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If you approach a stranger on the street and ask if they know what a radio controlled car is, the answer is usually a BIG smile and an affirmative “yes!” In fact, most of us have probably had the thrill of owning a radio controlled car at some point in our lives when we were growing up. Maybe you got one for your birthday or maybe “Santa Claus” left one for you under the tree. You may not even remember how you got it; you just remember all the fun you had playing with it. Well, it’s been a while since then. You’re a little older now and your radio controlled car is long gone, but by God, every time you see one in a toy store somewhere, you feel the need to buy it, take it home, and rekindle those good memories. “But radio controlled cars are for kids!” you say to yourself. Not so fast my friend. The world of radio controlled cars has something for everyone and regardless of whether you are four or forty four years old, you are sure to find a radio controlled “vehicle” (yes, I said vehicle) that will give you that BIG smile back. You see, radio controlled vehicles have come a long way since I was a kid. Today there are radio controlled cars, trucks, planes, boats and even tanks! Some models are easy to operate and keep things very basic, while others are more intricately engineered and designed and require a bit more skill to operate. With all of this in mind, there are some basic things to know about radio controlled vehicles before going online or going to your local hobby store to buy one.

One of the first things to know is the difference between “toy grade” and “hobby grade” radio controlled vehicles. In the world of radio controlled vehicles, the term “toy grade” is often used to describe vehicles of the pre-assembled type typically found in discount stores and consumer stores. They are sometimes referred to as “Radio Shack cars”. Toy-grade models are typically cheaper than hobby-grade models, between $ 50 and $ 100 cheaper than an entry-level electric vehicle. Toy grade models are easier to operate and set up than simpler hobby grade ready-to-use (RTR) vehicles. Toy-grade models are also relatively safer, with most models capable of only 8-10 mph. While ease of use and low price are some of the biggest advantages of toy-grade models, they do have a few downsides. Toy quality models are typically made with a focus on design along with reducing production costs. Toy grade models are not made with parts that are repairable, replaceable, or interchangeable. When a vehicle component fails, the entire vehicle should normally be scrapped. Toy models are generally built with small, weak motors and run on alkaline or rechargeable batteries, which translates to shorter run times and lower top speeds. All things considered, toy grade models are a great choice for younger kids under the age of twelve and adults who just want to keep things simple aren’t too concerned about the disposability factor that comes with grade models. toy.

But if you’re seriously into the sport of radio-controlled vehicles, maybe even racing one day, you might want to get acquainted with “hobby grade” models. Hobby-level models are more advanced in design and built to be durable, strong, and customizable. Unlike their toy grade cousins, hobby grade models have standardized motors, actual working suspensions, and separate electronics that can be individually replaced if they fail. Hobbyist-level models are powered by an electric motor and battery or a fuel-powered motor. Depending on the model you choose, speeds between 20 mph and 70 mph are fairly common. In fact, the current top speed record is held by Nic Case at 161.76 mph. Generally, even the slowest Hobby grade RC vehicle will outperform the “best” of the toy grade variety. The biggest advantages of the hobbyist models are better speed, durability, more handling control, and excellent overall performance. However, like their toy-grade cousins, hobby-grade models also have a few downsides: cost, repair and maintenance, time commitment. Hobbyist-level models are generally more expensive, with prices ranging from as low as $ 100 to over $ 500, depending on the model. Hobby level models REQUIRE repair. With many models reaching top speeds of more than 50 mph, crashes are inevitable and things will break down and need to be repaired or replaced, adding to the cost of owning the vehicle. Also, while electric motor models don’t require much adjustment other than keeping battery packs charged, the same can’t be said for fuel-powered models. Fuel-powered engines require frequent adjustments and fine-tuning to ensure that they are burning fuel properly and operating in optimal condition. And if all of these things seem to be a bit time consuming, your assumption is correct. Absolutely, hobby-level models DO take longer to assemble, learn, repair, maintain, and keep running. However, don’t let these factors discourage you from amateur grade models, because these same factors are why amateur grade enthusiasts love the sport! They LOVE these “downsides” as they allow them to be more practical with their vehicle and customize it to their exact taste and ultimately make your vehicle uniquely their own.

Whichever path you take as a first step in the RC hobby is up to you. Many in the RC hobby have only one or two vehicles that they continually adjust, improve and modify, while others specialize in certain types of RC vehicles, such as large scale, micro, vintage, boat only, or just touring cars that they buy ready. to use. -Run or build themselves. Others may have a wide collection of RCs of all types and sizes, both for toys and hobbies. Your approach is your own based on time, money, and interest. There is no right or wrong path to the RC hobby!

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