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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.

If you find any of this stuff useful and/or would like to see RCModelReviews continue to publish material like this then please consider making a small donation towards the operation of the site.

 

My Credentials
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: FlySky/Turnigy/iMax 9x 2.4GHz RC system

HOW CAN THEY MAKE IT THIS CHEAP?

imax9x

Update: 29 July 2009
My original concerns regarding the quality control (or lack of it) with these radios seems to have been borne out by the number of people reporting issues and bugs.

Regular RCModelReviews readers will be aware that this radio is manufactured by a Chinese company called FlySky and has also been sold recently under the Turnigy brand by HobbyCity/King. In this guise it has now twice been withdrawn from their shelves due to quality control issues.

I've decided to issue a more direct warning in respect to the 9X.

When it works it works well but be aware that until I discover otherwise, you should regard this radio as having an unreasonably high chance of being delivered in a poor state of construction and without any kind of final testing.

My emails to FlySky that have attempted to get some important questions answered have drawn a blank. They seem unconcerned that their radios are developing a reputation for poor quality control.

So -- caveat emptor. If yours works you'll probaby be happy with it but, if you're buying over the Net, be aware that you *are* taking a gamble.

It looks as if the Chinese are getting serious about delivering 2.4GHz RC products to the world marketplace.

We've already seen module-based solutions from the likes of Assan and there are rumors that the Corona 2.4GHz modules are not too far away from general release -- and then there's the iMax 9X, a full-featured 9-channel RC set that is available in regular narrowband or 2.4GHz versions.

I've looked at three of these units now and have actually been flying one in a number of models since late 2007. This review is based on the past four or five months of flying, plus some close inspection.

Features

The iMax 9X is clearly loaded with features and functions that you'd normally only find in far more expensive radios.

Although the manufacturer claims this is primarily a helicopter radio, it also comes with menu selections for ACRO and GLIDER making it easy to set up for a wide variety of flying models.

An array of switches for selecting rates, retracts, gear, trainer-mode, idle-up, etc are matched with three knobs which serve for flaps, hover pitch, etc.

It would have been nice if there were some sliders on the side of the case so that "thumbs" fliers could operate them with their index fingers without taking a hand off the sticks.

Unlike some low-cost 2.4GHz radios, mode changes are easy and supported in software.

A decent 128x64 pixel LCD display and largely intuitive software make programming the transmitter very easy -- which is just as well because the manual is the worst I have ever seen.

Programming is performed through a small cluster of four directional buttons and another two labeled "Menu" and "Exit"

Page 2 (Getting Technical)

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The Blog

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.

How compatible are 2.4GHz RC systems?

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?

How to get a product reviewed here

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

How servos work

Useful information on what's inside your servos and how they work.

The Good Oil

Important facts you should know about the oils that are used in our model engine fuels.

Heads-Up: 2.4GHz RC systems tested

How well do five different 2.4GHz systems stack up when hit by interference? The answers are here, with more to come.

Review: Bushnell's $80 Speed Gun

Yes it does work on model airplanes but there are some limitations involved with this bargain-basement radar speed gun.

Review: TowerPro MG995 servo

These are possibly the world's worst servos, find out exactly why you should avoid these boat-anchors at any cost.

Review: SK90

2.4GHz

It's cheap but can it really stack up against other glow engines in the .90 market? Find out in this review.

Review: iMax 9X 2.4GHz radio

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?

2.4GHz Explained

Does all this 2.4GHz stuff have your head spinning? 2.4GHz

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!

Fix That Engine!

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.

Chinese Servos - How do they stack up?

Servos

The Chinese are now churning out a huge number of very reasonably priced no-name servos. But are they any good?

Baffled by batteries?

Batteries 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?

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