- Laegendary Brand Team
If you are interested in getting into RC cars, you're in great company. It's a fun hobby that gives you plenty of directions to go in. On top of that, there is a great community...you can attend races or join online groups with like-minded people.
This beginner RC car guide will help you get started as a beginner remote controlled car enthusiast.
Why Get Started with RC?
There are many reasons to pursue RC cars as a hobby. The primary one is, of course, because it's fun. However, working with RC cars can:
- Introduce you to a great community. RC car enthusiasts are competitive on the track, but friendly and helpful off it.
- Help you or your child learn about mechanics and engineering. Building an RC car from a kit is great for developing those skills.
- Improve your hand eye coordination.
- Give you something to focus on maintaining and caring for that isn't a living thing. This can sometimes help get people out of a "funk."
- Relieve stress and help you set aside time for yourself.
What Does Radio Control (RC) Mean?
Radio control means that the car is controlled using some kind of a radio transmitter. Modern RC cars use the same 2.4 gHz broadcast signal as wi-fi, which has more than enough bandwidth for everyone to drive at once. Older cars used AM and FM signals, but this is obsolete technology. You may still see that one person at the club who loves their vintage cars, though!
What Type of RC Car Is Right For Me?
Our beginner RC car guide would not be complete without a few tips about choosing a car. There are many things you can do with an RC car, and that means that there are a variety of types available. Understanding the differences can help you know what to buy. First of all, there are different "levels" of car.
- Toy cars. Some RC cars are basically meant to just be toys. The advantage is that they tend to be cheap, which means they are a great way to find out if you or your child is really interested before taking a deeper plunge. However, they don't have the speed, power, precision, or durability of hobby-grade cars.
- Ready-to-run cars. These are designed for beginners. You can just take them out of the box and go, and they generally include all of the stuff you need. However, be careful and check the box, as some of the kits don't come with batteries.
- Rollers. The next level "up" are rollers, which may come as just a body to which you add the electronics and drive systems. If intact, they often require radio gear. This makes them better for experienced users.
- Kit cars. These cars have to be built from the ground up, and thus are good for people who really want to understand how RC cars work and develop their mechanical skills. However, if you just want to get right into racing...
You can also choose between two basic types depending on what you want to do.
- On-road cars. These include street cars and drift cars, which are designed to slide. While faster, they have the disadvantage that they need asphalt. Often, people run these cars in empty parking lots.
- Off-road cars. These tend to be more popular and include trucks, off-road buggies, monster trucks, stadium, racers, etc. Stadium racers, which have truck bodies on 1/10 scale off-road cars are particularly popular Off-road cars may be better because they are more durable and there are more places you can play.
You can get either an electric car, which runs off of a rechargeable battery pack, or a nitro car, which has a very small internal combustion engine. Electric cars are generally easier to maintain and far more popular.
Another thing to look at is difficulty rating. Some manufacturers will put difficulty ratings on their cars. You want to choose something with a lower/easier rating for your first car. Some cars are meant for serious hobbyists who have been doing this for years, and you are likely to wreck them.
Finally, don't be afraid to consider aesthetics. What body type you choose might also reflect what you prefer to do...and look at. RC cars can be repainted, but you might not want to go to that length right away.
What's RC Scale?
RC cars come in different scales, with 1/10 being the most popular. This simply means that the car is one tenth the size of an actual car. Scales go down as far as 1/32, but some people run even bigger cars, up to 1/5th. Some of these larger cars have gasoline engines.
You should start off at 1/10 or another popular size as it's much easier to get spare parts for your car when it inevitably wrecks.
How do RC Cars Work?
It's pretty simple, and goes like this:
- You use the transmitter to send radio signals to the car. Most people use pistol grip transmitters.
- The car's receiver accepts the signals.
- The motor is activated to steer the car and turn the wheels, allowing you to "drive" the RC car.
RC cars have a power source that is, as mentioned, either battery or nitro (or in rare cases gasoline). But the process is pretty simple. Essentially, when you press a button on the transmitter, it makes a contact between two devices that sends the signal to the car. The car will only do what it is told.
How Can You Learn to Drive?
Driving a remote controlled car takes practice. Expect to do some damage while you get used to it (this is a good reason to start with an off road car, which are designed to be banged up more).
You will need to choose between a 2-stick and pistol grip transmitter. Most racers prefer the pistol grip, which tends to be more natural. It's worth trying both to see which one you personally operate better.
Local clubs may run "clinics" where you can work on your skills. Always start on a flat surface...an empty parking lot is perfect for on-road cars, for off-road cars look for a flat field with short grass. The good news is that nobody gets hurt if you wreck.
Getting into radio controlled cars can be amazing! There is a great community and you may well get hooked on some aspect of it such as winning races or hopping up your car...or even designing your own. To start, you are best off with a ready to run car that you can enjoy right out of the box. Hopefully our beginner RC car guide gave you some hints as to what to do next to get into this fun hobby.