Kids love Remote Control Cars! They are among the most favorite toys for kids, and I remember having a few myself as a kid and enjoyed them tremendously. I had at least a few models ranging from the ones controlled by a six foot cord to a cool radio controlled Lamborghini Countach. I could never afford the really cool ones, and was infuriatingly jealous when a fellow sixth grader got a nitromethane fueled hobby grade, off-road race car. Man I wanted one so bad, but at around $250 in the mid 1980’s, it was well beyond my reach.
As a dad now, my boy was the first to express interest in remote control toys including remote control cars. He’d been enjoying a remote control dinosaur, and so for his third birthday I decided to get him, in honor of his dad’s Countach, a remote controlled Lamborghini Reventon.
RC cars come in many levels ranging from toy grade rc cars to hobby grade electric models and further to fuel based cars with internal combustion engines. The purpose for these ranges is merely cost; you can purchase a much cheaper toy grade rc car that is almost disposable without having to worry so much about price - or you can spend multiple hundreds and even into the thousands of dollars for a full blown hobby and commitment.
Toy grade rc cars are the most economical options and are perfect for simple and inexpensive gifts that will be truly loved and appreciated. They are most often modeled into designs of popular sports cars and trucks but will also include motorcycles, construction vehicles and even some wild non-conventional designs. Their main disadvantages are that they run through batteries rather quick, have limited control, run slower speeds (5-15 mph) with a stop and go action, and are generally disposable. Still, the cost is the toy grade remote control car’s main advantage and is a really fun gift to receive.
Hobby grade electric model rc cars have a main advantage in being able to proportionally deliver the amount of power delivered to the electric motor by the amount of throttle demanded by the transmitter. Voltage is pulsed by use of transistors, producing smooth transitions. Kv numbers signify how many RPM the motor will turn per volt, and high power brushless motors powere by lithium polymer cells are usually more attractive and are becoming more standard.
Hobby grade fuel powered remote control cars use glow-plug engines to ignite small internal combustion engines powered by mixtures of nitromethane, methanol and oil. There are even larger and much more expensive rc cars that run small gasoline engines that are fueled by a gasoline and oil mixture. These cars are for true hobby extremists, are generally sold in kits and upgradeable, have engine sizes between .12-.35 cubic inches, mostly to maintain codes for sanctioned racing restrictions and even come in much larger versions for those not interested in racing or following the rules. These are truly performance vehicles and their main advantages are power, fuel economy, speed, and the feeling of actually driving a real car. With these advantages however, cost is its main disadvantage, as are mechanical wear, difficulty in learning and maneuvering, and higher incidents of rc cars crashing into each other.
Even accessories come into play when considering remote control cars. With toy rc cars, batteries die out rather quick, so rechargeable ones are a good idea to purchase. Lithium Polymer batteries with a hard case are the most important purchases for a hobby grade electric car, and for fuel powered rc cars, the list can be rather long. Glow plug heaters, fuel, AA batteries, rechargeable 6-volt 5-cell battery packs, pullstart, starterbox, rotostart, spare glow plugs as well as numerous kits for countless upgrades and engine part replacements.
Well, my boy loves his Lamborghini Reventon, it’s an amazing little toy grade remote control car and was priced just right. As he gets older and depending on his developing interests, I would certainly consider any type of hobby grade rc car, though on a recent trip to the mall, he got a strong liking to some remote control helicopters!