RC Helicopter Controller Dissection

Introduction: RC Helicopter Controller Dissection

About: 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 degree is tough though :(

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

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

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

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

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

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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