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.
Baffled by batteries?
CHOOSING THE RIGHT BATTERY
Rechargable batteries have come a long way in the past decade or two and whereas early modellers had only one choice - the humble nicad, today there is a vast array of different types on the market.
Unfortunately, all this choice can leave modellers confused as to which is the best battery to use and how to take care of them.
Get a good charger
I can't stress strongly enough the importance of buying a decent charger if you want to get maximum performance and life from your batteries -- whatever type you're using.
Until a few years ago, the only charger most people owned was the wall-wart one that came with their radio. These are simple, effective and cheap -- hence their wisespread use until recently.
Now, thanks to the ever-decreasing cost of electronics, there is wide choice of "intelligent" computerized chargers on the market that will not only charge your batteries but also tell you just how much energy was used and allow you to easily measure the actual capacity.
What's more, these chargers are usually able to cope with all the common battery types we use in RC modelling.
A typical price for such a charger is US$65-US$200, depending on a number of factors.
I really recommend that whatever charger you purchase, you make sure it can handle LiFePO4 or A123 batteries, since these are the most promising new technology we've seen in years and are already becoming widely used.
Caring for your batteries
There are some pretty simple basic rules of thumb that can extend the life and performance of your batteries:
- don't overcharge or run your batteries flat
- don't subject batteries to extremes of heat or cold
- choose an appropriate battery for the job
- only use a charger designed for the type of battery you're using
- never short-out a battery
- never leave batteries in a fully discharged state
A neglected or mis-treated battery will seldom last long and may cost you a model so try to treat them with the respect and care they deserve.
Choose the appropriate battery for the task
Since your entire RC system is dependent on the batteries you use, don't penny-pinch when choosing your batteries. It's a false economy to lose a $500 model airplane for the sake of saving $5 on a receiver pack.
Read through the following pages to get an idea of where each different battery type can be best used and which is best suited to your exact needs.
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?