Radio Controlled Vehicles: Most Popular Articles
What to do when your RC won't respond to the transmitter.
RC toys are suitable for almost anyone, but an entry level RC car or truck has features suitable for those new to radio controlled vehicles.
Sometimes it's something simple that's keeping your RC from running. When troubleshooting an RC that's not running, look for the simple, obvious problems before tearing it completely apart.
Avoid radio frequency interference problems with toy grade RC cars and trucks. Learn how to choose toy RC cars and trucks based on their frequency.
These free RC airplane plans are generally more suitable for intermediate to advanced RC modelers. The aircraft often require more individual components and complex construction, for more realistic scale models.
The Tamiya Tractor Truck series of radio controlled big rigs are available as unassembled kits. You have to build them yourself.
If you want to hone your RC airplane or glider skills, flight simulation software lets you do it in any kind of weather and you can even fly outdoor planes in the house -- virtually, that is. Don't risk hurting your RC airplane by learning to fly it on your PC first. These RC airplane flight simulators feature either RC airplane models only, or both airplanes and helicopters.
These free RC airplane plans feature fairly simple construction techniques. Good for beginning modelers. The plans are not necessarily beginner planes for flying, but the construction process is less complicated than some RC airplanes.
Download a demo or get some free flight simulators to help you learn how to master RC flight. Find free versions and demo or trial editions of RC flight simulators for airplanes and helicopters.
There are two speeds associated with radio controlled vehicles: scale speed and actual speed. Some manufacturers, in a bid to capitalize on the perceived superiority of really fast cars, will list the scale speed rather than the actual speed of the RC. It can make a normal car seem faster than it really is.
Toy-grade RCs are generally not as durable or long-lasting as hobby-grade models. What can you do when a sentimental favorite toy RC goes on the fritz?
A gas RC may use gasoline or it might use nitro fuel. You need to know what kind of engine is in the RC vehicle to know what kind of fuel to use. The non-electric RCs sold in hobby shops are usually nitro RCs that use nitro fuel, not gasoline.
When looking at an electric RC next to a nitro RC, they may look very different. But there are quite a few similarities. The key differences come, not from appearances, but from actual operation. Compare two hobby-grade stadium trucks -- one electric and one nitro -- side-by-side. Page 3.
A listing of free foam planes that have their plans available for download.
Tired of looking at the same old paint job? Before you pick up just any old kind of spray paint or can of paint and slap it on your RC, make sure it's the right kind.
RC engine size or displacement is measured in cubic centimeters (cc) or cubic inches (ci). In terms of RC engines, displacement is the volume of space a piston travels through during a single stroke.
Proper nitro engine break-in is critical for long-lasting performance of your RC. Every new nitro engine should undergo a break-in procedure. If you do nitro engine break-in properly, the up-keep on your RC vehicle is less costly than if the procedure is done hastly and incorrectly. Be patient.
A listing of free airplane plans for download from the About.com Radio Controlled Vehicles site.
Learn to master the intricate flight controls of an RC helicopter without risking your very expensive RC helicopter in your inexperienced hands. These RC helicopter flight simulator software programs feature either RC helicopter models only, or both helicopters and airplanes.
Nitro or glow engines use nitro fuel but it's actually a mixture of fuel and air that goes into the engine. The right fuel/air mixture keeps the engine running at its best. The wrong mixture can cause overheating, excessive wear, or cause the engine to stall. This fuel/air mixing takes place in the carburetor.
Many RC racers rely entirely on their own backyard tracks or simply racing their friends at local parks. But to prepare for and participate in serious competitions you may want to use a more official race track.
To start a nitro RC you need to turn on the transmitter switch then receiver switch, add fuel, prime the engine (get fuel to the carburetor), ignite the glow plug, then start the engine by rotating the flywheel. There are three main ways to start the nitro engine: pull start, bump start, electric start.
Wood, plastic, foam... there are many different materials that RC airplanes are constructed from.
The type and amount of oil in the nitro fuel is what determines whether it is better suited to RC cars and trucks or aircraft.
If you buy a Ready-to-Run kit or toy-grade RC submarine chances are you will have everything you need in the box, already assembled. Some kits even include the batteries. To build an RC submarine model, you can either purchase a kit that contains most (but rarely all) of the parts or purchase everything separately and start from scratch.
