Radio Controllers are the most important piece of equipment when it comes to RC Toys and models. To run any model or toy, along with the motor, the radio controller allows you to control the movements and the speed of your RC model. In some cases, advanced radio controllers also allow you to control fuel flow into the engine, gear changes as well as minute structural changes in advanced models.
History of Radio Controllers
The concept of using radio controllers to control toys began in 1898 when Nicola Tesla demonstrated his 'magic boat' in front of a gaping audience at the Madison Square Garden. He opened a whole new industry for toy manufacturers and since the 1960s, advancements in the field have made these models cheaper to manufacture as well as purchase.
The concept behind these models hasn't changed at all, since the days of Tesla and even today, a hand-held radio transmitter is used to govern the movements of the model. The RC model has a receiver mounted upon it which, depending on the transmitter's range, picks up its radio signals and directs control surfaces on the body of the model.
These radio controllers employ the services of a Servo to ensure that proper functionality of the RC model. The transmitters have control switches, joysticks and dials, which control movement and settings on the model. The signals sent from the transmitter are received by the radio receiver on the model that further sends these signals onto the servo. The servo then translates these signals into commands for the various control surfaces on the model, making it perform according to the user's desires.
Radio transmitters come in 4- and 6-channel formats although higher versions are also available. These two popular formats determine the number of varied combinations of actions that the model can perform. Each channel represents a command and when two or more channels send the command at the same time, they are combined into a single broadcasting beam and transmitted to the receiver. The receiver breaks up the signal into its original form and sends it to the servo for the remaining process.
For complex RC models, a 6-channel radio controller is considered sufficient to perform all tasks whereas most general models and some toys even, come with the 4-channel radio controllers. When building your own RC model from a kit, you can customize the radio controller to your own needs. RC Hobby Stores carry different types of radio controllers based on, not just the manufacturers, but also their functionality and range.
When building your model, you need to keep in mind the size, weight and power required for the radio controller to work as heavy controllers might slow your RC model down. Depending on the ability of your model, you need to pick your radio controller, for e.g. on a simple RC Glider, you would not require a 6-channel radio controller simply because there isn't much that the glider can do in terms of aerobatics and speed. Similarly, nitro RC Jets would not perform well with a 2-channel radio controller as you require more control over the control surfaces to ensure a smooth flight.
So the next time you are looking to get RC Kits, keep your requirements in mind before rushing in for the fanciest remote controller money can buy. You might not need it at all. To get going, all you need to ensure is that your RC model's capabilities are exploited to the maximum with the radio controller you use.