There are many different hobbies that people are interested in. One of the popular hobbies in the world today is remote control hobbies. The remote control vehicle industry is becoming one of the biggest industries worldwide. It specializes in producing remote-controlled vehicles, such as cars, trucks, boats, planes, helicopters, and more.
A remote-control vehicle pertains to any vehicle that is teleoperated by a means that does not restrict its motion with an origin that is external to the device. Most of the time, it is a radio-control device, a cable between the controller and the vehicle, an infrared controller, a Bluetooth controller, and some are now controlled through wi-fi.
Small-scale remote-control vehicles have been very popular among hobbyists for many years now. They span a wide range when it comes to price and sophistication. They also come in many different types. In addition to that, there are also other remote control items that are not vehicles but are also loved by hobbyists. If you want to learn more about them, you’re in the right place. In this post, we are giving you an infographic on the types of remote control hobbies.
Remote Control Cars
A lot of people are not aware of how fun it is to play with remote control cars. It’s because many consider RC cars to be a toy that is exclusive to children. Remote control cars, on the other hand, are also adored by both as hobbies or sports. Like playing video games, it helps in improving hand-eye coordination, but more effectively, as it involves real-world navigation. Over the years, remote control cars have come a long way. At the present time, the selection is so diverse that it may meet the wants and needs of any consumer in the world.
The very first RC car ever produced was in 1996, which was the nitro-powered Ferrari 250 LM by Elettronica Giocattoli or El-Gi, which is an Italian electronics company. Originally, RC stands for Radio Control, while Remote Control pertains to anything that you can control from a distance. Therefore, we can say that all RC toys and vehicles come under remote control, but not all remote controls are RCs or radio-controlled.
Below are the different types of RC cars:
- RC Touring Car
It is a kind of an on-road car that can run on concrete roads, carpets, or asphalt. Generally, it has four wheels and an independent suspension that has a lower arm and upper control arm. RC touring cars also have a lower deck and an upper deck to prevent the chassis from flexing. Most hobbyists also choose rubber tires for touring cards. Most of the time, an RC touring car is on a scale of 1:10. It also has a 4WD system that is made for easy drifting without causing any damage to the car. However, keep in mind that RC touring cars are only for flat surfaces, and they can’t run on off-road terrains like gravels, grass, and sand dunes.
- RC Buggy
This one is an all-terrain remote-controlled vehicle that is perfect for rocky environments, gravel, muddy stretches, and the like. It is a great choice if you are just starting with RC cars and do not have a preference for the specific types yet. RC buggies have long shock absorbers and narrower tires compared to monster trucks. This means that it can deal with off-road terrains well.
- RC Short Course Truck
Compared to RC buggies, the shock absorbers of a short course truck are not as long. It has four wheels that are protected by the bumpers and the shell of the car, which is advantageous to the whole frame. This type of RC car can also run on all terrains, including the flat road, grass, gravel, and more. It is a perfect choice for people who love to customize. It is a representation of power as most of them are heavy-duty, durable, and offer great punch.
- RC Monster Truck
When it comes to RC trucks, the monster truck is the most popular. It features high power, a cool appearance, and a great punch. Most of them need li-po batteries of high quality, high energy density, and high discharge rate. Monster trucks have four wheels that are much bigger compared to the other car types. It is an off-road RC car that can run on the dirt, grass, puddles, and sand dunes. It can be played everywhere, and it can also stand backflip and dirt jumping.
- RC Crawler
An RC crawler is also an off-road RC car that is perfect for climbing uneven surfaces, particularly the mountain and gravel. It is not fast but is proficient at challenging all types of rugged terrain.
Remote Control Helicopters
Remote control helicopters are miniature helicopters that are also loved by hobbyists. Constructing and flying your own RC helicopter is both challenging and rewarding for people of all ages. However, note that they are not toys but instead very sophisticated machines. Therefore, if you choose to be an RC helicopter hobbyist or pilot, you need to possess the technical aptitude to create and prepare your helicopter.
RC helicopters use various power sources, such as nitro, electric batteries, gas turbines, petrol, and gasoline. Electric helicopters are powered by batteries, and NiMH batteries are the least expensive choice. Electric ones are also noiseless. On the other hand, liquid fuel is used to run nitro-powered RC helicopters. Most of them are larger and louder. They can also be flown nonstop as it is easy to refill their fuel tanks. There are also a few RC helicopters that are powered by a gas turbine engine. But they are only for expert hobbyists. You can check out the Cheerwing Metal-Scout U12S RC Helicopter if you want to try an RC helicopter that is suitable for beginners.
Below are the different types of remote control helicopters:
- Toy / Single Rotor and Coaxial
A toy RC helicopter is very basic and inexpensive. They are limited and not precise but are fun and easy to fly. However, they do not offer the same level and precision of flight control as an actual hobby-grade RC helicopter will. Toy RC helicopters are a practical option to consider. They are great for kids who are looking into starting out with an RC helicopter hobby.
