Getting started- part 2 (radio basics)

Part 2 of Getting Started

It is my recommendation that you get a plane from Horizon Hobby. On top of great customer service, all of their RC planes, except the Hobbyzone Duet, will bind (binding simply means linking the receiver of an aircraft to your tx) to Spektrum radios.

Most RC transmitters and receivers use 2.4 Ghz nowadays, which means 2 things: no interference from other transmitters and receivers and that each brand has proprietary 2.4 Ghz systems. This means that you MUST get a receiver that is the same brand as your transmitter.

That is the nice thing about Horizon Hobby. All of their ultra micro aircraft (except the Duet) are compatible with Spektrum radios. So, you can have one good computerized Spektrum tx with memory for lots of models, dual rates, expo, and other things and bind it with Horizon Hobby’s planes.

OK, John. I know you like Horizon Hobby now. Now tell me what dual rates, expo, and model memory all mean.

Well, expo basically means that you soften the sensitivity of your aircraft until you move the control stick more than 50% out from the center. Dual rates limit the servo travel. Both of these are deactivated and activated by switches on your tx.


Binding is the process of linking a 2.4 Ghz receiver with a (compatible/same brand) transmitter. All manufactures do it differently; my brand of choice, Spektrum, requires you to plug a bind plug into the rx and give power to the rx. Then, after waiting about 10 seconds, you turn on the tx and put it into bind mode.

On some really small Spektrum receivers, you don’t need the bind plug: just give power to the receiver, wait until the red light on the rx starts flashing rapidly, turn the tx on, and put the tx into bind mode.

After the initial bind, to link your plane with your Spektrum transmitter you just have to turn the tx on, wait 5 seconds for the tx to start sending out a signal, and then give power to the receiver.

How you control your plane

First, your fingers move the sticks on your transmitter. The transmitter then changes these movements and converts them into radio waves, which are transmitted to the receiver, which receives these radio waves and changes them into electronic signals the servos understand.

The servos then convert these electronic signals into mechanical movement. This servo movement moves the pushrods, which are rods that then move the control horn, which is attached to the control surfaces, and makes the control surfaces move.

Thanks for reading! As always, I will have another juicy blog post on ultra micro planes posted on next Sunday morning.


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