The RC car is almost every boy’s dream toy apart from video games. You likely saw it in your early morning cartoons and even grew up wishing for one. Adults also enjoy this amazing toy, and you’ll surprise yourself with how complex they are.
RC cars are complex objects that are made up of a combination of many different plastics, aluminum, and some silicon parts. Their major parts include radio control, receiver, power source, and motor. These four parts help propel the chassis so you can race and have loads of fun.
Looking to learn more about RC cars? Let’s take a quick dive and dabble in the world of RC cars. We’re sure you’d enjoy knowing more about this fantastic toy.
What Are RC Cars Really Made Of?
The detailed answer to this question is much more complicated than it seems at first.
The radio-controlled car is almost as complex as the real thing. It’s a combination of different parts that allow for a motor to propel the toy vehicle forward. By using radio control, you can get a receiver to run a motor. This motor will push the entire chassis to follow the movements prompted by the RC.
The RC car will have a specific power source that will keep the device running. The receiver also controls a complex set of gear systems that move the vehicle. The radio itself has several control systems that allow for many types of movement.
Understanding the RC Transmitter
The brain of every RC car is your radio control transmitter. It is usually a handheld device that allows manipulation of the car. It contains a transmitter that sends a certain signal under a specific frequency to the toy’s receiver.
The transmitter itself can be either rechargeable or battery-operated with a 9V battery. Most RC toys operate using two common frequencies, which are either 27 MHz or 49 Mhz. Some newer RC cars will use an Arduino platform and control through Bluetooth. Even then, these frequencies are still the ones at use.
You will notice that many of the RC cars out there will have their frequency listed on the toy. Some even provide which areas of the frequency band the toy uses, so you prevent interference.
RC transmitters are either single-function or full-function. Single function controllers have a single trigger that lets the vehicle go forward when you press it. When the trigger stays released, it can go backward. Stopping the toy means turning it off using the switch on the bottom.
Full-function controllers are the more common transmitters in full-tilt RC cars. You will find a knob type transmitter that allows for six commands. These are forward, reverse, right-forward, right-reverse, left-forward, and left-reverse. More advanced systems use a dual joystick system that offers more mobility for your vehicle.
What’s Inside Your RC Car?
Inside the RC car, you’ll find a myriad of parts that look as complicated as an actual car. You will find a circuit board that acts as the receiver and houses the antenna too. It will run the motor that will then propel the vehicle to move forward.
There are two types of motors available to RC car enthusiasts out there. You have a choice between a nitro-powered radio-controlled vehicle or an all-electric vehicle. Each has its pros and cons, needing you to pick which one to use.
Electric motors are DC motors that use a battery to power itself up. This device is cleaner, cheaper, and needs less maintenance. You can get faster acceleration with it, though you have less run times and long charge times.
Nitro motors mimic a car engine, using a combustible nitromethane-oil hybrid. By using a fuel line, it pushes a motor to run for longer use times. The more common motors used by enthusiasts are electric.
Electric RC cars further divide into brushed or brushless DC motors. Either drive with an electronic speed controller (ESC) and have different outcomes. Brushed DC motors are cheaper but are inefficient and performs slower. Brushless DC motors are super powerful and quite efficient, but their cost can be prohibitive.
Looking At The Different Types of RC Car Layouts
Carrying all the gear systems is the RC car’s chassis layout. These vary depending on the type of RC vehicle you have. There are at least five types of RC car layouts, which have different specialties.
Street RC cars are the best and fastest on flat tracks with paved surfaces. They’re the best if you drive them in open roads where they let loose.
Buggies are fast, lightweight, and great on almost any surface. They’re second to street RCs in on-road speed but can be slow off-road because of their wheelbase. Even then, they’re still fun cars that you can use anywhere.
Trucks are the monsters of off-road use. They can go anywhere, pass through obstacles, and have a lot of raw power. They’re among the slowest when used on roads.
Truggies are a hybrid of the already hybrid buggy to a truck. The Truggy gets the body of the Buggy with the mega-wheels of the truck. Even then, this only offers mediocre marks on both on-road and off-road speeds.
Drift RC cars are on-road cars but with more slick tires. They look like Nascar vehicles but have a tighter turn radius for better drifting. If racing your RC cars are boring to you, drifting is a more technical circuit you can try.
RC Car Battery: Ni-MH vs LiPo
Under the hood with the motor and the circuit board is the battery. This battery pack can differ depending on the type and size of your RC car. Bigger, more dense batteries offer longer playtime.
There are two types of batteries that a typical RC car enthusiast use: Ni-Mh or LiPo. Each type offers a different advantage over price and performance over the other.
Nickel Metal Hydride or Ni-Mh batteries are low-cost batteries that offer decent weight and size. They have lower charges but the price difference is great for beginners.
Lithium Polymer batteries or LiPo packs are chunky batteries designed for sustained use. Much like your smartphone, LiPo batteries are getting more and more common. The problem is the cost, as they are an investment.
If you’re serious about your RC cars, it’s best to invest in LiPo batteries.
How Do You Pick The Right RC Car?
So you’re on Amazon and you’re browsing for your first RC car. You’re not sure which one to pick because they all look awesome. What do you do?
You need to gauge what kind of RC car you want first. Sizes go from 1/10 scale as a Standard, with 1/16 going more compact and 1/5 going bigger.
You also want to consider if you want to build it from top to bottom yourself from a kit or you’re ok with ready-to-run (RTR) RC cars. RTR cars are not as great as kit cars but you can use them fresh from the box without building. Kit cars are more customizable and can go faster, but you need to sink in time before you use it.
Consider the budget that you have for the RC car. Are you willing to spend more on durability or do you want to spend less, for now, to get your feet wet? The more you learn, the more you will notice if this is a hobby you’re willing to dedicate yourself to.
The budget will also declare which brand you buy. Faster, higher-tier brands will cost more but can perform better than most. Do you want to go electric or nitro, and are you ready for the responsibility of maintenance?
Gauge if you’re looking for an on-road car for high-speed racing or offroad car for playing in parks and rec. You might like to use a hybrid, instead, for general purpose use.
Consider that you’re not only going to buy the RC car but also everything that comes with it. You would need a full kit of repair tools, together with investing in spare parts and accessories. It’s also smart to not buy everything at once, considering that you can go broke if you do.
Expect to get everything within 2 years of ownership. It’s also crucial to sink in some time training with the vehicle. You want to get a good feel for the entire operation and learn some technical maneuvers with it.
If you decide that you want RC cars, it’s best not to be a penny-pinching crustacean. Every part of your RC car is a performance investment that will bring you a lot of fun.
Conclusion: What Are RC Cars Made Of?
RC cars consist of plastic and metal parts that drive the car forward, but that’s not everything. These toy cars consist of different parts made to give you the highest performance and satisfaction. By combining a motor, a transmitter, a battery, and electronics, you get loads of fun racing this fantastic toy.
The radio-controlled car is not only a cheap plastic toy for kids. In the right hands, it’s loads of fun racing with other like-minded enthusiasts. It’s a testament to your skills and how you build the best, most fun RC car for your needs.