Your transmitter is another critical piece of equipment. It’s important to be cost efficient when purchasing your transmitter. A little more money up front might prevent you from having to buy an entirely new transmitter shortly down the road. By this I mean purchasing a 7 or 8 channel unit instead of being stuck with a 6 channel unit should your tastes change & you would like to fly a model with a retractable landing gear and lights.
Cost efficient doesn’t mean “cheap”, or should I say “poor quality”. Remember, the RC airframes we discuss are not toys and they can be dangerous. Your transmitter may be used for airplanes, helicopters, multirotors, etc… It must be reliable, unaffected by other radio equipment. Poor quality transmitters are tempting because of their price but are they really worth it? Imagine losing control of your expensive hexacopter carrying an expensive DSLR HD Camera because of a transmitter glitch. I would rather own a reliable 6 channel transmitter than a doubtful bigger one.
You need a good computerized transmitter, with a way of backing-up your settings & maybe upgrading the firmware. Imagine losing, breaking, or someone stealing your transmitter. Would you remember what all the settings were of all your models? Other optional things such as Telemetry (to monitor battery voltage, temperature, motor RPM, etc… and give you an alarm if something isn’t right) or a backlight display might be appealing.
Here are a few things to consider when shopping for a transmitter:
- Does it have enough model memories?
- What will be your real number of required channels?
- Is there a wide variety of receivers available for it?
- Are the available receivers reasonably priced?
- Can you back-up your settings?
- Is it compatible with your Flight Simulator?
- Is it a good fit in your hands?
- Is the gimbal stiffness adjustable?
- Do you really need things like a backlight?
- Will you eventually like to use Telemetry with your models?
- You might want a transmitter that provides you with a range test function to make sure that all is well prior to flight