I need to buy an RC transmitter and know nothing about them. All I know is that I want a fairly good one, budget, versatile and which can be used with drones, planes, boats and robots/crawlers.
The newer systems transmit at 2.4GHz, while the older (analogue) style transmitted in the MHz ranges (72 MHz (for airplanes), 27 MHz & 75 MHz (for cars and boats and some planes) [see RC airplane frequencies], as well as some other ranges (40, 35MHz (in the UK), 459MHz).
What to look for – RC Transmitters explained
This article, How To Choose RC Transmitter For Quadcopter, is excellent and takes you through the various facets of RC transmitters.
Also worth a read is What RC Radio/Transmitter to Buy…, which promotes Futaba, JR and Spektrum transmitters, as well as mentioning Graupner and Hi-Tec. The article also goes into channels and modes:
Don’t scrimp on channels. Each channel allows one individual function on the aircraft to be controlled. Most UAVs require at least 4 channels or more, often 6+ for core features. (pitch/yaw/roll/throttle, flight mode, advanced IOC flight modes, return to home, retracts, etc). The minimum we suggest is 6 but ideally 8. When adding in a camera and gimbal to the mix this can quickly grow further (shutter, pan, tilt, roll, gimbal mode, etc). For a single operator setup with camera you would want a minimum of 8 channels for the core functions, and ideally 12+.
Lists of the best
It is possible to pick one up, with receiver, for £90-£100.
- FrSky TARANIS X9D Plus 16CH Digital Telemetry Radio System Transmitter, £159.99 (manual: taranis_quick_start_guide, link)
- Frsky Taranis X9D + Case 16 Ch Latest Firmware, £130 + £10
Note that there is a difference between X9D and X9D plus. From TARANIS X9D vs. XD9 PLUS:
1. Noise reduction
3. 2 color backlit LCD selectable(blue&white,Orange&white)
4.Upgrade the firmware by using SD card directly,no need to install any driver
There is a built in transmitter built in to the Taranis, which can not be removed. This module is an XJT, see X9D vs DJT & XJT?:
So just to clear this up for future readers, the module built into the Taranis IS an XJT.
It is possible to add a second transmitter module (DJT or a second XJT) to the Taranis, using the bay at the rear of the module, to provide additional channels. Taranis X9D how to use all 16 channels:
Set the Taranis to output channel 1-16 in the setup menu.
Set the X8R to mode 4. This will output channel 9-16 on conventional channel pins (PWM). Connect the Sbus to Naza to SBus and it will receive channel 1-8.
Connect your lights, camera, … to channels 9-16.
Note: The Turnigy 9X (not 9XR) is just a rebranded FlySky TH9X (see below for the TH9X). See Benefits of buying FlySky TH9x (v2) over Turnigy 9x (v2), which also compares 9X, 9XR and 9XR Pro. It is possible to upgrade a 9X, see Upgrade Turnigy 9X with FrSky DJT Transmitter module and binding receiver.
- Upgraded Turnigy 9X Mode2 Transmitter w/FrSky DJT, ER9x, Taranis Gimbals + More, £60
- Turnigy 9XR PRO Radio Transmitter Mode 2 (without module), £55 refurbished
- Turnigy 9x modified with er9x firmware blue backlit screen and module mod boxed, £27 +£7.50 (auction)
- TURNIGY 9XR TRANSMITTER with FRSKY DJT module, £64.50 +£10 (auction)
I managed to get a 9XR Pro, with a flickering LCD, for £24
- Futaba 14SG A 14-Ch 2.4GHz Airplane / Multirotor Radio / Transmitter 6.0 Mode 2, £240
- Futaba t10cp transmitter 2.4, £140
Another RC transmitter review
- JR PROPO PCM PPM 9X TRANSMITTER WITH FRSKY 2.4 MODULE AND D8R PLUS RECIVIER, £80 + £12 (manual: pcm9x_manual (link))
- JR Propo 8 Channel Transmiter And Receiver X-388S, £39.99 + £7.50 (See Best 2.4ghz conversion for JR X388S? (Old 1994))
Info: Get To Know “JR DSX9”:
JR’s first DSM2 radio is based on the incredible JR PCM9X II which utilizes the old 35MHz or 40MHz or 72MHz frequencies. People who have the old JR PCM9X II owners can easily upgrade to JR DSX9 by simply buying an upgraded module.
