The easiest way for me to create a wireless handheld system was to use an off the shelf RC controller-transmitter.
I chose the FlySky FS-T6 for this experiment which I purchased off eBay for about $45 USD including shipping. The FS-T6 comes with an FS-R6B 6 channel receiver.
Here is a link to a YouTube video I made showing both my wired handheld controller unit and using the FlySky FS-T6. The FS-T6 is completely stock in this video.
After my first attempt to control my kayak remotely I decided that I needed to change the control configuration of my FlySky unit. Joysticks just don’t work for me. First off they are too “twitchy” and in my humble opinion are not suited for something moving very slowly.
I removed the two joystick gamble assemblies and the plastic chrome plated cover. I also remove the trim switches. I then made a plate to replace the plastic one and more importantly to mount two pots and a three switches.
I was using one of the two pots (VRA) on the FlySky to control the trolling motor speed and direction.
You can see two pots in the photos, the one on the left is for trolling motor speed and direction and the switch above the pot is the trim switch.
The one on the right is for steering and likewise, the switch above the pot is the trim switch.
There is a second switch is for reversing the direction of the steering pot.
This is what I hope will make keeping right and left (port and starboard) straight in my mind. So as the kayak is moving away from me or is moving towards me I will be able to keep things straight. 😉
The tiller tilt is still controlled by the stock FlySky VRB pot.
Still thinking about setting up a First-Person View (FPV) system and at that point the steering reversing switch will not be necessary.
I have purchased an AUSTAR AX5 3CH 2.4G Transmitter With Receiver For RC Car from BangGood (China) for $25 USD. My plan is to incorporate the “guts” of the AX5 into a small handheld box. Originally I thought about doing this with the FlySky system but the main circuit board is almost 7″ long and it has an LCD display board.
The biggest issue with using hobby RC control systems is that they can draw a lot of power from their batteries. The FlySky FS-T6 has a low power drain.The FlySky system is run off of 12VDC (8 double A batteries) and draws about 100 milliamps.
I am using Duracell MN1500 alkaline batteries and according to the Duracell specifications for this battery, they should last for about 15 hours at a 150 milliamp load before they reach a terminal voltage of 1.3VDC per cell. The Duracell MN1500 battery is rated as a 2,850 milliamp hour battery.
Having said that, the FlySky FS-T6 manual indicates the FS-T6 will operate down to a total battery voltage of <9VDC which equates to 1.125 VDC per cell. Extrapolating from the Duracell specification, it appears that the FS-T6 should operate normally for at least 30 hours on 8 Duracell MN1500 batties. I have found several smaller rechargeable battery 12VDC 3,000 milliamp hour battery packs + charger on eBay for around $12 USD including shipping such as this example. The rechargeable battery pack in my example is about 3.4″ X 2.2″ X 0.8″ (about 6 cubic inches) whereas a battery holder for 8 AA batteries is about 5″ X 2.8″ X 0.75″ (about 10.5 cubic inches)