Radio-controlled car
Overview
 
Radio-controlled cars are self-powered model cars or trucks that can be controlled from a distance using a specialized transmitter. The term "R/C" has been used to mean both "remote controlled" and "radio controlled", where "remote controlled" includes vehicles that are connected to their controller by a wire, but common use of "R/C" today usually refers to vehicles controlled by a radio-frequency link.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Radio-controlled cars are self-powered model cars or trucks that can be controlled from a distance using a specialized transmitter. The term "R/C" has been used to mean both "remote controlled" and "radio controlled", where "remote controlled" includes vehicles that are connected to their controller by a wire, but common use of "R/C" today usually refers to vehicles controlled by a radio-frequency link. This article focuses on radio-controlled vehicles only.

Cars are powered by various sources. Electric models are powered by small but powerful electric motor
Electric motor
An electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.Most electric motors operate through the interaction of magnetic fields and current-carrying conductors to generate force...

s and rechargeable nickel-cadmium, nickel metal hydride, or lithium polymer cells. There are also brushed or brushless electric motors. Most fuel-powered models use glow plug
Glow plug (model engine)
A glow plug is a device, similar to a spark plug, used to help ignite the fuel in the very small internal combustion engines typically used in model aircraft, model cars and similar applications...

 engines, small internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

s fueled by a special mixture
Glow fuel
Glow fuel is a generic term used to describe a fuel source used in model engines -- generally the same or similar fuels can be used in model airplanes, helicopters, cars and boats. Glow fuel can be burned by very simple two stroke engines or by more complicated four stroke engines and these...

 of nitromethane
Nitromethane
Nitromethane is an organic compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest organic nitro compound. It is a slightly viscous, highly polar liquid commonly used as a solvent in a variety of industrial applications such as in extractions, as a reaction medium, and as a cleaning solvent...

, methanol
Methanol
Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood naphtha or wood spirits, is a chemical with the formula CH3OH . It is the simplest alcohol, and is a light, volatile, colorless, flammable liquid with a distinctive odor very similar to, but slightly sweeter than, ethanol...

, and oil (in most cases a blend of castor oil
Castor oil
Castor oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the castor bean . Castor oil is a colorless to very pale yellow liquid with mild or no odor or taste. Its boiling point is and its density is 961 kg/m3...

 and synthetic oil
Synthetic oil
Synthetic oil is a lubricant consisting of chemical compounds that are artificially made . Synthetic lubricants can be manufactured using chemically modified petroleum components rather than whole crude oil, but can also be synthesized from other raw materials...

). These are referred to as "nitro" cars. Recently, exceptionally large models have been introduced that are powered by small gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

 engines, similar to string trimmer
String trimmer
A string trimmer, also known as a strimmer, line trimmer, weed whacker, weed whip, weed eater, weedy, or whipper snipper, is a powered handheld device that uses a flexible monofilament line instead of a blade for cutting grass and other plants near objects...

 motors, which use a mix of oil and gasoline. Electric cars are generally considered easier for the novice to work with compared to fuel-driven models, but can be equally as complex at the higher budget and skill levels.

In both of these categories, both on-road and off-road vehicles are available. Off-road models, which are built with fully functional off-road suspensions, and a wide tire selection, can be used on various types of terrain. On-road cars, with a much less robust suspension, are strictly limited to smooth, paved surfaces. In the past decade, advances in "on-road" vehicles have made their supension as adjustable as many full scale race cars, today.

Toy-grade radio control models

The term "toy" or "toy-grade" in regards to radio control cars is used to describe vehicles of the pre-assembled type generally found in discount stores and consumer stores. Sometimes they are colloquially referred to as "Radio Shack cars". Some toy-grade R/C models may also be found in hobby shops in an attempt to gain some market share from discount stores and appeal to younger users.

Advantages

Cost is one of the main advantages of toy R/C vehicles. The average medium-scale toy R/C car is around $50–$100 cheaper than an entry-level electric hobby class vehicle. Toy class vehicles are easy to operate, have a relatively low danger level (top speeds are typically under 20 mi/h (with most capable of only about 10 mi/h ), and are even easier to set up than the simplest hobby class ready-to-run vehicles (RTR's). Toy class vehicles are usually modeled after real cars, and often feature details that hobby class vehicles lack, like working lights, sounds, windows, opening doors and hoods, and realistic interiors at the expense of weight and durability. Some vehicles also feature working sound systems with radios or MP3 player inputs. There is also an almost endless array of toy R/C vehicle designs, ranging from common cars and trucks, to tanks, bulldozers, and motor cycles, to increasingly odd vehicles with unorthodox designs.

