Basic RC Controller

Basic Arduino RC ControllerThe basic RC controller is very easy to make and requires only three components, an Arduino Uno, a Joystick Shield and an NRF24L01 radio module. The Joystick shield consists of one dual axis joystick with built in push button plus six additional push buttons labelled A to F. The main benefit of the shield is that it includes a socket for the NRF24L01 radio module which saves you a lot of wiring. All you need to do is plug the three parts together and you are ready to control a model.

As the controller is based on the Arduino Uno, you can power it in exactly the same way using the DC jack on the Uno. You should check with your supplier but 7-12V is usually recommended for the Arduino Uno. If you want to power it from less you need to connect directly to the unregulated Vcc pin but if you supply voltages over 5V you’ll damage your Arduino.

I’ve tried to make this simple controller capable of all the functions the complex controller by including multiple modes in the code. This allows you to switch from a drive mode to a mode which control accessories so that you can do more with the single joystick.

You can add additional controls to this controller if you like as there are a number of free Arduino pins accessible from the top of the shield. Adding LEDs or a display to identify what mode the controller is in would also be a useful feature that could easily be added.

The controller costs roughly €18.23

Arduino Uno: €9.71
Joystick Shield: €6.59
NRF24L01 Radio: €1.93

Components Used in the Basic RC Controller

Here are the components required to make the basic RC controller, all of which can be found on ebay or IC Station.

Arduino Uno

The Arduino Uno is the brain of the basic RC controller.

Joystick Shield

The joystick shield has one dual axis joystick, six push buttons and it's wired for the NRF24L01 radio module.

NRF24L01 Radio Module

The NRF24L01 radio module is cheap, reliable and easily usable with the Arduino.

Basic RC Controller Videos

I did a video explaining how the basic RC controller is used to control an RC tractor. I demonstrated it controlling the RC Massey 8680 model and explain how with limited controls it can be used to control all the tractors features.

Basic RC Controller Code

I’ve created a library for this controller to hopefully make the builds easier for the majority of you.


Click here to visit the page with the basic controller code