How to wire RC planes

Written by larry simmons
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How to wire RC planes
Wiring the plane correctly is necessary to control its movements during flight. (rc aeroplane, image by Greg Pickens from

Whether building your RC aeroplane from a set of plans, a kit or finishing an Almost Ready to Fly set-up, there comes a point when all of the hardware is in place. At this point, it's time to connect the wires between the electronics to make the plane controllable. There are a number of connections to make, and one connector out of place can mean quick destruction of your plane. Because of this, RC parts manufacturers have standardised both the parts used in the electronics of the aircraft, as well as the connections required. This means no matter the sophistication of your plane, the wiring process will remain essentially the same regardless of manufacturer.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • RC aeroplane battery
  • Electronic speed controller
  • RC aeroplane motor
  • Six channel receiver
  • RC servos

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  1. 1

    Connect the plug with the red and black wires from the battery pack to the red and black wires marked battery of the Electronic Speed Control.

  2. 2

    Connect the loose pair of red and black wires from the Electronic Speed Control to the socketed wires of your aeroplane motor. If using a brushless motor, then connect the third motor wire from the Electronic Speed Control to the white feedback motor wire of the engine.

  3. 3

    Plug the small three-wire red, black and white connector to the radio receiver in the channel socket marked with the number "3."

  4. 4

    Plug the servo wires that contain the same connection plug as the three-wired plug from the electronic speed control into the other numbered channel positions on your receiver. Each servo connects to a numbered channel controlled by a specific control on your transmitter. Typical connections consist of: channel one for the aileron control that directs the aircraft's roll; channel two for the elevator servo that controls the plane's climbing and diving; channel four for the rudder servo that aids in steering. Connect the servo controlling the retractable landing gear into channel five.

  5. 5

    Test each connector before flying the plane by turning on the receiver and testing each control while watching the response from the moving parts on the aeroplane. Make any corrections necessary before unplugging the battery and turning off the receiver until you're ready to fly.

Tips and warnings

  • For aeroplanes with two-channeled aileron controls, one servo per wing, connect the rightwing servo into channel one and the leftwing servo into channel six.
  • Transmitter/receivers from differing manufacturers may have differing channel assignments. Check the radio transmitter/receiver manufacturer's instruction manual to determine which channel corresponds to which control on your transmitter.

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