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Posted by RC Masters on 3rd Jan 2013

New to the world of RC vehicles? Don’t fret. We know there are a lot of factors you should look into and here you will learn everything you need to know about electric RC cars. To start off, make it a habit to go over your car regularly. Always check the nuts and bolts for tightness (especially the engine bolts) so as to make sure you don’t commit the same mistakes most beginners do.

RC sport can be intimidating for a beginner. It’s a challenge to know where and how to start with so many new terms, options and parts. Well, here’s an instruction on some of the basic things you need to know before you go backyard bashing or racing:

1.Charge your battery – Charging time varies with the type of charger you may be using.

Most cars come with a battery and when it comes to charging, they may vary greatly depending on a lot of factors. Just make sure you don’t cause damage to your batteries by overcharging them. When the battery is dead flat you can use this equation to determine how long you would need your batteries plugged in, otherwise just charge them until they start getting warm.

Battery capacity (battery’s mAh rating) / charger output x 1.3 (for losses in charging around 30%) = Number of hours

In essence, if you have a 1000mah battery and a charger which outputs at 100mA you would need to charge it for 13 hours. (1000 / 100 =10 x 1.3)

1.Install 8 x AA batteries in the transmitter - Transmitters are used mostly with NiMh or NiCad batteries and you need to have 8 x AA batteries installed and remember to charge them completely before installation. Keep in mind that the transmitter should be always switched on first and turned off last.

1.Standing Your Antenna Up – Antennas are important in RC car setup. You will have to insert the wire first through the antenna mount of the car, and then right through the tube and finally the tube goes into the tube mount. But in case of longer wire, let the line hang freely and don’t cut it.

1.Check for Proper Operation of Servos – RC servos are used to provide actuation for various mechanical systems such as the steering of a car. Ensure that the wheels of your vehicle are off the ground so it can spin freely if you want to test how the servos are operating. Then, check if your steering, throttle and forward or reverse are working properly. When the servo is commanded to rotate or to perform a certain action, the motor is powered until it reaches the value corresponding to the commanded position. These are usually free to move both up/down and left/right, like the joysticks on a play station controller.

1.Range Check – Todays radios mostly run on a 2.4Ghz frequency which limits interference but with 27Mhz radios make it a habit to always test your range before you drive your car and ensure you’re free from any radio interference that can be caused by power lines, police or other 2-way radio models that transmit on a similar frequency. To do a range check you can walk 5 meters away from the car with the models aerial fully extended and the transmitter aerial fully down. Turn on the radio system and check that all servos are working correctly. Check all the linkages to make sure they are not binding. Always make sure the batteries in both your car and your radio are strong or fully charged. Attempting to run your car with weak batteries will make it unresponsive to controls and commands.

1.Break-in Procedures – When it comes to RC vehicles, tuning is essential in order to achieve more speed or power. Moreover, it should come along side with proper break in to yield the best performance. To break-in, just run the motor with the wheels off the ground and try to run 3 battery packs allowing the engine to completely cool down between each battery. Remember to always check your car for loose nuts and bolts. After the first run, go over your car and make sure all the screws are tight, especially the engine bolts. You can try using a Loctite to help keep the nuts and bolts in place, since they may tend to come loose due to vibration. After the third battery, check the gap between the brass engine pinion and the nylon drive gear. There should just be a really small gap that could allow 2 pieces of thin paper between the 2 gears. If the gap is bigger than what’s necessary, you may adjust it by undoing the screws and sliding the engine closer. Breaking-in your engine properly will help produce less heat and reduce premature wear and tear.

1.Installing the Body Clips – Putting on body clips on an RC car is easy. You just have to align the holes in the body with the body mounts. Then clip the pins on through the holes and you can pretty much adjust the height of the body by lowering the clips.

Well done! Now, you’re ready to run your car. I know you can’t wait to drive your vehicle, and seems like you’re all set to go but just remember to have fun and drive safely by noting all the necessary precautions. You’ll be far more competitive and in turn, have more fun if your car is set right and in the perfect condition. After all, you don’t want to end up damaging your vehicle by overlooking the must-know details.