I can't get on at all with steerwheel transmitters so I'm always going to be an advocate of old fashioned stick units - and usually I go for the cheaper, multi-channel 2.4Ghz flight setups, even though they do need internal fiddling and/or DIY shift gates.
One such radio set I was extremely impressed with was the Planet T5 TX / R6M RX combo. Sadly, it’s no longer available, but it had a high-quality feel considering its 50 GBP price point.
Released in November 2018 and still available at around 45 GBP, I bought a "used once" Planet TS2+2 transmitter & receiver combo on eBay for 25GBP (posted) back in November 2019.
There's not much to say here really, it arrived in a heavily brown-taped, 2nd hand box, and inside there was the transmitter and "Quick Start" guide, layered in amongst lots of large nodule bubble wrap. The receiver wasn't initially apparent, but was quickly found in the battery compartment, unrestrained*.
The TX was not in great cosmetic condition.* "Used Once" seems a real stretch, unless it was short for "used once then chucked in a box full of similar units & left to fret in the back of a damp van for long enough to collect some unpleasant looking dust and even more unpleasant sticky stuff". Ahem.
A once-over with a baby wipe and a quick spray of Novus "Plastic Clean & Shine" soon had it looking like something I wasn't going to catch Tetanus off - but did nothing for the damage on the back.
* None of the above should be taken as reflecting badly on the manufacturer.
The “correct” box you’ll get with a new combo is full colour printed with a white background, which is a change from moodily lit graphics on a black background of its predecessor. I’m not in the market for any more radio gear at the moment, and as such I’ve been unwilling to buy a new set just to find out how the TS2+2 is secured in the box. The T5 came in an effective and environmentally sound paper pulp clamshell, hopefully it’s something similar.
First impressions are that the ends of the gimbal sticks look and feel positively injurious. There seems to be a fashion for making the ends quite sharp on most stick transmitters that I've handled recently. Presumably, this is a "design feature" to stop your thumbs slipping off, but I find it uncomfortable & often file them back a little. Here though a new benchmark has been set, and I don’t mean that in a good way.
Let's start with the sticks. The left hand one only goes up and down, the right only left and right, just like a 2-channel set (rather than a 4/5/6 + channel TX). This is the reason it's called a "2+2" unit, the other two channel controls being of a more auxiliary nature.
Above the left stick is a small rotary knob, and above the right there's a long handled 3-position switch. On the face of it these extra controls are ideal for functions like lights and changing gear on a Tamiya 3-speed truck, but they're not perfect - lights would be better controlled with a simple on/off button, and I know from experience that small, metal handled switches can be a bit fragile in the field.
Trim buttons are adjacent to each stick, there appear to be 12 steps in each direction. Button presses (with the power on) are accompanied by a bleep that varies in pitch across the full range of steps (somewhat helpful) and volume (not very helpful, especially if you're in a noisy area, outdoors, or have any sort of hearing issue).
The same buttons can be used to reverse the servo direction - with the power off, hold the "Up" or "right" button as appropriate, turn the power on & wait for the green LED to come on.
The two points above are noteworthy - to do the same on the Flysky combos I've been buying recently requires connecting the TX to a PC.
The TS2+2 transmitter also features dual rate control on channels 1 & 2 (the sticks) - which is the ability to limit servo travel. Small switches next to the auxiliary controls turn the feature on or off, and the extent of servo travel can be adjusted through two small holes in the lower front panel.
This is a feature that can be nice to have under some circumstances, e.g. reducing steering servo throw if it goes further than it needs to & buzzes and strains at full lock, or limiting speed, but there are usually better/more reliable ways of doing this. I could live without it to be honest.
Other points of note are the folding antenna, a charging port on the side, a point to tie a lanyard (posh phrase for a bit of string ;) ) to, a "pair" button on the lower panel, and an on/off slider.
The rear panel is very plain, just having a slide out panel to access the battery compartment. There are 8 slots for AA batteries, but only the middle 4 have contacts.
