Everybody’s Scalin’ – The Joys of a Good Radio
One of the most peculiar things about large trail runs are the abundance of cheap radios that you see. Now, that would not be a surprise if all of the vehicles were standard run-of-the-mill RTR’s, but most are not. There are rigs completely decked out to the 9’s with expensive power plants, high dollar servos, more aluminum than a Coca-Cola factory….and $30-$50 analog radios to control them.
Many don’t change out the stock radio in their scaler because, hey, it gets the job done and it’s not like ultra precision is needed like, say, a race buggy. Therefore all the upgrade money goes elsewhere.
I do understand that line of thinking, but I’m here to tell you that a decent radio should be a mandatory purchase. Vehicles come and go, but a good radio can last you anywhere from 5-10 years.
You don’t need to plunk down the cash for a crazy LCD equipped bleeding edge set-up, but I would recommend something that’s at least 4 channels given that you may want to run a winch, external lighting, or maybe a second servo.
I’ve been using a modest Spektrum DX4C, which ran me around $100. I currently have 8 vehicles bound to it, and it’s very easy to use.
One of the biggest downsides to standard analog systems is how you have no precise control over the steering servo. Yeah, you can turn a knob to make sure it’s tracking straight, but end point adjustments are completely impossible. End point adjustments are just what they sound like- control over how far a servo can rotate in one given direction.
If you allow a servo to travel further than the steering components allow, you can bind them up and cause overheating or the gears to strip. On the flip-side, sometimes the factory unit doesn’t allow a servo to travel the full range, thereby robbing you of turning radius. Both are problems easily remedied by a good digital radio.
Throttle adjustments can be made with similar precision.
Multiple channel control is also big, whether it’s controlling something like a winch as mentioned before, or 4 wheel steering. These kinds of controls are simply not possible on the factory analog 2 channels.
Most aftermarket radios have multiple model support from 4 to over 200 model profiles. This means that you can save settings for one specific truck and easily change to another when it’s time to drive a different vehicle. Any time you get a new truck, you just need to add a receiver. Once you get used to this it’s impossible to go back.
While sexier things like wheels and tires may be more attractive upgrades, make getting a good radio a priority if you don’t already have one. You’ll never regret it!