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Welcome to Simply-RC!

Where RC is Made Simple





....In my Dream, my Angles tell me I cannot fly, cos' I aidn't got Wings ; I took my Planes out to fly at the Field to join my Angles when I woke upz....










There are two primary categories, Nitro (or gas powered) and Electric (Battery Powered).  Sub categories to Nitro and Electric are off-road and on-road.  Sub categories to road type are scale size.  Primary components of an Electric 1/10th scale RC car are the Chassis, Body, Radio, Motor, Speed Control, Battery, and Battery Charger.

If you’re a fan of radio-controlled vehicles, but find standard RC to be lacking in power and running time, you might want to consider looking into gas powered RC cars. These cars, which run on a nitro methane-based fuel that is often referred to as “glow fuel” or “nitro”, offer a level of realism and performance that you just won’t find on battery powered cars. Gas powered RC cars are also often highly customizable, allowing hobbyists to utilize a variety of engines and design types… there are even different types of transmitters available depending upon how you would prefer your car to work. Below are some of the options available for gas powered RC cars, giving you an idea of the level of customization that you can achieve.



The chassis is the platform to which the Body, Radio Receiver, Receiver Antenna, Motor, Speed Control, and Battery are attached.  As you can see, there is a lot of fascinating technology here.  This is a picture of the Tamiya TL01 chassis.  The chassis is a monoque design, meaning it is a strong hollow shell without internal strength reinforcement members.  The stock chassis is made almost entirely of plastic with some steel parts such as screws and the drive shaft. The TL01 is a shaft driven Four Wheel Drive (4WD) with a ball bearing differential for each axle, four wheel independent suspension with Constant Velocity Drive (CVD) half-shafts, and shock absorbers.  This is an excellent starter chassis with lots of upgrade or "HOPUP" options from Tamiya and other many other manufacturers.  These improvements include exotic materials such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, aluminum, titanium, and Delrin.  Improvements are aimed at reducing weight and increasing speed or increasing durability.  However I found the basic plastic parts to be quite durable and lightweight.


You can obtain a Ready To Run (RTR) kit that includes everything you need to race for about $600.00.  You can also buy the chassis (with a body) in kit form for about $300.00.




There are lots of bodies available that range from scale models of sedans and sports cars to Formula I racers.  These bodies are available separately or with chassis kits.  The body comes in a preformed shell that must be painted, cut-out and sticker.


The sticker sets come with the body and are available separately.  Some of the better kits come with pre-formed window masks that you apply prior to painting so the windows will remain clear after painting.


The bodies are cut from the form by a variety of means.  You can purchase special scissors for this task.  The best scissors for the job have thin and short blades.  But I prefer to use a hot wire cutter and then sand the edges with a Dremel.



The bodies are made from polycarbonate (Lexan) and require special paint.  Ordinary plastic model paint is not to be used with these bodies.  The paints are available in a wide variety of colors.








Obviously, one of the more important aspects of gas powered RC cars is the engine. A variety of different engine models are available for you to choose from, but in general most cars of this type will have what are commonly referred to as “glow” engines. A “glow” engine is a 2-cycle internal combustion engine, creating the power that gas powered RC cars are known for and adding a bit of realism to the car with the exhaust that is produced. Instead of the spark plugs that a full-size automotive engine would have, these engines use a “glow plug” that is heated by what is known as a “glow starter” This heat is then held by the plug and is used to fire the engine strokes for the remainder of the running time.

Motor (For Electric Model)

Most kit comes with a "stock" motor.  Although it will serve you well for getting started and you should use it until you learn how to control your car, you will undoubtedly want more performance.  And there are lots of performance options in this area.  The motor used on 1/10th scale electric cars is called a 540 size motor.  Many different types of motors are available from many different manufacturers.  The stock motor that comes in the kit has bushings instead of bearings, non-adjustable timing and non-replaceable brushes.  Motors are rated primarily by the number of turns.  Stock motors have 27 turns (27T) of 22 AWG copper wire on the armature.  "Hotter" motors have less turns, such as 10 (10T), adjustable timing, ball bearings, stronger magnets, capacitors to minimize arcing, and replaceable/better brushes.  As the number of turns decreases, so does the resistance thus drawing higher current.  While the higher current produces more power, battery life per run is reduced.  The same goes for better conductive brushes and stronger magnets.  The idea is to increase current draw and higher power at the cost of run time.  Although stronger magnets and better brushes can increase efficiency.  Few motors have efficiency ratings.  Some motors have double and triple windings.  These are used primarily to spread power to the mid and high RPM ranges.  I like the Trinity P2KPRO2 "stock" motor which is a stock replacement 27T fixed timing (24 degrees) motor.  It has replaceable brushes and a copper end bell for better heat dissipation.  I also use ball bearings to replace the bronze bushings.  This motor has plenty of power for me and provides a decent efficiency and long run time.  However, for "stock" racing rules, you would have to put the bushings back in.