Disadvantages

Toy-grade R/C cars are typically manufactured with a focus on design coupled with reducing production costs. Whereas a hobby-grade car has a standardized motor and separate electronic components that are individually replaceable if they fail, toy grade cars are typically made with a non-standard motor, non-replaceable chassis components and a single electronic circuit board integrated into the design of the vehicle. This makes them difficult, if not impossible to repair, with exceptions being Nikko models and some Radio Shack models. Usually when one component on the vehicle fails, the entire vehicle must be thrown away. Performance is poor as well. Most are equipped with small, weak motors and are powered by cheap alkaline or NiCad batteries which means their top speed is usually only 5-15 mph, and they have short run times before new batteries are required. Most lack any form of a suspension and the ones that do feature a suspension have very primitive or rudimentary designs. Steering is typically not proportional (with only three positions: straight, full left, and full right) and there is typically no proportional "throttle" either, with stopped and full power usually being the only options. The alignment on many of the smaller cars is off and they are susceptible to great damage on crashing.

Hobby-grade radio control models

In recent years, hobby-grade "ready-to-run" (or "RTR") models have become available from every major manufacturer of radio-controlled cars, attracting many hobbyists who would otherwise have purchased a pre-assembled car (ARTR or Race-Roller). Vehicles of this type need little or no final assembly and in most cases, the bodies are shipped painted and trimmed, requiring little or no work from the owner before they can be used (other than purchasing and installing batteries). A number of cars and trucks are presently available only in ready-to-run form. The growing popularity of the RTR vehicle has prompted many manufacturers to discontinue production of kit vehicles. High-spec racing vehicles are generally still available or sold only as kits, and companies like ThunderTiger, Losi, HPI and Tamiya sell kit and RTR versions with the benefits of a kit version being in upgraded parts or lower costs, respectively. But with a hobby grade rc car can cost much more. Hobby grade can range from $80–$1500.

Electric models

Electrically powered models utilize mechanical or electronic speed control units to adjust the amount of power delivered to the electric motor. The power delivered is proportional to the amount of throttle called for by the transmitter - the more you pull the trigger, the faster it goes. The voltage is "pulsed" using transistors to produce varying output with smooth transitions and greater efficiency. Electronic speed controllers use solid state
Solid state (electronics)
Solid-state electronics are those circuits or devices built entirely from solid materials and in which the electrons, or other charge carriers, are confined entirely within the solid material...

 components to regulate duty cycle
Duty cycle
In engineering, the duty cycle of a machine or system is the time that it spends in an active state as a fraction of the total time under consideration....

, adjusting the power delivered to the electrical motor. In addition, most electronic speed controllers can use the electric motor as a magnetic brake
Brake
A brake is a mechanical device which inhibits motion. Its opposite component is a clutch. The rest of this article is dedicated to various types of vehicular brakes....

, offering better control of the model than is possible with a mechanical speed control.
Mechanical speed controllers use a network of resistor
Resistor
A linear resistor is a linear, passive two-terminal electrical component that implements electrical resistance as a circuit element.The current through a resistor is in direct proportion to the voltage across the resistor's terminals. Thus, the ratio of the voltage applied across a resistor's...

s and switch between them by rotating a head with an electrode
Electrode
An electrode is an electrical conductor used to make contact with a nonmetallic part of a circuit...

 around a plate that has electrical contacts. Mechanical speed controllers are prone to being slow to react because they are actuated by servos, waste energy in the form of heat from the resistor
Resistor
A linear resistor is a linear, passive two-terminal electrical component that implements electrical resistance as a circuit element.The current through a resistor is in direct proportion to the voltage across the resistor's terminals. Thus, the ratio of the voltage applied across a resistor's...

