Programming the FlySky Paladin PL18 EV Flagship Transmitter

Hey model building friends!

This week I'm going to take you through the programming and setting up of the FlySky Paladin PL18 (EV) transmitters. These transmitters have become perhaps the most popular transmitter among truckers and fans of hydraulic excavators over the past year. The FlySky Paladin PL18 is a very user-friendly transmitter, but you do need some basic tips to be able to work with this transmitter. So let's start with these new Tips & Tricks especially for FlySky Paladin PL18 enthusiasts.

Different Types of Receivers

First of all, it is important to know that FlySky uses several types of receivers, namely the classic (red) and enhanced (yellow/orange). These receivers work slightly differently from each other.

Classic Receivers (Red)

These receivers support a maximum of 10 channels and it is not possible to connect more than one receiver per model to your transmitter. They are, however, very affordable and available in many sizes.

Enhanced Receivers (Orange and Yellow)

These receivers do have the capability to be connected with two receivers at the same time to one model, thus making it possible to use the full 18 channels of the transmitter.

Team Orange VS Team Yellow

Of course, I hear you thinking what is now the difference between orange and yellow, officially the orange receivers are intended for airplanes and the yellow ones for vehicles. With the latest firmware update, the regular PL18 can now just handle both receivers. For the PL18EV, I still advise you to continue using the yellow receivers!

Gyro Receivers (Purple)

These receivers are a special case and not really necessary for trucks and excavators. The built-in gyroscope is mainly useful in fast RC cars, but we will treat that separately together with the FlySky Noble NB4 transmitter later!

Now let's really get started!

Okay, almost, if you just got a new transmitter, it is wise to first update your software to the latest version. The most recent software can be found on the site of FlySky itself even though the FlySky Paladin PL18 and Paladin PL18 EV look very much alike, they are just a little different you will notice this among other things in the software:

FlySky Paladin PL18 Firmware: Download Here!

FlySky Paladin PL18 EV Firmware: Download Here!

Note: If you have already programmed the transmitter or if there is already a setup in your transmitter, then first make a copy of it via the FlySky Assistant! With a major update, you will lose all your settings!

Now first connect your transmitter to the computer and start it up. Then start the program you just downloaded from Flysky up. You will now see the following screen:


If you now press update you will notice that actually nothing happens, we first need to put the transmitter in firmware update mode. This we do via Menu -> System -> TX Firmware Update


The transmitter will briefly disconnect from the pc and reconnect now you can press update in the software. The update takes about 3-5 minutes after which the transmitter restarts. Next, we need to perform the following steps to calibrate the transmitter:

  1. ST Calli. (Calibration Stick): Ensure all sticks and dials are centered. Press OK. Then move all the sticks and dials to their maximum extent and press the < to conclude the calibration. "Calibration Successful"
  2. Update RF: Ensure that the transmitter's RF module also has the latest firmware version this goes automatically and now you can choose “Start using”
  3.  The message appears that not only your transmitter but also the receivers probably need an update. This is different between the classic and the enhanced receivers.
  4. To update the firmware on the receivers go to Menu -> RX Setup -> Receiver Update and then select your receiver.

Firmware Update Classic Receivers

For the classic receivers, updating is still done via the bind plug on the receiver, for a firmware update it is not necessary that the receiver is actually connected to the transmitter because if the software does not match this will not work either. When updating the firmware, the plug must be inserted horizontally into the receiver from the bind port. Then connect a receiver battery or power source to start the receiver.


Firmware Update Enhanced Receivers

These receivers no longer work with a bind plug but have a bind button on the receiver. Connect a receiver battery or power supply to start the receiver. To update the software, we must hold this for about 10 seconds until the LED flashes 3x. From that moment on you can put the transmitter in receiver update mode and it recognizes it automatically.

Now that we have all the software up to date we can finally really get started!

Create a Model

Model name

The first step we're going to take with this beautiful transmitter is creating/editing a model. For this we go to Menu -> Models. Here we first choose a recognizable name for ourselves.


Model structure

Here we will build the basis of the model, with the Paladin PL18 EV version you immediately have nice truck/ crane options this is a bit more limited with the regular PL18. But don't worry, you can quickly add functions simply by selecting the right options. This helps you to quickly set up the model you can also ignore this function and give each channel its own function from channel assignment.

Watch Out: Changing your model structure afterward resets various settings in the transmitter, so do it right the first time!

Time to connect the receiver

We will now continue to let the receiver communicate with the model for the first time choose Menu -> RX Setup -> Bind Setting

Bind Setting:

We already talked about the Classic and Enhanced receivers and how they work differently.

