Remote Controlled Cars - An Introduction

There are hundreds of different models of electric and gas remote controlled cars available today. Even so, you won't be overwhelmed with choices if you just read this article and follow our foolproof recommendations.

Electric vs. Gas

Your first decision, when approaching the subject of remote controlled cars, is deciding whether you want an electric motor or gasoline engine. There are distinct advantages between each type of power plant.

Before making this choice, you need to decide what type of terrain your vehicle will be operating in.

If you are going to be running your car in your backyard, an open field, or a local park, then an off-road "dune buggy" is your best choice. If you intend to operate on hard pavement, or a race track, then a more conventional vehicle is right for you.

While the electric models are generally less expensive than theirgas-powered counterparts, they typically run for only 10 minutes, or so, before requiring a recharge. If you're not operating near an AC power source then you'll need to buy extra batteries or a 12-Volt vehicle charger.

Electric motors run quieter than gas engines, if noise is a concern, but they are not as fast, nor do they generate as much torque as gas models.

Speed vs. Power

You'll find that remote controlled cars produce a tradeoff between speed and power. A powerful electric motor, with a well-tuned gear ratio, has almost mountain goat qualities when it comes to off road performance.

On the other hand, a nitro gas model will leave your electric car in the dust when it comes to racing performance.

Kits or RTR?

You can purchase remote controlled cars in either a kit, which you assemble yourself, or in Ready To Run (RTR) condition. A kit-based car provides an intense satisfaction if you are they type that enjoys working with your hands.

You also gain a valuable insight into the operation if your car when you put it together yourself. RTR vehicles, on the other hand, serve a great purpose for those of you who want an out-of-the-box experience and are all thumbs when it comes to using hand tools.

Type of Radio System

Generally you will encounter 2-channel radio systems in most modern remote controlled cars. The complete radio control system consists of 3 parts:

The transmitter sends the signals to the car that determine speed, direction, and any other features that your car has. You hold the transmitter in your hands.

The receiver is mounted in the car and receives the signals that are sent by the transmitter.

The servos, are also mounted in the car, are the devices that respond to the radio signals and operate the features of the car.

The two most popular types of transmitters are the pistol, which resembles an aircraft joy stick, or a 2-stick, which has two small "sticks" which resemble older video game controllers. The pistol grip is, by far, the most popular transmitter.

Budget Considerations

You can pay anywhere from under $20, for the mini-electric remote controlled cars, to several hundreds of dollars for a top-of-the-line Nitro-powered dragster. Most people start out with the low-priced models and then move up in price, features, and quality as their interest grows.

Groups and Clubs

There are many organizations, both formal and informal, that meet to support the needs of people involved with remote controlled cars. The clubs exist to share ideas, help each other solve problems, organize off-road competitions, and even plan races with trophies and other prizes.

Add to this the magazines and Internet-based user groups out there, and there is no shortage of helpful information available to guide you through the fun and exciting world of remote controlled cars.

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