RC Car Information – What to Know and How to Buy

For all ages, young and old, RC cars can be an extremely satisfying hobby. It never gets old, watching a little pint-sized motor spin at thousands of rpm’s and push a miniature car body along at speeds up to 100 MPH! But before you go out and buy an RC model, there are a few questions you need to have answered, such as: What company should I buy from, what size do I want, what motor type…?One of the more important aspects is what company to buy from. There are many companies to choose from, some have better quality cars than others. So figure out if you can afford something in the $100′s or in the $1000′s. If you plan on going into tournament racing, some companies are more into competitive racing, and so are more expensive. Other companies make cars that are not as durable and can’t compete under the tough conditions of a tournament race. Some cars can go for hours without breaking down and with little wear and tear.Another important aspect is the kind of motor to buy: electric or nitro. Electric motors come in two different categories, brushed motors or brushless motors. On average, brushless motors are faster…and more expensive. Nitro motors are fast too, usually faster than their electric counterparts. And of course, along with speed comes the routine of having to fuel the nitro cars – nitro isn’t cheap, about $ a can of oz. And electric cars you have to recharge.Lastly, you have to decide what size of RC car you would like. They vary in size from 1:64 to 1:3 (meaning they are 1/64th to 1/3rd the size of the original car). The 1:10 model is the most common. It is easier to find parts for the more common size like the 1:10 and they are easier to find places to race or ride.When choosing an RC company to buy from then, you have to consider whether they have the model you are looking for, the right type of motor, the right quality, and the right price range. Not all parts from the different companies models will work on all cars, as there are variations in the way some things are put together.UPGRADINGWhen you finally have your car and have taken it out for a spin, you may find you want to upgrade or customize it, usually people do this to make it even faster (though they come pretty fast right out of the box). It can get complicated. You need to know if the motor will work along with the ESC (the Electronic Speed Control, which is the brains of the car). Also, you have to make sure you have the right size of battery – voltage and amp-hours. Higher voltage equals higher rpm’s and higher Amp Hours equals longer time between charges. Some motors have a limit on how much voltage they will work with, so you have to check into that.ESC = should be rated higher than the motor… and brushed ESC’s are different than brushless ESC’s.Battery = should have a higher discharge rate than motor. They have special chargers for these batteries also (LiPo batteries)Motor = Higher RPM you want then you want higher KV rating. But that also means less torque, so for an off-road car, you would need to balance that number with what you need for torque.Another way to upgrade or change the speed is by changing the gear of the motor on the output shaft. Less teeth equal less torque but more higher-end speed.ON-ROAD, OFF-ROAD, and DRIFT CARSRC cars can also be either on-road, off-road, or drift cars. Drift cars have special smooth wheels that spin the car out around corners – make it ‘drift’ – and so speed isn’t the primary issue, though they do go pretty fast. It’s the ability to control the drift around corners. Pretty neat to watch!On-road cars have regular wheels, just like your family car. Off-road cars or buggies, are either trucks or buggies, and have knobby tires to help them grab into the dirt. Or jump off ramps.TO GET STARTEDFigure out what your budget is, search for a manufacturer or distributor that has a model you like and the parts you need (and good customer service), and get started. Remember, you may want to upgrade, or you may be completely satisfied with everything right out of the box. Then educate yourself on the finer aspects of the hobby, and enjoy!

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