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.
Heads-Up: 2.4GHz RC systems tested
AND SOME FOUND WANTING
When I began investigating 2.4GHz radio systems last year I quickly realized that there were some that were good and some that were not so good.
As a result I categorized them into two tiers (first/best and second).
It will probably come as little surprise to most people that the first-tier includes JR/Spektrum and Futaba's FASST system.
Well now further independent testing has confirmed my own findings and assertions in respect to the performance of the most readily available 2.4GHz systems.
Over at Flying Giants, a member with the user-name of Kiwi has performed some very useful tests as to the ability of four popular brands of 2.4GHz gear to resist interference.
To test these systems, they were all subjected to strong levels of interference that affected just a part of the 2.4GHz band. This is the kind of interference that a powerful video, telemetry or other transmission might create.
Both the Futaba and JR/Spektrum systems continued to work without any observable problems -- providing continuous solid control.
However, neither the XPS nor the cheaper Assan 2.4GHz systems could cope with this situation -- both either going into failsafe or simply locking up completely.
After earlier tests had shown that, despite the manufacturer's claims, XPS lacks any kind of robust frequency agility it was no surprise that this system performed so poorly in these tests.
Likewise, the Assan could not be expected to avoid the interference since it has never claimed to have any frequency hopping or redundancy -- a limitation that is reflected in its comparatively low price.
My own tests suggest that the iMax 9X radio system performs the same as the XPS and Assan systems, being incapable of dodging a strong interfering signal that appears on its chosen operating frequency. Once again, this is reflected in the price.
Here are links to the YouTube video footage of these tests. I recommend that you view them full-screen to better see what's going on.
Although Assan and XPS are systems that will perform perfectly well in the vast majority of cases, they simply do not have the ability to dodge interference that might appear after you've taken-off.
If you only fly small inexpensive models that pose little risk to your bank-balance or the safety of the public then these second-tier systems make an economic alternative to the more expensive "brand name" offerings.
However, based on the results of these tests and (in the case of XPS) a growing number of reports from the field, it becomes very hard to recommend a second-tier system for any larger, faster or more expensive model.
However, it's a free world and the choice is ultimately up to you.
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
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How well do five different 2.4GHz systems stack up when hit by interference? The answers are here, with more to come.
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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!
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The Chinese are now churning out a huge number of very reasonably priced no-name servos. But are they any good?
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