Introduction: RC Helicopter Controller Dissection

Picture of RC Helicopter Controller Dissection

Today, I found an old RC controller. Being the guy I am, and knowing the chopper for it is long gone, I have decided to rip the poor thing apart for the entertainment of the community. Let's do this.

Step 1: The Cover

Picture of The Cover

I have a picture of the back with screw holes labeled. I plan on saving the battery pack for later. Once that was done, the whole thing came apart.

Next, a picture of the inside. It has a few neat things, from infrared leds to potentiometers. A small black charging cable exits the top of the controller, so I had to cut that.

Some screws still remain. I have highlighted the targets on your hud. (Yes that is a reference. If you don't get it, I'm so sorry for you.) These hold down the board and secure the potentiometers.

Once those were out, I lifted the assembly to reveal the wires to the battery pack. I clipped those to leave a few inches of lead wire.

Step 2: Digging Through the Guts

Picture of Digging Through the Guts

All that's left is electronics. I'm going to try and explain what each of these do.

I guess I will start with the two potentiometers. Do not try to adjust the images. One controls the vertical, the other controls the horizontal. (This reference is a bit more obscure.)

These are basically round resistors with a moving contact. A spring inside helps push the controls toward neutral. The ribbon connecting the potentiometer to the circuit holds 4 wires that don't get tangled.

I clipped one off to take apart. A little screw resisted, but I still won. Three main pieces resulted. A spring, a contact, and a resistor. You can see where the resistor has lines scratched in by the contact.

Step 3: More Guts

Picture of More Guts

The two little buttons control the trim. I will salvage them with a soldering iron.

Unfortunately, the leds have plastic sleeves covering the leads. I just removed them with a soldering iron.

A pair of integrated circuits are on the board. These are used to conserve space. No need to harvest, as they can get specialized.

A few resistors line the panel as well, but I have plenty of those.

Step 4: Those Big Lights

Picture of Those Big Lights

These IR lights send signals to the helicopter when the controls are used. This is why line of sight is important with RC. I will be yanking these, because with radio shack gone, I have no supplier. These also require the soldering iron.

Step 5: The Haul

Picture of The Haul

The aftermath? 12 screws, two colored leds, three ir leds, two switches, two buttons, and a battery case. Hopefully I don't destroy these too.

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Bio: Physics major at A&M University getting into Astrophysics research this year. Trying to find time to build things and make instructables while getting a ... More »
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