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I have an old "Walkera-RC 2.4ghz Radio Transmitter WK-2401" radio transmitter from an RC Helicopter. I want to use this transmitter with a receiver in order to transmit some sort of data about throttle position to an Arduino.

Can this be done? I have no idea how to figure out what protocol the transmitter uses and how to bind it to a new receiver. Any help would be appreciated!

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    $\begingroup$ Hello James, and welcome to ham.stackexchange.com! $\endgroup$ – rclocher3 Jan 8 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ Is it worth the effort, when for under $5 you can buy RF modules that don't require any reverse-engineering effort? digikey.com/en/products/filter/… $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Jan 8 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ @PhilFrost-W8II I could be mistaken but perhaps the idea is that James has the transmitter and the receiver (in the helicopter) and wants to "snoop" the data in a second receiver while actually flying the helicopter. That makes it a question of interoperating with the existing stuff. If I'm wrong, then I agree with you :) $\endgroup$ – hobbs - KC2G Jan 9 at 5:07
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    $\begingroup$ The people here drones.stackexchange.com could be more helpful. $\endgroup$ – Mike Schroedel Jan 10 at 9:12
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If you have the receiver that goes with it, perhaps you can reuse it.

I am not very familiar with RC transmitters, but on a cursory search it appears 2.4 GHz transmitters don't use any standard protocol, nor could I find any datasheet for this particular unit. As such, if you don't have the receiver, you'll have to reverse-engineer the protocol.

While this is technically possible, it's not easy. You'll need significant expertise in radio engineering and a lot of time. It's not something that could be covered within the scope of a single Stack Exchange answer. If you wanted to go down this route for educational or entertainment purposes, I'd suggest gaining some familiarity implementing receivers for protocols that don't require reverse engineering first. With the ubiquity of wireless electronics you probably already have at your disposal many devices that transmit some standardized, documented wireless protocol.

Furthermore it's not really worth the effort. For just a few dollars you can buy all kinds of transceivers which would be easy to interface with a microcontroller and which come with a datasheet so you don't need to reverse-engineer how they work. You would certainly spend more than the cost of a pair of such devices just on the equipment you'd need to reverse engineer your RC transmitter.

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    $\begingroup$ There's a substantial hobbyist community around this stuff, the chip (CYRF6936) is known, the protocol is a moderately common one, and there are even open-firmware transmitters for it... so I don't think James would have to start from zero, but probably does have to find some R/C hobbyists to ask instead of a bunch of hams :) $\endgroup$ – hobbs - KC2G Jan 9 at 5:25

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