All of the products reviewed here have been bought with my own money and nobody pays me for the time I spend writing these articles.
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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.
Consumer warning: GoodLuckBuy.com
Updated: 5 Jan 2012
After my experiences (below), I decided to risk making another order with GoodLuckBuy.com.
Unfortunately, the results were just as bad -- here is a video of the unpacking so that everyone can see what was in the box and here is the invoice for that order, with the missing items highlighted in green.
The total order value was around US$99 but when the package arrived and was unpacked, I found that the packing was awful, resulting in one circuit-board that was damaged and I later discovered, when reconciling the contents of the order against the actual invoice -- they had again left out some an item (solder) valued at over $12.
On the assumption that anyone can make a mistake once but it takes utter incompetence or fraudulent intent to do it again -- I have to say that I can not recommend GoodLuckBuy.com as a supplier of RC parts.
Whether it's just incompetence or a new business model that ensures profit by charging for items that are not delivered, the result is the same. They are not reliable and the risk is too high (for me anyway).
This is indeed a great shame, since they have a range of great products at what seem to be attractive prices. Perhaps now we know why.
Updated: 15 Sept 2011
Today I finally received the package that GLB said they'd sent over six weeks ago, containing the missing items.
It arrived by registered airmail -- so why did they not send me the tracking number?
Registered airmail from China to NZ usually takes around 1-2 weeks (depending on the timing of the mail-cycle) so I strongly doubt it was sent when they claimed it was, although there was no date-stamp to indicate the date of posting.
However, they did replace the missing parts so I would downgrade my warning from an "avoid" to a "be careful".
GoodLuckBuy seem to be a victim of poor processes in their picking, packing and administration departments. They need to significantly improve their communications and work much harder to ensure that orders are double-checked for accuracy before they are dispatched.
I will now purchase more products from GLB and update this page if/when necessary.
Dated: 14 Sept 2011
There are a growing number of web-based hobby shops on the internet and many of the newer ones operate from mainland China.
It's not often I issue a "buyer beware" advisory but in the case of GoodLuckBuy.com (GLB) I think it is deserved, and here's why...
When I first came across the GLB website I was excited -- it was a toybox for geeks like myself and the prices (which like many other Sino webstores include shipping) were very low.
I'm always cautious about buying from such suppliers however, as there have been more than a few instances where the products didn't match the descriptions or the business practices of the owners were somewhat less than perfect.
So, as I usually do in such cases, I placed a test order for about $60 worth of items. This was done back in April and the products were delivered promptly -- being pretty much as described.
This initial purchase was followed by another somewhat larger ($100) order the next month -- which was also delivered in full.
At this stage I was feeling somewhat more confident in purchasing from GLB so in July I placed an order for around $200 worth of electronic components -- much of this was for the low-cost FPV project and included LCD displays and other related items.
And this is where my experience with GLB turns sour.
The package duly arrived and I opened it, only to find that about $60 worth of parts were not included. The envelope was still sealed when I received it and had not even been opened by customs. What's more, it was absolutely full -- they could not have fitted a single extra item into it -- so it was clear that the missing parts were never included.
I contacted GLB regarding the missing parts and they said that they had been included in the package, denying the possibility that someone had left them out.
When I explained that the package had arrived still sealed and that the missing parts clearly had not been sent they told me they would send them and I should wait 10-20 working days to receive them.
After a month, nothing had arrived so I contacted them again and asked if there was a tracking number.
No tracking number -- which raised suspicions because every previous package had been sent registered airmail with such a number.
They then said they would re-send and I should wait 10-20 working days but again, they could not offer me a tracking number.
Needless to say nothing has since arrived and now they ignore my emails.
I also noticed that their website was either hacked or crashed since then and after that I began to receive a surprisingly large number of spams trying to sell me similar products from mainland China. Coincidence?
So -- here I am, $60 out of pocket -- which isn't a lot but is still a huge annoyance.
Perhaps more annoying however, is that they had some very useful parts that were perfect for the low-cost FPV system but I can not use them for the project as it would involve recommending GLB as the source and thus exposing others to their scammy ways.
I now see that GLB are carrying an increasing number of RC-related products but I would strongly advise consumers not to buy from GLB. I have heard from others that they also have been ripped off by GLB so you may find that the cheap prices are not a bargain at all.
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?