Rush Tank Racing Edition Specs
- Input Voltage: 7–36V DC (2–8S)
- Output Voltage: 5V 1A
- Channels: US Legal
- Power: PIT/25/50/200/500 mW
- Dimensions: 33×21×4.25 mm
- Weight: 5.5g
In the package you’ll get the transmitter, a camera and power connector cable, an MMCX to SMA pigtail, a plastic frequency card, and stickers.
Right from the start, this is a great set of specs. A very wide input voltage range means almost no quads will need a voltage regulator to use it. The output power range is great for racing and proximity flying. Low weight keeps racers happy. The MMCX connector is small and holds tightly but is easy to work with and doesn’t break easily. Rush Tank Racing makes some strong claims about this transmitter’s ability to handle power and frequency locking on their website at http://rushtankracing.com/ so we put these to the test.
Don’t be fooled by the “US Legal” channel designation. It’s true that frequencies below 5650MHz and above 5925MHz shouldn’t be used by anyone in the Unites States, but the rest of the options aren’t simply open to anyone. As the unit isn’t FCC certified, you still need an amateur radio license to operate within these “US Legal” channels. This is also true for almost any video transmitter—FCC certified transmitters are rare.
The plastic frequency card is great for throwing in a wallet. So often these cards, if provided at all, are just cheap paper card stock. This card instead may outlast the transmitter itself!
Mounting the Rush Tank Race to a frame is going to require a little thought. While some transmitters offer screw mounts in standard 30.5mm or 20mm patterns, the Race is basically a rectangular box. To mount it to a frame, you might use double-sided foam tape. Since there’s a lot of flat surface area, this should hold securely if you can find a flat area to stick it down to. Try not to cover the entire top side with tape as its used as a heat sink. Zip ties might also work, but the smooth edges of the transmitter won’t hold well. Over-tightening a zip tie may put too much pressure on the components and damage them.
Electronically, the Rush Tank Race offers a plug connector like most video transmitters. The included cable is broken out to a camera plug alongside individual wires for SmartAudio and power. Plugging a VTx directly into a camera is an older way of doing things; these days almost all flight controllers have an OSD that interrupts the video signal so you may need to cut the video wire.
If you’re even less conventional, the Rush Tank Race offers solder pads for all of the typical electrical connections. They’re generously sized and builders familiar with soldering should not have trouble with them. If you’re not using these solder pads, consider putting a piece of insulating tape over them. There’s exposed power and ground pads here—you could potentially cause damage if you were to short them together. This might be fairly easy to do accidentally if mounted against a carbon frame.
The Rush Tank operates similarly to every other video transmitter with only subtle differences in the user interface. The LED indicators are a little unusual. Along the side, the blue indicators show band and the red show channel. To find the value, count ‘2’ for each solid LED and ‘1’ for each LED blinking rapidly. If there are two solid blue, two solid red, and one blinking red, you’re on band 4 (2+2) and channel 5 (2+2+1). Refer to the included card to determine what frequency this is. On the back edge with the antenna connector, an LED here indicates status and power. Green is 25mW, yellow is 50mW, red is 200mW, and blue is 500mW. This will appear solid if the VTx is transmitting. If it’s blinking, you’re in “Pit mode” where the transmitter powers on at a very low level so it can’t interfere with other pilots until you confirm.
There are two buttons on the side. “Freq” will change band and channel with the typical setup of a short press changing channel and a long press changing band. The “Pwr” button cycles output power from low to high and back again. Holding the power button for a full second will exit pit mode.
Not many pilots prefer to use the physical buttons to change VTx settings anymore. The Rush Tank Race has a fully licensed implementation of SmartAudio. This allows your flight controller to change settings on the VTx. For most, this means controlling it through the Betaflight OSD—but there are a few other systems that can make use of this, too. More information about this can be found on the Betaflight SmartAudio page.
How well does the transmitter actually work? We put it to the test to see if could live up to its many claims.
Startup and Frequency Change Testing
When a poorly made VTx powers up, it often blasts the radio spectrum with interference. This is more than rude and inconsiderate; it can be dangerous. If others are already flying, they may lose their vision and crash. Rush Tank Racing claims this doesn’t happen with their technology. For obvious reasons I didn’t test this with pilots currently flying, but I did set up several sets of transmitters and video monitors at once to observe.
I powered up the Rush Tank to a full 500mW and took it out of pit mode right next to the monitors while the other transmitters were further away. I barely noticed a change in the video at all when doing this. Flying through it wouldn’t have been a problem for any pilot.
Similar to powering on, a VTX can cause interference when moving from one channel to another. Rush Tank Racing also claims to have eliminated this. Using the same setup, I switched channels on the Race to see how the other monitors were affected. Changing frequencies didn’t negatively affect the image on the video monitors any more than a very slight flicker. Both of these are great news for pilots that fly with others.
I directly measured the power output across each of the Raceband channels at each power level to see if claims of evenly regulated power were accurate. The power readings bounce up and down while measuring them, so these numbers are just approximations.
This test was performed with the ImmersionRC Power Meter V2, and a single MMCX to SMA adapter making a direct connection between the meter and the VTx. While the ImmersionRC meter isn’t laboratory-grade test equipment, it’s good enough to characterize whether a transmitter is performing well.
- @25: 31
- @50: 57
- @200: 190
- @500: 450
- @25: 32
- @50: 54
- @200: 195
- @500: 460
- @25: 28
- @50: 55
- @200: 201
- @500: 450
- @25: 27
- @50: 51
- @200: 197
- @500: 422
- @25: 30
- @50: 56
- @200: 205
- @500: 462
- @25: 31
- @50: 59
- @200: 225
- @500: 470
- @25: 37
- @100: 67
- @200: 262
- @500: 527
- @25: 32
- @100: 63
- @200: 232
- @500: 489
Compared to many other video transmitters, these numbers are very consistent across the entire band. (Many transmitters trail off toward the higher end of the frequency range.) While the 500mW setting usually measured a little low, this is common to see with the highest setting on other video transmitters. 500mW is rarely allowed at events, so this VTx is going to perform just great for racers.
This transmitter claims to have very good handling of input power. Without a quad handy that has dirty power, I wasn’t able to fully test this. If it works as advertised it’s definitely worth having; lines peppered through the video because of dirty power can be a big problem for some setups.
Another feature is how well it locks to its frequency. I don’t have a scientific test for this, but it seems to be true from general observation. When running this VTx at high power, right next to a monitor, it didn’t cause much interference on adjacent Raceband channels even though the monitors were tuned into 25mW signals being transmitted much further away. On 25mW, it didn’t cause any noticeable interference at all. That’s an impressive result.
The Rush Tank Race doesn’t have one spec that’s better than all other offerings, but it’s a great mix of features, performance, and price. It stood up well to our testing, so it’s a great choice for flying with others. That’s good news for racing, but just as much for freestyle pilots who enjoy going out with others. Because this VTx doesn’t cause much interference when powering up or on adjacent channels, you might even consider buying a few as gifts for your friends! You’ll look like a nice guy, and you’ll have fewer issues with other pilots’ video interfering with yours.
One thing that would improve the Rush Tank Race would be better mounting options as it can be a little awkward to secure to a frame. If 500mW isn’t enough for you, the standard Rush Tank (non-race edition) powers up to 800mW. It’s larger and allows you to easily bolt it on top of a standard 30.5mm stack. These can be great advantages if you need the highest power and have the space—but it comes with higher weight and cost. Because of the way RF propagates, you can expect about 20% more range with 800mW than you would get with the Race edition’s 500mW.