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!

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • @Morli: Under powered/spec'd  Esc ??

    Absolutely not. I *always* overspec my ESC. This was simply a duff version that flew fine on 3S, but burned out on 4S. It let go in loiter 30 seconds into the flight, so not exactly stressed at the time.

    But it's the only RCTimer item i've had an issue with, and I've spent $2,000 there this year.

  • @Stefan,

    I have had the same experience on ebay where sellers tell you to send back faulty goods simply to buy time. If i recall correctly paypal used to have a 30 or 40 day limit on processing complaints. Given you might be buying from overseas, most of this time period would be over by the time you receive your goods, try them out and send them back.

    The simple answer to solve this problem about the PP time limit is to make a claim against your credit card that feeds funds into PP. They often have 90 day limits. This has worked for me in the past.

  • i can give you rcimers skype fro you to live contact them :)


  • Let me get something straight:

    I'm not your typical 3DR-fanboy. I understand the concept of open-source and I don't mind if other companies produce "clones" of 3DR products, because 3DR chose deliberately to publish the HW under an open-source license, so I can assume with reasonable certainty that they are ok with "cloners" too. That's not the issue here and that's why I put "cloners" in quotation marks.

    Even the quality of the "clone-products" is not the issue here.

    The issue is customer service and fraudulent behavior. The item was dead on arrival. I contacted RC Timer and they told me to send it back. After the item arrived at them, for which I have proof, they did not follow up and stopped replying to my emails.

    THAT is fraud!

    If they don't want to deal with returns, they can just say it right away and everybody knows and can decide for their own if they want to buy. But I suspect, that they ask people to send it back because they hope, that people drop the matter because of the shipping costs for returning a defective item.

    If you read through RC Groups, you will find a bunch of similar cases where RC Timer simply stopped answering mails after an item was returned - especially, when the Paypal dispute time limit has passed.

  • My rctimer arduflyer has out lived my 3DR APM 2.5. Never had a problem with them or their gear.

  • @Oz

    If YOUR MISS-informed,,,please buy from 3DR  :)

    The support for development is very much true and im sure the are other equally commendable things to say. And yet you cant give a single argument against what i just said, except to be cheap. Better quit now if you cant afford $50 and keep those coins in your pocket.

  • Curious, what are they investing in "OTHER STUFF"?

    Who think you think developed the APM and PX4 hardware ? The cloners ?

    Do you realize this is open source, and FREE to copy (CLONE)?

    Not quite. Different open source licenses have different requirements. Its not a free for all.

    But the spirit of the GPL and open source is to give you the power to modify the code if you wish and share back not to take for your own selfish gain. Sure you can buy the clone, if you wish to save $50. Like i said, if everybody bought clones, then 3DR would make no money and there would be one less entity experimenting, spending real money to make things better. 

    You completely failed to address your responsibility to contribute back. Its parasitic and childish to think saving $50 is really such a smart move. if everybody did that, where will the new hardware come from ?

    3DR give freebies to developers to help them crash and improve the software we all use, at the very least that should be commended and supported. Do you think the cloners give anything to them ? Im sure there are many other good things to say but i have listed but a few.

  • @mP1

    It's open source, correct? 

    Then if you do your homework it will be am EXACT replica (what you think their is third party IC's like gyro's/acc/baros/mags with the same foot print as 3DR uses (LOL heck NO),,,if yes,,then your clueless. Saving money,,well yes a bunch buying from RCtimer, and even 2 friends buying APM 2.5 for $75 plus shipping (dealsextreame and others) 

    Curious, what are they investing in "OTHER STUFF"?

    Do you realize this is open source, and FREE to copy (CLONE)?

    If YOUR MISS-informed,,,please buy from 3DR  :)

  • @Oz

    First of all sure you are saving a few $, but if you really want to save money dont get into drones or autopilots. I dont care if 3DR charge a bit more, because they invest in the other stuff that helps make this fun and worthwhile. How much do you think the chinese copiers spend or contribute to the software that runs all this stuff ? Do you really think these copiers will make the next and best APM 4.0  or are they only copiers.

    None of us are spending our last $5 of food money, an extra $50 or $100 to buy the genuine article helps everybody and makes the innovation go forward is a good thing. If you cant afford that, dont even start in the hobby.

  • I forgot to mention, I bought from UAVobjects (RCtimer products) since I am in the USA, shipped the same day and received 2 days later with tracking info, with warranty, cant be beat IMO, thanks UAVobjects!

This reply was deleted.