Remote Control Trucks: A Look Under the Hood

You may have seen the dozens of ads for remote control trucks on Saturday morning television.

There are literally hundreds of different vehicle types -- with different engines, performance levels and many other interesting details. You may have even wondered how remote control trucks and other rc vehicles function? Well here’s the answer!

While the actual mechanics of how they operate will differ somewhat from type to type, the basic principle is the same. All remote (radio) control products have four main parts.

These are:

  • The transmitter - This is the part that you hold in your hands, for controlling the rc trucks. It is what sends radio waves to the receiver.
  • The receiver - This is made up of an antenna and a circuit board inside the rc truck. It receives the signals from the transmitter, thus activating the motor(s) inside the vehicle as commanded by the transmitter.
  • The motor(s) - These are what turn the wheels, steer the remote control truck, etc.
  • The power source - This includes batteries or different types of fuels.

To make the system work, the transmitter sends a signal to the receiver, specifically telling it to do something. This signal is sent using radio waves.

The transmitter is usually a small, handheld device that includes some sort of controls for choosing what signal you wish to send. The transmitter’s radio waves are sent to the receiver in the radio control truck by way of a specific frequency.

The transmitter contains a power source, usually consisting of a 9-volt battery that provides power for the transmission of the control signals.

Most remote control trucks and other rc vehicles operate at either 27 MHz or 49 MHz. These frequencies have been allocated by the FCC for basic consumer items, such as garage door openers and walkie-talkies. Advanced rc models, such as the more sophisticated rc airplanes, use 72-MHz or 75-MHz frequencies.

To operate two different remote control trucks at the same time, you will need to be sure that they use different frequencies, or the signals will get mixed up.

Most manufacturers will provide very specific information concerning the exact portion of the frequency band in which their product operates. You can find this out before purchasing your remote control trucks.

Transmitters can range from single-function controllers, to controllers which provide a wide range of functions.

An example of a single-function rc truck would be to move forward. This is very rare in sophicated hobby level remote control trucks that use multi-function controllers instead.

An example of multi-functioned radio control trucks are those that have six controls:

  • Forward
  • Reverse
  • Forward and Left
  • Forward and Right
  • Reverse and Left
  • Reverse and Right

For most remote control trucks, not choosing any options on the controller causes the truck to stop and await further commands.

Controllers for more advanced rc systems often use dual joysticks with several levels of response for precise control.

So there you have it. The more you know about your remote control truck, the faster you'll be able to diagnose problems, obtain the right corrective solutions, and get it back on the track!

I hope this information on remote control trucks has been helpful. Click here for more great info about rc trucks and rc cars.