What are the different types of RC car models?

Remote control cars are miniature model cars that are usually controlled by either radios or remote. Furthermore, these remote control cars come in several types such as electric, nitro-powered, gasoline-powered, and others, etc. The term “RC” has been used for both remote control and radio control. However, most of the RC car models today refer to only radio-controlled vehicles. In addition to that, radio-controlled vehicles are divided into different categories as well.

There are both on-road and off-road vehicles. Depending on your preference, you can choose between the two categories. If you are someone who wants to join the world of RC cars as well, then you are in the right place. In this article, we are going to discuss different types of RC car models for you to consider. Let’s begin.

Toy-grade RC cars

Toy-grade RC cars are typically designed keeping the focus on design and reducing the cost of production. On the other hand, hobby-grade cars tend to be vehicles that include replacing electrical components. Therefore, if they were to break, the owner can easily fix the issue by replacing the part. In addition to that, toy-grade cars are made from cheaper components, which makes it difficult to find replaceable parts.

Furthermore, toy-grade RC cars only have a single electronic circuit board integrated into the vehicle’s design. Although hobby-grade car enthusiasts may look down upon toy-grade cars but the fact of the matter is that toy-grade cars are much easier to maintain, since the componentry is comparatively much simple and straightforward.

Additionally, there is a huge difference between the performances of toy-grade models and hobby-grade RC models. The reason being that toy-grade RC models are usually powered by batteries. However, toy-grade RC cars can also be upgraded by installing the components found in hobby-grade cars. Since most toy-grade RC models are aimed towards children, the features are standard across every brand. For instance, there is no suspension included in the vehicles and the user cannot set the speed according to his/her preference. It is either stopping the car or making it go full speed.

Hobby-grade radio control models

In recent years, hobby-grade radio control car models or “ready to run’ vehicles have become readily available. These car models attract hobbyists from all over the world who do not otherwise prefer to purchase a kit car. Moreover, most of the hobby-grade radio control models come pre-assembled and requires no final assembly.

However, the user can choose amongst a wide variety of color combinations and patterns. An important feature that differentiates toy-grade RC models from hobby-grade RC models is testing. Hobby-grade RC car models are made to undergo thorough testing to avoid any potential injuries to the user or the bystanders.

Since these car models are readily available everywhere, it has forced many manufacturers to discontinue the production of kit vehicles. Hobby-grade RC car models feature two categories. First is ‘the ready to run models’ that can be used immediately. These cars can reach a speed of up to 130 km/h with some modified versions even going faster. You can either run them on batteries or nitro.

The second category is kits. Kit vehicles are sold as a box of individual parts. This is aimed at hobbyists who like to assemble the machine themselves. Furthermore, these kits usually come with a set of instructions that allow the user to easily assemble the vehicle.

Electric Models

Electric Models

Electrically powered RC car models utilize mechanical or electronic speed control units to adjust the amount of power delivered to the electric model. The speed at which the car will run is the same as provided by the transmitter. The more you pull on the trigger, the faster it will go. Furthermore, transistors are used to produce varying outputs along with smooth transistors to achieve efficiency. In order to regulate the duty cycle, electronic speed controllers used solid-state components.

On the other hand, mechanical controllers tend to utilize a network of resistors and switch between them by using a rotating head with an electrode around a plate featuring electrical contacts. Mechanical speed controllers as compared to electric controllers tend to become slow. The reason being that the heat from the resistors can cause the remote to overheat. In addition to that, these resistors catch dirt and become weak as well ultimately.

There was a time when electric RC car models used brushed motors but today, people are leaning more towards brushless motors that provide comparatively more output with minimum maintenance required. Brushless motors are capable of outperforming nitro-powered vehicles as well. For this reason alone, they are used in bigger monster trucks and buggies as well.

Nitro powered models

Nitro powered models

Nitro methane or nitro powered models utilize a single servo for both throttle and braking control. These RC car models feature an internal combustion engine that is operated by the rotation of the servo in one direction. As a result, the throttle located inside the carburetor opens, pulling in more air and fuel mixture. Nitro powered RC models are offered in several fuel engine sizes as well.

The most common range is between 0.12-0.35 cubic inches. This is primarily due to restrictions imposed by the sanctioning bodies for radio-controlled racing. However, many hobbyists tend to prepare engines much powerful than the ones used as standard. But these engines are not meant to be used in racing competitions and therefore, do not need to comply with the regulations.

Fuel-powered engines, on the other hand, allow a sufficient amount of power without the need for modification. Due to lack of torque, these cars are comparatively slower in acceleration as compared to nitro models. Lastly, considering the fact that nitro vehicles tend to run at high speeds, mechanical wear is very common as compared to the electric RC car models. Plus, the added weight at high speeds results in more collisions and significant damage to the vehicle.

Gasoline-Powered models

Gasoline-powered RC car models also known as “grassers” and “fuelies” utilize a mixture of oil and gas. However, when compared to nitro and electric models, these cars cost a lot more. Furthermore, these cars are much bigger in size as well. Since these cars are bigger in size, they require much more space to run. However, the gasoline-powered RC car models do not have high top-end speeds and therefore, do not require a huge amount of fuel to run. In the longer-run, the fuel costs of gasoline-powered vehicles is a lot less than nitro-powered vehicles.

One of the major reasons gasoline-powered models tend to be so popular is due to the fact that they hardly require any tuning and have a long lifespan. Therefore, the demand for gasoline-powered models has experienced a rising trend since their introduction.

Final Word

It all comes down to your personal preference and how you intend to use the remote control vehicle. If you are a speed enthusiast, you can opt for a hobby-grade RC or nitro powered car model. However, if you want something that requires less maintenance and a moderate amount of speed, then opting for gasoline-powered RC model is going to be a wise choice. Consider the budget and the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to maintaining your vehicle.