A Transmitter Just for Trail Trucks? Hmm…

A Transmitter Just for Trail Trucks? Hmm…

Hey transmitter manufacturers: if you’re not already working on a transmitter for trail trucks, maybe it’s time you did. After all, trail trucks are super popular, duh. And the features built into a trail-truck radio wouldn’t prevent it from being used with any other type of car or truck, so there’s not a big risk involved. I’ve been thinking about what features a trail-radio couldhave, and I came up with this:
RC Car Action - RC Cars & Trucks | A Transmitter Just for Trail Trucks? Hmm…

Pay no mind to the fact that I Photochopped a Traxxas transmitter. Traxxas has nothing to do with this, they just happened to have a nice side-view to work with. And I like that the design has an internal antenna, which means there’s no external part to bend or break.

OK, so let’s talk features:

Wrist Strap: If you slip on the trail and need to drop your radio to grab a tree branch or get your hands in front of you, you don’t want your radio to hit the deck. And so, wrist strap. Preferably on a swivel so it doesn’t get all twisted. 

Thumb Steer: If you can reach your transmitter’s wheel with your thumb, there’s a 100% chance you’ve thumb-steered while hiking with your trail truck. Steering and throttling with one hand makes walking more comfortable, and gives you a free hand to get branches out of your face etc. It’s easy to mod a wheel for thumb-steer, but a self-centering sliding control would be a more natural solution. I’d make the slider clickable; click it to deactivate the wheel and activate the slider control, click it again to go back to wheel control.  

High/Low Shift: Just a 2-position rocker like Traxxas already uses on the TRX-4 and Summit, but I moved it to the back of the radio to make room for the thumb steer.

Diff Locking: Three positions like Traxxas uses for TRX-4 and Summit. Don’t have locking diffs? Assign it to something else.  

Assignable Dials & Switches: Here’s where you control lighting systems, dig, or other  functions. 

Trail-Style Wheel: Because it’s a trail radio and would look cool to have a tough truck-lookin’ wheel on there. 

Flashlight: Built-in flashlight, that’s cool right? Gotta see where you’re stepping after dark. 

Winch Control: You could assign any switch to a winch, but I thought a dedicated switch would be a nice feature.  

Adjustable Trigger Opening: So you can open it nice and wide, for when you’re wearing gloves. Or if you have fat salami fingers.

Rugged Housing: So the radio will live if you drop it onto a rock. I didn’t Photochop it in, but I would design the case like a power drill, with rubber bumpers and a reinforced case. And how about molding the case in blaze orange, or camo? And make it waterproof. How about a heated grip! Oh yeah, that would totally kill the battery. 

No Screen: My trail radio would use Bluetooth to connect to my phone (à la Traxxas Link), which stays safely in my pocket. Now there’s no screen on the radio itself to break or scratch–but there could be an optional, removable screen mount if you just gotta have a screen on your radio.

So, what do you think–would a trail radio actually sell, or am I just nuts? 

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Updated: January 8, 2018 — 2:22 PM


  1. How about two separate controls with a steering design that consists of a base that fits in the palm of your hand for stabilization and the fingers wrap around and control the steering wheel on the opposing side. Improved steering control with “arms free” operation would open the hobby to athletic minded people and also provide more opportunity for the rock and trail racers.

  2. Love the idea, but i would add a camera so you can record the action as your having fun

  3. My money would be spent on one!!!

  4. I would buy a radio made just for crawling. But it would be nice to be able to program more then one crawling/trail truck on the remote. That way you can take a few truck’s with you and use only one radio.

  5. YESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. That would be a great transmitter. Make the flashlight rotate, and pivot 0° – 90° also. Another nice feature would be a dedicated area to mount a GoPro (or any other camera) on the top to record/view your outings.

  7. yes, that looks like a great setup

  8. No need for a trail dedicated radio but a customisable pistolgrip radio with atleast 8 fully adjustable channels. Steering, throttle and changeable thumb buttons/switch for rws and the rest switches placering beside eachother on a Nice panel with switchable buttons between 2pos/3pos switches and potentiometer. This way you have enough for all your needs for your crawler,trailer or even a Tamiya tractor truck with limited functions.
    Offcourse Would waterresistent be good too.

  9. Just take my money

  10. Yes Yes Yes!!!!!

  11. First off, all analog style is over with, unless to use as adjustment while watching LCD display, very cheap to produce now. Second, all transmitters pistol or stick should have real telemetry in view when operating rc surface (vehicle), especially mph, which matters to most of the population of enthusiasts, plus draws more enthusiasts. All other operations should be able to access easily from buttons by screen.

    1. As described in the article, the screen is left off in favor of using a Bluetooth-connected device as the screen, which could also serve as the telemetry viewer.

  12. Love it, sounds like a great idea.

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