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A Beginners Guide To Radio Controlled Cars

In Todays post I wanted to provide a overview of radio controlled, also known as R/C, cars and trucks for beginners or those looking to begin the hobby.

5 Types of R/C Cars

Street Cars

If your looking to run your car on pavement or roads then this is the car for you! Most standard r/c street cars are built to withstand the pavements terrain without facing any obstacles.

Drift Cars

Do you want to negotiate a smooth turn with over steer like gliding on ice? Then a r/c drift car is your best choice, generally most r/c cars come 4 wheel drive. For a beginner drifting a 4 wheel drive car will be sufficient to learn as having power also to the front wheels helps prevent spin.

Buggies and Truggies

The hybrid of a r/c truck and car is called a buggy or truggy. These types of vehicles are off road and can bear the brunt of tough terrain like dirt tracks and roads. They carry a lower center of gravity than their lifted truck counterparts meaning less time spent going to flip your car back over after a roll over and is perfect for off road and dirt track races.


If you want to bash, jump or stunt then a truck will be your best fit. Due to their suspension capabilities and many upgrades these trucks can take on various abuses and keep on driving. Our two shop R/C MDs have put their trucks through every ringer they could find, if you need a good recommendation on which brand to purchase just ask them!

Rock Crawler

If your wanting to climb rocks, crawl through creeks, trail through the woods then a rock crawler may be in your future. Rock crawlers are built to conquer any type of terrain like a boss with their raw power, torque, design and suspension.

How R/C Cars Work

Cars with a remote control have 4 basic parts:

  • Transmitter: This is the part that you operate in your hands in order to control the car. The transmitter sends radio waves to the receiver

  • Receiver: There is a circuit board and an antenna within the toy that accepts the signals that are sent by the transmitter and instantly activates the toy’s motors.

  • Motor: It is the motor(s) that can steer the car, turn the wheels and help the propellers to operate.

  • Power source: Without a source of power, the entire process is impossible.

With the help of radio waves, the transmitter sends control signals to the remote control car’s receiver which in turn drives the motor leading to action.

Now if you press a button on the transmitter to make the car move forward or backward, there is a contact between a pair of electrical devices. The receiver again identifies these signals and sends them to the circuit board.

Scale Sizes of R/C Cars

Scale refers to the size of the RC vehicle in regards to it’s full size counterpart. So, 1:1 would mean the vehicle is exactly the same size as the real thing. A scale of 1/10 would mean that the RC car is 1/10 the size of the real thing, 1/8 would mean 1/8 the size, and so on.

Here is a list of the most popular scales currently available (from smallest to largest):

• 1/32 Scale • 1/24 Scale • 1/18 Scale • 1/16 Scale • 1/14 Scale • 1/12 Scale • 1/10 Scale • 1/8 Scale • 1/4 Scale • 1/5 Scale

R/C Car Types

There are 2 types of remote-controlled cars in the market – the Ready-to-Run kit or the Build Your Own kits.

– Ready To Run (RTR Kit)

Do you want to have a vehicle ready to drive directly out of the box? If yes then a RTR kit is for you. With this kit after you purchase and unbox it all you have to do is charge the batteries and your ready to drive.

RTR kits don’t require any installation and are more akin to plug and play. These kits are the most beginner friendly for those focused on getting out and driving as quickly as possible.

– Build-your-own RC car kit

Would you prefer to get the opportunity to design your own car with features and add ons? Then a build your own kit may be more your style.

This process can be difficult for individuals with little to no experience, as there are fine measurements and procedures that need to be observed when building an RC vehicle as well as can be tedious.

These kits are constructed by the user from the ground up, meaning owners can modify and tune their R/C to their exact specifications wanted which is something Ready To Run kits don’t provide.

Hobby Grade vs Toy Grade and Pricing

A toy grade R/C car isn’t meant to be taken apart, if something fails or breaks the ultimately you are left with few options short of replacing the car completely, they are generally less powerful and are not as sturdy as their Hobby Grade counterparts.

Hobby Grade generally has more upgraded parts and parts are readily available should something need replacing or upgrading including tires, lights, shocks, bodies ect.

The beginner hobby-grade cars have lot more power as compared to toy-grade cars and hence they’re costlier. Hobby grade can range anywhere from $100 to over $900 whereas toy R/C cars range from $35 to $150 or more.

RC Car motors – The Two Types

There are two types of electric R/C motors you will find for sale, brushed and brushless. Though similar in function there is still differences between the two.

Brushed RC Motor

These motors have wire windings which are attached to a central shaft. As the current is applied, the windings spin with the shaft. Magnets are also permanent and fixed on the inside of the brushed motor.

Electric power is accepted by the motor via 2 negative and positive brushes hence the name “brushed”. Then frictional force is generated by the brush and the communicator, thus making the motor less effective over time.

These motors are more affordable but do wear out faster and are less powerful than their brushless counterparts.

Brushless RC motor

Brushless motors do not need a physical commutator like brushed do, due to no commutator brushless motors can be maintained easier and last over longer periods of time. Bearings can also last for a longer time with these motors.

Due to the mechanics within a brushless motor they are more efficient and also faster than brushed, one of the reasons many opt for brushless over brushed.

Batteries of R/C Cars

  • Alkaline: This type is non-rechargeable and they are used in AA batteries and TV remotes and transmitters.

  • NiMH: The full form of this acronym is Nickel Metal Hydride. This is rechargeable and can be maintained easily.

  • Ni-Cd: Nickel Cadmium. These are rechargeable and this type is said to be non eco-friendly and they suffer from a memory effect.

  • LiPo: The full form of this is Lithium-ion polymer. These types are light in weight but higher in energy density. They have a shorter lifetime as compared to NiMH.

The low-end RC cars usually come with a cheap NiMH battery and the high-class models usually don’t come with chargers and batteries which will need to be a additional purchase. Our store offers a wide variety of batteries and chargers to fit your needs as well as can teach you battery safety.


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