s, commonly become dirty and perform intermittently, and lack a dedicated braking ability. They are less expensive than high performance electronic speed controls and usually ship in older hobby-grade models. They are gradually being phased out.
Most electric cars up to recently used brushed motors but now many people are turning to brushless motors for their much higher power and because they require much less maintenance. They are rated either in relative turns or Kv. The Kv number tells how many RPM the motor will turn per volt, assuming no load and maximum efficiency. However, the ability of the system to put out power is dependent on the quality of the batteries used, wires and connectors supplying power. A well wired brushed system can outperform a poorly wired brushless system in many cases. Due to their power, brushless motors are also used in bigger monster trucks and 1/8 nitro-powered buggies that have been converted to electric. High quality brushless systems can be much more powerful than nitro and can do feats such as standing backflips when installed in a monster truck, most notably the HPI Savage Flux. Some 1/5 scale gas to electric conversions are in production but are uncommon due to high price.

Nitro-powered models

Nitromethane
Nitromethane
Nitromethane is an organic compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest organic nitro compound. It is a slightly viscous, highly polar liquid commonly used as a solvent in a variety of industrial applications such as in extractions, as a reaction medium, and as a cleaning solvent...

 fuel powered models utilize a single servo for throttle and braking control; rotation of the servo in one direction will cause the throttle
Throttle
A throttle is the mechanism by which the flow of a fluid is managed by constriction or obstruction. An engine's power can be increased or decreased by the restriction of inlet gases , but usually decreased. The term throttle has come to refer, informally and incorrectly, to any mechanism by which...

 on the carburetor
Carburetor
A carburetor , carburettor, or carburetter is a device that blends air and fuel for an internal combustion engine. It is sometimes shortened to carb in North America and the United Kingdom....

 to open, providing more air and fuel mixture to the internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

. Rotation of the servo in the other direction causes torque
Torque
Torque, moment or moment of force , is the tendency of a force to rotate an object about an axis, fulcrum, or pivot. Just as a force is a push or a pull, a torque can be thought of as a twist....

 to be applied to a linkage and cam which causes friction with the braking material. The brake is commonly located on the driveshaft
Driveshaft
A drive shaft, driveshaft, driving shaft, propeller shaft, or Cardan shaft is a mechanical component for transmitting torque and rotation, usually used to connect other components of a drive train that cannot be connected directly because of distance or the need to allow for relative movement...

 or spur gear in some cases and applies stopping power only to the driven wheels. Some models will also use an additional servo to control a transmission box, enabling the vehicle to drive in reverse.

Fuel engine sizes most often range between .12-.35 cubic inches. This is due to restrictions by the main sanctioning bodies for radio-controlled racing. Many "outlaw" engines are manufactured larger than these, mainly intended for vehicles which will not be used in sanctioned races and therefore do not need to comply with these regulations. Engine size is related to the class of car; 1/10 scale on and off road vehicles usually are equipped with .12-.18 cubic inch engines, with 1/8 scale vehicles using .21-.32 cubic inch engines. There are exceptions, with many Schumacher and Thunder Tiger/Team Associated RC models being good examples of unusually large engines coming as standard equipment on certain models.

Fuel-powered engines allow model cars to reach moderate speeds unmodified. Maximum power is generally achieved at medium to high speeds, and a slightly slower throttle response than electrically powered vehicles is to be expected due to clutching and lack of torque. Electric motors effectively produce instantaneous torque, whereas nitro engines, like full-sized gasoline engines, take time for the engine to spool up and for the clutch to engage. Nitro- (and fuel) powered cars may be refueled and returned to action in a few seconds, as opposed to electrics needing to remove the body shell and battery fasteners to replace a discharged battery. Nitro cars are cooled some by air, some by the oil mixed in with the fuel and may be run continuously with no need to take breaks for cooling down assuming they are properly tuned.

Nitro-powered cars operate like full-sized fuel vehicles more than their electric counterparts do, making use of a two stroke engine rather than an electric motor
Electric motor
An electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.Most electric motors operate through the interaction of magnetic fields and current-carrying conductors to generate force...

