The controller can be simple or very very complicated based on what you intend to use it to control. To control a simple radio controlled tractor with just forward, reverse and steering you only need two single axis joysticks which is a very common RC controller configuration for RC cars. If you want to control an RC excavator with lights, you need a switch for the lights, two single axis joysticks for the tracks and then two dual axis joysticks for the boom control. That is not a standard configuration and to buy one would more than likely cost a small fortune so you will probably want to make your own. There are five possible ways to build your RC controller.
- Use an RC controller from an old RC vehicle as a base for your controller
- Use Arduino shields to make a basic controller
- Build it from scratch with as many controls and displays as you like
- Use a serial app on a Tablet or Smart Phone
- Convert an old playstation or Xbox controller