Alien Power System EVT3: The Good, The Bad, & There Isn’t Any Ugly

APS EVT3 digital proportional radio control system

I’ve considered buying the APS remote multiple times.  On each occasion it always came down to ship time, they are in the UK (I think), or that it’s a front trigger instead of a thumb trigger (to which I am partial).  I wish I had gone ahead and “pulled the trigger” (you see what I did there?) as it is impressive.  I am still partial to thumb trigger remotes, but this one makes me question that commitment.

So, let’s get down to the facts and features

The remote itself is attractive and has a damned near perfect form factor.  You’ll see that the trigger assembly is mounted at an obtuse angle from center, this makes it easier to relax your grip while maintaining control of the throttle.  The remote has a soft, rubberized coating, making it easy to maintain grip and still keep clean. 

There are 2 aspects of this remote that I should mentioned early in this review (and should be standard on virtually every remote manufactured). 

First, the 800mah battery is removable!  Holy Christ on a cracker, I know right?  How cool is that.  You can actually source these batteries from many locations including HK in case you need a replacement. 

Second, the top panel has the requisite indicator and trim switch, but it also has a 2nd channel momentary switch, meaning you can activate accessories installed on the board from your remote.  There are other remotes that have secondary switches, but a momentary switch is actually far more usable as a bump or accidental touch doesn’t activate the circuit.

The EVT3 system uses a 2.4 Ghz transceiver, like most remotes but the receiver is much more robust than most.  It has an external & shielded antenna.  It has multiple channels, one of which is accessible via the remote’s top panel, as mentioned above.  Importantly, the receiver has a built in fail-safe function.  This means that if the connection between the receiver and remote is lost, the PPM input defaults to neutral.  All of this is encased in an ABS housing, protecting the electronics from debris and making it much simpler to mount.

The remote comes bound to the receiver from the factory, but if you need to rebind it, the process is a zero headache operation:

1.  Turn on the remote
2.  Hold the bind button
3.  Power the receiver

Its exactly opposite of the second generation Maytech remote, but just as simple and with only one additional step. The indicator on the remote will flash a few times as it discovers the RX then the remote is again bound to the receiver.

The charging solution pretty cool as well.  The charge port is on the side of the remote, not the bottom or front.  This makes it simple to lay the remote down and it stay in place while charging.  It may seem petty, but this is actually something that irritates the absolute crap out of me about a lot of remotes. Good remotes should have a good user experience in all situations, even when they’re just sitting there.

Something that is a bit strange is the process of powering on and off the remote.  There are 2 switches, a side mounted system wide power switch and top mount momentary power switch.  The side switch, when in the off position, completely powers off the remote.  When in the on position the remote is still technically off, as you have to use the top momentary switch to turn the remote on and off.  From APS documentation…

“THE TRANSMITTER HAS A MAIN ON-OFF SWITCH AND A MOMENTARY ONE. THE MOMENTARY SWITCH IS USED DURING THE DAY AND SHORT TERM. DURING THE NIGHT OR STORAGE THE TRANSMITTER NEEDS TO BE TURNED OFF BY THE MAIN SWITCH OTHERWISE THE BATTERY WILL DISCHARGE RAPIDLY”

I don’t see this as necessary function, it essentially increase the sequence of powering on the remote to a 2 step process.  I would suggest removing or reallocating the momentary power switch and only using the hard switch.  As it is, I don’t know specifically what functions are disabled/enabled with the momentary switch, I will try and get this defined at a later date.

The range is pretty incredible.  I used this remote to test an ESC on the bench.  I pulled the trigger and walked from my workshop to the kitchen to get a refreshment (beer), the connection was steady and did not drop across 160 feet with 2 walls and 2 doors in between.  The battery life is also great.  I used this remote for 3 days without charging (approx. 75 miles of total travel).  The indicator did not show a low battery alert, but I went ahead and charged it anyways.  Next time I’ll measure the remaining capacity and see how low it actually is after s set number of hours.

The cost is really nice as well, at 60 bucks it’s a bargain considering the feature set, range and solid construction. I really only have 1 complaint about this remote, but I’m so glad I did as the experience was enlightening…

The return response on the trigger is not great, it’s not what I would characterize as bad but it could definitely be better.  As Bill Gordon is the guy who is typically the vendor contact, I asked him about setting up a call with APS to see if we could address this.  He sent them an email and within a day they emailed us back and said “We can add stronger spring on return side. Let us know if you think that will resolve the issue”. 

This is the type of response I want but seldom get from manufacturers & vendors.  I am incredibly impressed with APS’s willingness to listen to and adopt suggestions by users.  The order that APS just placed for a new batch of remotes will include the upgraded spring, and this makes for a near perfect remote.  This remote has changed my mind about front trigger remotes, I still like thumb triggers but no longer do I look for that in a remote for it to be a win, APS has shown me that quality trigger remotes do exist.

At the end of the day I am going to give this remote a 4.25 of 5, with the upgraded spring it will be a 4.75 and that’s about as high as I’m willing to go for a product that doesn’t buy me drinks and try to woo me :). 

Mike Maner

Mike is a systems/communications engineer and a dad to 4 kids as well as being a member and forum leader of the electric skateboard building community.Mike is NOT a traitor, screw a damn unicycle!*shakes head in confusion at Damon thinking "why man, just why?"