. The sound of the engine and generally higher stock top speeds are main selling points to nitro enthusiasts. However, their exhaust contains unburned oil, which usually ends up coating the chassis. This, in turn, requires more cleaning than an electric-powered equivalent. Cleaning is usually achieved by the use of compressed air nozzles and solvents (such as denatured alcohol). Tuning a fuel-powered vehicle requires learning to maintain optimum performance and fuel economy, and to minimize engine wear and overheating, even in ready-to-run vehicles. Running a nitro-fuel motor without tuning or tuning improperly can hurt performance in rich conditions, and cause severe damage in lean conditions.
Because of higher stock performance and their ability to be driven for longer periods of time, mechanical wear in nitro vehicles is generally greater than in electric vehicles. In addition, the increased speed and weight of fuel-powered vehicles generally lead to higher speed collisions, causing greater damage to the collided vehicles, and a greater degree of safety concerns needs to be taken into account. Maintenance such as cleaning of the air filter and general chassis cleaning, replacement of worn clutch parts, proper after-run lubrication (necessary for storage) and maintenance of other motor-related items such as glow plug replacement makes for a more frustrating experience for first time RC users. In addition, nitro motors typically require rebuilding or replacement after 2-8 gallons of fuel run through them, due to loss of compression, which can be accelerated by poor tuning and overheating. It is also possible to seriously damage the engines by over-revving them with no load or ingestion of dirt into the carburetor. As such, nitro-powered vehicles are by nature expensive to maintain.

Gasoline-powered models

Gasoline powered vehicles, also known as "fuelies" or "gassers", run on a mix of gasoline and oil. They cost much more (usually $800–$3000 RTR) than nitro and electric cars. They are also much bigger and therefore require much more space to run. They do not usually have as high top end speeds (compared to nitro and some electrics) but have lots of power and do not take a lot of fuel to run. Over time the cost of a gas-powered car can be less than some nitro-powered vehicles, because of the high cost of nitro fuel and buying new nitro engines to replace worn-out ones. In addition, gas-powered motors rarely if ever require tuning and have a very long lifespan. These large scale models have been popular in Europe for over a decade and have recently become very popular in the US thanks to companies like HPI Racing producing affordable high quality models locally.

Accessories

All R/C models generally require the purchase of additional accessories. For electrical vehicles, battery packs and a suitable charger
Battery charger
A battery charger is a device used to put energy into a secondary cell or rechargeable battery by forcing an electric current through it.The charge current depends upon the technology and capacity of the battery being charged...

 are needed to power the car and are seldom included. A soldering iron and supplies are often necessary to build high-performance battery packs or install upgraded electronics with low-resistance connectors. Li-Polymer Battery with a hard case is most popular for RC Car, the working output voltage is 7.4v. For nitro-powered vehicles, a glow plug heater and fuel are needed to start the engine, as well as 4 AA size batteries, or a rechargeable 6-volt 5-cell battery pack to power the onboard electronics. Nitro vehicles also require a means of cranking the engine over, which can be achieved using a pullstart, starterbox, battery operated rotostart, or by an electric drill. Relatively expensive model fuel, spare glow-plugs, and after-run oil are also needed. Gasoline-powered vehicles require only a receiver battery pack and a means to start the engine, usually the included pullstart. Hobby-grade vehicles almost always require 8 AA size batteries to power the transmitter, though some can use rechargeable transmitter pack or simply rechargeable AAs.

A large industry of aftermarket manufacturers produce upgrade or hop-up parts for hobby-grade cars. Upgrades range from mere improvements to the longevity of R/C car parts, to all-out performance enhancements. A number of hobbyists create their own upgrades for sale via classifieds and online forums.

"Ready-to-run" cars can be purchased, which leave the factory in a pre-tuned condition that affords for good racing performance without prior adjustment. However, those vehicles should still be inspected for loose parts prior to operation as stated in many manuals.
Alternatively, vehicles can be purchased that are either in kit form or are partially assembled, which are built and tuned by the owner prior to use, but most of the time, the owner will have to buy radio gear, and sometimes even an engine when they buy a kit.

Principles of operation

Radio-controlled cars use a common set of components for their control and operation. All cars require a transmitter
Transmitter
In electronics and telecommunications a transmitter or radio transmitter is an electronic device which, with the aid of an antenna, produces radio waves. The transmitter itself generates a radio frequency alternating current, which is applied to the antenna. When excited by this alternating...

