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Toy RC helicopter with controller

A handheld radio transmitter controls the flight of this toy RC helicopter

Photo by M. James
Definition: In the world of Radio Controlled Vehicles, RC can stand for remote control (remote controlled) or radio control (radio controlled). The meanings of the terms are slightly different but they are often used interchangeably.

Wireless Control
RC as in radio controlled usually means that the operator has a wireless, hand-held controller that sends radio signals through the air to the vehicle to tell it to go, stop, turn, and do other maneuvers.

Wired Control
RC as in remote controlled is often meant to mean toy vehicles that have a wired, handheld controller. A tether line between the controller and vehicle transmits commands through the wires to the vehicle. Slot cars are also a type of remote control car with the wired controller connected to the slot car track instead of the vehicle.

Light Control
However, a remote control RC can also mean wireless radio controlled or optical (light) controlled vehicles, also known as infrared.

An RC with optical control or opti-control is a type of wireless, infrared remote controlled vehicle. While radio controlled toys communicate through radio signals, infrared or IR communicates through beams of light. This is quite similiar to the remote control on a television or DVD player.

RC Abbreviation
A radio controlled vehicle or a remote controlled vehicle (wired or wireless), especially a hobby-grade radio controlled vehicle is commonly referred to as an RC and might occasionally be called an RCV.

Also Known As: radio controlled | radio control | remote controlled | remote control
Alternate Spellings: R/C | R.C.

Tina Samuels
About.com Radio Controlled Vehicles

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