Look & Feel
The bulk of the case is a black (or possibly very, very dark grey) plastic, with chrome-plated, non-ferrous metal on the small switches, and adjustable aluminium collars on the sticks. I've already mentioned the spiky ends (which can be filed down, or reversed), these are a little bit too long for my stubby digits at even their minimum length.
The decals are thin & don't seem to be adhering that well - certainly not a patch on the thin metal panels seen on much more expensive (or older) sets, or even the metalised foil decals seen on other modern units.
The transmitter feels fairly solid and of a good weight in the hand, but I can't help feeling it manages to look a bit bland _and_ toylike at the same time. To be honest, it’s not a patch on the previous T5 model.
To be honest as long as a receiver works correctly I don't really care about it, most of my builds now being of a size that placement is not a worry.
The "Proteus" 6-channel RX is positively tiny at 35mm long by 25mm wide by 13mm high (though more like 28mm high by the time you've plugged anything in) with a 132mm long wire antenna.
It features a bind button, LED indicator and 6 sets of 3 pins (signal innermost, earth/ground outermost). They are labelled "STR 1" and "THR 2", (steering and throttle) "CHN 3" & "CHN 4" (the auxiliary knob & long switch), "CHN 5" (which does nothing when paired with the TS2+2 TX), and "BATT 6".
In common with most (if not all) modern radio gear there's no battery eliminator circuitry (BEC) on the RX - the assumption being that you'll use an electronic speed control (ESC) with a friendly 4.8 or 6v output - and not full battery voltage (like the Tamiya TEU101BK).
There's been no attempt to make it the least bit water resistant, however the injection moulded case is going to be more robust than the folded plastic sleeve of the previous R6M unit.
Price vs The Competition
At 45 GBP new, the Planet TS2+2 combo is towards the upper end of the price range for out of the box ready, 2-channel, stick radio sets. For example, the Absima (formerly Ansmann) SRS2 2- channel set retails at around 35 GBP, and the C707131 Carson Reflex Pro 2 channel set also retailing at around 45 GBP. It doesn't fare so well again 2-channel steerwheel sets, with a wide range available under 30 GBP.
4, 5, and 6 channel stick sets are also available in the 25 to 35 GBP range.
However, the Planet combo scores in three key areas:
- - it doesn't require you to open the transmitter up to make the throttle stick work in the correct manner for RC cars (as the 4/5/6 channel sets do);
- - it has extra channels (compared to straight 2 channel sets);
- - steering is via stick (admittedly, this is purely personal preference).
Although it doesn't look or feel anywhere as near as nice the Planet T5 combo, the Planet TS2+2 combo is a good value and fiddle-free alternative to other 2.4ghz radio sets. The best thing about it is probably the fact that you can use the extra channels to control the gear shift on a Tamiya 3-speed truck, and basic light control straight out of the box (albeit in a slightly flawed way).
Like its predecessor, it doesn’t have any sort of model memory – but that’s not usually an option at this price point anyway.
The worst thing must be those medieval weapon inspired stick ends.
|- stick ends more than just uncomfortable;
- potentially fragile dual rate switches, plus a long _and_ fragile 3 position "gear" switch
|- not a truly "cheap" radio by my standards - but is good value;
- doesn't feel as high quality as the previous Planet T5 TX;
- dual rate features not really needed on surface vehicles;
- indifferent design?;
- documentation a bit basic;
- adjustment bleeps not as useful as they could be;
- no model memory.
|-cheaper than previous Planet T5 model;
- TX takes 4x AA batteries;
- Conventional left stick up/down, right stick L/R WITHOUT internal fiddling;
- 3 position switch on aux channel suits Tamiya 3-speed gearboxes without making a shift gate;
- onboard trim & servo reverse controls.
Overall, for the price, and considering the many plus points against just a few small negatives, 5 out of 6: recommended.
(See our notes on rolling the dice.)
Written by TB member Jonny Retro