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.
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.
2.4GHz Spectrum Analyzer offer
HOW SAFE IS YOUR FIELD FOR 2.4GHZ SYSTEMS?
2.4GHz radio systems are rapidly replacing the older narrow-band systems that we've been using for many decades.
The advantages of 2.4GHz are manifold and include elimination of the "shootdown" problem and (in theory) a reduction in interference.
However, the 2.4GHz band is often filled with the transmissions of many different devices, all competing for valuable space and each trying to make its own signal heard above the noise.
In most cases, good 2.4GHz RC equipment can cope with the signals created by cordless phones, microwave ovens, WiFi, bluetooth and even video transmitters but, at some locations there are occasions when the amount of noise is simply too much for any RC system to cope. That's why a self-contained portable spectrum analyzer (SA) is such a useful part of any club or modeler's field equipment.
With such a unit, you can keep an eagle-eye on the noise levels at places where you fly and even log that data over an extended period.
If a model on 2.4GHz crashes or experiences lockouts, you can quickly check to see if there was any interfering signal present at the time. At last it becomes possible to determine the real cause of those unexplained crashes.
A couple of months ago I made a small run of 2.4GHz spectrum analyzers (SA) that was quickly snapped up by people who'd already registered an interest in these devices.
Unlike other SAs, this unit is designed from the ground-up for RC model users.
It has an inbuilt graphic LCD display so no laptop or PC is required and it also logs data to memory for later replay.
The two-part design means that the actual SA and data-logging part is small and light enough to be attached to a model and flown to a typical flying altitude, where the level and nature of 2.4GHz noise can be radically different to that seen at ground level.
Since I have been building these mainly as a service to other modelers I'm trying to keep the costs as low as possible which means I need to get a good idea of how many to make in the next batch before shelling out money for the components and having the boards made.
If you're interested in one of these SAs from the next batch then please use the Feedback page to register that interest. If there's enough demand I'll outsource the assembly and be able to purchase the components at a better rate, which will keep the costs down.
Note: since the second batch will include some improvements and extra features, these specifications (based on the first batch) are subject to change
- Frequency range: 2.4-2.483GHz
- Resolution: 1MHz
- Sensitivity: -95dB
- Logging: up to 7 days (dependent on memory)
- Display: 128x64 LCD
- Weight (SA/logger): 2 oz
- Alarms: up to 3
- Battery: external 6-12V
- Antenna: internal
At this time I'm uncertain of the price but if demand is strong enough, I expect it will be under the US$200 per unit it cost to make the first batch.
If you found this information useful then please consider making a small donation towards the operation of this website.
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?