What is RC car and what is it capable of?
RC stands for remote control or radio control, but for this website I use remote control.Generally, RC cars can either be hobby-grade models or toys. Please kindly note that even toys can sometimes provide the simple fun that the more complicated hobby-grade cars fail to offer. There’s no clear boundary between hobby-grades and toys, since some toys now have proportional controls and 2.4 GHz transmitters. Toys or not is not that important, just enjoy the fun ride.
There are different types of RC vehicles, but they pretty much are built upon the same basic principles, and comprises of similar key components:
A transmitter is the unit that sends signals to the receiver, which then interprets the signal and guides the controller to make certain movements. In the early days the RC car transmitter was pretty much like video game console controllers, with joysticks and buttons. Then the gun-shaped design was introduced, with a wheel for steering and a trigger-like button for throttle. Nowadays almost all the RC car transmitters follow the same design, with minor differences. The AM transmitter has now given way to the 2.4 GHz ones with longer distance and better power efficiency.
Receiver is the unit that picks up the signal sent by transmitter. Usually the receiver is a separate unit, but in some cases it is part of an highly integrated unit, together with servo, and controller. The highly integrated design has been proven to be problematic, as you’ll have to replace the whole unit if any component is fried. Again most receivers operate in the bandwidth of 2.4 GHz.
For gas cars, the controller is usually integrated into the receiver, as the voltage level is pretty low and most of the electricity goes to power the servos, so there is usually no need for a bulky, separate controller unit. For electric cars, the dedicated controller is a vital component. It is responsible for not just powering the servo, but also managing juice for the motor. Considering the current and voltage as well as power outburst it has to handle, usually the controller come with its own cooling fans and fins. For more information on controllers, please refer to our article on controllers.
Motor and engine
These are the heart of the beast. Most of the RC cars have gone electric, with few still hanging on to the gas engine. Undeniably gas engine has its own charms: the roar and the mechanic feeling, yet the complexity (especially the tuning of needles) has been too intimidating to beginners. It is expected that gas engine will gradually be phased out as battery and electric motor make headways, just like what’s going on in the transport sector. Electric motor, which is far quieter, efficient and cleaner, with power source readily available, has so much more advantages over the gas engine.
Basically there are two types of power sources: electricity and gas. In the gas department there are another two types: Methanol (model fuel) and petrol. Like I mentioned before, most of the RC cars have gone electric, and more will join the club soon.
Types of RC cars
Types vary, but generally include: Cars (racers) Monster truck Buggy Truck Tank Among others.