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: Turnigy 9X Version 2
SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW
Dated: 22 June 2010
One of the first products I ever reviewed here was the original iMax/FlySky 9X RC system.
Well now Hobby King is selling what they call "Version 2" of this product and it comes with a dirt-cheap price plus the new frequency-hopping RF module and receiver from FlySky (albeit with the Turnigy branding).
A FlySky 9X is a FlySky 9X is a FlySky 9X... isn't it?
Hobby King's 9X comes in a big box which you'll probably think is empty when you pick it up -- it's so very light.
Why is it so light?
Well because, for your $60, you'll get a transmitter, a receiver, a bind plug, some polystyrene packaging, and nothing else.
There are no rechargeable batteries, no servos, no receiver switch, no charger, no printed manual, not even a CD with instructions. This is not the radio for someone who's never had an RC system before and has nobody around to help them.
Throughout the review process I had to keep chanting "remember, this is a $60 radio" -- because it's easy to forget and look at this budget radio from the perspective of a much more expensive purchase.
If you think of it as a radio that costs half the price of an old Futaba SkySport 4 then you'll better appreciate that its weaknesses are well and truly mitigated by the price.
Well the old single-frequency non-agile DSSS system that was used in the V1 FlySky module/receiver (previously carrying the HobbyKing branding) has been replaced with the new frequency-hopping version. This ought to offer far more resistance to interference on the band and result in more reliable operation, except that...
Now there's no satellite receiver, the system obviously relying on the constantly changing wavelength that frequency-hopping delivers, combined with the slightly higher gain of the sleeved dipole to compensate for that redundancy.
HobbyKing say that they've reflashed the original software with their own "updated" version that allegedly fixes a bunch of bugs in the original version 1 systems. Tests indicate that the firmware is unchanged from the previous model that HK were selling prior to the "V2" label being attached so don't expect miracles in this department.
One difference that is immediately apparent is that the new version transmitter has a 2.4GHz antenna where the old telescopic whip used to be. That's good, and not so good, as I'll explain later in the review.
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?