One Handed Radio Controlled Car

One handed adapted radio controlled car.

SpecialEffect were approached a little while back by a guy called Dan who wanted to race RC cars again. He found traditional controllers tricky so was looking for an alternative solution.

I wanted to find an off the shelf-solution for him and others and wondered about a Futaba One Handed Flight Stick. It worked great, but unfortunately it could only transmit on an illegal frequency for cars. Using the car would run the risk of accidentally taking control of an RC plane and crashing it into the ground. Not good.

So, unable to find an off the shelf method, I went back to the Mark Heath method, of hard-wiring a game controller thumb-stick to the pots on a standard hand-set. I used a Cirrus 3CSX 40MHz 3-channel hand-set from eBay and an Xbox standard 10k Ohm thumb-stick from SparkFun with mounting break-out PCB board.

Mark used Wii nunchuk thumb-sticks, but I'm guessing the principle is  the same for all 10k joysticks. I needed to cut the traces on the board and draw off independent wires to ensure that each of the six connections was unique and not shared. Then it's a matter of deciding how to run a lead out from the hand-set to your mini-joystick, and also how to house that.... Dan's swiftly moved on from this to an even more impressive car. Looking forward to seeing this working too.

Update: 10k sticks work great for Playstation and Xbox, at least on the hand-sets I've adapted so far. I'm using VGA connectors with pins 1, 3 and 4 for steering and 11, 12 and 13 for throttle. N.B. Do not use 27MHz/40MHz transmitter/receiver sets with powerful 2.4GHz cars as there is no safety cut out should you turn the hand-set off before the car or the batteries fade. Adapt 2.4GHz kit for improved safety (power off / power fades and the car goes into stand-by mode, doing nothing).

Cirrus 3CSX RC handset with view of both potentiometers.

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5 Responses to 'One Handed Radio Controlled Car'

  1. # Blogger Pendragon

    Hi, i'm from Italy and i Think your work is amazing!!!
    I cannot use my right arm and your soluzione would be great to drive with only one hand my rc car (with a 2,4 Ghz trasmitter).
    Could you give me more information about your work???

    Thank you!!!

  2. # Blogger

    Send me a message via (e-mail down the bottom) and I'll get back ASAP.  

  3. # Blogger

    Try this help sheet:  

  4. # Blogger Sandy

    hi my son is now 29 he had a major car accident 3 years ago his life revolved around cars and would love to see him enjoying using a remote car again. I think you have done a fantastic thing here and it could bring some fun back into my sons life . I would have no idea how to make this happen for my son other than ask you to help . Could you please send me any information possible .It would be so fantastic he has no use of his right arm.
    thank you.

  5. # Blogger

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for the kind comments. Please see the comments above. Go to, and you'll find my contact details there.  

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