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What makes up an RC?

Common Components

Power - Electric RCs

  • BatteriesBattery
    • This is where all of the power starts. An RC "battery" is actually an assembly of a number of individual battery cells, usually 5 to 8 of them, connected together to form a 6V to 9.6V pack. The most common types of cells are nickel cadmium (NiCd or "nicad"), and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH). Aircraft often use much lighter-weight, but higher-powered lithium polymer (LiPo) cells.
  • Electric motorMotor
    • The motor (don't call it an "engine" if it's electric) is what actually makes the vehicle go. It works by converting electricity into magnetism to create torque, or rotational force. A small, replaceable gear is attached to its output shaft to mesh with a larger ("spur") gear that connects to the rest of the drivetrain and ultimately to the wheels.
  • Electronic speed controller (ESC)Speed controller
    • Between the motor and battery is a device for regulating how much electricity can flow through the circuit. This can be either a mechanical speed controller (MSC) or an electronic speed controller (ESC - pictured at right). A MSC uses a servo motor to physically turn a dial connected to one or more resistors. An ESC is a generally smaller, fully-contained electronic component with no moving parts.

Next: Power - Nitro-Specific >