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RC Flying Checklist


Junior Member
Hi there. I spent some time looking around for this, so if it is already posted, please forgive me. I even tried the search function, so go easy on the newb if this is really easy to find somewhere.

So, here it is: I have done NOTHING in the world of RC flying. So, my plan is to get a transmitter and simulator and work on that for awhile, then move onto a trainer, and then onto building and "fancier" planes. That said, I'm trying to make a comprehensive checklist of items that would make the perfect RC work bench. Let me know what I should add and what is unnecessary. Thanks in advance.

1. Transmitter
2. Simulator
3. Foam
4. BoxCutters
5. Hot Glue Gun
6. Straight edge
7. servos
8. rods
9. popsicle sticks
15.Packing Tape
16.Electric Tape
17.Sand Paper
21.Linkage Stoppers
23.Screw Drivers
24.Control Horns
25.Wire Cutters
26.Tiny Screw
27. Popsicle sticks
29.Helping Hands
31.CA Glue
32.Prop Balancer
33. 14awg wire (black and red)
34. Battery connectors (XT60 or Dean's T-Connector)
35. 3.5mm male and female connectors
36. Heat shrink
37. Soldering iron
38. Solder
39. Flux
40. Battery Checker/Alarm
41. Lost Plane alarm
42. Space/workbench
43. Time
44. Paint
45. Paint brushes
46. Field repair kit
47. Drill
48. Drill bits
49. White Glue
50. Duct Tape
51. Painter's Tape
52. Scotch Tape
53. Dremel Sander
54. Dowel Rods
55. Money
56. Velcro
57. scissors

I'm sure I'm missing so much stuff. Help me out. I have a long time before I get hands on, but I want to be ready when I do.
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Hostage Taker of Quads
Bah! no shame in that, you'll just be stuck with a glider ;)

- solder/iron/flux

- linkage stoppers/z-bend pliers

- 1/8" plywood (firewalls)

- control horns or material to make them

- prop balancer

- hand tools (screw drivers/pliers/wire cutters/pin vise/. . .)

- micro screws (in only the wrong sizes, because that seems like all I have)

- Bamboo skewers to torture the planes that refuse to talk!


Junior Member
How much will my experience in the hobby suffer if I never own/use a soldering gun? I once worked in an electronics factory as a temporary worker. They first placed me in a department called "hand solder." 3 hours later, I was in a department called "automated assembly." haha. I don't wish to ruin my own things, also!
Speed controllers, at least the affordable ones, do not typically come with a battery connector or motor connects attached. Most motors also do not come with disconnectable connectors attached and are recommended to easy of setup and a controlled point of failure in a crash. For planes where you only need one motor and speed controller, you might be able to get away with the additional (and more limited) selection of ESCs and Motors that wont need soldering ... but you'll need to find adapters to bridge variations in connect types (battery side of the ESC to the battery) in some situations.

For a multirotor project, doing the soldering on your own saves a ton of money.


Junior Member
Wow.... I just assumed that all the parts would be plug and play. Why would they not be? Is it to allow for a greater range of customization?
Customization mostly. You tend to match your electronics to the supporting hardware you own. You wouldn't want to buy a ESC with a Deans T-Connect on the battery end when all of your batteries have XT60 connectors; you'll be cutting off the Deans and soldering on your own connector anyways. It saves time and materials in manufacturing to let the end user make the components work for them.

-- Common Battery Connectors --

Deans T-Connector:

HXT 4mm:


As you can see, there are a number of commonly used connectors. There are many more for small battery or high voltage/amperage applications too.

-- Common Motor Lead Connectors --
3.5mm Bullet Style:

Luckily, these are pretty common when you choose to use a disconnect style connection method for the motor to the ESC. You either use them or you solder the wires directly together.

Another thing to consider is that not every application will use the same length of wires in relation to where the motor is to the ESC and where the ESC is to the battery. So you need to be able to make your own extensions where needed.
RC hobby soldering is pretty easy, it isn't circuit board soldering where fractions of a millimeter makes a difference. There are a lot of YouTube tutorials on soldering the connectors in the RC hobby which teach a lot and feel free to get extra supplies to get practice.
I just recently started flying after spending many months researching and learning everything I could.

The type of soldering is fairly basic. The FT video on soldering battery connectors is really a great place to start. I started with Dean's T connectors on my ESC and batteries. They have worked for me but I'm going to be cutting them off and switching to the XT-60 connectors. I don't know if it was just the connectors I got but it takes way too much force for me to disconnect my batteries with the Dean's connectors. (And double check when you order. I wasn't paying attention and ordered XT-90's by accident. My fault entirely. They are huge! Way to big for my batteries.)

Something I didn't see in the list is a simple battery checker or checker/low voltage alarm combo. I just got the one with the alarm because I was tired of flying for a while, landing, checking the battery, launching and repeating. Now I'll be able to just do a flyby and when I hear it squawking I'll know it's time to land.

I've got a whole gear list over on a page here of everything I've put into getting my first airplane up and flying.

Welcome to the hobby and Good luck.
I assume that the type of soldering done here is easier than the SMT repairs that I was doing on an industrial level for military projects, but let me re-iterate: I was TERRIBLE at it. Haha.


Hostage Taker of Quads

I'll echo others, this is easy soldering, but having the right tools makes it trivial after the first time or two.

Make sure you have:

- A good iron (high wattage or temp controlled)
- good pair of wire strippers and cutters
- medium to small rosen core solder
- solder paste or flux (same stuff in the solder core, but more of it -- learn how to use it, it makes the job easier!)
- some sort of soldering jig. I've used "third hand" tools for years with success, but loving this one I've found recently:


I'd also like to +1 for the battery alarm, but will warn: make sure the voltage is adjustable. The one Jason recommended is, but many are not, and are hard wired to alarm WAY too low. They set them to go off when the battery under load reaches 3.2v, hopeing it's rest voltage is still above 3.7v. That's never worked for any of my power systems, and I've always overdrawn my batteries. Get one that's adjustable, set it too high, then land and check when it goes off at cruising throttle. If you're way above 20%(3.7v resting), drop the alarm setting a notch, fly some more and repeat the process.


Hostage Taker of Quads
You're a noob and an idiot . . .
(feel more at home? no? hmmm . . . well scratch that then. let us know how we can help you fit in ;) )

(BTW, for any lurkers who have trouble understanding "American ribbing" the above is ENTIRELY a joke. he may be a noob, but there's never any shame in being new!)
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You're a noob and an idiot . . .
(feel more at home? no? hmmm . . . well scratch that then. let us know how we can help you fit in ;) )

This was my first post here (Your signature reminded me of this)....

New to the hobby looking to take the plunge. I think I have a reasonable path worked out in my head.
1) Buy the electronics for the swappable series and 3pack speed build kit
2) Assemble swappables
3) Fly
4) Crash
5) Fix then repeat #3 & #4 as needed

Phase 2: Build a tricopter, Fly/Crash/Fix. Add FPV to tricopter!

Well that is the idea at least.
Everyone is a noob at some point but not everyone remembers that fact. ;)
Add "Space" to the top of the list. You'll need a lot of it if you scratch build (and with all that other stuff taking up the room, you know).
I'd add vinyl gloves (when handling glue, paint and other chemicals) and a first aid kit (for when you tinker with your model with the prop on).
I'd get a lost model alarm before a low voltage alarm... If you're on a budget =). It can be very difficult to know which tree it decided to take a rest in.