If you’re looking for an exciting hobby that will help you escape your everyday life, look no further than remote control (RC) cars. Though you may think of it as something for kids at first, the truth is that adults also indulge in running an RC car. There is no age for starting to enjoy RC racing. You can either go for ready-to-run cars from any RC shop or online hobby shop or build your own model car by choosing the right kit and tools.
How do I choose an RC car? – you may ask. To help you make a good choice, there are a few things you should know that will help you understand RC cars better.
How Does an RC Car Work?
Regardless of the car type, all RC cars have several basic components that are crucial for the car to run. There are 4 basic components that every RC car needs to have to work properly. Let’s check them in more detail.
You control the RC car with a transmitter. The transmitter works by sending radio waves to the receiver in the car. More precisely, the transmitter is the remote control, which is powered by batteries and has control buttons or keys that you use to send signals to the receiver.
This component is the antenna that you see on the car. Every car has a receiver, regardless of whether it’s a basic toy or a professional racing RC car. In fact, the antenna is only one half of the receiver, while the other half is the circuit board located inside the car. These two receive the signals from the transmitter together and allow you to control the car.
The motor is the powerhouse of the car as it allows you to move it. Some more complex RC cars need more than one motor since they do a lot more than just move and turn.
For the 3 above-mentioned components to do their job, every RC car needs a power source. From basic rechargeable batteries in some simpler cars to gas-powered engines in advanced models, an RC car can’t be run without a good power source.
Types of RC Cars
If you can’t decide between on-road and off-road racing, any well-stocked RC shop offers a range of buggies that would be a great choice for you. Buggies are designed to work both on smooth surfaces and uneven terrain. They are the second-fastest on-road cars, but the slowest off-road, due to their low wheelbase.
If you like the idea of an RC buggy, but you are looking for something more rough and sturdy, an RC truggy is what you should look for. In fact, truggies are more for off-road, but they can still be used on smooth surfaces. They take the frame of a buggy but put monster truck tyres on them.
Trucks, or also known as monster trucks, are excellent off-road but pretty slow on-road RC vehicles. If you want to make high speed turns, they may slip a lot. Get a monster truck if you like driving in the woods or in the grass.
If you want something average, go for a street car. This type of RC vehicle is meant to be driven across smooth surfaces. So, if you are looking for something that you can drive in your backyard, this may not be the right choice for you.
These cars may be powered by both electricity and nitro fuel. Electricity-powered models are as small as 1/10 or 1/12 in terms of scale. Nitro-fueled models, on the other hand, are 1/8 or 1/10.
Street cars have a tiny shape and wheels. This design allows them to reach super high speeds, thus making them wildly popular with racing enthusiasts.
Drift cars are pretty similar to street cars, with the main difference being their slicker tyres. These cars are slightly modified in terms of components in order to allow the car to be light enough to drift easily.
Drift cars are great if your regular cars bore you and you want to drive fast. However, know that drifting is hard, so you may have some trouble getting used to it in the beginning.
Nitro Vs. Electric
There are 2 main types of propulsion for RC cars – nitro and electric cars. Nitro cars use miniature internal combustion engines that usually need a special brew of nitromethane methanol and oil. These engines require maintenance and servicing, so be ready to get your hands dirty. Plus, they make a lot of noise and for this reason, many tracks in suburban areas may not allow their usage.
On the other hand, electric RC cars run on batteries, which is why they are cheaper. They generally have faster acceleration than their nitro counterparts. When it comes to maintaining an RC car, electric models require less maintenance than nitro cars. When looking for an electric RC car, you’ll encounter two kinds of electric motors available for them – brushed and brushless. Each type of motor has its own type of ESC (electronic speed controller). Typically, brushed electric motors and their ESC’s are cheap, but they are also quite inefficient and lack power. On the flip side, brushless motors are powerful, efficient, fast, and last much longer than their brushed counterparts. They don’t have an expiration date, as opposed to brushed motors that typically last about 6 months to a year. When it comes to the visual characteristics between the two, brushless motors are completely sealed and have 3 wires, whereas brushed motors have ventilation holes and 2 wires.