There are numerous versions of radio controlled vehicles on the market. Many of them are marketed as toys but some are aimed directly at their most appreciative audience – the middle aged man! These men like to relive their youth by playing with them and are able to spend much more money on the most impressive, lifelike and feature packed versions. However, whether you buy a budget or a top of the range model, you can be sure that the basic principles of the way in which they work are the same.
There are four basic components to the majority of radio controlled vehicles. The first is the transmitter, which is the piece that you hold in your hands and use to control the vehicle. This is called a transmitter as it transmits radio waves to the receiver. This is a circuit board and antenna combination located somewhere within the vehicle itself and which receives and translates the radio waves from the transmitter. Once the antenna has received the radio wave signal it triggers an electrical charge which causes a circuit within the circuit board to be completed. This then makes the vehicle do whatever it is you requested depending on what you did on the handheld transmitter. So, if you moved the controller to make the vehicle go forward, this is what will happen.
In order for movement to take place, a motor is required. The motor controls the wheels, propeller or any other component of the vehicle which moves. This does not have to be solely the component which actually causes the vehicle to move, although this is part of its purpose. For example, a radio controlled car needs to have wheels that move and so the motor would control this. However, it may also have a fan on the top which spins. This fan is not essential for the car’s movement to take place but it does need a motor to make it spin.
A motor can only work if it has a power source connected to it and this is the final element of most radio controlled vehicles. The most common type is the replaceable battery. However, there are mains powered vehicles available which plug into the domestic power supply and charge a rechargeable battery within the vehicle. These are generally more expensive to buy but can work out cheaper in the long run as these types of vehicles do require quite a substantial amount of power to run, causing standard batteries to expire quite quickly.