PCTx Setup and Help Guide
The issue of having trouble dialing in the PCTx and software with a user's boat/plane/helicopter/car comes up quite often. This is meant to be a guide for setting up the PCTx with your equipment.
Usually when a user first plugs in the PCTx and starts the sample software their throttle ESC or servos "go crazy". More often than not a user will describe a situation where the car takes off of the main rotor spins up wildly. Don't fret! Please keep in mind that this is normal but probably not desired! The reason this occurs is because the values that are being sent to the PCTx are not set to a proper value for the equipment being used.
One important thing to keep in mind is to NOT set any value down to 0 on the software. We usually do not recommend a value under 50. So why is this even allowed in the first place? The PCTx and its software were designed with flexibility in mind for most R/C equipment being used. You have the ability to generate any pulse width you require however most R/C devices will not be able to pick up on a signal when it is very small (<50). If you experience this issue try moving the sliders up some, 150 is usually a good starting point when you don't know what values to send to your radio.
What is happening here is that you are encoding a value into the PPM signal sent to the radio that is too small. If a value is too small the radio might not see it and it and will not be able to decode the PPM signal properly. What happens is that the radio will pick up on the next channel it can decode and then this channel will be assigned to the next output channel on the receiving end. For example say you send the following 9 values to the PCTx; 20,20,150,150,150,150,150,150,150. When the radio decodes this pulse it will fail to see channel 1 and 2 on the PCTx end. Channel 3 will actually be assigned to channel 1 on the receiving end and so on down the line. So you can see how this will get confusing especially if the low value is somewhere in the middle of the pulse.
It is also a good idea to disconnect any ESC's you might be using when you are performing these initial experiments. This will prevent your model from taking off or damaging itself or you. Servos usually are not as sensitive as ESC's and you can observe the changes in pulse width much easier than with an ESC in order to see how the changes in the values sent effect the servo. ESC's will also usually have a very small range in which they respond. This value is most likely somewhere along 130-170 on the sample software or ServoCommander. When you gain enough experience to see how changes in the software effect the movements then you should add the ESC in. It is recommended to connect the ESC to channel 1 and only move this slider bar on either the sample or ServoCommander.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most ESC's will have a calibration button or some type of setting. This may be calibrated when using the PCTx. Please see the user's manual for the ESC for more info on how to do this if applicable.
The final thing to keep in mind with ESC's is that they may need to be completely stopped for some period of time in order to function properly. Planes and helicopters usually require the control channel to be completely taken down to no throttle. This must also be performed with the PCTx and its control software.