You turn it on but it won't go anywhere. Perhaps you can turn left and right but the RC just won't move. What can you do?
New Bright produces radio control and remote control vehicles, train sets, and electric toys and accessories. Ranging in size from a big 1:5 to a hand-size 1:43 scale, in addition to cars, trucks, and jeeps there are several boats and motorcycles. New Bright Toys include officially licensed Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, and Chevrolet products.
Radio frequency used in RC vehicles
A look at some of the top places you can browse in 2014 to get free rc airplane plans, including foam planes and balsa planes.
Nitro RCs are fun to have but are also a serious hobby. If you are considering buying a nitro-powered RC vehicle you need to know that there are significant differences between electric and nitro RCs.
Delta wing craft mix up ailerons and elevators. Page 7.
A look at different venues that a racer may find a used RC vehicle for purchase, including auctions, online classifieds, and race events.
Bind-N-Fly or BNF is an Horizon Hobby trademark for a specific kind of Ready-to-Fly (RTF) RC aircraft that uses DSM technology. Learn more about Bind-N-Fly -- how it works and what RC airplanes and RC helicopters come in BNF versions.
In RC vehicles, frequency is the specific radio signal sent from the transmitter to the receiver to control the vehicle. In toy-grade RCs, the frequency is normally a set channel within the 27MHz or 49MHz frequency range. There is a greater variety of channels and additional frequencies available in hobby-grade vehicles. These are the most common frequencies used in both toy and hobby RC vehicles in the United States. Frequencies may vary in other countries.
When using spray paint in cans to paint your RC body, follow these tips to help improve your painting.
Scale is a common term in the hobby and sport of RC vehicles.
RCs have two types of antennas. There's an antenna on the transmitter or controller that sends messages to the RC and one on the receiver (in the RC vehicles) that receives those messages. Learn the basics of installing and using those radio antennas with your RC.
Not all nitro fuel is created equal. Switching fuels improve performance or mess up your nitro engine. Find out how to do it right.
Modding a nitro engine means that you are making a modification that is or seems to make the engine better than factory specs. Modding goes beyond simply tuning your nitro engine. It involves making physical changes the engine itself.
It's always fun when you can combine radio controlled vehicles with another activity that kids love -- and make it educational too. LEGOS, those plastic building blocks that provide endless hours of entertainment make building your own RC a snap. Elenco and Learning Resources also have cool construction sets that allow novice mechanics from 4 to 16 to experience the fun of building their own car without any automotive expertise.
Foamy plans for building RC airplanes out of Depron or other types of foam construction.
When you buy an RC car or truck kit the body is often unpainted. You can also purchase new unpainted bodies to replace the one that came with your kit or your ready-to-run RC. Before you whip out the spraypaint cans or the airbrush, you have to get those bodies ready to accept the paint. Poor prep can ruin an otherwise fantastic paint scheme.
In the RC hobby, flying RC helicopters is often considered the hardest RC skill to master. This might make the marketing claims for easy-to-fly toy RC helicopters hard to understand. The difference is in the design of the helicopters, the controls used for flying, and the range of movement and aerobatics that the helicopter is capable of performing.
Since I started the RC hobby I bought RCs both toy-grade and hobby-grade to see if they go as fast as advertised. If the RCs didn't go fast enough for my liking, I modified them to do just that, go fast. An RC dragster is a fast RC. Find out what it takes to build an RC dragster.
Joining an RC club in your area is not a prerequisite for enjoying the RC hobby but it is a great way to meet other radio control enthusiasts.
Compare prices and compare features on these different RC construction vehicles aimed at different age groups. The simplest are typically wired and have very basic movements and fanciful colors or features. Others are radio control and have more complex movements and more realistic detailing. Page 2.
Getting Your Gear Ratios and Slipper Just Right on your Radio Controlled Vehicle.
Anything fullsize trucks can do, RC trucks can do too. That includes RC truck and tractor pulling competitions.
Oil-filled shock absorbers give RC cars and RC trucks more stability over rough terrain. When you feel that your shock absorbers aren't performing properly you can check the fluid level and add more shock oil to the shocks.