Classic 18CH

The classic receivers are up to a maximum of 10 channels, however, they can output up to 18 channels via SBUS hence you see in the menu Classic 18ch. This is the option we choose for the red receivers. To bind the receiver, you insert the bind plug vertically into the bind port of the receiver this way you can couple the receiver to your transmitter.

Fast 8CH and Lora 12ch

These functions are actually never used, fast is a quick communication protocol but also limited to only 8 channels. Lora is so specific that we are not going to address it in these tips and tricks.

Routine 18ch

For the enhanced receivers (yellow/orange) we use this protocol, this is FlySky's most recent communication method and has extra capabilities including the binding of two receivers under one model. You must bind each receiver separately you do this by holding the button on the receiver for 1-2 seconds making it start to flash. If you want to use 2 receivers then set the checkmark Mul RX on which allows you to connect a second receiver. You give for the 2nd receiver the start channel on which it must begin usually this is channel 9 or 13 assuming your first receiver is an 8 or 12 channel version.


Two Way communication

This option makes it possible for the receiver to also send back data also known as telemetry, usually this is turned on and you can just leave it on even if you do not use it. However, it can often be handy for example to remotely read out the battery voltage or to monitor the temperature of your hydraulic pump. For this you need additional sensors alongside your receiver.


Stands for Secondary Telemetry, this function has been removed from the current firmware of the transmitter.

Custom Port Protocol

For the Beier users among us, this is a very important setting, here we can indicate that we are going to use the S-BUS or I-BUS protocol for communication with the beier module. Now we often hear the question which is better? Factually both systems are equally good IBUS is just from FlySky itself and SBUS is officially from Futaba. This is only relevant if we also want to connect sensors on this bus. If you want to use this together with the Beier modules then also read my Tips & Tricks about connecting Beier Sound Modules!


The last thing you want is for your model to take off by itself in case of a disruption, now the FlySky Paladin PL18 is standard set to no output when the failsafe is activated. For a lot of electronics this is fine, however, it is preferable to just choose "Fixed Value 1500" then the signal is always neutral. For some functions, you want this all the way left (1000) or right (2000) if there is no midpoint of the function.

PWM  Frequency

The Paladin PL18 is standard delivered for analog servos (50 Hz) this is also more than fine for most. A higher frequency leads to quicker response times, but also increases the chance of humming noise. Also, you can only increase the frequency if you are using digital servos exclusively in your model, something that is rarely the case with model trucks.

Additional Functions

We have deliberately skipped a few functions to avoid making these Tips & Tricks unnecessarily lengthy, the other functions are either self-explanatory or not necessary for the average user. Therefore, let’s quickly move forward!

Okay, and can we finally get started now?

Almost! You may notice that the LED on the receiver is constantly lit, but it might be that your servos or controllers are not yet responding to your sticks. Often, the transmitter already assigns functions to the various channels and joysticks, but it may not be as you would prefer. So now we will ensure that we assign our own custom setup. The best approach is to first make a list for yourself of which functions you need to connect and on which channel you want to assign them.

Here is a brief example of a standard truck model on the FlySky Paladin PL18 EV:

1SteeringJ1Right Stick Horizontally
2ThrottleJ3Left Stick Vertically
3ShiftingSWESwitch Left Topside

5LightingSWB3-Position Switch Left of Screen
6Lighting 2SWD3-Position Switch Right of Screen
7Engine StartSWFSwitch Left Bottom
8HornSWHSwitch Right Bottom
9VolumeVRCRight Rotary Knob


Func Assign

Now that we know how we want to use the transmitter, we will begin programming the functions. Under Func Assign we will tell the transmitter which function should go where; this can be done with the name of the function or by assigning our own custom names to the channels. In the second row, we indicate the control, often the joystick or switch on the transmitter. For variable functions, such as joysticks and rotary knobs, you need to select the appropriate function - fortunately, the digital map in the transmitter is very clear, making it easy to find the right function. If you want to assign a switch, it's even easier - just briefly operate the relevant switch and the transmitter recognizes it automatically.


For a steering function, it might be convenient to use the trim switch which you can also assign in the third column. This way we can assign all 18 channels according to our preferences. Though typically, we always keep the first four channels available for sticks but with the Paladin transmitter, this is not necessary.

Reverse Function

Of course, it may be handy if your steering is reversed to quickly flip it - this can be done easily in the reverse menu. It’s as simple as enabling a checkbox for the respective channel, and the function moves in the opposite direction.


End Points

In addition to reversing the channel, it can be useful to ensure that your servo or controller does not move beyond what is necessary. Especially servos do not like it when they mechanically cannot go any further but are still being asked to do so. This often leads to the recognizable humming noise of a servo blocking. Fortunately, you can easily adjust this by limiting the signal in the maximum extent of the respective channel. For a servo, this can be adjusted by listening to the sound the servo makes when you steer fully, for example. If you hear the servo grinding, then the range is still too large. If it is quiet and silent at the end of its range, then it is set correctly.