- Micro Coaxial Hobby Grade
Also known as dual or twin rotor helicopters, which introduce real helicopter controls, such as up, down, turn, forward, backward, sideways, and hovering movements. These are larger in size and mass than toy helicopters but are as easy to fly. Unlike conventional single-rotor helicopters, it features two main rotors stacked on top of each other, spinning in opposite directions at the exact same speed to produce equal amounts of torque. This prevents the helicopter from yawing or turning, making them stable.
This type of RC helicopter is perfect for introducing the hobby to first-time flyers. It is a great choice if you are interested in RC helicopters but a bit intimidated by the complexity and price of a single rotor hobby-grade collective pitch helicopter.
- Quad Rotor / Multi Rotor
RC Quadcopters or multi-rotor are among the latest development in RC vertical lift platforms. These can take off vertically, hover, and fly in all directions. It features 4 or more propellers arranged in a cross-type configuration. It is easy to fly but does not look like a conventional helicopter design. They are very stable but may cost more if you wish to add GPS to them.
- Micro Single Rotor Fixed Pitch Hobby Grade
This is a step up from the micro coaxial and quadcopters. It is a bit challenging to fly but has similar self-correcting stabilization qualities. It is a small RC helicopter that bridges the gap between the lower performance micro coaxial and the higher performance and larger single-rotor versions. If you are serious about getting into the RC helicopter hobby, this is a wonderful little helicopter that you can start with.
- Single Rotor Collective Pitch Hobby Grade
This one gives hobbyists real helicopter control, increased complexity, and cost. However, flying it can be mentally exhausting due to its high performance and challenging controls. It is the ultimate expression of fun and achievement in the world of RC helicopter hobby.
A collective pitch RC helicopter is not positively stable. This means they are unstable, particularly when hovering. Flying one is like balancing on a big ball. To keep the helicopter stationary in a state of hover equilibrium, you have to make multiple control corrections simultaneously. It is one of the best types of RC helicopters that you should learn to fly if you are going into the hobby.
Remote Control Airplanes
Remote control airplanes are model aircraft that are controlled remotely, mostly with a handheld transmitter and a receiver within the craft. When you pilot an RC plane, it feels like you are controlling your own air strike force. It is a perfect hobby for those who are into electronics or mechanical devices as they feature advanced designs and components.
Flying RC airplanes is actually an exciting hobby. They involve many areas of excitement, both artistic and technical. It’s because there is no other hobby that will allow you to be involved in lots of diverse skills and topics, including electronics, woodworking, aerodynamics, small motors, and the great outdoors.
There are many types of remote control airplanes. Below are some examples:
Radio-controlled gliders are the simplest form of RC planes. It is a peaceful and relaxing way to enjoy the hobby. Most of them have two channels that control either elevator and aileron or elevator and rudder. The latter is by far the most popular option among RC plane pilots. However, aerobatic and combat gliders need quality maneuverability. In such cases, ailerons are preferred.
RC gliders are quite easy to fly. They can be flown from flat land or from a slope through some kind of system for launching, like a high-start system or bungee. They are also slower than the speeds of powered planes, giving you more time to react. They also require a few accessories.
RC jets are very expensive and mostly use a small turbine or ducted fan as a source of power. Their airframes are usually made from fiberglass and carbon fiber. Wooden spars inside the aircraft reinforce the body to create a rigid airframe. RC jets also have Kevlar fuel tanks for the Jet A fuel that they run on. Many micro turbines start with propane and burn for a few seconds before using the jet fuel. Most RC jets reach speeds in excess of 200mph.
- Toy RC Planes
If you are planning to introduce the hobby of flying RC airplanes to your kids, starting them with toy RC planes is a good idea. There are many options in toy stores when it comes to toy remote control airplanes. Due to the advances in technology, mini radio control components are invented and being used today. With this, lots of toy RC planes are introduced into the market at a price that is easily affordable.
Remote Control Boats
Remote-controlled boats are boat or ship models that are controlled remotely using radio control equipment. This type of hobby lets you experience the cruising delight that yacht or boat owners experience. They let you glide across the wide-open waters with power and ease. There are many people out there who collect and play with RC boats. There are even associations and communities that organize events and boat racing competitions.
Like other remote control hobbies, RC boats also come in various kinds. Below are some of them:
- Fun Sport
These are electric sport boats, which are the most common type of boat among casual hobbyists. A hobby-quality RC boat usually has a speed that starts at around 20mph and goes up from there. These boats are referred to as hobby-grade remote-controlled boats. They can only be purchased at hobby shops and retailers. Toy-grade boats, on the other hand, are widely available in retail stores and toy stores. However, they are slower, and their maximum speeds are mostly less than 15mph.
Replicas of full-size boats. They range from small enough to fit into your hand to large, trailer-transported models that weigh hundreds of pounds. They are mostly miniaturized versions of a prototype, which are built through plans or photos. But there are also variants that use freelance designs.
