Tower Hobbies 424 Review

Review by Adrian Apodaca, RealRCReviews Owner

Specs:

Channels: 4

Receiving frequencies: 2.403 - 2.480GHz

Modulation: SLT 2.4GHz FHSS

Compatibility: Tower Hobbies 2.4GHz, Tactic 2.4GHz, SLT compatible

2.4GHz transmitters

Pros:

- Cheap

- Integrated antenna

- SLT compatible

- Wireless trainer function

- Comes with 6ch SLT receiver

Cons:

- Very basic

- No dual rates

- No screen

Intro:

If you are reading this review, you are likely newish to the RC hobby and want a transmitter that looks and feels more robust than the small, videogame-style transmitters that come with RTF aircraft. Though this looks and costs like an entry level radio, I'm about to tell you why I would recommend it more to an experienced pilot and NOT an beginner pilot!

 

Out of the box:

The 424 SLT comes like nicely packaged like pretty much all of Tower Hobbies products. Surprisingly, this radio comes with a 6 channel SLT compatible receiver, that's a $20 value on that alone.  You also get a neckstrap which is nice to have, an on/off switch harness with a charge lead that will come in handy as you progress in the hobby, and a 4xAA battery holder to power the receiver that you will never use.

 

Function:

The SLT protocol is as solid as any other out there. Back a few years ago, when I was just flying Spektrum, a few friends of mine scared me by telling me that Spektrum radios would be the death of my models. I was still kind of new, so I took their advice and got a Futaba radio.  After meeting some big names in RC (even a few sponsored by radio companies) and talking to them about radios, they confessed that it really came down to personal preference… that pretty much all major brand spread spectrum modulations were pretty solid and equal.  I’ve done some of my own range testing and have found no reason to disbelieve this fact.  Also, since this radio uses SLT, you’ll be able to fly all of Hobbico’s 4 channel TXR (transmitter ready) aircraft, which currently offer an array of planes, helicopters and quadcopters.

 

Programming:

There really isn't any other than channel reversing and the option to changing to a V-Tail set-up.

 

Flying:

Whoah! When I saw the absence of a switch for dual rates, I figured the default setting would be somewhere between high and low rates.  I was wrong. The default settings are REALLY low.  When I took my first flight with the 424, I almost treed my plane because I was flying in a tight area and the roll rate was so low I couldn't do my normal bank and yank turn. I flew around for a few minutes more and decided to test on a quadcopter.  Again, the low default rate made me feel like I was flying a balloon.  It really wasn't as maneuverable as a quad on it's lowest setting.

 

A little frustrated, I read through the manual to see what else this transmitter could do. This is the part when I tell you why the 424 would come in handy for a more advanced pilot. The bonus feature of this transmitter is it's ability to be used as a wireless trainer.  Meaning, if you own a Tactic TTX650 (review here) or a Tactic TTX850 (review here), you can actually connect the 424 wirelessly to it and use it as a trainer transmitter to teach your friends or new pilots at your field.

 

Conclusion:

With that in mind, what you are getting for about $50 is a wireless trainer with a 6 channel receiver to use on a new plane. Actually a decent bargain when you look at it that way.  The marketing professional in me kind of wishes Tower would rename this the Tower Hobbies Wireless Trainer System. That is really what it is with it's lack of options and lack of screen.  If you are in fact a beginner, I would strongly urge you to spend a few more bucks and move right up to the Tactic TTX650 or the TTX850. Both of those systems have gotten our seal of approval and using Tower Hobbies coupon codes, they can be had for about $106 and $162 respectively. You'll want the extra channels and programmability as you move into more complex models and start adding options like retracts and lighting. As I don't like to candy coat anything, other than buying the 424 as a wireless trainer with a free receiver, you should pass on this.  If on the other hand, you need a wireless trainer, and don't want to spend on a second full option transmitter, this is definitely the way to go.  The Tower Hobbies quality is there, and of course it is backed by one of the most reputable company in this business.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at admin@realrcreviews.com.  Also, to catch the latest reviews, follow us on Twitter @RealRCReviews or our facebook page.