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BuggyDad

Better transmitters and their benefits

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I thought I'd better start a new thread to continue this discussion I started by derailing another (sorry about that!) 

Basically, I use a £50-60 Absima CR3P and am wondering about whether there would be benefit to me of upgrading rather than continuing to throw money at receivers. 

So I'm looking to sort of evaluate what I might upgrade to, and whether the additional cost vs the benefit stacks up. I really don't know. Any help much appreciated! 

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5 hours ago, Jonathon Gillham said:

Once you get to a certain level then it becomes very subjective. Comparing the FS GT3C, Futaba 3PV, Sanwa MT4S and Sanwa M17 is useful since they go from cheap to high end and I have them all. I'm using them as represntative of their spot in the low/mid/high end and would assume a Futaba 10PX will be as good as the M17. All have the basic features you need (basically multi model memory, trim and EPA)

Ergonomics matter if you use them for a long time (nitro mains are 30mins). Both Sanwas are more comfortable in the hand somehow.

All perform well enough for backyard racing, you don't notice any difference in the actual performance of the car when racing Tamiyas with silvercans against friends.

On a race track I do notice the difference between the Futaba and Flysky vs Sanwa though, they feel less responsive somehow. This is without setting up the Sanwa servos to take advantage of their programming too, its just woth the same gear (savox servos, 17.5T motors). It feels like you need to anticipate when the car will turn in and turn earlier compared to the others whcih are instant.

I don't think there is really any difference between the MT4S and M17 though. I got the M17 as its backwards compatible with all my old rx, but the MT5 only works with the newest FH5 rx. If I was starting fresh then the MT5 would be my pick, especially since there are now clone FH5 rx for reasonable money.

So its very similar to why some people drive a BMW/Mercedes/Jaguar and others are happy with a Toyota

So the performance advantage is mainly down to speed (and maybe resolution/accuracy?) of response and the difference in that regard from "low cost but reputable enough" (say, my Absima CR3P) to a good but not top end product from someone like Sanwa, is kind of small but noticeable. I guess the speeds of my 10.5T motor cars would be enough to make it quite noticeable. I also wonder sometimes about signal strength/reliability when the car momentarily gives an odd steering or throttle response, but being as that is most common on my most powerful model, I suspect it's about ESC/capacitor/servo/whatnot.

 

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The big factor for me is what you're going to use your TX/RX for, and the cost of receivers. Some of the "nicer" transmitters need absurdly expensive receivers (yes they are absolutely marked up).

For just bashing around, Flysky, Tactic, even DumboRC stuff is good enough. Definitely better than some RTR setups I've owned.

Unless if one of them has a gyro or ABS brakes. None of them will technically make your RC handle better.

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I’ve been wondering the exact same thing @BuggyDad. I use the same transmitter as you and I’m up to my receiver limit. I was wondering about a FlySky GTCthingy but I thought perhaps something a bit better might be worth it. I race a TT02 most weeks and I could do with getting a lot better.

What’s made my decision so hard is there doesn’t seem to be any consensus at the track. Some people love their Sanwas and Futabas whilst over very good pro touring drivers are using the Absima. I was thinking of the FS Noble but it’s expensive. 

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30 minutes ago, BuggyDad said:

So the performance advantage is mainly down to speed (and maybe resolution/accuracy?) of response and the difference in that regard from "low cost but reputable enough" (say, my Absima CR3P) to a good but not top end product from someone like Sanwa, is kind of small but noticeable. I guess the speeds of my 10.5T motor cars would be enough to make it quite noticeable. I also wonder sometimes about signal strength/reliability when the car momentarily gives an odd steering or throttle response, but being as that is most common on my most powerful model, I suspect it's about ESC/capacitor/servo/whatnot.

 

Great subject @BuggyDad and I was actually going to start the exact same one.

I am not sure where Jonathon wrote the above but it's super useful. I had always wondered if response time was real (meaning, noticeable) or just another gimmick.

Regarding ergonomics I get the point. Hard wheel return springs are annoying and so is excessive wheel travel when going lock to lock (yes I know, accomplished drivers don't really go lock to lock...). Since you can't really try before you buy unless you have a shop nearby that has them all (come on...) ergonomic are bound to be a moot point when making the choice.

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2 minutes ago, Pylon80 said:

Great subject @BuggyDad and I was actually going to start the exact same one.

