doesn't affect the outcome of any review and I have no intention of keeping the review system anyway -- so here are the honest facts about the FrSky 2.4GHz system.
The system comes packaged in a simple cardboard box with foam inserts -- much the same as Corona and several other systems. Nothing to get excited about there!
There are modules available for Futaba/Hitec radios and JR systems with the receivers being transmitter-agnostic, working with either.
Also included are some concise but adequately Anglicized instructions that cover the very simple process of installation, binding, range-checking and setting the failsafe.
Unlike some other Chinese systems that simply say "check the range", FrSky actually give you the ability to reduce the transmitter output so that you can range check by walking a sensible distance -- rather than the 1Km+ you'd have to walk to check other systems. That's good!
This system has one of the easiest and most reliable binding procedures of any system tested. Just hold the bind button on the module when powering-up the transmitter then hold the bind button on the receiver when turning that on.
In just a second or so the whole thing was bound -- a piece of cake!
Setting the failsafe was equally as easy -- just hold the sticks where you want them to be when failsafe is invoked and depress the receiver's bind button for 2 seconds. Bingo -- all done and, unlike Corona, the failsafe settings are persistent, being remembered even after the receiver is powered-off.
FrSky offers two receivers -- an 8-channel unit with two antennas that comes in a hard smoky-gray hard-plastic case and a much smaller 4-channel unit that has a single antenna with a far lighter plastic-wrap case.
The claimed range for the 8-channel is 1.2Kms and the 4-channel is 500m.
The construction of the receivers is pretty much up to scratch, the 8-channel using an almost identical RF deck to that found in many other Chinese-made 2.4GHz RC receivers. This deck has proven to be reliable and robust -- so that's a good thing.
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?