RC Cars and Trucks

Futaba 3PRKA Radio Controller

Futaba 3PRKA Controller

If you are looking for a cheap 2.4GHz radio control system, the Futaba 3PRKA might be the one for you. Here is a quick review:

Likes:

  • Cheap at around $88 USD
  • Only 350 grams, half the weight of a typical controller
  • The throttle trigger and steering wheel fits well into my daughter's hand, good for small hands
  • No external antenna
  • Uses only 4-AA batteries

Dislikes:

  • Intermittent loss of signal
  • Dual rate steering adjuster knob seems crude
  • Hard to open the plastic clear cover to access the control knobs
  • Foam on the steering wheel not glued

For the test, I used a Tamiya F103 15th Anniversary F1 car. For the past 7 months I used a Futaba 3PM-FS radio controller and was very happy. No glitching, very reliable.

Today I ran the F1 using the Futaba 3PRKA. Immediately I noticed some loss of control and signal. And in some parts of the track, a loss of signal resulted in my F1 crashing very hard against the barriers.

I handed the controller and r/c car to my 10 year old daughter. She also crashed a few times, and she could not explain why. Later we discovered that it seems this radio control glitches or simply looses signal and control.

At the same time, I was also running a Tamiya F104 F1 r/c car using the Futaba 3PM-FS controller, on this same track, alternating between radio controllers and cars. The 3PM performed flawlessly, no glitching or loss of control.

Now I'm not saying the 3PRKA bad radio control. For the price, it is very cheap. I plan to install it in my drift car and see if it functions as expected.

But for serious racing, where there are other strong radio control signals that can cause interference, I will go back to using my tried and tested Futaba 3PM.

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