I am not sure where Jonathon wrote the above but it's super useful.

I have always wondered if response time was real (meaning, noticeable) or just another gimmick.

Regarding ergonomics I get the point. Hard wheel return springs are annoying and so is excessive wheel travel when going lock to lock (yes I know, accomplished drivers don't really go lock to lock...). Since you can't really try before you buy unless

What are hard wheel return springs? Do the good transmitters have some sort of damped return? 

No, the above was what I wrote in response to Jonathan in an effort to organise my thoughts really, so don't take that as advice!

Yeah I think the word "subjective" ref the benefit is the thing. I can't try one to know what side of that "subjective" I fall on, if that makes sense. Like as you say "faster" is one thing, but how much faster and how much faster is noticeably better, etc etc? I'm unsure. 

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IIRC my Absima may be the same under the hood as a Flysky? Receivers are about £10 from AliExpress. 

Sanwa MT5 as an example from the "mid range" is about £230+ including one receiver, and receivers are either £50+ for the official ones or about half that for AliExpress versions, from what I can tell. 

The different protocols/technologies which present an annoyance on compatibility must presumably also have moved on for performance or reliability reasons. 

Another factor is the ability to have 2+ transmitters that all use the same receivers, so any 2 or 3 cars can be run simultaneously. So I guess if I were to upgrade I might just upgrade 2 or 3 "best" ones that kids or friends are less likely to drive. 

I have also broken a couple of wheel return springs but 2 of my 3 TXs were second hand anyway, and it's an easy fix. 

I suspect the benefit would be significant if racing or running at a track. Which I'd like to do but haven't. Enjoyment running fast cars but not seriously, I'm unsure. Certainly a glitch is not fun, but I'm not sure that's down to the radio gear, or is it? Mine do seem to have only happened at distance. I'd be interested to see signal strength on the transmitter, which would help diagnose any glitches.

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1 minute ago, BuggyDad said:

What are hard wheel return springs? Do the good transmitters have some sort of damped return? 

No, the above was what I wrote in response to Jonathan in an effort to organise my thoughts really, so don't take that as advice!

Yeah I think the word "subjective" ref the benefit is the thing. I can't try one to know what side of that "subjective" I fall on, if that makes sense. Like as you say "faster" is one thing, but how much faster and how much faster is noticeably better, etc etc? I'm unsure. 

I was referring to the hidden springs inside a transmitter that make the steering wheel return to neutral. I don't know if they would be adjustable and I doubt there would be any damper on a high end tx, but at least everything would be chosen to "feel right". On budget tx on the other hand, things work but can feel a little clunky. 

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Very interesting topic and what a timing since i just ordered a new set of transmitter yesterday.

I am no expert on this, but here are reasons why I am using what I have currently.

When I started RC hobby like 20 years ago (only for few years), I bought my first transmitter which was Futaba 3pm because hobby shop owner recommended after using Losi’s rtr radio (At that time, Airtronics m17? Looks very cool, but super expensive).

Never had issues and happy with it.

Fast forward to last year where I got back into RC, i started with dumbo rc radio because i wanted something cheap for possibly my one off rc car . Nothing wrong with it, except i wanted better UX and memory feature. After getting few more cars, i decided to splurge on something better, Futaba 3PV since i had a good experience.

I haven’t really thought about cost of receivers because I did not think i would buy more rc cars (haha). After getting more cars, I learned about futaba receiver cost (basic is $50 ish or $60-70 for 4ch antenna less ones).

I was thinking that is worth the money for the range, brand reputation, and reliability.

Now i have more than 10 receivers and felt the need for something better (3pv has 10 car memory limit) with more memory, and better UX (let’s be real. 3pv UX is not great), and lastly, compatibility with Miniz…. Led me to order a 4PM plus.


(recently got a LiFe battery for my 3pv… what a game changer.)

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@Sogogi I really like Futaba but at 70$ a pop for the proper built-in antenna ones, I think I would attach the Rx with Velcro and swap it from car to car 😐

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1 minute ago, Pylon80 said:

@Sogogi I really like Futaba but at 70$ a pop for the proper built-in antenna ones, I think I would attach the Rx with Velcro and swap it from car to car 😐

Built in Antenna ones are real game changer. I actually tried to move couple receivers between cars I dont run often. Works well :)

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Features and reaction speed mainly.

