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Your Reviewer

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: Hobby King 4-channel 2.4GHz RC system

PART 3: THE RECEIVERS

HobbyKing 2.4GHz receivers

As with the iMax, the Hobby King system comes with a receiver that is actually two receivers.

The provision of two receivers makes for a much more reliable radio-link than could be achieved with just a single unit, effectively mitigating such effects as multi-pathing and shadowing. In layman's terms, it means that your far less likely to have the transmitter signal blocked or cancelled out by reflections with this kind of multi-receiver setup.

The main reciever is quite compact and lightweight, making it more than suitable for parkflier type models.

The satellite unit is even smaller, however, on very small models it could be a bit of a squeeze fitting both units inside the body of the model in a way that ensures the antennas are at right-angles to each other.

One peculiar thing is that the receivers supplied as part of the system come with extended antennas but the units purchased separately have short wire antennas just like the iMax units. Go figure.

HobbyKing 2.4 and iMax 9X

Inside, as with the transmitter, the RF section of the receivers has a lot of componentry and basic design that is also found in the iMax. The 6-channel HK receiver is however, significantly smaller than the 9-channel iMax unit.

Given that they're so similar, I decided to see if I could bind the 6-channel HK receiver to an iMax transmitter. It certainly seemed to work and when test-flown in a 1.6m electric glider there were no problems with control, even at the point where the model was so far away as to be uncomfortably hard to see.

The FlySky/HK receivers have a good resistance to low-voltages and when tested, continued to work right down to 2.4V. However, once the bind-lights had gone out in the main and satellite receivers, they did not recover even after normal operating voltage was restored. That is bad -- but a situation unlikely to occur if your batteries or BEC are up to scratch.

Summary

This is a very basic radio at an unbeatable price.

Like the FlySky/iMax 9X, this system is a single-frequency non-agile DSSS unit which means it's definitely second-tier in terms of performance but still perfectly adequate for many applications

Feedback from users of the HK 4-channel 2.4GHz system are all positive and there have been no issues reported to date.

Since I continue to fly my iMax 9X without any issues (and there are now two more of these radios in our club) I suspect that the HK 4-channel unit will be equally trouble-free.

If you're the kind of person who likes to keep a foamy in the trunk of your car, or if you're just looking for a radio that you can take anywhere without worrying about it getting scratched, dropped or lost, then this could be a perfect radio for you.

I'll be doing a follow-up article on this radio in a month or so, reporting on any issues that surface in use and taking a closer look at just how practical it might be to use this system as the donor for converting other non-module-based RC systems to 2.4GHz.

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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

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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!

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