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Radio Control from A to Z
Radio controlled toys and projects have a huge following among hobbyists all across the globe. The concept is certainly a fun one - a miniature model of some real-life vehicle, fully functional and ready to get around. There are many different types of radio controlled hobbies that can be enjoyed. All it takes is basic knowledge of the radio equipment and the motors, and you can enjoy all of them in some way or another.
The most basic (and arguably the most fun) type of radio controlled hobby is the remote control car. Small model cars can be rigged in a way that will allow you to accelerate, steer, and brake them at will. There are numerous ways that you can accomplish this. The first is to just buy a remote controlled car and some good batteries. However, if you are interested in the technical aspect of it then this may seem uninteresting. Another option is to build a model or a kit from scratch, putting together all of the components of the car and installing the radio control system. Still another option is to take a pre-existing toy, and mount all of the radio components inside.
Toy cars aren't the only radio controlled hobby. Remote controlled boats are also very popular. It is fairly easy to convert a boat toy to be radio controlled. The biggest challenge faced by those trying to make a radio controlled boat is the issue of having a waterproof area for the engine and electrical equipment. Usually this is solved by placing the motor in the hull of the boat, and having the propeller emerge underwater through some sort of rubber, watertight seal. It is a good idea to buy this part of the boat pre-made, since a do-it-yourself, trial and error approach could lead to quite a few ruined engines before you get it right.
Radio planes are probably the most difficult project to undertake. Since a plane requires very detailed calculations and measurements in order to stay afloat, you will have to be attentive every step of the way. Makers of radio controlled airplanes will usually take one of two routes. The first is to buy kits that include cutout pieces of some sort of light wood that can be assembled using glue. After that is done, the radio and motor equipment are purchased and added in. The second method is to skip the kit, and find (or even make your own) plans for a model plane. After you have plans, you buy all of the necessary wood to make the plane from scratch.
Airplanes aren't the only radio controlled devices that take to the skies. Remote control helicopters are becoming more and more popular. They require around the same (perhaps a little less) detail as planes, and allow for a more interesting flying experience since they can hover in midair, and go backwards / forwards on command. The novelty of flying a toy helicopter is what attracts many people to building one, while planes usually attract those who enjoy the technical and mathematical aspects of getting the plane to leave the ground. Both are extremely rewarding, especially after hours and hours of labor.
These are some the many different ways that you can apply the intricacies of radio electronics to regular toys. While these make up the main areas that are focused on in this hobby, they certainly don't confine you. If you have an idea for a radio controlled toy that is not a car, a boat, a plane, or a helicopter then by all means pursue it. By starting with the more basic toys, you can learn about the radio systems and the motors that power whatever it is that propels the vehicle forward. All it takes is this basic knowledge, and the hobby of radio controlled toys can span a vast number of possibilities.
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