The market for radio controlled toys these days is huge. But before you go out and buy a toy RC car or truck for the “underage” driver in your home, make sure that it’s one they can handle and will also hold their attention.
DSM or 'Digital Spectrum Modulation' is a new radio technology recently adapted to the RC vehicles world.
Modifying New Bright toy RCs is a popular pasttime. The New Bright RC snowmobile seems to be a very mod-friendly vehicle.
There are a few track designing programs that are very helpful when it comes to designing your own track layouts.
There's nothing like the glow of a nitro. Strictly hobby-grade, nitro-powered RCs cost more and require a larger commitment of time and skill but many hobbiests would have nothing less. Learn all about buying, running, and maintaining nitro RC cars, trucks, and other radio controlled vehicles.
Produced and distributed by RadioShack, XMODS RC Cars are 1:28th scale electric radio controlled cars.
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Send unsuspecting visitors or co-workers scampering with one of these radio controlled toys, perfect for Halloween or anytime you want to pull a prank.
From 1:24 scale to tiny HO scale, there is a size of slot car to fit all needs.
Some people may think of moving up from RC toys to hobby-grade RCs as a chance to step up to the speed and power of nitro. But there's plenty of speed and power in a hobby-grade electric. They may run on batteries just like toy RCs, but most of the similarities end there.
A look at simple questions that the beginning RCer should know the answers to prior to getting into the hobby.
The Traxxas 4-Tec 2.5 Nitro 1:10 Scale 4-wheel drive on-road sedan is quickly becoming more popular on the street racing circut. Sporting the powerful TRX 2.5 engine, the 4-Tec blows the competition away with an average top speed of 60+ MPH which is more than twice as fast as its closest competition.
Infrared RC toy vehicles are fun and popular little toys, often small enough to enclose in your fist. Cars, trucks, helicopters, and even tanks may come in infrared versions. There are both benefits and drawbacks to infrared technology applied to RC toys.
Consider getting one of these RCFOs -- radio controlled flying objects -- for all your skywatching friends.
Free RC Jet plane plans that are available for download.
Authentic details on a smaller scale...
Various biplanes that are available for free download to builders wishing to create their own RC flight plane.
Radio controlled toys are controlled by a hand-held transmitter. Look inside several typical RC toy transmitters and see what they contain. Examine the circuit board, find the crystal, see how the switches, toggles, or buttons operate. Page 5.
Airbrushing is a painting technique using a special tool called an airbrush which sprays a mixture of air and paint. RC vehicle bodies are often airbrushed. Single-action or double-action airbrush refers to what type of triggering system is used for the airbrush tool.
Toy RC frequency. Radio Controlled Vehicles.
As I view these videos on what seems to me how to crash a jet and look good doing it a new RC business
If you have a pull-start nitro RC and the cord is stuck, here's what you can do...
rc toys, modifications, mods, upgrades, broken rc toys, radio controlled vehicles
A few of the free military plane plans available for download.
The Grasshopper has been around for many years. The latest kit version is a good kit for kids and for first-time RC builders of any age. Not only is the kit easy to build, it creates a fast, fun radio controlled off-road racer.
Want to see what's inside a typical radio controlled toy truck? Follow along as I do a teardown of a New Bright Radio Controlled Jeep. Learn where to look if you want do repairs to an RC toy or find out what you can salvage from an old RC. Page 8.
Whether gliding gracefully across the pond or kicking up plumes of water in their wake as they shoot from shore to shore, RC boats provide hours of outdoor RC entertainment. Learn the basics of types of RC boats, power options, hull designs, and the best RC powerboats for beginners.
Water + electricity + dirt = big mess if you don't properly prepare your RC for water, snow, and mud.
Soldering has many applications including the building and repair of radio controlled vehicles. For radio controlled vehicle hobbyists soldering is mostly used in making repairs and modifications to electric RCs.
Masking is a technique used to cover areas of an RC body that you don't want painted a certain color or that are to be left clear. There are several different masking materials that can be used to accomplish this task.
My list of pros and cons for the 1:36 scale electric Team Losi Micro-T Stadium Truck. Page 2.
Trim isn't about taking scissors and snipping off part of the plane -- well not usually. It's about making adjustments so your RC airplane flies right.
FMS from Roman and Michael Mõller allows you to virtually learn to fly RC models. Browse a gallery of screenshots from this flight simulation software.