, which has the joysticks for control, or in pistol grip form, a trigger for throttle and a wheel for turning, and a receiver
Receiver (radio)
A radio receiver converts signals from a radio antenna to a usable form. It uses electronic filters to separate a wanted radio frequency signal from all other signals, the electronic amplifier increases the level suitable for further processing, and finally recovers the desired information through...

 which sits inside the car. The receiver changes the radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 signal broadcast from the transmitter into suitable electrical control signals for the other components of the control system. Most radio systems utilize amplitude modulation
Amplitude modulation
Amplitude modulation is a technique used in electronic communication, most commonly for transmitting information via a radio carrier wave. AM works by varying the strength of the transmitted signal in relation to the information being sent...

 for the radio signal and encode the control positions with pulse width modulation. Upgraded radio systems are available that use the more robust frequency modulation
Frequency modulation
In telecommunications and signal processing, frequency modulation conveys information over a carrier wave by varying its instantaneous frequency. This contrasts with amplitude modulation, in which the amplitude of the carrier is varied while its frequency remains constant...

 and pulse code modulation. Recently however, 2.4Ghz frequency radios have become the standard for hobby-grade R/C cars. The radio is wired up to either electronic speed control
Electronic speed control
An electronic speed control or ESC is an electronic circuit with the purpose to vary an electric motor's speed, its direction and possibly also to act as a dynamic brake...

s or servomechanisms (shortened to "servo" in common usage) which perform actions such as throttle control, braking, steering, and on some cars, engaging either forward or reverse gears. Electronic speed controls and servos are commanded by the receiver through pulse width modulation; pulse duration sets either the amount of current
Electric current
Electric current is a flow of electric charge through a medium.This charge is typically carried by moving electrons in a conductor such as wire...

 that an electronic speed control allows to flow into the electric motor or sets the angle of the servo. On the models the servo is attached to at least the steering mechanism; rotation of the servo is mechanically changed into a force which steers the wheels on the model, generally through adjustable turnbuckle linkages. Servo savers are integrated into all steering linkages and some nitro throttle linkages. A servo saver is a flexible link between the servo and its linkage that protects the servo's internal gears from damage during impacts or stress.

History

Early commercial products

Several early commercially , London, and early in 1967 through Atkinson's model shop in Swansea. This model was followed by El-Gi's 1:10 Ferrari P4, first shown at the Milan Toy Fair in early 1968.

In the mid-late 60s a British company, Mardave, based in Leicester, began to produce commercially viable RC Cars. Their first cars were nitro- or gas-powered cars sold in the local area in the early 70s.

In the early 70s several commercial products were created by small firms in the US. Most of these companies began as slot car companies and with the wane in popularity of that genre moved into the R/C field. Among these were Associated Electrics, Thorp, Dynamic, Taurus, Delta, and Scorpion. These early kits were 1/8 scale nitro-powered (then called gas) aluminum flat pan cars powered by a .21 or smaller engine. The bodies for these cars were made of polycarbonate (the most popular made of Lexan). The most popular engine was the K&B Veco McCoy. The primary sanctioning body for races for these cars was Remotely Operated Auto Racers (ROAR). In 1973-74, Jerobee, a company based in Washington State, created their 1/12 nitro car using a Cox .049 engine. Several aftermarket companies created parts for this car including clear Lexan bodies, heat sinks, and larger fuel tanks. This scale evolved into 1/12 scale electric racing when Associated Electrics created the RC12E in 1976-77. Jerobee became Jomac and created their own electric kit.

By the late 1970s, interests in 1/12 scale electric racing began to grow as 1/8 scale IC racers, the sole racing category at the time, needing to race throughout the winter as an alternative to their impractical IC cars began to race 1/12 cars, therefore a winter national series was developed. As a result, the series grew into popularity as a large number of scratchbuilt cars started to appear in these meetings.

In 1976, the Japanese firm Tamiya, which was renowned for their intricately detailed plastic model kits, released a series of elegant and highly detailed, but mechanically simple electric on-road car models that were sold as "suitable for radio control". Although rather expensive to purchase, the kits and radio systems sold rapidly. Tamiya soon began to produce more purpose-built remote-controlled model cars, and were the first to release off-road buggies featuring real suspension systems. It was this progression toward the off-road class that brought about much of the hobby's popularity, as it meant radio-controlled cars were no longer restricted to bitumen and smooth surfaces, but could be driven virtually anywhere. The first true Tamiya off road vehicles were the Sand Scorcher and the Rough Rider
Tamiya Rough Rider
Tamiya Rough Rider was the very first of Tamiya's SRB series. These according to Tamiya made Radio Control Models acsessible to everyone. The design is famous for its fibre glass chassis with rear torsion bars and front hairpin springs.These models originally cost 18,000 yen...

