If you’ve been watching remote control (RC) vehicles zip around a track or climb up a path and you’re interested in trying it out, you may feel overwhelmed by the different groups, types, scales, and power options available. But don’t worry, we’re here to make your introduction to the hobby easier. Here’s a helpful beginner’s guide with answers to some frequently asked questions.
Why Start with RC?
There are many reasons to start with RC vehicles: Join a community: Whether you’re at an in-person race club or on an online message board, RC enthusiasts are generally excited to share their knowledge and help out beginners.
Fun with friends or family: Hobbies are great, but they’re even better when you can share them with loved ones. With the right gear and supervision, RC cars and trucks are enjoyable for any age.
Stress relief: Studies have shown that leisure-time hobbies can improve your health and wellbeing. What better way to relax than to grab an RC vehicle and watch your stress melt away?
Learning opportunities: An RC hobby offers many opportunities for education and growth. When you play with an RC vehicle or build an RC kit, you’ll learn about mechanics and electronics, which can be useful in many careers.
What Does Radio Control (RC) Mean?
Radio control uses radio transmitters to send radio waves to a model car at far distances with precision and minimal input lag. RC vehicles used to use AM and FM radio signals, but today almost all RC transmitters use a 2.4 GHz broadcast signal (like most other modern wireless devices). Multiple people can operate cars simultaneously using this signal with no conflicts.
Which Categories of RC Cars are Available?
RC cars generally fall into six categories:
Buggies: For off-road racing and jumping
Truggies: Similar to buggies but with larger tires for better traction
Stadium trucks: For racing on dirt tracks
Short course trucks: For racing on rough terrain and jumps
Monster trucks: For extreme off-road fun
Crawlers: For navigating rocky terrain and obstacles
Which Type of RC Car is Right for Me?
Once you know which category of car you’re interested in, you can choose from several types of RC vehicles within that category. For example, if you’re interested in buggies, you can choose between 2WD or 4WD, nitro or electric power, and various sizes and scales.
Now that you understand the categories and types of vehicles, you may be wondering about scale. Scale refers to the size of the RC vehicle relative to its full-size counterpart, and RC car scales operate in fractions. For example, a 1/10 scale car is about 1/10 the size of its full-size equivalent. Scales aren’t fixed because RC cars aren’t always based on real-life vehicles. The most popular scale is 1/10, with 1/8 as a close second. Vehicles can be as small as 1/32 scale and below, or as large as 1/5 scale or above.
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