Tyco RC, part of the Mattel family of toys, is a major producer of RC toys. Terrain Twister, Shell Shocker, Street Beat Ready to Run RCs, a variety of Batman RCs, Stuntsters, and RC motorcycles are among the many RC toys from Tyco R/C.
While Transcendental Technologies offers multiple RC helicopter editions, the standard edition of PRE-Flight features several kinds of aircraft. Browse a gallery of screenshots from the demo download of PRE-Flight fight simulators.
Just like a real car, RC cars and trucks require regular maintenance. After running your RC for a while you have to perform after-run maintenance. All radio controlled vehicles -- electric and nitro -- need after-run maintenance but some of the steps here apply only to nitro engines.
This 2-wheel drive gas-powered buggy is an almost perfect example of a ready-to-run 1:5 scale big boy toy. It's big, easy to maintain, and comes with everything you need to get started racing -- except for batteries and fuel.
Tyco R/C, part of the Mattel family of toys, is a major producer of RC toys. In the RC car category, some of the major Tyco RC product lines include Drift King, 6V Auto Show, Dropstars, and West Coast Customs.
Getting into the RC hobby requires a time and money commitment as well as a passion for radio controlled vehicles. Find out what it takes to buy and own RC vehicles.
The hull is about more than just good looks. The shape of the hull affects the speed, stability, and maneuverability of the RC boat. Flat-bottom, monoplane or monohull and hydroplane are hull designs for RC boats. Page 3.
First released in 1984, The Grasshopper was a popular kit for young modelers and first-time RC owners before ready-to-run became the norm. The re-release is still a great entry-level kit for new modelers and RC enthusiasts of all ages. With only a few hitches along the way I (a first time RC kit builder) built the car in one day, painted it the next. It looks good, runs perfectly.
After running your nitro RC for a while you have to perform after-run maintenance. Part of that after-run maintenance includes lubricating the pistons and all the internal parts by adding after-burn oil to the nitro engine cylinder head.
Nitro is a common term in the hobby and sport of RC vehicles.
Changing out the motor on an electric RC is fairly simple. You might want to change the motor because the old one is dead, you want more power, or you need more torque. Whatever your reason, learn how to replace the motor on a hobby-grade electric RC.
Combine model building with electronics and mechanics by building a radio controlled or infrared remote controlled vehicle. Kits from Revell, Elenco, and LEGO Systems help teens learn about radio systems, motors, circuitry, robotics, and even soldering while building their own RC vehicle.
Just about any kind of vehicle comes in an RC version, including those big yellow construction vehicles you see building highways and breaking ground for homes and office buildings. Find out what to look for when buying remote control and radio control construction toys for kids including dump trucks, bulldozers, and forklifts.
Creep, crawl, and climb those rocks with an RC rock crawler. RC rock crawling isn't a fast-paced sport but is fast growing in popularity. Learn the basics of what to look for in an RC rock crawler vehicle.
This is no wimpy, slower version of its bigger 1:10 scale brother. The 1:16 Scale Traxxas E-Revo is a speedy little off-road truck.
Most RC cars and trucks have three-part tires: wheel or rim, foam inserts, rubber tires. Although the parts all fit together nicely, glue helps keep the inserts inside and the tires on the rim.
Regulates power to the motor... Radio Controlled Vehicles.
Most hobby-grade RC helicopters take a lot of skill to fly. They are not really geared towards beginners. But there are some less fancy, moderately-priced alternatives that let kids and novice RC pilots experience the thrill of flying without requiring a great deal of dexterity or knowledge of the mechanics of flight. These models usually combine small size with simple 2 or 3 channel controls. Many have ringed rotary blades for added safety. Some, however, can be quite challenging.
A comparison of the Scalextric and the Carrera slot car tracks for RC racers.
RC Submarines range in size from little bathtub or aquarium toys for in-home exploration to subs that are as big as your bathtub designed for deep sea (or at least deep lake) exploration. Learn the basics of radio controlled submarines.
Answer 10 questions related to performing after-run maintenance on an RC vehicle.
Stumped for a gift? Give someone a gift that's fun, educational, or perhaps a little quirky. Radio controlled toys make great gifts. For girls, gadget guys, couples, and others find the perfect RC gift ideas.
