As Christmas has just passed, your kids are probably reeling with excitement about the new toys they received. If one of them is a new radio-controlled car, expect your little one not to be able to put it down for a while. Playing with RC cars is a great way for kids to get some physical activity while developing an interest in machines.
You can play with an RC car just because you can make the most out of it by treating it like a real car. That’s right, RC cars also require upkeep to stay in shape. It’s more than just a fancy plaything. RC cars are a product of nifty handiwork, so it’s not to be “used and abused.”
If you’re a mechanical engineering geek, you’ll be thrilled to know that tinkering with an RC car can help you gain more knowledge about engines. That said, here’s a guide on an RC car’s basic maintenance and troubleshooting:
How RC Cars Work
First, let’s understand how RC cars work. Radio-controlled cars aren’t necessarily the same as remote-controlled cars, in case you’re wondering. One can operate a remote-controlled vehicle from a certain distance or remote location outside the vehicle. This is made possible by wires connecting the car with the controller or a sensor transmitting signals wirelessly. Radio-controlled cars, on the other hand, transmit signals via radio waves to the receiver installed on the vehicle. Simply put, an RC car doesn’t need a wire, while a remote-controlled car might need it.
The main components of an RC car are:
- Transmitter – for sending radio waves to the receiver
- Receiver – the antenna and circuit board inside the car that receives the radio signal and activates the motor
- Motor – the engine responsible for turning wheels and steering the toy car
- Power source -another name for motor
To make the toy car run, the user will press a button on the transmitter so that signals can be sent to the receiver on the car. Once the signal is received, the motor will be activated, making the car move or “be driven” if it allows a kid to sit on the driver’s seat.
RC cars use a model gasoline or diesel engine. It does not, however, require fuel. It only needs a set of batteries, an antenna, and a circuit board.
Maintaining an RC Car
Like a real car, an RC car should also be kept clean. Kids often use their RC cars on dirt roads or lawns, so their tires are probably caked in soil. Clean them off immediately after the kid finishes playing. Better yet, teach your kid how to clean their RC car properly. Letting dirt sit on the tires and other parts can shorten the RC car’s lifespan.
Take off the batteries after use as well. Store them in a fireproof bag for your safety. If they need to be charged, avoid overcharging them.
Before taking out the RC car again, inspect its parts first. Ensure that the screws and other vital components are tight and intact. If you see a loose part, it might need recalibration. Inspect the batteries for potential acid as well. Acid leaks can corrode the metal parts and render them useless.
Set a schedule for cleaning the tires and motor. Wash the tires with warm water and an old toothbrush. Use soap to remove stubborn dirt and grime. For the motor, use an air compressor with mild pressure to sweep out the dust and dirt. Run the old toothbrush over any adhering dirt.
To avoid malfunctions or total damage, choose the terrain your kid’s RC car is designed for. An off-roading RC car, for example, can handle rocky surfaces, while a sedan RC may only handle smooth surfaces. Driving the RC car on suitable terrain will help prolong its life.
Troubleshooting an RC Car
If your kid’s RC car doesn’t respond to the transmitter, check its batteries. They may be due for recharging. If low batteries aren’t the problem, check the motor and controller. A clicking sound in the controller could indicate loose parts, so open it up to see. Otherwise, if the motor has gone faulty, it’s probably time to replace it. Buy a newpremium quality model diesel engine kit – or gas – for the RC car.
Because of an RC car’s maintenance requirements, it can feel more like a machine than a toy. But this teaches your kid to be responsible with their belongings, especially with one as elaborate as an RC car. For your part, playing with RC cars can help you understand the basics of mechanics and radio technology.