Speed Controller (For Electric Model)

The kit comes with a mechanical speed control, which is really a three position switch operated by a servo, some of the RTR kits come with an optional Electronic Speed Control (ESC).  ESCs are available from many manufacturers.


This is perhaps the first upgrade you should give to your car if it came with a mechanical speed control.  An ESC with Battery Elimination Circuitry (BEC) will eliminate a servo for the throttle and a separate battery pack for the receiver.  The BEC uses power from the car's main battery pack to power the receiver.  The ESC also allows for proportional control of the throttle unlike the mechanical speed controls which are all or nothing.  And some ESC's have a reverse or brake.  But the elimination of a servo and separate battery pack for the receiver is well worth getting an ESC.  Keep in mind that the ESC consumes a little bit of power itself.  There are two primary ratings for an ESC, one is the number of turns motor it supports and the other is internal resistance.  Other factors include pulse frequency, number of cell batteries it supports, and a reverse function or brake.  The lower the internal resistance, the less power it consumes and the less heat it produces.  The really low resistance models don't need a heatsink and are very small.  This Futaba MC800C Professional ESC is my favorite.  It has an internal resistance of only .00045 Ohms, supports 4-7 cell batteries, down to a 5 turn motor and has an optimal 3140 Hz pulse rate.


Battery (For Electric Model)



 The main battery pack used in the RC car provides power for the motor, ESC and receiver.  Standard size is 6 cells although 7 cell batteries are available.  If using 7 cell batteries, the motor and ESC must support it.  I use 6 cell.  The primary choice is Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) or Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH).  I prefer the NiMH.  NiCd batteries typically have a rating of 1800 milliamphours (mAh) and have severe memory effects requiring total discharging prior to a recharge.  The NiMH batteries have 3000 mAh and have greatly reduced memory effects eliminating the need to completely discharge the battery before recharge.  The downside of NiMH batteries is that they are heat sensitive.  The number of and speed of recharges for NiMH batteries must be reduced to avoid heat damage.  May click here for more information.


Battery Charger (For Electric Model)

The battery charger you select depends on whether you are using NiMH or NiCd.  NiMH batteries require special charging techniques for peak performance.  This charger (DuraTrax Intellipeak AC/DC Digital Pulse Charger) handles both NiCd and NiMH.  It peak charges batteries using two specialized peak charging technologies, plus discharging and cycling features not commonly found in other chargers.  "Negative Delta V" peak detection for NiCds, plus advanced "Zero Delta V" peak detection technology specifically for NiMHs, providing full charges without overcharging.  Built-in Artificial Intelligence to eliminate false peaks.  Multi-function LCD, with selectable switch for viewing charge amps, charge voltage, or battery capacity in milliamps.  Auto-selects peak detection method by identifying cell chemistry.  Auto-identifies the quantity of cells being charged.  Computerized control, 8-bit 4MHz CPU with 8K ROM, 1K RAM, 1-channel 16-bit analog-to-digital converter. High efficiency P-Channel MOSFET drive transistors.  It has an 11-15V DC input and comes with DC clamps for connecting to your car battery for charging in the field.  It has a small detachable, 12 volt 7 amp AC power supply with built-in cooling fan for charging at home.  It can charge 4-7 cell batteries on DC and 4-8 cell batteries on AC.  Infinitely Adjustable fast charge current from 0.5-6.5 amps.  It has a pulsed fast charge, with 8-bit pulse width modulated current control output.  100mA trickle charge.  Discharge voltage cutoff: 2.6volts 10 and 2 amp fixed discharge rates, selectable by switch.  Fixed 2.6V discharge cutoff voltage.  Not designed for discharging A or AA size (and smaller) cells.  Cycle functions : Select a single discharge/charge cycle for periodic pack conditioning, or continuous "auto-repeat" cycles for reviving batteries that have developed a memory, or for breaking in a new pack.  Four multi-function, high intensity LED indicators.  Status light glows during charge and flashes when nearing peak.  Audible mode select tone signals for easy set-up.  Twin built-in miniature fans keep the charger cool, increasing efficiency and lifespan.  Reverse polarity and overload protection.  Designed to charge sub-C battery packs. And it comes with a one year warranty! 


