"Warning of RC-Timer" or "Why you shouldn't buy from far east cloners"

As many others, I have bought some "clone products" from RC-timer in the past, simply because some stuff is pretty cheap there. Now, I got the bill for that and learned that paying less often means paying double.

Earlier this year, I bought two MinimOSD clones from RC-Timer. One went to my copter and the other for the moment into storage for another project. Several weeks later, I took the second OSD out of storage to use in my new project and I found that it was not working. The Arduino IDE kept reporting connection errors and I even couldn't flash a new bootloader with an original Atmel AVR USBISP Mk II and the original Atmel IDE.

I emailed RC-Timer on 22JUL13, and their "Jane" emailed me back on 23JUL13, saying that I should send the OSD back to them and providing a return address.

I sent the item back after returning from a trip on 09AUG13 via registered airmail ($17 from Finland to China) and informed RC-Timer via email. "Jane" was answering that they will get back to me as soon as it arrived.

According to the tracking system (see here), the shipment arrived on 18AUG13. When I didn't hear from RC-Timer until 07SEP13, I sent another email to them, requesting status information. To that email, I never received any reply.

On 20SEP13, I again sent an email to RC-Timer, demanding a status information. Again, I did not receive any reply.

In my opinion, this behavior constitutes fraud. I will, for sure, never order at RC-Timer again and I write this blog post as an intense warning to the community about RC-Timer and to think twice before ordering from far east "cloners".

Opposite to this case, I once had the problem with the serial multiplex chip being fried by a dying ESC on my (original 3DR) APM 2.5. After posting about the problem in the DIYD forum, I was contacted by Rogelio of the 3DR support team and he sent me a new automux chip for my APM for free. No product costs, no shipping costs!

Now you decide... Do you want to save a few dollars when buying the stuff and be left totally alone or pay return shipping for nothing if something goes wrong? Or is it wiser in the long run to pay a few dollars more for your stuff and receive great support?

My choice for the future is pretty clear!

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Comments are closed for this blog post

Comment by Oliver Whysall on October 13, 2013 at 4:47am
I have had no end of problems with rctimer ESC's. I have had some arrive shorted and damaged straight out of the box as to speak. Out of a total of 8 I have ordered I have three that work and the rest were faulty. Maybe just a bad batch but it came to the point I was snipping the heat wrap off the ESC and inspecting before doing anything with them!

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on October 13, 2013 at 4:55am

With RC-Timer it is the luck of the draw:-)

I have bought over $5K worth of components from 3DR and the only part that was bad out of the box was an early production uBlox LEA-6 GPS that 3DR happily replaced for me!


TCIII ArduRover2 Developer

Comment by Jason Wise on October 13, 2013 at 5:07am

Ive had zero issues with RCtimer....in with them over $2k, spent $12k with Hobbyking had 1 power supply fault had to send it back for a refund, spent $300 odd with 3dr robotics....had some wrong size screws supplied in which was promptly fixed

Moral of the story is? doesn't matter what you spend, people are still people, money is still money, just because you spend more doesn't mean you get better service...there are many 'post's out there with people spending big on brands and still getting a raw deal on service

If your post is for the purpose of scaring people off from RCtimer....your dreaming, there are more satisfied buyers out there then there are dissatisfied

Comment by Stefan Gofferje on October 13, 2013 at 5:12am


Are there? On RC Groups there is a pretty long thread and a few shorter ones on RC Timer too... Especially regarding similar issues where their support suddenly stopped answering when people ACTUALLY sent stuff back to them after being requested to do so.

Comment by Pieter on October 13, 2013 at 5:25am

I also had good experience with RCtimer. I received broken HW on a couple occasions and it was replaced instantly.I did not have to sent it back.
BEVRC on the other hand... Bougt a $379 AIO goggles, received it DOA. haven't heard from them since. I need paypal to get my money back. Issue is pending for over 2 months now and it looks like paypal will refund me the next week.
I'm buying fatsharks next.

Comment by BluSky1 on October 13, 2013 at 6:53am

After 2+ years and flying over 1000 fpv flights my experience tells me cheap stuff fails on consistent basis.

I see people spend hundreds of dollars on a Naza or APM and then use 2 dollar snaptasic props and wonder why quad goes crashing to the ground. I don't cheap out on any parts anymore its just not worth it.

Buying cheap parts is a great idea when your newb and you wreck alot but a time comes when the parts failing cause the wrecks not your error that's when its time to move on quality parts.

Never had any issue with RC timer, I only order ESC and motors from them.

I specifically order the motors and ESC that TBS Uses that are re-brands

Now hobby-king has sold me faulty electronics multiply times.

Filters and Cheap OSDs that go bad. As rule of thumb any osd that costs less than $70 is going to be problems. I currently use a 9 dollar osd from hobbyking being a quad flier I only needed the volts and a timer. I am about to upgrade to DJI mini osd which is over 130 dollars I am happy to pay rather than get something cheap that will fail when I need it.

In the last 6 months I have crashed 0 times and fly every day FPV.

Comment by Morli on October 13, 2013 at 7:01am

I bought few things from RC timer too. They promptly shipped and I got it all right. I don't have any problems with the items.

So yes some times it is matter of luck too.

I hope "Jane" reads this and gets to action. BTW Stefan , pls copy all your emails to rc timer  via PM to me.

There could be number of reasons their support did not answer or they are like you say, we just need to make sure your accusations are in best interest.  Pls note DiyD support does not get involved into other vendors support issues but since you have posted this as blog here, we cannot be part of any rant or slander crusade. If this your issues is resolved , this blog will be closed. In future any such issues can be posted in discussion forum but not as blog post.  :)

Comment by AlanGP on October 13, 2013 at 7:14am


I have bought all of my flight controller stuff to date from DIYDrones but everything else comes from HobbyKing. I have to look for best value for money when I can. My next APM2.5 is likely to be from HobbyKing since, in over $8000 of orders, I have only had two or three minor issues that I can put down to the "Chinese Effect". Providing you stick to mainstream, quality control from Chinese manufacturers has improved over the last couple of years as has the customer support.

We benefit from lower prices with Chinese goods because labour costs are so much lower and entrepreneurial companies such as HobbyKing have recognised this market opportunity. 

On the other hand, when I buy from a USA supplier it is possible I will receive a better product at a higher price but not necessarily, even 3DR propose to outsource their manufacturing to countries with lower labour costs such as Mexico. Also living in Europe, I still get stuffed by the massive postage charges from USPS or get forced to use delivery by Fedex, which although quick is not cheap.

Finally, I would hazard a guess that most of the PC/Laptops/Mobiles we are writing these posts on are made in China.

Don't even get me started on Apple or Microsoft products.


Comment by Austin Laws on October 13, 2013 at 7:16am
Hi I have used rctimer b4 with no issues at all. I have bought a x650 from them and it was great it's just down to luck. I have had less issues with them than 3dr. I am on my second apm board and it packed up yesterday causing damaged to my x650. Try sending ur email to them from a different email address.
Comment by robert bouwens on October 13, 2013 at 8:00am

i bought a few small items from sparkfun.

during my vacation i got a mail from sweden.

it was my order from sparkfun which i missed :-)

even when buying from the us you are not shure what you get.

being happy i did not invest in a udb5 from sparkfun...

i live here in switzerland and not in sweden!

and it is not the first order from sparkfun.


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