From airplanes and helicopters that fit in your hand to tiny desktop racers that make your stapler look like a giant, here are a selection of some the smallest radio controlled and remote controlled toy vehicles.
If your nitro engine isn't getting a sufficient supply of fuel or the fuel has become contaminated it affects engine performance. Try some of these fuel system checks, replacing parts of the fuel system as necessary.
If you are seriously interested in building scale RC helicopters but don't know where to start or how to proceed, the book Building Scale Helicopters takes you through the entire process quite nicely.
Is your RC heavy or is it a light-weight? Weight has a part in overall performance of an RC vehicle. To improve performance you could add bigger motors, alloy metal parts, big tires, even larger gas tanks are nice to have for a nitro RC. However, some RC racers forget that bigger is not always better. Those shiny, colorful parts look cool but they can sometimes cause a drop in optimal performance because they change the weight of the RC.
One of the hottest sort of radio controlled gadget is the robot and there are some pretty cool RC robots just waiting to strut their stuff and take your commands. From robotic animals to sci-fi characters and superheroes, there's a robot toy for everyone.
RC aerodynamics work much like full scale aircraft. Learn the basics of RC aerodynamics here.
This is a great activity for a group of people with RCs. Page 3.
From metal alloy/aluminum to ABS/Nylon rims there is a wide variety to choose from. However, are they for looks or can they bring your RCs performance to a screeching halt.
As far as I can remember Tamiya Inc. has played a major part in the RC world. I remember as a kid when I would go to my local hobby shop, I would see the shelves lined with Tamiya RC kits. The Lunchbox, Blackfoot, Monster Beetle, The Frog, The Hornet, and the awe-inspiring juggernaut The Clod Buster are only a few that I could recall checking out. I would stand there at the counter and marvel at what I would say is Tamiya's biggest achievement The Bruiser Toyota scale off-road RC.
This international toy manufacturer (that has since filed for Bankruptcy) produced a range of indoor and outdoor toys for preschoolers to teens and even adults. Teaming up with brands like Little Tikes and General Motors, Planet Toys produced radio control cars for all ages including the colorful Little Tikes Radio Control Cars for preschoolers and full function RCs for slightly older kids.
The crystal in an RC isn't a diamond or emerald. It sets the frequency of the radio signal that the RC uses to communicate.
: How Do You Build An RC Drag Strip? Depending on what you want to do you can go the easy route, which
Thread lock or thread locking compound is a (usually) non-permanent adhesive used on metal fasteners such as set screws and motor mounts. Thread lock is especially useful on nitro RCs and RC helicopters because there is a lot of screw-loosening vibration.
The new Traxxas Rustler XL-5 is a great choice for beginners and advanced RC users alike. It has been a long time since there has been this many upgrades to one of the best RC trucks on the market. Everything about the redesigned Rustler seems to measure up and surpass its older model standards.
Electric motors with little brushes inside...
Although I've owned many hobby-grade RC vehicles, I'd never had an RC motorcycle until now. The Thunder Tiger Ducati 999R Testastretta is a 1:5 scale ready-to-run nitro motorcycle. It comes assembled with radio, charger, and even a rider.
There are many ways to keep rims and tired together, what are they and which is better? It all depends on what type of racing you are doing. Some types of tires and rims are better than others depending on the application.
The government, business, and scientists use cameras and RC airplanes and helicopters for aerial photography, surveillance, and other noble pursuits. But there are ways for individuals to combine cameras and RC vehicles for both practical and entertaining uses around the home.
Build Jurassic Park in your backyard with remote controlled robotic dinosaurs. These RC dinosaurs can walk and run and respond to sights and sounds they encounter. Some varieties can interact with each other or with other robots in the same family. Use the remote control to have the RC dinosaur perform a variety of actions, go on the hunt, explore, or stand guard.
A long time frontrunner in the manufacture of radio controlled toys, NIKKO has dozens of RC cars and trucks and a few boats and aircraft as well. They produce everything from tough and colorful RCs with basic controls for preschool and elementary age children to highly detailed, officially licensed cars with more options for the older kids. Most NIKKO RCs are in the 1:10 to 1:32 range and are high quality RC toys.