We have now covered all basic functionality. The following sections will be mostly about the special functions used for hydraulic machinery and models with a lot of functions.

Servo Display

Now, of course, you'll want to be able to see whether you’ve applied the settings correctly or if you’ve forgotten something. Luckily, the PL18 is well prepared for this; in the Servo Display menu, you can quickly and clearly see the operation of all functions. You can also quickly test any changes without turning on your model.

Note: There is a servo test function in the transmitter that outputs all 18 channels simultaneously, if this happens in your real model, it can cause unfortunate situations. Therefore, use this function only in a test setup!

Pro Mixes

When working with hydraulics, we almost always have to use mixing functions in the transmitter. At first glance, this may seem daunting, but luckily the Paladin PL18 transmitter is everyone’s friend, so I will quickly guide you through.


  1. We start by assigning the pump to a free channel (for example, channel 10). Once we have done that, we control this channel with one of the rotary knobs. Personally, I prefer using the “VRA knob” (the leftmost rotary knob).
  2. We now assign the mixer to one of the valves on the sticks. Taking the big arm as an example on channel 11, we select Mix1 in the Pro Mixers. Do not forget the most important step of first activating the mixer. You can do this by assigning a switch or choose “close” under the switch function in this way your mixer is always active. If you leave it on "None (off)", then the mixer won't do anything
  3. In Mix1 we set the following
  4. Master = Func = “Big Arm”
  5. Slave = Func = “Hyd. Pump”
  6. Curve = Line Type = “3 Point /”
  7. We now see a red line diagonally across the screen. We're going to set the leftmost point to +70% and the rightmost point also to +70%. In this way, we create a nice V on the display.

Let's see how this affects our hydraulic pump in the Servo Display. You will see that the operation of the stick causes output from the hydraulic pump function. But you can also manually adjust it with the rotary knob if you need that extra power. Many people set their hydraulic pump far too high, which only causes unnecessary wear, energy consumption, and noise. It's better to run your pump at a lower pace; the exact mix percentages depend heavily on your model. A good starting value is 70% and you can slowly reduce it downward from there. This also ensures that if you use 2 functions or more simultaneously, the pump will produce more power due to them being summed.

You have now learned how to program hydraulic functions into the transmitter, let's take a look at how to control more functions with the transmitter and fully utilize its capabilities!



This might be one of the most advanced features of the transmitter. Through "conditions", we can use sticks and switches in a multi-layered system. In condition 1, typically called “Move Mode”, we generally set the basic functions of driving the specific model. In condition 2, we get “Work Mode”, which is mainly used for the technical functions within the model. Of course, you are completely free to structure this entirely according to your own wants. With the standard Paladin PL18, you have the option to add up to 5 states in the menu!

Switching Conditions

Switching “conditions” is done by assigning a switch to “work mode”. My preference is to use one of the red push buttons for this. Having assigned this, we can see in the display that C1 changes to C2 and vice versa, this stands for the different "conditions" the transmitter operates in. In some menus, the full "Move Mode" or "Work Mode" is displayed, but often this is only indicated by the small C1 or C2 icon.


Programming Conditions

Func Assign

Conditions mainly influence the operation of the transmitter, and this is also where they have the most impact. The “Func Assign” is special in this regard because you can have the assignment apply to both “conditions” or to just one. You can see this quickly by the color of the function. The small triangle in the lower right corner indicates whether it’s for all “conditions” (cyan) or only for the current “condition” (orange). At the top of the screen, we can see that we are currently setting the “Move mode”.


Pro Mixes

Unfortunately, the main mixer menu does not show which “condition” you are in, so make sure you know which “condition” is active before you start programming these mixers. You'll notice that if you've assigned the switch or chosen "close," when you change condition this option will disappear. Normally, we switch between driving the model without hydraulics and the truck-mounted crane, for example, where we do want the mixers for hydraulics.

When we are actually programming the mixer, we can see in which “condition” we are setting it in the transmitter. Again, you can set the conditions per “condition” to determine how the transmitter should respond.

Have fun with your new transmitter!

Now that everything is set up and you have read these Tips & Tricks in full, you are another step closer to becoming an experienced model builder. We all started somewhere and our hobby is filled with technology. I hope that you have become much wiser from this explanation and that you are now capable of programming the basics of the FlySky Paladin PL18 transmitter. Of course, not everything will work right away so make a backup of your settings that do work occasionally, so you retain the basis of a working configuration for your model.

In a follow-up Tips & Tricks, we will delve even deeper into the operation of this transmitter and we will also cover functions like the track mixer, hydraulic models with a controller without reverse, Expo functions, and much more. Will I see you there?


Regards, Arcee