As I wanted to start with RC planes, but also wanted to keep a budget, finding a cheap transmitter with good quality was a bit tricky. But HobbyKing had a model which had a lot good words written about it – The HK6S.
It’s a controller you can order for as low as $30! This includes the transmitter and a receiver. Even with an internal antenna, it’s said to have up to 1km range, which is pretty good considering the price!
It looks cheap, feels cheap and is cheap, but what can you expect for the price? Actually I was a bit surprised over how much functions the transmitter actually had, although you can’t expect getting a RSSI output etc, you do get a trainer/simulator port on the backside, a charger port and digital trims. It also has adjustable sticks, just unscrew them counter-clockwise and secure with the nut.
I threw in 8 2500mah AA ni-mh batteries which I had pre-charged into the built in battery holder. Immediately I found a problem with power, the LED flickering as I moved the controller. Turns out the plastic holding the batteries is too tight, keeping the batteries positive pole from making contact. The spring on the negative connector isn’t strong enough to push the battery up on its own. I bent the plastic back and forth to soften it up, and pushed the battery towards the positive connectors. After this I put the battery lid back on, and tested again – solid LED. I haven’t had any problems after this. I even tried shaking the controller too see if it could lose contact again, but it seems to work as it should.
I’m considering switching to a LiPo battery later, it’s easier to charge. My ni-mh batteries charge at 9.2V and 240mah, and it takes approximately 15-20 hours to get them fully charged. This is the recommended charging rate. A LiPo charging at 1C would take 1 hour…
It’s very easy to use, connect the included sync-cable, and when TX and RX have a connection, everything works as it should. You can easily reverse the channels, if a servo is going the opposite way. I also ordered a simulator cable for 5$, so my first flights could be in RealFlight. This made it easy to get to know the controller without wrecking multiple planes first.
The controller is very precise, and gives you what you need to get started. I’ve synchronized multiple receivers as well. The HK6DF which is about $9 is compatible with HK6s, and gives you an easy way to connect multiple planes. The problem is that the different models have different trim-settings and servo orientation, meaning you might have to reverse the channels on the transmitter when you change planes. So I’m pretty sure I’m going for a transmitter with model memory in the future, but it’s nice to have a spare backup set anyways.
When testing with my Yak 12 the first time, I had to do a couple of trim settings, but I adjusted the pushrods on the plane later, so that I can keep the trims centered, and more easily switch to another model – not a problem though, just more convenient.
All in all the HK6S is great for beginners wanting to start with the Hobby, it got everything you need, including the simulator plug, and you won’t find anything cheaper!