, both released in 1979, and both based on realistic dune buggy designs. Tamiya continued to produce off road vehicles in increasing numbers, featuring working suspensions, more powerful motors, textured off-road rubber tires and various stylized "dune buggy
Dune buggy
A dune buggy is a recreational vehicle with large wheels, and wide tires, designed for use on sand dunes or beaches. The design is usually a modified vehicle and engine mounted on an open chassis. The modifications usually attempt to increase the power-to-weight ratio by either lightening the...

" bodies. They also produced trucks, such as the Toyota HiLux Pickup, that featured realistic 3 speed gearboxes and leaf-spring suspension systems. All of these models were realistic, durable, easy to assemble, capable of being modified, and simple to repair. They were so popular that they could be credited with launching a boom in radio-controlled model cars in the early to mid 1980s, and provided the basis for today's radio-controlled car market. Popular Tamiya models included the Grasshopper and the Hornet dune buggies as well as the Blackfoot and Clodbuster monster truck
Monster truck
A monster truck is a pickup truck, typically styled after pickup trucks' bodies, modified or purposely built with extremely large wheels and suspension...

 models. The earliest Tamiya models, particularly the early off roaders, are now highly sought after by vintage R/C collectors and can fetch prices of up to US$3000 on internet auction sites if still in mint, unbuilt form. Acknowledging their continued popularity, several of the early kits have even been re-released by Tamiya during 2005–2007, with a few alterations. Also they are fun to play with.

A British firm, Schumacher Racing, was the first to develop an adjustable ball differential
Ball differential
A ball differential is a type of differential typically used on radio-controlled cars. It differs from a geared differential by using several small ball bearings rotating between two plates, instead of bevel gears.- History :...

 in 1980, which allowed nearly infinite tuning for various track conditions. At the time the majority of on-road cars had a solid axle, while off-road cars generally had a gear-type differential. Team Associated
Associated Electrics
The acronym TC5 redirects here. For the American rock band, see The Click Five.Associated Electrics, Incorporated of Lake Forest, California is one of the world's leading manufacturers of radio controlled cars, trucks and accessories...

  followed suit with the introduction of the RC100 1/8 scale gas on-road car, RC12 1/12 scale on-road electric car, and RC10
RC10
The Associated Electrics RC10 2WD off-road buggy was first introduced insind 1984 as an electric, 1:10 scale off-road dune buggy. Associated had previous success with its 1:12 scale RC12 on-road electric R/C car...

 1/10 scale off-road electric racing buggy in 1984 (see below). Team Losi followed with the introduction of the JRX2
JRX2
The JRX2 is a 1:10 scale, two wheel drive electric r/c car made by Team Losi of California.Team Losi's first vehicle, the JRx-2, was a 1/10 Scale 2wd Off-Road racing buggy...

 in 1988.

Modern developments in radio controlled racing

In 1984, Associated Electrics, Inc.
Associated Electrics
The acronym TC5 redirects here. For the American rock band, see The Click Five.Associated Electrics, Incorporated of Lake Forest, California is one of the world's leading manufacturers of radio controlled cars, trucks and accessories...

 of Costa Mesa, California
Costa Mesa, California
Costa Mesa is a city in Orange County, California. The population was 109,960 at the 2010 census. Since its incorporation in 1953, the city has grown from a semi-rural farming community of 16,840 to a primarily suburban and "edge" city with an economy based on retail, commerce, and light...

 introduced the RC10
RC10
The Associated Electrics RC10 2WD off-road buggy was first introduced insind 1984 as an electric, 1:10 scale off-road dune buggy. Associated had previous success with its 1:12 scale RC12 on-road electric R/C car...

off-road electric racer; this model was a departure from 'Ass Electrics' regular line of nitromethane-powered on-road race cars. Designed as a high-grade radio controlled car, the chassis of the RC10 buggy was manufactured from anodised, aircraft-grade aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 alloy
Alloy
An alloy is a mixture or metallic solid solution composed of two or more elements. Complete solid solution alloys give single solid phase microstructure, while partial solutions give two or more phases that may or may not be homogeneous in distribution, depending on thermal history...

