If you are building a radio controlled car, you will be faced with choices every step of the way. You will have to decide how to build the model, how to incorporate the radio transmitter, and how you want to paint it. You will also have to decide how you want to power your car. There are several different choices, and unfortunately there isn’t one that stands out as better than the rest. Each powering method has its own benefits and tradeoffs that may affect your decision. You will have to consider these benefits compared with what exactly you want to do with your car. Here are the three main ways that you can power a radio controlled car.
The first and most basic way to power a remote controlled car is to have a battery pack running the motors. This is the kind of system that you will see in beginning cars. If implemented correctly, it can be fairly effective. Its main strong point is that it is very light. Cars using electric power can reach all new levels of lightness. However, like all of the options, there is a tradeoff: electric cars are the slowest of them all. So, you will have to decide whether you want a light car that handles well, or a speed demon that will tear up the competition. And that brings us to the next choice, which is definitely a bit speedier than the electric option.
Gas-powered cars are by far the most common when you are looking at hobby grade cars. The equipment required to handle all of the gas and combustion weighs quite a bit, and tends to make the car less agile. However, it makes up for this deficiency by being one the fastest choices. These types of motor kits are very easy to find. If you want one for your car, your best bet would be to look in some online specialty shops, or your local hobby shop. While it is not necessarily a positive aspect in my book, the fact that the cars are much louder when they run on gasoline seems to attract some people, who enjoy creating the noisy little machines.
RC cars that run on nitro gasoline are quickly becoming the most popular and fastest growing segment of remote control cars. Nitro vehicles can come in many different forms. You can build the popular and durable trucks that will take jumps at high speeds and go on off road driving courses. Alternatively, if you are trying to reach very high speeds, you can build the type of racecar that is meant to speed along pavement, tracks or other prepared surfaces. As with gas, nitro requires the heavy motor equipment that some people find cumbersome. However, they are perfect if you want to swap out your electric motor during a race or other event.
If you build your car the right way and avoid attaching the engine in permanently, you can switch whenever you feel a different one would be more appropriate. The average remote control enthusiast will accumulate quite a few different engines over the years, and will become familiar with which ones are best to use in a given situation. So don’t worry too much about buying the wrong engine and being “stuck” with something that you didn’t want. Just consider the pros and cons of each one, and compare them with your goals with your remote control car project. Think about how much speed you want, compared to how much agility or how much turning speed. If you have a local hobby store that stocks all of the different types of engines, then go in and ask to test drive a few of them to get a feel for the type of engine. You will be glad that you put so much thought into it.