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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the reason I ask is that I was on another computer and was pricing something and figured I would check there. When I typed in to Google the, the automatic choce list had "dealextreme scam" as one of the top searched items. I have no personal experience with them and I don't know on what basis Google brough that to the top. But I found it a little spooky.

I had good experiences with Dealextreme. They deliver what they promise. In my case a well reviewed oscilloscope.In your case that might be cheap Chinese knock offs. Mileage varies, shipping happens...

Delivery is slow: 6-8 weeks incl. customs.

It is odd how Google does that. I tried a few vendors. What I mean is go to a Google search box and assuming you have a supported browser and settings that allow it to work, when you type something you want to search for it shows a drop down of common searches and changes it as you type. I just went back and tried again to see what it showed me with various vendors. I type the vendor's name and a space. Nearly all have them, including dealextreme have "coupon" as the top next word with things like "shipping" or "paypal" being really common also. In dealextreme's case, "scam" is right after "coupon". So I clicked to see why. Guess what? They have a public forum and someone complained on that forum. Reading his post, he went off half cocked and didn't even try the proper channels first to resolve his problem (getting a product he wasn't happy with). A lot of people replied telling him he was an idiot and then it turned into a long running thread with people debating the quality of their service. Apparantly dealextreme pays for their results to be placed high, probably so people will find products there. Lots of people viewd a page at their site titled "dealextreme scam" so I think Google did what they were paid to do and pushed that up higher in the search results...

I know this topic is slightly stale, but only a few months, and I am looking for some of the same parts. One place I thought I might mention is R2Hobbies. I have bought a couple of things from them and been pleased with price and service. I am going to tinker with autonomous filght with foamies (cheap home built RC airplanes). I think I am going to start with a scaled down version of MikeysRC FPV Pusher. His site is good general resource for info about making planes on the cheap. The plans are all free (donations encouraged) and the sport trainer sounds like a good choice for kids getting into it.

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.


If you really want to go cheap HobbyKing has a TX/RX pair for about $23 US dollars. While it is definitely of lower quality it should work fine for a park flyer. And for the actual pane you could get this slope soarer for about the same ($23 US). I definitely agree with Chris though; buying a kit is cheaper than building it yourself.

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

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.