DIY Cheap RC Transmitter




About: Computer scientist and robotics hobbyist.

The RC transmitter is mainly based on pic 16F84 microcontroller and an old PS2 joystick. Hence, the transmitter sends 6 bytes of control, i.e. Throttle, Pitch, Roll, Yaw, and two other bytes for the PS2 buttons status. Moreover, the radio transceiver nRF24L01+ has been used to send data, while the Nokia 5110 LCD has been used to print the current values of Throttle, Pitch, Roll and Yaw. All different modules are interfaced with the 16F84 via the SPI protocol using a bitbanging method, because the basic 16F84 does not support the SPI hardware.

The protocol used at the communication:


________|| byte 1 || byte 2 || byte 3 || byte 4 || byte 5 || byte 6 ||

________||Throttle || Pitch || Roll || Yaw || L. BTNs || R. BTNs ||

min value || 0% || -30° || -30° || -30° || 0x00 || 0x00 ||

max value || 100% || +30° || +30° || +30° || 0x00 || 0x00 ||


Step 1: Instructable Parts

- PS2 joystick

- Pic 16F84

- 2Ghz radio transceiver nRF24L01+

- Crystal 4Mhz

- 2 x capacitor 27pf

- Nokia 5110 LCD

- Li-ion battery

- Wires for the connection

- Empty small box of margarine

- 4 screws to fix the components

Step 2: Schematic and Source Code

The three modules (i.e. nRF24L01+, Nokia 5110 and PS2 joystick) are interfaced using a bitbanging SPI protocol.

The source code is written in assembly language and is available from the below github repository.



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    6 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Very nice, as I have all the parts and need a cheapo to keep my own multi channel R/C gear out of the hands of a 7 year old (who is very used to the PS joy) and this saves me some time :).

    One thing though, while I have a couple of F84's from around 15 years back, it's not the easiest part to get a hold on these days and it's usually much more expensive than the way more powerful current devices, if/when you find the F84, so perhaps migrate the code to a current chip.

    Have a nice day :)

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago


    Nowadays ,the F84A is still available in Algeria, and it could be used as alternative !


    Cool transmitter system. I love the fact that you were able to hack a Play Station controller as part of it.

    1 reply