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.
RCModelReviews and Spektrum/Horizon
WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?
Dated: 23 Aug 2010
I don't know what's going on with Horizon/Spektrum and their attitude to RCModelReviews but I figured it might be useful to give readers a little background and make some things clear from my perspective.
Firstly, I have nothing against Horizon or Spektrum.
Throughout my reviews and comments I go to great lengths to remind people that every day, thousands of people fly Spektrum/JR 2.4Ghz systems without any problems at all and that this is testament to the fact that the system works perfectly well in the vast majority of environments.
Yes, I published this article in which I document a flaw in the DSM2 system. Once again however, I do not seek to unfairly criticize the system and clearly state:
Now, in a perfect world and in 99.9% of real-world situations, this won't be a problem and I should emphasize that the sky is NOT falling for JR/Spektrum users.
The reality is that because of the resilient nature of a spread-spectrum transmission it would still take a reasonably strong signal to knock out the link created by the DSM2 system, even with these closely-spaced channels.
Now I don't think I could be more fair and objective than that -- could I?
I also tried to contact Horizon/Spektrum to get their comments on this issue and ask them if there was perhaps something they could add which would help explain or the problem I'd observed.
My emails were neither acknowledged nor answered.
Things did look up a little when the local Spektrum distributor sent me an email asking:
The director Horizon Hobbies radio category has tried to contact you twice to date, via email, without success. So, as we are their local agent, I said I would assist where I can.
"Can give me an email address I can pass on to him please?"
I replied with my address and was told:
"I have passed on your email address. The people that will respond to below are currently traveling to China. I would expect them to make contact with you when they get their feet on the ground"
I waited and waited...
So I emailed the local agent again and was told:
"As it turns out, I understand you already have Horizon's email address and have communicated with them before, so I can't help any".
Perhaps he was referring to the previous emails I'd sent but which had been neither acknowledged nor answered. I in which case, why did they claim they didn't have my email address in the first place? Perhaps I had exchanged emails with Horizon at some time in the distant past but a search of my email archives for the past six months turned up no such messages (although I did have a disk-failure at the start of the year).
Shortly after, the local agent also sent a rather vitriolic email following a discussion on a local mailing list in which I suggested that some Chinese-branded equipment offered better performance for a lower price. That email contained this:
"Its obvious that your hell bent on promoting purchases of RC gear direct from off shore to avoid paying "to much" whilst cunningly weaving Spektrum into the mix to tear the brand down publically[sic] and on the other hand stating you have nothing against Spektrum"
Now I have no idea what's going on here but there's definitely some hostility being generated -- perhaps it's because I dare to bring facts into the argument and produce honest, objective reviews and articles in respect to the Spektrum product.
One minute Horizon claim they don't have my email address and the next they claim I'd communicated with them previously. Then their local agent seems to consider that I'm hell-bent on encouraging people to buy Chinese rather than purchase "brand name" product through his official outlets.
And, when I highlighted the misinformation that was being given out in one of Horizon's YouTube videos, their response was to insinuate that RCModelReviews was a "tabloid publication" -- rather than simply and graciously acknowledge their mistake.
Well let's clear the air once and see if we can't restore some sanity and commonsense to this situation...
As I stated at the top of the page, I have no agenda or prejudice against Horizon, Spektrum or DSM2. I simply publish the facts. If those facts offend then I invite the affected parties to respond with their comments and correct anything I may have gotten wrong.
Here is an open letter to Horizon/Spektrum.
So as to ensure that it does reach Horizon/Spektrum (in case there is some email routing issue that has scuttled previous communications) I'm sending it to their local agent who can forward it through mechanisms that are already proven to work.
I will keep readers informed as to any response that is forthcoming.
To Horizon Hobby/Spektrum
There appears to be some problem, perhaps technical, perhaps due to some other factor I am unware of, in establishing a dialog between RCModelReviews and Horizon Hobby.
I have sent emails to Horizon but received no response and, after receiving a request for my email address from your local agent, I had expected to receive a response to issues I have tried to raise in the past.
As I have previously requested: if there are any factual errors in any of the reviews or articles I have written in respect to the Spektrum product I would very much like to know and invite (again) your response on these matters.
Contrary to assertions made by Horizon/Spektrum and some operating under its banner, RCModelReviews has no agenda or prejudice against Horizon or Spektrum products and it is unfortunate that this belief has been promulgated in response to some of the genuine issues I have raised regarding the product. Indeed, RCModelReviews has built its reputation on delivering information and reviews on products without any form of bias, commercial or otherwise.
As you may or may not be aware, I will shortly be doing a comparison of all the major "brand name" radios in the 8-11 channel marketplace and this will include the Spektrum DX8. Many RCModelReviews readers have asked for an Aurora9/DX8 shootout and, since both radios address the same market sector and both are unique in offering inbuilt telemetry, the comparison will be an interesting one.
To facilitate a fair, honest and objective review, I would like to have the ability to ask questions of your marketing and technical people, just to make sure the review I publish is free from errors or erroneous assumptions. I think you will agree that Spektrum's involvement in the review process would be to the benefit of all parties.
If you prefer not to be involved in the process then all I ask is that you reply to this email advising me of that fact.
Discuss this in the forums.
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?