If you’re looking for your first here are some radio control toys basics for you. Some you’ll need to know, some are nice to know. And all of them will help you decide which model is right for you.
Some of this stuff leads you to make the choice of the specific kind of vehicle (car, truck, airplane, helicopter, boat, or construction toy) that you’ll start your hobby with. This information helps you select which scale to start with. It gives you ideas for motor type also.
Are you buying the RC for yourself, your child, a grandkid, or a friend? Think about the playtime preferences of the person who’ll use the model. How does this individual enjoy her or his leisure time? Another thing to think about is whether you or your giftee, have experience with remote control models. If so, how complicated are the models that gave this experience?
Some important things to look at are:
Type of motor
Type of supplied power
Function in remote control is how you drive your vehicle. Three types of function include:
Single function. This model moves forward in a straight line. When backing up it steers to the left.
Full function. These radio control toys steer forward, in reverse, make turns to the right and left in both directions, and have brakes for slowing and stopping. Full function RC construction toys lift loads, dump buckets and beds, dig, and pile much like full-size construction equipment.
The multi-function vehicle moves forward, backs up, steers – but in only one direction, and stops. Buy these models for pre-school children.
Range is the distance you can operate your model away from the hand-held controller. Different models have different ranges. Most have ranges of 30-feet to over 180-feet. The range gets weaker as batteries get low on charge. Other signals interfere with your transmitter too (such as CB radios, cell phones, high voltage transformers, and nearby radio control toys using the same frequency).
Check the model description, and the package, for the range.
The size of your model (compared to the full-sized vehicle) gives you the scale or chassis length. When you see a Mustang remote control rated at 1/24-scale you’re looking at a toy that is twenty-four times smaller than the real Mustang car. The smallest models are 1/32-scale, and the biggest are 1/8-scale. Bigger models use up their power faster because of their weight.
You’ll find RC models available with one of two different motor types:
Nitro refers to models with internal combustion engines. They use liquid fuel for power. NITROs are fast and very loud. If your choice leans toward NITRO make sure you think about the area where you’ll operate the vehicle. Close neighbors might complain about the noise.
The other power option is electric. High-end electrics are the fastest RCs available. Low-end models are slower than the NITROs. Most small electrics use AA batteries, but a few have rechargeable batteries in the vehicle. The large models normally feature rechargeable battery packs for the vehicle with 9-volt batteries to feed juice to the controller. Manufacturers normally include a 4.8-volt battery pack with the models, but you can purchase 6.0-volt, and 9.6-volt battery packs separately for longer operating times. Check the package to learn if the manufacturer includes batteries with the model.
As you gain experience with radio control hobby activities you’ll move on to more expensive, and higher quality, models. Start with entry-level models. They’ll give you the experience you need to figure out what RC models best suit your pleasure.
Now you know enough to decide which model type to buy for your first remote control toy. I wish you many hours of RC playtime fun.