Model sailboats are mostly controlled through a multi-channel radio transmitter used by the operator with a corresponding receiver in the boat. When the position of the two joysticks on the transmitter is changed, signals are transmitted over two distinct channels on one radio frequency. On the boat, the radio receiver is connected to two battery-powered electric motors. Sailboats use the power of the wind acting on sails to propel the boat. Signals from the radio transmitter are read by the radio receiver and interpreted into instructions to change the position of the servomechanisms.
A competitive branch of the radio control model warships hobby. It involves the firing of projectiles, which are mostly propelled by gas, at opposing ships to sink or damage them. Most of them fire ball bearings. They are designed to be sinkable but are fitted with a balsa hull plating to penetrate down to safe levels. RC combat boats are also simplified to facilitate repair.
Scale model tugboats are built to include scale drive systems. They have standard propellers and rudders or Voith-Schneider cycloidal drives. RC tugboats are usually seen in maneuvering competitions where participants are challenged to run the boats in the most realistic manner.
Remote Control Submarines
Remote control submarines are small-scale versions of a submarine operated using radio control. They are the best if you want to explore the ocean without getting in. However, a submarine with a camera is needed for this. RC submarines are steered by a remote controller that utilizes a radio signal to communicate with the submarine. They range from small toys for hobbyists to sophisticated ones for professionals.
There are two types of remote control submarines for hobbyists:
- Dynamic Diving
RC submarine models with dynamic diving are buoyant and will remain on the surface unless enough thrust is generated over their control surfaces to push them beneath the water. This is a less expensive and simple type of remote control submarine model. They can also return to the surface in case radio contact is lost since they have positive buoyancy. However, they also need to maintain sufficient speed while they are underwater for them to remain there.
- Static Diving
RC submarine models with static diving can change their displacement by taking on or pumping out water. They use a piston, inflatable bladder, or a ballast tank. However, these models are expensive to build as their ballast systems are complex. Also, in case of loss of radio contact while submerged, they will most likely sink to the bottom and will need manual retrieval unless they are equipped with a failsafe system. But when it comes to the ability to dive at a standstill, it is advantageous, as it is more precise and scale compared to dynamic systems.
Remote Control Drones
There are also remote control hobbies that are not models of vehicles, and one of the popular examples is a drone. The term usually pertains to an unpiloted aircraft. It is also sometimes called unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs. They can carry out a wide range of tasks, ranging from military operations to package deliveries. They can be as big as an aircraft or as small as the palm of your hand.
RC drones are remote-controlled and are mostly used by hobbyists. They are built using sophisticated technology, unlike RC planes that are made from flimsy materials like foam. Most drones can fly either with a remote control or independently, making them efficient. Most of the time, they are equipped with GPS, infrared cameras, sensors, navigation systems, and more. They also have a lot of uses, such as for videography and photography, security, and fun.
Below are the different types of drones:
- Multi-Rotor Drones
Multi-rotor drones are the most popular, especially for hobbyists. They are used for aerial photography, filmmaking, and even surveillance. Many people love to use them due to their small size and ready-to-fly out-of-the-box capabilities. They are very easy to produce and the cheapest, too. You can also build your own multi-rotor drone by simply buying a drone kit and following the included manual. To know more about building drones, check out our Guide to Building Your Own Drone with a Drone Kit.
They feature several rotors on their body and can be classified further based on the number of them on the platform. There are tricopters, quadcopters, hexacopters, and octocopters. The most popular are quadcopters, which have 4 rotors. The only downside of multi-rotor drones is that they can only fly for around 15 to 30 minutes.
- Fixed-Wing Drones
Fixed-wing drones have one rigid wing that is made to look and work like an airplane. You can distinguish them easily as they can’t stay in one place with vertical lift rotors. Instead, they glide on a set path as long as their energy allows. This means that they can be more efficient compared to other drone types. They are also popular in the military as they are usually used when a manned flight is considered too risky or difficult.
- Single-Rotor Drones
Single-rotor drones are sturdy, and they look similar to the design and structure of helicopters. They feature a big rotor, which is one big spinning wing, and a small rotor on the tail, which is used for direction and stability. These drones can hover vertically in the air. They have long flight times, particularly if the drone is gas-powered.
However, single-rotor drones are more challenging to fly than multi-rotor drone types. They are also expensive and can be dangerous due to the heavy spinning blade. They are not used by hobbyists but by researchers and surveyors.
These are the different types of remote control hobbies. Each of these hobbies allows people to learn different skills, join various groups, and, most importantly, have fun. The best thing about remote control vehicles is that they are not only fun when being used or played with but as well as when they are being put together. A lot of people are getting into these hobbies as they love socializing with other people to get insights about the best parts that they can incorporate into their RC vehicles.
Remote control hobbies are indeed perfect for those who are into technology, woodworking, aerodynamics, vehicles, and even the great outdoors. We hope this post helped you learn more about the types of remote control hobbies.