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If this will be your first time ordering from Banggood, you should know a few things.

CONTROLLERS / TRANSMITTERS

The controller goes in your hands. The receiver goes in your quad. You move the sticks on the controller, and those commands are transmitted wirelessly to the quad via the receiver.

Different brands of controllers use a different protocol to talk to their receiver. So a Ghost receiver won’t work with a Crossfire module. When you buy a controller, you need to realize that you’re also locking yourself into which receivers you’re going to buy. This is actually way more important than many beginners realize. Some brands of receiver are more expensive. Some brands don’t have a good selection of micro-receivers such as are used in mini quads. Some brands lack features like telemetry (so you can check your battery voltage and other stats while flying). And some have significantly more range than others.

One exception to this rule is the “multiprotocol” radios, which come with a “4-in-1” RF module that can bind to FrSky, FlySky, Spektrum, and more. Examples include the Jumper T18 and RadioMaster TX16S.

Which protocol should you get? I made a video breaking down this decision.

CHEAPEST WORTH HAVING
BETAFPV LITERADIO 2 (FRSKY VERSION)

Purchase at RaceDayQuads
Purchase at GetFPV
Purchase at BetaFPV

The BetaFPV LiteRadio sets a new standard for a quality controller at the most affordable price I’ve ever seen. Most “budget” controllers try to be a super cheap copy of everything about an expensive controller. BetaFPV took a different approach. The LiteRadio leaves out a whole bunch of features, resulting in a bare-bones controller that does the basics, but does them well. The gimbals are smooth and the switches are sturdy. The build quality is really decent. It can even plug in to your computer and be used to play simulators.

What do you give up? The Lite Radio only supports a single model at a time, so if you have more than one quad, switching between them will be a hassle. It runs OpenTX internally, but it doesn’t have any screen, so the only way to configure it is to plug it in to the computer and use OpenTX Companion. But that’s kind of missing the point. The person who buys this controller probably doesn’t want to mess around with OpenTX Companion. If you’re looking for a good quality, basic controller, at the absolute lowest price, the BetaFPV LiteRadio is the one for you.

The LiteRadio comes in two versions: Bayang protocol and FrSky protocol. Most people should choose the FrSky protocol version as Bayang receivers are rare.

The biggest selling point of the TX16S is its 4-in-1 multiprotocol module. This means that it can bind to most of the major receiver types: FrSky, FlySky, and Spektrum; it can also control many proprietary bind-n-fly aircraft. Get a “toy quad” with a “toy-grade” controller? The TX16S can probably control it.

The TX16S runs OpenTX. OpenTX is an incredibly powerful and flexible operating system for controllers. Pretty much anything you can imagine wanting your controller to do, OpenTX can do. Since I’m a real gear-head nerd, that makes it perfect for me. The down-side of this is that OpenTX can be a little complicated to learn to use at first. Some beginners struggle.

Other reasons to choose the TX16S include its huge, color touch-screen (touch-screen capability not active until upgraded with OpenTX version 2.4). It has full-size Hall Effect gimbals, something never before seen in a radio at this price. Like all OpenTX radios, it works with your PC simulator. It’s also got USB-C internal charging for 18650 lithium cells or a 2S lipo battery (linked below).

Yes, it even works with Crossfire. In fact, some stores are selling it in a bundle with a Crossfire Micro module.

Although the TX16S works with many types of receivers, my personal pick is the FrSky RXSR or XM+. The RXSR supports telemetry, while the XM+ does not, but is a little smaller and less expensive.

If you’re on the tightest of budgets, you can save a little money by buying the potentiometer-gimbal version of the radio. However almost nobody is carrying this version of the radio so your choices of where to shop are limited.

LONG RANGE CONTROL BUILT IN
JUMPER T18

Purchase at RaceDayQuads – Basic / Pro
Purchase at Grayson Hobby – Basic
Purchase at DefianceRC – Basic / Pro

The Jumper T18 has many of the same features as the RadioMaster TX16S described above. This is because the founder of RadioMaster used to work for Jumper, but then split off to make his own company.

So why would you pick the T18 over the TX16S, especially because the T18 is more expensive? The T18 has built-in support for 900 MHz control. This has the potential to give tens of kilometers of range. In short: for normal use, forget about failsafes. However, people with a bit more budget are probably going to prefer TBS Crossfire for 900 MHz control, because it’s much more refined, tested, and reliable. Those people won’t put much value in the T18’s support for 900 MHz.

The T18 has good performance when used with 900 MHz receivers, but its 2.4 GHz range is a little worse than the RadioMaster or FrSky radios. This is because it has an internal 2.4 GHz antenna, to make room for the external 900 MHz antenna. The internal antenna is directional, so it is more sensitive to the orientation of the controller than the external antenna on most radios.