Although, quality feel has some bearing on choice, but you'd need to try someone else's, before a large outlay.

When I bought my Sanwa, I had to kind of learn to drive again, as I kept turning in too early, as it just reacted so quick compared to my Corerc.

 

This is the manual for my Sanwa, and I first thought it was multiple languages, but no, it's all in English,  with chapters....😬

 

2020-05-28_12-12-04

 It's a telemetry model, so the receiver can send information back to the handset, but I've never set it up, as I have trouble finding time to blink during a race, never mind start looking down at data!!! 

Other features I'm going to try and find time to set up, like the % brake strength per % steering, so I should just be able to hit full brakes, and turn into a corner, and the brakes back off accordingly to stop it spinning out.

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4 minutes ago, Sogogi said:

Built in Antenna ones are real game changer. I actually tried to move couple receivers between cars I dont run often. Works well :)

Running a couple of Sanwa, SMD and Ruddog antennaless recievers the latter I got for £30.

There's some on Aliexpress that are £20 , but not taken a punt yet..

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Another part of the picture is what does the market/price range look like? 

Assuming all models have the minimum functionality level including multi model memory, end point adjustment etc. So I exclude the really basic ones with just trim knobs. 

<£100: Absima CR3P seems a reasonable example, along with eg the Flysky ones which are similar.

£100-200: interested to know what is in this price bracket and whether anything there is a worthy upgrade over the basic ones above, and what it gives over them in both quality and functionality. 

c.£250 is then the entry price for a Sanwa MT5 with one receiver, plus then you're in for £25-50 per additional receiver. 

And, the different protocols. Are they fundamentally different technology, or really just proprietary systems that only talk to their own, but aren't really better or worse than A N Other proprietary system? Wouldn't it be nice to have an open standard? Rhetorical question - I can see why the market wouldn't have developed that way.

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I too have a CR3P (GT3), moved onto a GT5. Found that I do not use most of the functions. Yes, the GT5 does feel better built but does not bring anything new that the CR3P already does, except it's RX can come with a gyro.

Then the kids have Turbo Racing P32, which are kind of bottom end things yet I actually find that the feel better than the CR3P, as good as the GT5, although the menu system is rather poor.

So when I am looking for a new TX for my recent RTR, I wanted something cheap to go with my theme this year of being as budget as possible.

I had narrowed it down to:

1. GT7 (£60) - because I am happy enough with the GT5, the GT7 seems like a natural upgrade. However, it actually looks like it has too much features that I will never use. Using is as a baseline, searched further.

2. Turbo Racing P52 (£30) - this is my first budget choice as I am happy enough with the P32, but it's RX are getting hard to find probably because it is being phased out.

3. Turbo Racing RC8X (£190) - I heard that some of the really budget brands had released some controllers with top end features, this is the first one I looked at. Way over budget. Nope. Moving on...

4. DumboRC DDF-350 (£60) - this is another budget brand that I heard had released a new TX. I am liking it's features. It kind of got onto my top shortlist as it's RX can do gyro and lighting control. But when looking at it on the AE app, I saw this...

5. HotRC CT-8A (£30) - it looks to have a rather good feature set, but its RX don't do as much as the DumboRC ones. However it can do one thing, send battery voltage. I need them in some of my RTR if I want to forget about lipo alarms. Also, the RX are just £7 a pop. Straight off I bought one. When it arrived, I am really impressed. It feels nicer than the CR3P or GT5. It even has a cold hard metal wheel. It's features are so extensive that after a week, I am still learning. The only bad thing I can think of is it does not have trim buttons, which makes setup of a new car a bit of a pain as it means diving into it's rather poorly translated menu. Another negative is it only has 8 memories slots. I may never have 8 RTRs anyway, and at this price, it will not hurt to buy another if I do in the future.

qiUszvJ.jpg

It even has a few bits of cold hard metal for an extra touch of class.

1miKr87.jpg

Yes, the expensive stuff are supposed to be good, but I remember someone bashing the Flysky Nobel once, and that is not cheap, and someone else rebuked that by saying some proper racers use that model. So big expensive are good...? 🤔

Note 1: prices are approx from AliExpress with or without VAT.

Note 2: I am a basher and do not race, at all.

