Remote Control Accessories
There are different accessories for each different type of RC. But no matter what RC you have, you will need a transmitter, receiver, batteries, and a charger. Some of the other accessories include electronic speed control, servos, body kits, and custom unit upgrades.
Every RC needs a transmitter. It doesn’t matter if you are driving a car, flying a plane, or blowing stuff up with a tank. RC stands for remote control. Transmitters are the remote part of that. There are many different options when it comes to transmitters. There is different channel configurations, different shaped remotes, different frequencies, and on top of all of that, wildly different prices. You can find a transmitter that comes with an RC for less than $20, and you can also spend $1,000 plus on a top of the line transmitter for an airplane.
1 channel vs 8 channel
In transmitters, the number of channels refers to the number of options or controls you have over the vehicle you are operating. Two channels could be as simple as power and steering on a car. A 6-channel could be something like different controls for the throttle, rudder, landing gear, parachute, flaps, and camera on an airplane. How many channels you choose is up to you. It heavily depends on what kind of vehicle you are operating, and how skilled you are. Generally, the more channels, the harder the vehicle is going to be to operate.
Traditional vs pistol grip
Now, not every vehicle has the option of a pistol grip transmitter, but we thought we would include it in this section while we are talking about transmitters. Traditionally, the pistol grip is only used for cars and trucks, but they can sometimes be seen on boats and airplanes. Often the steering wheel will be a tire, which can be fun for a child to use.
MHz vs GHz
Going into the science behind radio signals and MHz vs. GHz can be complicated, so we will just talk about what you need to know. The main difference between the two is that two RCs in the same space cannot use the same MHz channel. The signals will interfere with each other, causing a lose-lose scenario for both operators. GHz on the other hand, allows for two different RCs to be used on the same frequency. If you use your vehicle in a public space that is likely to have other operators, you should opt for GHz.
The receiver is what is on the inside of the vehicle being operated, that takes the instructions from the transmitter, and relays them to the servo and electronic speed control. Unless you are choosing to build your own vehicle, you usually do not have to worry about the receiver at all. The only thing you should do is make sure that it is compatible with the transmitter.
You will need batteries for both the RC vehicle, and the transmitter. Usually, the transmitter is powered by disposable batteries like double A’s. The battery inside the vehicle will traditionally be rechargeable, however, sometimes the alkaline batteries will be used.
When it comes to purchasing batteries for the vehicle, the smarter choice is usually to go for the rechargeable batteries. The upfront cost may be higher, but in the long run they will save you money.
If you need battery recomendations, be sure to check out our article about the best LiPo battery for RC cars.
Types of rechargeable batteries
NiCD – These Nickel Cadmium batteries were used frequently years ago. These are the worst performing of all battery types and is not recommended for powering your RC.
NiMH – Nickel Metal Hydride batteries are still commonly seen today, although they are not the best option. They will be less expensive than their LiPo counterparts, but will not perform as well.
LiPo – This is the golden standard for batteries today. LiPo stands for Lithium Polymer, and it is the best battery type for powering your RC.
When you have rechargeable batteries, you need something to charge them with. When searching for a charger, there is not too much to consider. Although, you may want to think about buying one that has the ability to charge and discharge.