Remote controller, transmitter, radio controller, whatever you call them they are core to the enjoyment of any model.
So what are they and how do they work?
When it comes to remotely controlling your RC ship, car or aircraft there several options available, but by far the two most popular ones are:
Pistol Grip transmitter
As the name suggests, these have a ‘hand-gun’ style layout. The trigger operates the throttle whilst the wheel mounted on the side is in charge of the steering. Typically the batteries are held in the butt of the handle for weight balance. Whilst not always suited to left-handed operators, when it comes to controlling RC cars, the trend has moved towards this style of transmitter thanks to the compact, ergonomic profile and self-centering rotating steering input.
Aircraft pilots and RC enthusiasts will be more familiar with stick controllers. Highly configurable (and adjustable) these controllers feature two input ‘thumb/joy’ sticks that provide a two-dimensional input. These devices tend to be more expensive and may not be as intuitive to use for novices.
Traditionally one channel would be connected to your steering servo and the other channel linked to your speed controller to control the throttle, and more complex models would require further channels as needed in helicopters. On sets with four or more channels, these can be used for remotely operating lights or a winch.
Transmitting over 2.4Ghz
To remotely operate your model a robust wireless data link needs to exist between your hand controls and the model. The days of using narrow-band 27/35/40 Mhz crystals (with their propensity to interference) are thankfully behind us.
Modern digital radio systems employ direct sequence or automatic frequency hopping technologies to distribute their transmissions over a wider selection of frequencies (or in the case of frequency hopping, completely different channels) in the 2.4Ghz spectrum. These systems are incredibly robust, resistant to interference and provide impressive range despite their compact external antennas.
Binding a transmitter
The majority of transmitters come pre-bound (already connected) to their respective receivers, but should you ever need to replace components in the package, you will need to follow the manufactures steps to rebind them.
Transmitters feature adjustment controls that alter the signals the receiver controls the model with. These refinements allow the driver to remotely alter things like the steering centre point and how sensitive the steering or throttle controls are. All transmitters have either potentiometer dials or ratchet levers, and some cases digital settings via the LCD screen, each manufacture have their own variations.
This is pretty self explanatory, flicking this will reverse the signal sent from the transmitter to the receiver. If you find your model is turning left when you rotate the dial right, reversing CH1 will fix the issue right away.
As always if you are in doubt check the instructions, or contact your local supplier.