Ball Bearings


This is the second upgrade you should give your car.  These kits come with plastic bushings.  But you can buy ball bearing sets that will replace every bushing with ball bearings.  These lower friction and allow your car to run faster and longer per battery charge.  There are several types available.  Some that are sealed, some that you can clean and re-lubricate, some that are hardened steel, and some that are stainless steel.







Tires & Wheels

There are so many different types of wheels and tires from so many different manufacturers to satisfy even the most discerning tastes.



Tires come in rubber and foam.  The rubber tires come in a variety of different tread patterns including slicks.  The wheels are almost always plastic although aluminum wheels are available for the off-road cars and come in a variety of patterns.  The Tires are glued to the wheels with Super Glue as they are not inflated.  Between the wheel rim and the rubber tire you can buy foam inserts that stiffen the tire and increase traction.  The wheels bolt onto the model with a single lug nut.

As mentioned above, the “gas” used by gas powered RC cars isn’t actually gasoline… it’s a special fuel that is nitromethane-based and formulated for the cars’ engines. Special lubricants are added to the fuel mixture to protect the engine from excessive heat and wear; the lubricants work in much the same way as gas-oil mixtures in some chainsaws and other small-engine equipment. Other fuel accessories may be needed to go with your car. A pump or special bottle may be used to get the fuel into the RC car’s fuel tank, and filters in the fuel line may need to be replaced from time to time.

The radio that you use to control your gas powered RC cars can be the same type that is used to control an electric model of RC car. A 2-channel radio system. It’s important to keep in mind that just because the car’s engine runs on a liquid fuel doesn’t mean that you have no need of batteries. In addition to the battery that powers the radio controller, you might find yourself in need of batteries to supply power to the radio receiver in the car itself. Of course, with some receivers it may be possible to have the power supplied by the motor of the car itself. The type of receiver that you use and the power supply that it needs are one consideration to keep in mind when comparing different parts or different cars.







The radio consists of a transmitter, receiver, servo(s), and battery pack.  The most common transmitter used for cars is the Pistol grip style where the trigger is the throttle and the wheel on the side is for steering.  Most models have the ability to zero or null both the throttle and the steering.  The Radios are available in either Amplitude Modulation (AM), Frequency Modulation (FM), or FM Pulse Code Modulation (PCM).  Both the transmitter and receiver must be of the same kind.  AM radios suffer from noise and control drift.  FM radios have better noise performance and less control drift.  PCM FM radios minimize noise and drift effects.




The receiver mounted in the car has an antenna wire that is fed through a small plastic tube that is attached to the chassis.  The receiver has a crystal that must match the crystal in the transmitter.  AM and FM crystals are different.  The receiver also has connections for a battery pack and two servos.









The receiver battery pack provides power for the receiver and servos but is unnecessary if you use an Electronic Speed Control (ESC) that has Battery Elimination Circuitry (BEC).







Two servos are needed if you plan to use a mechanical speed control, otherwise just one for steering is required.  The primary categories of servos include standard, high torque, miniature, and micro.  Some have ball bearings other bushings.  The high torque uses more power but really helps for high speed hair-pin turns.  The ball bearing gives longer life and better steering stability.









Sport vs. Competition
A variety of different options and body styles exist for gas powered RC cars. You can choose from trucks, sedans, buggies, popular car models, and even stock cars. Once you’ve decided upon the body style and layout that’s right for you, however, you may find yourself facing one additional choice. Many of the car models available commercially come in two distinct types; a sport version, and a competition version. Sport cars tend to cost less, and offer basic options that are popular with beginners and casual hobbyists. For those who want to race their cars against other dedicated hobbyists, though, there are the competition cars which tend to have more power and higher speeds and offer advanced options such as oil shocks and ball bearings. Competition models may not be a complete car, however, since they are designed to allow for more customization… many of these kits require you to get the engine that you want to go with it separately, as well as the car body in many cases (since the kit only provides the main chassis.)

Kits vs. RTR
If you’ve decided that you want to buy gas powered RC cars, you often have to make a choice between buying a kit, so that you can build the car yourself, or buying a ready-to-race car (also known as RTR) that is ready to be fueled and go right out of the box. RTR cars are good for beginners or casual hobbyists, but aren’t highly customized. Kits, on the other hand, may require additional work but allow the builder to decide exactly how they want their car put together. Should you use a kit, it’s important to remember that you’ll need to make sure that you have the engine that you want, paint and basic tools on hand for assembly and decoration, and additional tools and parts depending upon the kit that you purchase. Regardless of the type of car that you buy, though, you’re certain to find yourself amazed at the power and performance of these cars loved by hobbyists and racers around the world.

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