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1) Hacking cheap RC car's and removing their RC cricuits. Seems doable, but I would assume they would have bad interference with each other. I have done this for single RC cars before though.
2) Buy premade trancievers such as ( http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10153 ) and building a circuit around them. These don't look like they're very simple to setup, and it's new territory me.
3) Shell out the $100-200 for the big boy ones. Price!
I realize I might be a little confused as to what you are trying to do. Do you want the cars to communicate with each other, or do you want humans to control a lot of cars?Because there are cheap RC transmitters that will be more than you need for just controlling the cars.
[...] Soeren, would you recommend any particular frequency? Or does that even matter?
I guess the IT person in me is hesitant to use something on 2.4 because there's so much stuff barfing signals on that frequency, but I guess so long as the transmitters handle that IDC.
Also, I couldn't find a datasheet/manual for that link. Are you sure it would be viable for concurrent numbers up to I dunno, 20 max? Also, I didn't know they were that cheap. I thought they were closer to $40 per transmitter/receiver ($80 a set) that this changes things. Any other sites you'd recommend?
I would assume we would host the event inside a school with the likes of bluetooth/802.11/etc rampant all around us. Specifically the Eng building of a major university. If that could cause an issue.