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Racing Through History
They've come a long way from the simple remote control cars of the 1970s. Fancier toys, more expensive gadgets and higher speeds are available these days for the radio remote control car enthusiast. But even if you've been collecting or playing with these devices for some time, you may never have taken the time to wonder just how these toys work in the first place. A basic appreciation for the science that goes into the technology will increase your love for the cars that much more.
The Transmitter Gets Things Rolling
The first component of making your remote control car speed down the highway (or the dirt lane next to your house) is the transmitter. This is the "remote control" that gives the toy its name. The transmitter sends signals to the car through a radio frequency (usually either 27MHz or 49MHz). These signals could be complicated and thorough, or they could be very simple, such as just backwards and forwards, depending on the quality of the car.
The Power of the Car
The radio-controlled car itself has a circuit board and a radio antenna built into its mechanism. The circuit board will control certain operations such as the directional pull of the vehicle, and the antenna will be tuned to the frequency at which the transmitter will be signalling instructions. The car will, of course, also come complete with a small motor to actually power the car. This motor is typically powered by battery. The same basic functions can be found in radio-controlled toys of all kinds, including boats and planes, with variations included to compensate for the various forms of transportation.