The Basic model of the T18 has Hall Effect gimbals, similar to the T16. The Pro model has Alps RDC90 gimbals, which are higher quality.

The T18 has a 480×272 IPS screen, without touch screen capability. In the future, Jumper plans to release an 800×480 touch screen, once OpenTX supports it. This will be a hardware upgrade, whereas the T16 comes with the touch screen pre-installed, and will only require a software upgrade to enable it.

The TX16S Max is the upgraded version of theTX16S listed above. What’s the “Max” get you? Custom colors. Stiffer, heavier plastic on the shell. CNC metal gimbals. Metal buttons and roller instead of plastic. Metal folding carry handle. And leather side-grips. The TX16S Max has the same great performance as the “standard” version, with upgraded aesthetics and feel. For those who say, “I like OpenTX radios, but they all feel so cheap!” Here’s the answer.

Some people are going to scoff that my “top of the line” radio isn’t an ultra-premium brand like Futaba or Jeti. Obviously, those are amazing radios. But in the FPV community at least, OpenTX is the standard for radios, and I couldn’t in good faith recommend a non-OpenTX radio, no matter how excellent it is.

The Tango 2 is the only controller to come with Crossfire built in. No external module needed. The build quality on the radio is excellent, especially compared to other radios at its price. Gimbals are smooth, and larger than some other “game controller” style radios. It runs OpenTX, so it can be programmed to do pretty much anything you want. And it’s small enough to easily tuck into a backpack.

The Tango 2 is such a good radio, let’s just list the things that would keep you away from it. It’s a shorter list.

If you don’t fly Crossfire, obviously, don’t get the Tango 2. The Tango 2 can support 2.4 GHz receivers with an external module. But the obvious intent is that you’ll primarily be flying Crossfire.

If you want a big, traditional-style controller, with a large screen, the Tango 2 is not for you; it’s got smaller gimbals; a very small screen; and the game-controller ergonomics are not for everyone. The Tango 2 only has six switches and no potentiometers (knobs). It doesn’t have physical trim switches, which some fixed-wing pilots see as a deal breaker. Finally, the radio is not fully integrated into OpenTX at this time, which means you won’t be able to transfer models to and from other OpenTX radios until that integration happens.

If none of those things scare you away, the Tango 2 is arguably the best RC controller you can get

2.4 GHZ RECEIVERS

All of the controllers linked above support 2.4 GHz digital control links. This has been the standard for RC control pretty much since Horizon Hobby invented it in 2004. This type of control link has about 1-2 km of range under typical operating conditions, which is significantly less than the older 72 MHz systems it replaced. So why is it so popular? 2.4 GHz digital control links nearly completely eliminate the potential for interference between pilots. You can literally have 50 or 100 pilots in the air at the same time if you want to. If you’re just getting started in FPV, this type of receiver is economical and convenient to use, since your radio supports it out of the box. But there are other control links, listed below, that have higher performance and longer range (at greater cost).

The main reason to choose a 2.4 GHz technology from this section would be if you are just buying your first radio and you don’t want the additional expense of buying a higher-performance module like Crossfire, Ghost, or Tracer. Of the 2.4 GHz technologies, the most advanced is FrSky ACCESS. Its range is still only a few km, but it has excellent latency and wireless firmware flashing. However, it’s it’s only supported in FrSky radios so if a Jumper or a RadioMaster strikes your fancy, you won’t be able to use ACCESS.

The R-XSR has been my favorite FrSky receiver ever since it came out. It’s tiny. It has full range and diversity antennas. It supports telemetry. And it works with all of FrSky’s radios–the new ACCESS protocol ones and the older ACCST protocol ones.

The only feature that the R-XSR is missing is RSSI output. It supports reporting RSSI to the controller, but you’ll have to jump through some hoops to get that information into your on-screen display.

The XM+ is my second favorite FrSky receiver. It’s about $5 cheaper than the R-XSR. It’s a tiny bit smaller. It has full range and supports diversity. The main thing it hasn’t got is support for telemetry. So you won’t be able to get flight statistics like battery voltage on your controller screen. But since most flight controllers put that information in their OSD (on-screen display) then many people feel it doesn’t really matter. If you’re looking to save a bit of money and weight, the XM+ is the one you’ll get.

The XM+ is now shipping with ACCST firmware version 2.1. This means that it won’t bind to radios with older ACCST firmware on their internal XJT module. The workaround is to flash ACCST 2.1 to your radio’s module. However this means the radio won’t bind to any 3rd party receivers, Tiny Whoops with built in receiver, or any FrSky receiver with older firmware on it.

This is the new kid on the block, and it’s spoiling for a fight. This FrSky-compatible receiver has similar capabilities to the R-XSR, but it’s about $10 cheaper. It’s also got an RSSI output wire so that you can get signal strength in your OSD without jumping through any obnoxious hoops.

