The Flysky FS-GT5 is a surface transmitter (and receiver) from Flysky suited for use in RC car and boats. It uses 2.4gHz digital transmission on the very reliable AFDHS2a protocol. What sets this aparts is the premium features for the price - 20 model memory, full gyro control via remote and a very easy to navigate GUI.
The development of digital signal over 2.4gHz has been a massive improvement for RC cars, especially for those of us old enough to remember that bad old days of frequency crystals and constant glitches. Unfortunately going to digital has mean the proliferation of protocols meaning that certain receivers only work with certain transmitters meaning you can often end up with a transmitter for each different car. One way around this is to buy on GOOD transmitter and a number of compatible receivers whether you are bashing around or racing. Obviously racers will be able to justify the more expensive equipment like that made by Futaba and Sanwa but it is hard to justify when you are a basher. Luckily the FS-GT5 offers us the key features from the more expensive radios at a better price point and receivers that are as little as $5 each to kit out your fleet.
A closer look at GT5 specifications
Channels: 6 Beyond throttle and steering the 4 extra channels will allow you to run practically any auxiliary item with mixers also available for crawler steering and the like
2.4GHz mode: AFHDS 2A. This is a good protocol and there are a range of receivers available ranging from about $6 up
Low voltage alarm: AA batteries below 4.4V, 2S lithium batteries below 7.4V Must have a voltage sensor to determine what kind of batteries are being used
Transmitter Size:27.8*20.8*12.5cm. This is quite compact for such a full featured remote
Built-in gyroscope stabilization system This is a big deal, more on this later.
Channels: 6 The recevier has all 6 channels available vi PPM
Number of bands: 135 Pretty unlikely to get interference with 135 bands available!
Input power: 4.0-8.4V DC Large input range up to 2s lipo. Important when using high speed servos
Size: 30 * 22 * 16mm Very compact
Why model memory is so important to RC cars
One thing not mentioned above is the fact that this transmitter has a 20 model memory and this is what really sets this aside from other transmitters. This is important because (unlike quads) cars and boats have specific trims and End Point Adjustment (EPA) setting that are unique to different cars. Although you can use a remote without model memory to bind multiple cars, you'd need to set these up each time you change cars which is simply impractical. In order to have model memory then all adjustments must be digital rather than POT dials with a graphical user interface. I am slowly migrating all of my cars to this transmitter and the change has been seamless, particularly since the user interface is practical and very intuitive.
This is a pretty boring section for good reason - it does what you'd expect. For range I practically get about as far as I can see my big 1/10 scale DHK Hunter SCT which is probably about 200m. So far as I know I've never has a failsafe. The only way I could really push range is by setting a car up for FPV but then you are starting to get into a niche application. So in summary, for line of sight operation as we do, range is perfectly acceptable. For what it's worth I ran this same protocol in my quads and had an easy 500m range. I forgot to mention the antenna can flip up if you need extra range but since I've never gone out of range I don't really have a need.
Trigger and wheel feel is smooth and precise with little to no play. It is sturdy yet light in the hand even with batteries in and at no point has it ever felt like a burden. Ergonomics are fine even for a weirdo like me that is right handed yet holds a wheel transmitter like a leftie.
Battery life is impressive. I'm still on the same cheapo alkaline batteries I started with and that has included me returning to the garage and hearing the transmitter beeping at me because I forgot to turn it off. You can run a 2s lipo as well which is nice but in reality, AA batteries are probably a much more cost effective option.
Nice to have features
As I alluded to above the user interface is very fully featured and is simple use, my instructions have never been touched. See the images below on how I set up new models, takes less than 5 minutes.
The Gyro is a feature I've never used before and I must say, it's awesome. I'm very familiar with gyros from quadcopters since they are such a critical component of basic flight but on the car they are a nice to have. In effect the provide countersteer and/or throttle reduction IMMEDIATELY after a change in direction is sensed that is not as a result of controller input. In real life the most common example of this is when you accelerate hard on a low-grip surface (or high powered car) and the rear steps out. The perfectly timed counter steer that is provided and throttle reduction helps keep you on track, whether you where trying to drive in a straight line or through corner. Since the strength of the countersteer (via steering channel) or throttle reduction (via throttle channel) is completely adjustable, you can change how intrusive this control is, much like in a premium full sized sports car. Personally I like to be in full control of throttle i.e. not throttle cut intervention with just a light intervention on countersteer. These settings are for attached to each model because for example a rwd road car will need quite different gyro setting to a 4wd carpet racer or rear wheel drive off road short course truck.
I think this is the easiest way to describe how the gyro works. As you can see I am not touching the steering at all. It also function similarly when you are turning the steering wheel but it centres on your turning point
Setting up the Gryo
Enabling and calibration
First of all enter the menu system via the click wheel and choose SVC which is Flysky's term for Gyro settings. Turn SVC On to On (mine was off by default). Next go to Neu.Cal for neutral calibration. Keep your car still and centred (no throttle or steering) and press the click wheel again to start calibration. The process is fast and it completes itself. Toggle Rev (reverse) if needed - if you rotate the car left and right the front wheels should stay pointing forwards (rotating the car left should turn the wheels right etc.).
Setup and feel
Next are the actual settings. I recommend turning St.Gain (steering sensitivity) to 50% to start - 0% is no correction and 100% is max correction and then adjust the feel from there which will be unique to this setup. Similar with Th.Gain but I chose 0% here because I have 4wd and don't want my throttle managed. If this was a rear wheel drive off roader a probably would look at least a little but of throttle sensitivity due to lower grip. Lastly Prio sets the priority of steering input to servo angle vs gyro input. 0% allows gyro maximum control and will make you run wide. 100% gives maximum priority to your steering wheel input and minimises gryo priority. I'm using 0% on mine for now but always tinkering. All my current settings are below, click to enlarge.
The way I have the gyro set up here doesn't limit throttle input and feels natural to me with how the steering works i.e. I forget that it is on but just enjoy a car that runs in the direction I want it more often than not.
The 5 channel receiver included with the transmitter as I mentioned is a 6-channel gyro model called the FS-BS6 which are about $20. You can however use other cheaper receivers without a gyro that use the same AFDHS2a protocol, namely the Flysky FS-A3 receiver which is about $6. These work perfectly fine with similar range. They don't have gyro and they are only 4 channel but since gyro is not a must-have for me and I only run 2 channel cars anyway this is all I need.
What are the cheaper alternatives I'd consider?
The FS-GT5 is a nice transmitter but at $60-80 it can be a lot of money, especially when you can get reasonable transmitters that do the basic job of control well for about $20-30. If you do want to get budget the models I'd recommend are:
Conclusions and recommendations
If you have more than just a passing interest in RC cars I'd recommend spending the money on the FS-GT5 as your first remote. This is because you can use this remote for all your models conveniently with the full featured model memory. Furthermore the remote is well made with a reliable 2.4GHz digital protocol and a range of cost effective receivers available. If you are not ready to take the plunge on the $60-80 that the GT5 costs, there are lower priced options available such as the FS-GT2E that strips back the features but retains the reliable control protocol.
Thanks for reading, if you found this article useful please feel free to like or share, the facebook links below directly link/like this article. Links are affiliated and help me buy the bits I need to produce this type of content. If you are looking for RC cars, quads or parts check out my coupons and discounts page which I keep updated with only the RC cars, parts and quads I like at a proper discount