- Setting up a JR DSX9 transmitter TX with a Spektrum AR7000 and NAZA FC
- Setting up a tarot ZYX-M on a Jr PCM9X II LE
- The firmware, on a 9X, can not be upgraded – Software upgrade jr 9x to mx-22?
Articles on the X-388S
- Understanding the JR Propo X-388S Radio – Part I
- Understanding the JR Propo X-388S Radio – Part II
- Understanding the JR Propo X-388S Radio – Part III
- Looking for a Manual: how to get jr x-388s manual (all of the links are dead)
- Resurrection: JR X-388s radio
- Spektrum DX9 DSMX ONLY Transmitter Only , Special Black Edition With Neck Strap, £280
- Spektrum DX9 9-Channel Transmitter Mode 1 to 4 – SPM9900EU, £97 (auction)
- Spektrum DX6i, £70
Turnigy Firmware Hacks
However there’s a couple firmwares out there that are all customizable. Er9x and 9xCompanion, probably a couple others..
This is the first video this Russian guy put out, after watching the video it becomes quite clear how lacking the orignal firmware is… lacking isn’t the correct word, the correct word is CRAP.
For what I use the controller for 95% of the features are not necessary like mixing, curves and really WAY advanced mixing… However if you have a airplane/glider/heli this thing is dope!
R/C for Hexapod
Transmitters that also ran
9XR Pro any day of the week and twice on Sundays. No contest. If you go with the i10, you are stuck with what you get.
HiTec Aurora 9
This is, more or less, the same as the Turnigy 9X, a very cheap transmitter, which is the precursor to the 9XR and 9XR Pro, but it is possible to upgrade it, see Upgrade your FlySky TH9X to the FrSky DJT module. Also, Oscar Liang’s Upgrade TURNIGY 9X WITH FRSKY DJT TRANSMITTER MODULE AND BINDING receiver.
For the 9X, see What to get? Please point me in the right direction
FrSKY transmitter and receiver modules
Note there are DJT, DFT and DHT depending on the fitting, with the middle letter denoting which fits which transmitter, see FrSky TX Modules:
- J – JR
- F – Futaba
- H – Hack (Internal)
The DJT is compatible thus (from FRSKY 2.4ghz DJT Transmitter Module):
V8 Series: (Non-telemetry receivers)
V8FR-HV, V8R7-HV, V8R7-SP, V8R4
D Series: (Telemetry receivers)
D8R, D8R-II, D8RSP, D6FR, D4FR
- Frsky DJT: frsky djt module for turnigy 9x and others, £11 + £5 (auction)
- Frsky Djt Module, £11.51 +£4
This is the Frsky DJT module fits Turnigy 9x etc to enable use of quality receivers from Frsky including D4R-II etc which can run ppm and many other advantages over stock Turnigy module better range and better signal. Simple swap over remove the Turnigy module and slot this in.
– One Way (no telemetry): Only those capable of being bound to a D mode transmitter.
– Two way (telemetry enabled): All models.
The 9XR-PRO is already prepared to accept the XJT module.. But you will need to update the firmware to the latest ersky9x.
You will need the XJT module (or a Taranis) in order to use the L9r long range receiver. The range gain is not achieved by boosting the signal, but by changing the protocol. L9 is a one way protocol, no telemetry. It also has fewer channels to transmit. These two factors mean that they will transmit a much lower data rate and that lower data rate will allow the same power level signal to be reliably received over a longer distance. This is basic data transmission theory.
See also RC Receivers.