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watching as well. Been a Futaba man since age 9, and have used 3PRKA (aka Magnum Sport) sets with my Monster Beetle, Frog and the boy’s Blitzer Beetle. I pulled the unit from the Frog and put it in my CC02, with the idea of finding a more involved radio with fine adjustments.
 

I’m not a big techie, but I’m hearing of interesting features like cruise control that would be great for slow trail riding.

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1 hour ago, alvinlwh said:

I too have a CR3P (GT3), moved onto a GT5. Found that I do not use most of the functions. Yes, the GT5 does feel better built but does not bring anything new that the CR3P already does, except it's RX can come with a gyro.

Then the kids have Turbo Racing P32, which are kind of bottom end things yet I actually find that the feel better than the CR3P, as good as the GT5, although the menu system is rather poor.

So when I am looking for a new TX for my recent RTR, I wanted something cheap to go with my theme this year of being as budget as possible.

I had narrowed it down to:

1. GT7 (£60) - because I am happy enough with the GT5, the GT7 seems like a natural upgrade. However, it actually looks like it has too much features that I will never use. Using is as a baseline, searched further.

2. Turbo Racing P52 (£30) - this is my first budget choice as I am happy enough with the P32, but it's RX are getting hard to find probably because it is being phased out.

3. Turbo Racing RC8X (£190) - I heard that some of the really budget brands had released some controllers with top end features, this is the first one I looked at. Way over budget. Nope. Moving on...

4. DumboRC DDF-350 (£60) - this is another budget brand that I heard had released a new TX. I am liking it's features. It kind of got onto my top shortlist as it's RX can do gyro and lighting control. But when looking at it on the AE app, I saw this...

5. HotRC CT-8A (£30) - it looks to have a rather good feature set, but its RX don't do as much as the DumboRC ones. However it can do one thing, send battery voltage. I need them in some of my RTR if I want to forget about lipo alarms. Also, the RX are just £7 a pop. Straight off I bought one. When it arrived, I am really impressed. It feels nicer than the CR3P or GT5. It even has a cold hard metal wheel. It's features are so extensive that after a week, I am still learning. The only bad thing I can think of is it does not have trim buttons, which makes setup of a new car a bit of a pain as it means diving into it's rather poorly translated menu. Another negative is it only has 8 memories slots. I may never have 8 RTRs anyway, and at this price, it will not hurt to buy another if I do in the future.

qiUszvJ.jpg

It even has a few bits of cold hard metal for an extra touch of class.

1miKr87.jpg

Yes, the expensive stuff are supposed to be good, but I remember someone bashing the Flysky Nobel once, and that is not cheap, and someone else rebuked that by saying some proper racers use that model. So big expensive are good...? 🤔

Note 1: prices are approx from AliExpress with or without VAT.

Note 2: I am a basher and do not race, at all.

There's something about use cases here too I think. We have 2x CR3Ps and haven't yet wanted to drive more than 3 cars at once. So I'd only be buying one higher quality set which would aim to do me for many years for "Sunday best", and demoting an Absima to very occasional use. We don't really need more sets, although one more would have some use.

I have never tried a gyro, that does interest me a little bit. 

I did once buy a more basic Absima with just the knobs off ebay for £20odd, because cheap and uses same receivers, but it has developed a habit of jamming on full throttle, so it's probably for the bin if a cursory tinker doesn't identify the cause and solve it immediately. No great loss. 

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I'm a grown middle-aged man.. if I'm going to be playing with kid toys I'm going to get the best ones out there,  :lol:  cars included. ;) 

Nice radios are packed with features, quality, reliability (from my experience), good ergonics that are adjustable, and the preciseness..  they are satisfying just to hold in the hand let alone driving with them.  The experience is what I value the most.  They are an accessory as well and part of the vanity display.  I like hard cases manufacturers like Futaba releases for their top end radios too for that exclusive touch.  

When I drive my RTR Mini-Z's I quickly get reminded how basic those radios are.. and cheaply made and feel.  It's fine for those cars, but I would not want to be driving my $1K cars with a cheap radio..

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Personally, I think its dangerous operating a potential fast, heavy & expensive motorised vehicle with a £20 TxRX such as the Dumbo RC, ordered through a website like AliExpress/Banggood etc. I use mine in public, and would hate for example my XMaxx to lose control and hurt somebody due to some cheap transmitter llsing range. For me, its a vital part of the safety of your RC, and not something to skrimp on. Sorry if that sounds snobby, but just how I feel.

