Even though most of my cars don’t get used often – or at all, in some cases - I like to maintain the fiction that they are ready to go on a few minutes’ notice. This means I need quite a few sets of radio gear - Ideally, therefore, they need to be cheap.
My previous favourite - the 50 GBP Planet T5 combo - got supplanted by the Acoms Techniplus 2.4 set, not only for the reason that the stick gimbals didn’t need extensive fiddling with to get the traditional car layout, nor just the price (42 to 63 GBP, depending on where you got from, and how many servos were included), but mainly because I’m a huge Acoms fanboy :D
The Etronix Pulse ET1100 combo has brought the price of a decent 2.4ghz, 2 channel, stick operated radio down several more notches – I paid 32 GBP for mine.
The first thing of note is the size of the box – it’s very wee. 2-channel radio boxes have been on the close order of 295mm (12“) by 210mm (8“) by 100mm (4“) for as long as I I’ve been buying radio gear, although that has meant the amount of space wasted has been increasing of late. Extras like frequency pennants and neck lanyards went decades ago, ESCs have made the on-board 4-cell battery pack redundant, servos have been an added cost extra for some time, and then there’s the smaller aerial of a 2.4gHz set ... maybe the downsizing of the box & losing the “clamshell” expanded polystyrene or card inserts was overdue?
Anyway, downsized it has been – dimensions are 195mm (7.5“) by 215mm (8.5“) by 90mm (3.5“), and the way it flaps open has a lot more to do with PC power supplies than radio boxes of old. Inside is a brief set of instructions, and inside a thin polyfoam bag, the transmitter and receiver, which, having no added protection, is free to rattle around.
These cover just one side of A4, and are riddled with typographical and grammatical errors. However, key bits of information – such as “binding” the RX and TX, what the LED on the TX means, and what voltage the RX can cope with (4.5v to 5.5v) are clear enough. There’s nothing on using the trim tabs, but I managed to work that out very quickly.
This is constructed from blue translucent plastic, with a wire antenna of 165mm (6.5“) emerging from the bottom left, the binding button on top, and connectors for servos/ESC/battery pack/whatever on the right side. The RX is labelled as being a 4-channel device; however there are only 4 sets of pins, set #4 doubling up as a battery pack connector. The binding button is fairly positive in action, but is a little too accessible – it’s the highest point on the RX case. The case is notched, so “handed” servo connectors (Futaba?) can only go in one way. For other makes, the orientation of signal, +ve & -ve wires is indicated on the label.
In use there are two LEDs – a red one to indicate no signal, and a green one when all is well.
The number of blanking plates make it look a little cheap, at least until you look at an Acoms unit from a few years ago. Removing the protective films on the plates & badges (which are screen printed metal sheet) is a fiddly but worthwhile job.
The antenna is fixed, but then it’s shorter than the antenna on the other 2.4 sets I have (including the current Acoms 2.4 stick TX & the Planet T5) anyway.
Each gimbal has a fixed length light alloy stick & a digital trim tab. The sticks are fairly short, which is an advantage for small hands. There’s no 70/30 split on the throttle, which apparently nitro engine users like to have... personally I don’t have much sympathy for the stinky, unreliable noise polluters. Or their engines either ;) :D
Servo reversing switches are found on the front panel just underneath the on/off switch, which in turn is beneath a single red LED, which blinks if the voltage drops below 8.6v - it should be 12v with 8 new alkaline batteries, or 9.6v with 8 fresh rechargeables. Note that I said 8 batteries are required – unlike some other 2.4 GHz transmitters which only need 4... But we used to manage with 8, didn’t we?
There’s no strap attachment point.... but I think the last time I used one of those for a neck lanyard was 1984. More recently I’ve been using them to hang pictures of the car the TX “belongs” to, so this omission is a little annoying.
A charging point can be found on the right side of the case, according to the printing adjacent to it this should be 9.6v, 200mA maximum, which the positive side going to the centre.
Moving on to the back of the case, there’s what looks like a crystal in a socket – but this turned out to be a blanking plate, which I found had only been very lightly glued when I fiddled with it. There’s also a chromed round metal handle, and the usual battery compartment cover. Inside is a bit of a surprise – instead of fitting the batteries directly into the case, they fit in a holder. I’m not sure if this is an advantage or not – but one thing I’d be concerned about how long the short, stiff wires, and especially the connection to the PCB will last – it just doesn’t look very robust. If you plan to fit rechargeable cells this won’t be an issue.
In use, there’s a very small speaker which beeps to tell you when you’ve turned the TX on, and also sounds when you use the trim tabs. This was fine in the workshop, but outdoors or with any other noise going on and it’ll be easy to miss.
Overall, although I haven’t tested if for range out in the field, it appears to be outstanding value & reasonably well featured, though I do have concerns about the TX battery pack wiring & the way the receiver is packed.
Overall rating, 4 of 6.
Written by TB member Jonny Retro