How to Install an RC Car Radio

Written by larry simmons
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How to Install an RC Car Radio
Install a radio receiver so you'll have control over your RC car. (rc - modell image by andreas from

Controlling your RC car requires that you install a radio receiver inside the car body. RC radio receivers are small radio receivers tuned in to a specific frequency shared with your remote control transmitter handset. Input to the controls on the handset sends signals to the receiver, which translates the controls into movement of parts within your car. Installing the receiver is a simple project, but if the connections are done incorrectly, you’ll end up with an uncontrollable if not inoperable vehicle.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • RC car
  • Screwdriver
  • RC radio receiver
  • Screws
  • Matched pair of frequency crystals
  • RC radio transmitter

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  1. 1

    Open the RC car to gain access to the chassis on which you’ll be mounting the RC car radio. Remove the four clips that secure the body of the car to the chassis, placed in the four small posts extending through the surface of the car body. Remove any screws that may be holding the body of the car onto the chassis as well. Pull the car body upward from the chassis and set it aside.

  2. 2

    Locate the radio mount within your RC car. The location of the mount differs by car manufacturer and model, so consult the manufacturer’s instructions for mount location. Screw the radio receiver securely in place, making sure that the sockets for connecting the battery and speed controller and steering servo are face up.

  3. 3

    Install the radio frequency crystal into the radio. Purchase the crystal as a matched pair with one meant for the radio receiver in the car and one for the radio transmitter in the remote control handset. Gently push the two prongs in the bottom of the crystal labelled Rx into the car radio until you’ve seated the crystal fully in place. Follow the same procedure to install the crystal labelled Tx in your remote control handset.

  4. 4

    Plug your radio into the rest of the car’s electronics system. Plug the control cable from the servo connected to your car’s steering column into the socket marked CH1 on your radio, so you can control the steering from the remote handset. Plug the control cable from the electronic speed control in an electric car, or throttle servo in a Nitro car, into the socket in the radio marked CH2, so that you can control the speed of your car from the remote control handset. Finally, connect the cord from your car battery to the socket marked battery to provide power for your radio.

  5. 5

    Turn on the RC radio handset and the RC car to test the car radio. Turn the wheel of the handset to test the connection. If the wheels of the car do not turn with the turning of the RC handset or the car begins to move then switch the CH1/CH2 plugs on the car radio. If either control does not respond, check connections and try again. When the controls respond correctly, turn off power to the RC handset and the car and then replace the car body for use of the vehicle.

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