That said, theyre all probably probably made in the same factory anyway…..,

Personally Im a big fan of Futaba. I dont think anyome needs the ultra high end stuff, say a 7 or 10, but the 3PV and especially the 4PV are genuinely incredible…..

These days, I run a Noble NB4, it does everything, feels extremely high quality being all aluminium, the internal battery lasts forever and can be charged via USBC, ithas a large touch screen and receivers, whilst not cheap, are avaliable from Amazon Prime within a day for me. It would be good value at twice the price in my opinion.

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2 hours ago, Wooders28 said:

Running a couple of Sanwa, SMD and Ruddog antennaless recievers the latter I got for £30.

There's some on Aliexpress that are £20 , but not taken a punt yet..

RCTech has a thread on the clone rx and some have issues but they seem to get fixed quickly and released as a v2 or similar. They are also usually issues with the SSR mode rather than whether they work as a budget rx too. I have a couple of types (Das Mikro and ARX?) and both work fine. I use them in my backyard cars rather than racers. I don't have the FH5 ones yet as it makes more sense for ke to get FH4 which will work on both tx.

I also just grab any secondhand rx that pop up on marketplace. Strangely they are now the 493 with the antenna that no one wants.

Your other point about learning to drive again. I had driven my sons ebuggy with his 3PV and it was fine, sort of like my nitro (needs to build revs so delayed response). Put my new ebuggy on track and missed every jump landing by a couple of metres as it was so much more responsive

3 hours ago, Pylon80 said:

Great subject @BuggyDad and I was actually going to start the exact same one.

I am not sure where Jonathon wrote the above but it's super useful. I had always wondered if response time was real (meaning, noticeable) or just another gimmick.

Regarding ergonomics I get the point. Hard wheel return springs are annoying and so is excessive wheel travel when going lock to lock (yes I know, accomplished drivers don't really go lock to lock...). Since you can't really try before you buy unless you have a shop nearby that has them all (come on...) ergonomic are bound to be a moot point when making the choice.

I wrote that in another thread in response to BuggyDads question. Good move starting this one though as the other thread was about a new person starting out so suggesting the MT5 to them wasnt really appropriate!

@Sogogi good choice on the 4PM. I'm in the Sanwa ecosystem but only because a lightly used MT4S came up secondhand a few years ago. I always recommend the MT5 or 4PM as the sweet spot and Futaba rx are a bit cheaper, although with thr clone rx thats noy such an issue now.

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I just picked up a radiomaster mt12, because it comes closest to the radio i built myself 8 years ago.  I am not the normal buyer of r/c pistol radios though.  I basically built my own because at the time, there were no pistol radios with more than 6 channels, and none of them had all the switches and knobs i needed to run the semi trucks and scale boats i have.  I don't care about speed or sensitivity, i care about minimum 12 channels, and ability to handle the multitude of receiver brands i own

20231213_213607.jpg

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21 minutes ago, Jonathon Gillham said:

r 4PM as the sweet spot and Futaba rx are a bit cheaper, although with thr clone rx thats noy such an issue now.

Hmm i may have to look at clone rxs for mindless bashers 

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11 minutes ago, Sogogi said:

Hmm i may have to look at clone rxs for mindless bashers 

I've used the Futaba clones and they work fine. The only issue with them is they don't make (well, I havent found) one with out an antenna. But they cost less than half what a 203 (i think) rx cost 

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Kind of an aside, but is model memory really that big of a deal to most people? I use basic but good-quality radios (Spektrum, Tactic, low-end Futaba) and none of them have model memory. I put velcro on the receivers and swap them from car to car. At most, when switching from one car to the other, it's a flip of a reversing switch, or a click or two one way or the other on the steering trim. Would it be nice to have that all at the touch of a button? Sure, I guess. Is it worth buying a much more expensive transmitter and a bunch of extra receivers just for that? Not to me...

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1 hour ago, Jonathon Gillham said:

RCTech has a thread on the clone rx and some have issues

I think the SMD has a slightly less range, but it's still further than my old eyes, so not that much of an issue....

I still run the 472 antenna telemetry RX in in my race car, mainly as my brain states an antenna is better...🙄

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