. The shock absorber
Shock absorber
A shock absorber is a mechanical device designed to smooth out or damp shock impulse, and dissipate kinetic energy. It is a type of dashpot.-Nomenclature:...

s were machined, oil-filled and completely tuneable; they were also produced from the same aluminium alloy. Suspension control arms were manufactured from high-impact nylon
Nylon
Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station...

, as were the three-piece wheel
Wheel
A wheel is a device that allows heavy objects to be moved easily through rotating on an axle through its center, facilitating movement or transportation while supporting a load, or performing labor in machines. Common examples found in transport applications. A wheel, together with an axle,...

s.

Optional metal shielded ball bearings were sometimes incorporated in RC10 wheels and transmissions
Transmission (mechanics)
A machine consists of a power source and a power transmission system, which provides controlled application of the power. Merriam-Webster defines transmission as: an assembly of parts including the speed-changing gears and the propeller shaft by which the power is transmitted from an engine to a...

. The RC10 transmission contained an innovative differential featuring hardened steel rings pressed against balls - which made it almost infinitely adjustable for any track condition. The RC10 quickly became the dominant model in electric off-road racing.

In 1986, Schumacher Racing Products released their CAT (Competition All Terrain) vehicle, widely considered the best four wheel drive
Four Wheel Drive
The Four Wheel Drive Auto Company, more often known as Four Wheel Drive or just FWD, was founded in 1909 in Clintonville, Wisconsin, as the Badger Four-Wheel Drive Auto Company by Otto Zachow and William Besserdich.-History:...

 off-road "buggy" racer of the time. The CAT went on to win the 1987 off-road world championship. This car is credited for sparking an interest in four-wheel-drive electric off-road racing.

Gil Losi Jr., whose family ran the "Ranch Pit Shop R/C" racetrack in Pomona, California
Pomona, California
-2010:The 2010 United States Census reported that Pomona had a population of 149,058, a slight decline from the 2000 census population. The population density was 6,491.2 people per square mile...

, turned his college studies toward engineering, primarily in the field of injection molded plastics, leading to his foundation of Team Losi. When the JRX-2, the first Team Losi buggy, was released, it initiated a rivalry with Team Associated that continues to this day. Team Losi went on to secure a number of achievements, which included the industry's first all-natural rubber tires, the first American-made four-wheel-drive racing buggy, and an entirely new class of cars, the 1/18-scale
1:18 scale
1:18 scale diecast replicas are diecast replicas in 1:18 scale or 1/18th the size of the real vehicle. Most popular in this category are 1:18 scale diecast automobile replicas - usually made out of zinc alloy with plastic parts...

 Mini-T off-road electrics.

Although Losi and Associated seemed to dominate much of the American market, Traxxas
Traxxas
Traxxas is a leading hobby level radio control model manufacturer based in Plano, Texas, United States, offering a variety of both electric and nitro powered cars and boats...

, (another American company, famous for the T-MAXX and the REVO 3.3), and Kyosho
Kyosho
is a model car company based in Tokyo, Japan. The brand operates internationally under the name KYOSHO. The company's main office is located in Chiyoda, Tokyo, and the production headquarters are located in Atsugi, Kanagawa....

 (from Japan), were also making competitive two-wheel-drive off-road racing models. Although Losi and Associated were close rivals in the USA, Schumacher off-road models continued to be popular amongst European hobbyists.

Electric and nitro cars have come a long way in terms of power. Electric cars have gone from non-rebuildable brushed motors and NiCad batteries to brushless motors and LiPo. Nitro cars have gone from small engines to huge .36-.80 engines that are used in big monster trucks. The monster trucks are also big in real scale.

See also

  • International Federation of Model Auto Racing
    International Federation of Model Auto Racing
    International Federation of Model Auto Racing is the world governing body of professional radio controlled racing.The organization was created in 1979 by professional racer and RC model entrepreneur Ted Longshaw. At that time, many different governing bodies operated under their own rules...

    , IFMAR in short, the international governing body for radio controlled car racing. Also organises its own world championship events.
  • Ian Cook (artist)
    Ian Cook (artist)
    Ian Cook is an English artist. He became famous for painting pictures using the wheels of remote-control cars. He is also the founder, director, and artist for PopBang Colour, a company based in Birmingham which helps him publicise his art.-Early life:...

    , British abstract artist who uses radio controlled cars to track acrylic paint onto his canvasses

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