Let's Make Robots!

rc plane electronics - as cheap as possible


im thinking about making a rc plane workshop for them local kids in the neighboorhood in copenhagen.

i have an ok understanding of the plane design but i miss general info of the electronics.

i would like to use as many salvaged, recycled or second hand materials as possible.

i have found the following kit for the electronics which is kinda cheap:


but its only the receiver and not the controller.


my wishes are info on how cheap ways of

rc control

electronic speed controller

plane servos

plane battery

rc controller diy with connected ps2 controller for recycled cheepnes.

please help me with this kinda info

kindb regards johannes

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A good site for RC info IMO...


I don't know what this says about the World but...

I have crunched a bunch of numbers on this subject in the past. The bottom line is that you can't beg, borrow or steal anything electronics related cheaper than you can get from China. Well, this might be a bit of an exageration but really, you can get a brushless motor and speed control for $20 with free shipping. Lipo's can be found in the $15 range. Assuming your time is worth something (people differ on weather you should "price" your personal time) you simply can't justify the time it will take to scavange, modify, test and install MacGyver'ed parts. I should mention that this idea sorta kills me inside, just as the fact that nothing made today has stand-alone parts inside that can be replaced individually when they break.

At any rate, I have some good links in my back pocket for cheap Ebay parts if you are interested. And of course, the catch with these ultra-cheap parts is that it takes a month to get them. On the other hand, I when I am getting (3) lipos for $21 incl. shipping... I'll learn to be patient.

Hi Chris,

I must be tired this evening, but what are lipo's?

Do you have any Chinese parts sites that are worth checking out?

I hardly dare to look at the LMR shout box because sometimes I have no idea what people are writing about. It is like there are other parallel communication that doesn't get through ;) Or continious message from days ago.

Well I guess I have to live with that. Personally I would prefeer if the shout box was wider in my browser.

I need to remember that I am a conpetent person.

Ok, have a nice day


Here's what scares me about this ad:

" E_SKY FUTABA 36MHZ 6 Channel Radio Mini RC Receiver "


I COULD BE WRONG (and frequently am!!!) but I've never heard of a 36 Mhz airplane radio.


I did a search at a couple places I buy parts and they don't carry any 36 Mhz radio parts from any brand.




I have a few of the Hobby King cheap -O- radio's, and they work decent for the cost.

Plus they are easily hacked. Example V1 and V2 are the same, just remove the back and swap the spring and detent arm side for side. I would suggest buying one of those over this receiver.

Again my 2 cents.

Lipos = lithium polymer battery used in model airplanes amongst other things. The ones I use are 11.4v and in a hobby shop, they can be as much as 60 bucks a pop, on Ebay from China, I have gotten them for around $16. The $7 ones I mentioned above are little 7v ones for some of my small robot projects. Lipos are great, if you treat them right and charge them correctly. In terms of links, what are you looking for? If I have ordered something similar, I can tell you my experience with the supply house. --I gotta tell you, as you could guess, ordering from China can be a little hit-or-miss.

to chris

i am looking for the cheapest options on ebay with


esc/rc receiver (more than 4 channels)

cheap servos.


as much second hand / found items as possible.

so links to good ebay pals that could arrange good deals on the above would be NICE :-)

i have to keep the price per unit (only electronics) as low as possible. i was thinking about under 50$ per unit electronics. then i could get some fundings from some local organisation and sell the kits to the kids for around 10$ per unit. that would be great!

kind regards johannes

50 bucks huh? Well, lets start with what we know:

Lipos --I have ordered from these guys and had no problem http://myworld.ebay.com/toy8090/

The famous LMR "blue" servos are from here: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=662

Now we run into the TX/RX issue and the "total package" issue... The problem I see is that really, each plane is, at a minimum, going to need a motor/prop, speed control, RX, servos and battery (this would assume a "shared" transmitter -One community TX for everyone). As I see it, none of these items can really be hacked, faked or harvested from other electronic items. As with everything, if you do the math, when you add up all the different component parts, you can't beat the price of a all-in-one kit. Let's go over real numbers --I am using prices that I have personally paid for these items.

  • transmitter/reciever $50 to $100 w/ or w/o servos (this just ain't gunna be less than $50)
  • servos                   $10 to $15 per plane (maybe down to $6 or $8 with just rudder/ elevator)
  • Lipo                      $15 to $20 per plane (unless you want to share --charge time is going to get real old, real quick)
  • Motor/ Controller    $20 to $40 per plane
  • The plane itself       --This might be somewhere you can actually fudge some materials and money
  • Total                     $95 to $175 + shipping from many different suppliers

Now, if you look to off the shelf kits, you can find something like this: http://www.bananahobby.com/1937.html --Here is the same 100 bucks, TX/RX, battery, charger, servos, speedcontrol and you get a free plane to boot (if you figure the component parts would have cost the same). I gotta tell you, I think this sucks --I hate having to buy more than I really want because the "deal" sorta forces me to but then again, it just comes down to math --Through simple volume, a kit is always going to be cheaper than the parts that go into it.

I wish I could give you better info than this, or tell you how to make a RX unit out of an old mouse but I just don't think that can happen. I adore the idea of turning kids into nerds and I think this homemade RC club is quite noble --I just don't know if your numbers are there.

Keep asking questions, I'll keep answering as best I can.