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You’re Top RC Guide – Radio Control Guide

Welcome to the RC World!

Radio control (often abbreviated to R/C or simply RC) is the use of radio signals to remotely control a device. Radio control is used for control of model vehicles from a hand-held radio transmitter. Industrial, military, and scientific research organizations make use of radio-controlled vehicles as well. The following information on kits, motors, battery packs, chargers and speed controllers is your key to understanding a little more.


Kit’s - RTR, ARTR, Kit - What does it all mean?


·     RTR is Ready to Run. These are assembled cars and are pretty much ready to go out of the box. You may still need to add fuel, batteries, starter kits and other small items. The individual car details will tell you what's required.

·      ARTR is Almost Ready to Run. Usually very close to assembled, and often requiring the addition of radio gear to complete the car. Again, the product details will tell you what you need.

·       Kit - Build it yourself. Will probably need lots of items adding.


 Scale - Sizes explained.

The smaller the number the larger the kit will be 1/5th is of the larger scale and 1/28th being much smaller, 1/10th is the most popular scale for ease of use and price point.


 RC Vehicle Types.

·         Buggy – open wheel (off road)

·         Touring car – looks like a normal road car (on-road)

·         Truck – pick up with slightly larger wheels  (off road)

·         Short course truck – pickup truck (off road)

·         Monster truck – pickup  with over sized tyres (off road)

·         Scale – very close to normal road cars (off road)

·         Crawler – used for slow technical driving (extreme off road)


Electric and Nitro – Which should you choose?

Electric vehicles have always been the most popular choice for beginners as after construction you can just plug in a battery and go. With the newer style batteries and motors available offering extreme speeds and run times, electric has become the more popular type of vehicle 

Nitro versions generally involve more set up and maintenance. They use a special Nitro fuel available from model shops. The engine will initially require setting up and running in - in addition to this the mixture settings will need to be adjusted as the temperature changes. Run times per tank of fuel vary from 5 minutes upwards, and they can be re-fuelled in seconds whilst the engine is running.

Several tanks full can be run through before a pause is required for cooling and checks. More detailed maintenance is required to keep the engine in good condition, and due to the extra vibration frequent checks of screws and fastenings is required. Most are fitted with a pull-start unit for easy operation.

As a reward you get the awesome sound of a high-revving nitro engine and with  2 stroke petrol engines now available in the larger 1/5 scale models, similar to the engines that you can get in a strimmer with awesome sound just like a 2-stroke bike, and low maintenance. They run on normal unleaded petrol mixed with 2-stroke.


How fast do they go?

Electric cars generally have a much quicker acceleration than the nitro cars. Nitro cars accelerate slower as they have a centrifugal clutch. Top speeds can be anywhere up to 80mph+. It all depends on the exact car you buy.

On Road and Off Road - Find your best.

On road cars are suited to any flat road surface due to the low bodyshell and limited suspension. Just like a real racing car this provides good handling and stability. A wide range of tyres & compounds are available for different surfaces. Off road cars are suited to grass or dirt surfaces and come into their own on purpose built off road tracks. They are not as good on road surfaces due to the large amount of suspension movement and tyre choice, but you can at least still use them on the road.


Electric Motor’s - Brushed and Brushless.

Brushless motors are the newer technology in electric cars. They require virtually zero maintenance, are more efficient and generally produce higher top speeds. Brushed motors are a lot cheaper, so they are found usually in the lower priced models.

The turn rating gives you an idea of how fast the motor is (comparatively). The lower the T number, the faster the motor. Brushless motors sometimes use kV instead. Higher kV = faster motor.


 Battery Packs - NiMH, LiPo, LiFe - what does it all mean?

·   NiMh packs are the older style battery packs. They are still in wide use, and provide pretty good performance. They need to be discharged and re-charged to get maximum performance.

·   LiPO is the way to go if you want faster speeds and longer run times. LiPo batteries are lithium batteries, and lithium batteries are used in all sorts of things now, even your mobile phone. These batteries are also lighter than NiMH batteries. They don't need discharging, and shouldn’t ever be discharged below a certain voltage (if you want them to work again). Many speed controllers come with a LiPo safety cut-off to prevent this sort of problem.

·   LiFe batteries have a slightly lower voltage than an equivalent LiPo. They are considered safer than LiPo’s and will run to a lower voltage.


CHARGERS - What are the different types of chargers available?

Get a charger that says it can charge your battery. That's the main thing. 12V chargers run off a 12V source (like a car battery). Mains chargers plug in to the wall. Some do both.

The amp rate (A) is a measure of how fast the charger can charge your battery. There are safety limits as to how fast you can charge depending on your battery.


That’s the end of your Top RC Guide and we hope its shed some light on the RC World for you. If you want to find out more or have any questions just contact us through our website or social media and we’ll be happy to help you.


Don’t forget we have many RTR Kits in stock plus thousands of spares for all your RC Models! Plus we sponsor drivers at local clubs too, you can get involved or just come along and watch, find out when by visiting our website or email us: hello@toprc.uk

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