What Does 3 Channel Mean | Chalk Toys

What Does 3 Channel Mean

Posted by David Nielsen on November 15, 2013.

For RC Helicopter
In short 3 channel means that your RC helicopter can go forward and backwards, up and down , and left and right.
For RC Car
3 channel means referring to a rc car means your car can go forward and backwards , left and right and slat right and slant left.

In the world of remote controlled helicopters and remote controlled helicopter flying, there are many technical terms and names to overcome if your goal is to become a well rounded RC helicopter pilot. Terms like gyroscope, rotors, rotor blades, landing gear, power output, RC helicopter grade, fuel types, remote control types etc. can be very confusing and mind boggling, especially for a beginner. A good example for this is also the term that refers to the number of “channels” that are required (or preferred, when discussing professional pilots) in order to successfully control a RC helicopter. Among many other questions that beginners in the art of piloting RC choppers are bound to ask, this particular one regarding channels is perhaps the most frequently asked. Depending on the type of remote controlled helicopter you have chosen to practice on (or own), in order to fully understand all of the quirks and catches in remote control helicopter piloting techniques, you must first understand the physics of it, in terms of all possible directions in which an aerial object or vehicle is capable of travelling.

General channel info

First things first-it is necessary to know that there are:

  • RC radios with two channels
  • RC radios with three channels
  • RC radios with four channels
  • RC radios with five channels
  • RC radios with six channels
  • RC radios with seven + channels

Now, each channel in responsible for controlling one specific component or surface of the RC helicopter. In other words, the number of channels that is required by a pilot depends on the complexity of the RC helicopter they own or wish to pilot. That is why the number of channels of a RC helicopter radio is probably the very first decision that needs to be made when purchasing a radio for a remote controlled helicopter.

The meaning of three channels

When considering 3-channel radios, it is wise to know that there are several coaxial RC helicopters that are toy grade and used three channel radios. The term “coaxial” means that these RC helicopters have two main rotors that are rotating in opposite directions from each other (in other words, counter rotating).

  • One of the radio channels is in charge of controlling the main rotors’ speed (both main rotors at the same time).
  • Another one of the radio channels is in charge of alternating the speed of the main rotors that are counter rotating, thus enabling the RC helicopter to turn left and right (turn around their imagined vertical axis, not strafe!).
  • The last radio channel is in charge of controlling the direction and speed of a third rotor located on the tail boom that contains a small fan blade. This third fan (rotor) is mounted vertically (as opposed to the two main rotors that are positioned horizontally, above one another) in order to allow the helicopter to pitch forward and back, thus allowing it to move in those directions.

Three channel RC radios fall into the category of simple radios that are most often included in the package with the helicopter itself, so customers most likely won’t have to worry about purchasing one separately. Although three channel RC helicopters and radios come in a variety of sizes, colors, materials and designs, the basic idea of piloting a RC helicopter via a three channel radio never gets old.

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