The ACCESS system is the most advanced FrSky protocol so far, with features like wireless “over the air” (OTA) firmware updates and ultra-low latency. If you’ve got an ACCESS radio, the Archer RS is my recommended receiver for FPV quads.

The Spektrum SPM4650 is considered by many to be the best Spektrum receiver for FPV mini-quad pilots. It’s tiny. It has full range and diversity. It supports the most advance SRXL2 protocol, which has low latency and telemetry. And…. IT’S GOT A BIND BUTTON! Finally you can bind a Spektrum receiver without going to the Betaflight CLI or pulling out a binding plug.

The 4650 is not available in all stores. Next-best are the 4651T (which supports SRXL2 but no bind button) and the 4649 (which doesn’t have a bind button and only supports SRXL1, but is still pretty good).

FLYSKY
FLI14+

Purchase at Banggood

The Fli14+ is almost the perfect FlySky receiver. It’s small and light. Supports diversity. And it outputs RSSI as an Aux channel, which might be the simplest way of getting signal strength into your OSD (on-screen display). There are only two things I dislike about this receiver. Its antennas are soldered on, which makes it difficult to replace them when (not if) they get damaged. And it’s mostly only available from Banggood, so depending on where in the world you live, it might be a while before you get it.

TBS CROSSFIRE

Crossfire operates around 900 MHz, which means it has much… MUCH longer range and better penetration than the 2.4 GHz systems linked above. Even if you don’t intend to do long-range flights, the reliability and security of the Crossfire link gives you confidence to fly places you never would have dared. Crossfire also has ultra-low latency, for the a responsive, connected feel.

Currently, TBS Tango 2 is the only radio on the market that supports Crossfire natively. With other radios, you install a Crossfire module in the radio. One caveat: FrSky has taken some steps to break Crossfire compatibility on some of their radios. If you seriously intend to use Crossfire or any other high-performance 3rd party module, I recommend staying away from FrSky radios.

Because the performance of Crossfire, Ghost, and Tracer is more than most pilots need, it can be difficult to choose between them. Crossfire is the most mature of the long-range control links. It won’t surprise you with bugs or performance issues, and there is a huge community and lots of support for whatever questions you might have. Crossfire is no longer the lowest-latency link, so racers might prefer Ghost or Tracer, but Crossfire’s latency is still excellent, and it has superior range and penetration to the others. Racers or others who fly in large groups might want to avoid Crossfire because the 900 MHz frequency band that it uses is relatively small, especially in the EU, which can result in failsafes. Other than that, Crossfire might be the best overall balance of range, latency, price, and maturity of any control link available today.

TBS CROSSFIRE TX MODULE

Purchase at GetFPV

TBS CROSSFIRE MICRO TX MODULE V2
FOR USE WITH JR MODULE BAYS

Purchase at GetFPV
Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at NewBeeDrone

TBS CROSSFIRE NANO TX MODULE
FOR USE WITH LITE MODULE BAYS

Purchase at GetFPV
Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at NewBeeDrone

For most FPV pilots, I believe that the Micro TX Module is the right choice. It fits easily into the JR module bay of your transmitter. It transmits at up to 1 watt, which gives more than enough range to outrun typical 5.8 GHz FPV systems.

Here is what would make you want to buy the full-sized Crossfire module, which goes up to 2 watts. If you plan to do long-range flights with customized video equipment. If you are willing to pay a bit more for the assurance that you really, really will have the most solid link possible. If you have a Spektrum radio (which doesn’t have a JR module bay, and so requires the full-size module). If you prefer to use the joystick and LED screen on the back of the module instead of a “Lua Script” running inside your radio.

TBS CROSSFIRE NANO RECEIVER

The Nano receiver will be the preferred Crossfire receiver for almost everybody reading this. There are larger receivers, intended mostly for fixed-wing aircraft, and there is a Nano Diversity receiver that comes with two antennas, if you intend to push really long distances. For a typical FPV racing or freestyle pilot, the one linked above is the best choice.

TBS CROSSFIRE STARTER SET

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Purchase at NewBeeDrone

The starter set is the most economical way to switch to Crossfire. It comes with a module, three receivers, and three “immortal T” antennas. It’s significantly cheaper than buying the parts separately.

The starter set comes in a Micro version, for radios with a JR module bay (most radios), and a Nano version, for radios with a Lite module bay (mostly FrSky radios like XLite and X9 Lite). Be sure to get the right kind.

TBS TRACER

TBS Tracer operates in the 2.4 GHz frequency band, similar to the FrSky ACCST receivers shown above. But Tracer uses a sophisticated modulation technology called FLRC, to get unbelievable range. Under typical conditions, Tracer goes about 2-4 km, which is similar to FrSky. But Tracer does it at much lower latency–great for racers and pilots who want the most connected feel. Under ideal conditions, Tracer has been pushed out to about 20 km, but it has to use massive 1W output power to do this, which increases the chance of interference between pilots, and sucks down your controller battery faster.

