30 Radio Control Terms

If you are a fan of remote control vehicles, then this article is for you. In it, we will go over the basics of radio control terminology and discuss some common terms that RC enthusiasts use.

  • RC: Radio controlled, or remote control vehicles.
  • RTR: Ready to Run (vehicle requires no assembling).
  • ARR: Almost ready to run vehicle. Typically requires some assembly and customization before use.
  • Kit: Requires kit building for completion of the model following a specific set of instructions.
  • BND: Bind N Drive – A term used to describe RC vehicles that only require a transmitter to power the vehicle.
  • SCT: Short Course Truck (vehicle designed for smooth surfaces).
  • ST: Stadium truck (vehicle designed for rough and bumpy surfaces).
  • MT: Monster truck (vehicle with off-road capabilities, used in competitions).
  • Truggy: Trucks that have a wheelbase of between 140mm to 150 mm. They are typically high clearance vehicles but can range from very low ground clearance to moderate. The most popular types are short course trucks or stadium trucks which compete at the same level as monster trucks do. Truggies can come equipped with different configurations such as four wheels on one side or two on each side driving by individual shafts connected by a differential gearbox, independent suspension or long travel suspension, differentials, and a wide variety of transmission ratios.
  • Rock Crawler: Rock crawling is an activity that takes place in the dirt or mud where heavy vehicles are used for crossing over rough terrain with no paved roads. It usually involves driving something like a Jeep Wrangler off-road vehicle at slow speeds on trails without any pavement.
  • Scale: The scale size of RC cars is often measured by body style, tire diameter or wheel spacing. For example, some examples would be “Tamiya Grasshopper” (scale 0), “Ferrari F40” (scale 12) and “Monster Jam Grave Digger” (scale 25). Cars built to certain scales may have been designed for use on specific surfaces such as asphalt, wood or carpet.
  • GHz: The frequency of an RC transmitter in megahertz (MHz) can be translated to how far it will transmit before the signal begins to weaken or drop out.
  • CH: Channel, referring to a specific model’s receiver and its corresponding controller that are designed for use together. For example, if you have two vehicles with receivers on different channels they won’t work.
  • Trim: In radio control cars, trim is used to adjust the amount of steering input needed at any given moment by altering the servo position as well as other functions such as throttle response time.
  • D/R: Dual rates switch – this button switches between high-speed mode and low-speed mode depending on what situation is necessary for driving a car. For example, when driving on the highway you would use low-speed mode.
  • EPA: End Point Adjustments – EPA adjusts the total motion of your servo in one direction before you can adjust it laterally.
  • Bind: The process of pairing RC receivers and transmitters for operation in your vehicle or model kit.
  • REV: Reverse gear setting; used in radio control cars it will make an electric motor move slower than what is set by default. This is useful if you want something like a quick reverse or don’t need that much speed for a particular situation.
  • NOR: Normal; refers to an electrical circuit that is on when the power switch or relay is off and vice versa.
  • TX: Transmitter – this sends radio signals from a controller (receiver) to various receivers in RC cars, boats, planes etc. It can be paired with more than one receiver at once but cannot control two vehicles separately.
  • RX: Receiver – this receives the signal sent out by the transmitter and tells your model what direction it should go in as well as how fast or slow it should turn.
  • PWR: The power supply for your vehicle’s battery pack determines whether you use a lipo, NiMH or niCd battery. Low voltage batteries are rechargeable while high-voltage ones are not. LiPo batteries are rechargeable and have a higher voltage than the other types.
  • ESC: Electronic Speed Controller; this controls how fast your RC vehicle is going by sending different levels of power to the motor.
  • Brushless: Brushless motors are popular in radio control cars because they don’t require brushes or gear sets, so there’s nothing that can break on them. They’re also more efficient when it comes to running at high speeds for an extended period.
  • LiPo/NiMH/NiCd battery: These three terms refer to some of the most commonly used battery packs for remote controlled vehicles. The difference between these three is their chemistry (lithium-polymer vs nickel-metal ion) and ease with which they can be recharged. NiMH and NiCd batteries are rechargeable, while LiPo batteries can’t be.
  • V: Voltage.
  • A: Amps (current).
  • mAh: For a general rule of thumb, 1000mAh = one amp-hour.
  • KV: Kilo volts – refers to the voltage in an RC vehicle’s motor.
  • Turns: this is determined by how many times a brushless motor has rotated; more turns means more power and faster speeds. However, higher turn motors require less torque, so they’re more difficult to control.

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