While many magazines devote themselves almost exclusively to airplanes, helicopters, and boats, for beginner to professional RC enthusiasts interested mostly in cars and trucks, there are only a few major publications that focus primarily on reviews and tutorials of RC land vehicles.
The most difficult part of the entire kit was putting together those rear tires with their three-part rims. I confess that I gave up and asked for help. Then I spent another 30 minutes trying to get them screwed together properly. Page 23.
Cleaning the air filter is part of the after-run maintenance needed to keep your nitro RC at optimal performance. Here's how to clean the air filter and add air filter oil.
The New Bright RC Trucks in this gallery are representative of what's currently available. Selection and colors will vary from store to store with both newer and older models available on shelves or online. New Bright Full Function Radio Control Trucks (including Jeep, Land Rover, and Hummer) are recommended for ages 4 and up.
RC cars on the gaming console or computer screen won't replace real RC racing. But they're fun and allow you to drive in places you can't go in real life.
Learn what hobby-grade RCs are. Radio Controlled Vehicles.
Racing without rules... Radio Controlled Vehicles.
For something a little different... here are some off-the-wall ways to recycle old broken radio controlled toys.
Although silicone tubing used in nitro engines has many auxiliary uses, it's primary use is to deliver fuel. A typical nitro engine has two lengths of tubing. One runs from the fuel tank to the carburetor (sometimes with an inline fuel filter in between). Another piece of tubing, called the air pressure line, runs from the fuel tank to the exhaust or tuned pipe. It helps to pressurize the fuel tank so that the fuel flows better through the fuel line to the carburetor.
Browse a gallery of images for a few RC construction toys to see some of the features, including different kinds of controllers for remote control, radio control, and push button toy dump trucks, earth movers, fork lifts, and cement trucks. Page 4.
Learn RC vehicle terminology, including RTR.
Attaching the wheels is straightforward, just be sure to put the rear tires on in the correct direction and tighten all your screws. Page 25.
There are many names for a glow plug igniter: glow plug warmer, starter, heater, or driver as well as different types of glow plug igniters used to start nitro RC engines. Find out how they differ.
New Bright produces radio controlled Hummer H2, H3, and H3T vehicles in several colors and sizes. You can find a Hummer in the Mud Slingers and Pro Dirt series as well as others such as the mellow yellow H3 pictured here. . Page 22.
Keep your gears lubricated. Radio Controlled Vehicles. Page 11.
In the RC hobby, channel has two meanings, both somewhat related to the transmitter.
RC aircraft frequency. Radio Controlled Vehicles.
A series of step-by-step tutorials from Team Fast Eddy on building the kit version of the HPI Baja 5B SS. Tutorials follow the instructions page by page and show all the steps for assembling this radio controlled vehicle from HPI.
The Traxxas Stampede XL-5 is the newest brushed motor version of this popular RC monster truck. Discover the major upgrades and changes to the chassis, transmission, drivetrain, suspension, and engine of the Stampede XL-5.
A water-cooled system, as the name implies, is a way to cool down an engine using water (or other coolant). It's sometimes used on nitro-powered RC boats. But is it possible or even desirable to do so with a nitro RC car or truck?
Since it was introduced in 2000, the Traxxas T-Maxx monster truck has enjoyed on-going popularity. But there are things that T-Maxx owners need to do to alleviate a few shortcomings that result in recurring problems with engine performance, stability, and durability. Take these steps prior to running your T-Maxx for the first time -- even before performing an engine break-in.
The Team Associated SC10 Short Course RC Truck is a 1:10 scale 2WD electric offroad race truck. You can have your pick of either a RTR or kit version. This is a review of the kit version of the SC10 RC truck.
You have to supply a transmitter, receiver, crystal set, steering servo, and battery pack. Page 3.
Monster trucks excel in rough off-road terrain but can handle most any surface. Spewing dirt, climbing rocks, and doing jumps off ramps and hills make monster trucks an RC favorite. Of all the 1:8 and 1:10 scale Ready-to-Run nitro monster trucks on the market, About.com readers favor these few by a wide margin.
These helium-filled radio controlled airships glide around your living room. Most are easy enough for kids 8 and above to operate.
The Grasshopper RC kit comes with an Electronic Speed Controller with forward and reverse. Page 16.