Tracer and Ghost both operate in the 2.4 GHz frequency band, so it may be hard to choose between them.

The main appeal of Tracer is that it gives very low latency and adequate range, while keeping you in the TBS ecosystem. Switching from Crossfire to Tracer has almost no learning curve. Getting started with Tracer is easy, because most Crossfire tutorials also apply to Tracer. And Tracer is fully supported by a wide range of hardware and software.

Tracer’s main weakness is that it only uses one modulation, so unlike Ghost, you have no options if you want increased range or penetration. Ghost can match Tracer’s FLRC modulation and 250 Hz packet rate, but Ghost caps out at 350 mW while Tracer goes up to 1W. So Tracer wins for range if you insist on using FLRC modulation. But Ghost can switch from FLRC to LoRa, in which case it trounces Tracer for range, but at a tradeoff: you either increase latency or give up telemetry.

IMMERSIONRC GHOST

ImmersionRC Ghost operates in the 2.4 GHz frequency band, similar to the FrSky ACCST receivers shown above. But Ghost uses a sophisticated modulation technology called LoRa to get unbelievable range. Under typical conditions, Ghost can go 10-15 km; under ideal conditions it can go 50 km or more. Even if long range isn’t your focus, this translates to additional penetration through obstacles, and confidence in your link.

The main appeal of Ghost is its flexibility. It can operate in “long range” mode to get maximum range at the cost of latency; “pure race” mode minimizes latency at the expense of range; and there are several modes in between. Ghost is the ideal system if you intend to cruise mountains 10 km out one day, smash a concrete bando the next day, and race the next day. Because it operates in the 2.4 GHz band, Ghost avoids the interference issues of Crossfire and other 900 MHz protocols. It’s ideal for racers and those who fly in large groups.

The main disadvantage of Ghost is that it’s relatively new, so small bugs and performance issues are still being worked out. In addition, its maximum output power is only 350 mW, so its ultimate range and penetration is less than Crossfire (and even Tracer, in an apples-to-apples test). ImmersionRC’s counter-argument is that all of these systems offer more range to out-run your video link, at which point who cares? Well…. maybe. But some people do care.

The performance of the micro and the lite Ghost module is identical. Just pick whichever one matches your radio’s module bay. The Atto will be the right receiver for most people; the Zepto has identical performance but is much smaller and lighter, ideal for tiny quadcopters.

SPARE PARTS & ACCESSORIES

RDQ 2S 5000 MAH
BATTERY PACK FOR RADIOMASTER TX16S

Purchase at RaceDayQuads

The RadioMaster TX16S has a larger battery bay. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a battery that completely filled it, giving you the longest run time possible? This is it.

THE BEST DAMN NECK-STRAP
NO KIDDING.

Purchase at NewBeeDrone

NEWBEEDRONE NECK-STRAP

I get super excited when I see a small thing done really well, in a way that I never knew I needed. That’s why I really flipped out with joy when I first saw this neck-strap.

Here’s what it does so well: it’s got a releasable clip so you can put your radio down without taking the strap off from around your neck. It’s a tiny thing, but it makes a HUGE difference. Especially when you have FPV goggles on your head, taking off the neck strap is a pain in the butt. But walking around with your transmitter dangling in front of you is so awkward. And an invitation to damage or even accidentally arming your quad.

This is literally the only neck-strap that I use.

COLORED SWITCH NUTS

These colored switch nuts are an easy way to add a little personalization and bling to your radio. Pay attention: the low-profile ones are for face-plate switches while the taller ones are for the shoulder switches. The nuts come with a specialized wrench for tightening them.

To be honest, I felt a little silly spending $10 on colored nuts for my radio, but I love the way they look, and it makes it easy to tell which radio is mine at the field.

COLORED SILICONE SWITCH COVERS

Purchase at Banggood

COLORED SILICONE SWITCH COVERS

These are more than just a way to make your radio look great. They’re also nicer to touch than the bare metal, and give a slightly more positive grip.

The photo above shows the RAINBOW ones, but click through and you’ll see you can buy them in solid colors too.

RadioMaster CNC Metal Upgrade Set Replacement Parts for TX16S Transmitter

Purchase at Banggood

Everybody is always asking how they can get a purple RadioMaster TX16S max just like mine. They don’t sell it! But they do sell this custom-colored CNC metal kit. You can use this to upgrade a standard TX16S to look like a Max, or to install a custom color into a Max. Beware: you have to basically completely disassemble your radio to install these parts, so don’t underestimate the time involved.