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How Remote Control RC Toys Work 

How Remote Control RC Toys Work 

If you’ve ever played with an RC toy car, you understand how easy it is to fall in love with them. From the smaller toys like mini-crawlers and RC jeeps to the larger airplanes and boats, there is nothing not to love about RC toys! But how do remote-controlled RC toys work? It’s quite an interesting process. RC toys use the transmitter, which sends signals to the receiver. The receiver then sends a signal to the motor, which triggers a specific function, like moving forward, backward, or even turning. 

Since it’s important to understand how remote-controlled RC toys work, especially if you want to buy one, I compiled this article to give you a hand. 

Here’s everything you need to know about how RC toys work:

Types of RC Toys 

Before we get into the main part of this write-up, it’s vital to list the types of RC toys available in case you’re looking to invest in one:

  • Robots
  • Submarines
  • Motor boats 
  • Sailboats
  • Blimps
  • Helicopter 
  • Airplanes 
  • Cars
  • Fantasy vehicles 
  • Trucks 
  • Animals 

Believe it or not, even animals are within the RC toy range. After viewing this list, you’ve probably deduced that the mechanics of how these RC toys work can differ substantially. Nonetheless, the basic principles apply to each. 

All radio-controlled RC toys have four main and common components:


This is the item you hold, and it helps you control the toy. It sends signals (radio waves) to the toy’s receiver. 


When the transmitter sends the signal, it is received by a circuit board and antenna in the toy, then it activates the motor (s) inside, as directed by the receiver. 

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Motor (s)

The motor is the engine of the RC toy. They can steer the car, turn the wheels, run the propellers, and so on. 

Power Source 

The transmitter sends a control signal via radio waves to the receiver. The receiver then initiates the motor, which causes a specific action to happen. For instance, the motor may cause the car to move forward, while a plane’s motor may modify the flaps. 

The power source is merely a battery pack (rechargeable), though at times, it’s typical batteries. 

The RC motor offers guidance in most RC toys, while the power source delivers locomotion. Let me give an example for clarity:

A sailboat relies on wind for propelling while its motor runs the rudder. 

How Remote Control RC Toys Work

Here is a summarized version of how RC toys work: 

The Transmitter 

Generally, RC toys have tiny, handheld gadgets that feature several controls and a radio transmitter. The latter sends signals over a specific frequency to the toy’s receiver. This transmitter also has a power source, typically a 9V battery. It affords the power for the signal transmission and controls. 

The main difference between remote-controlled and radio-controlled toys is that the remote-controlled options have a cable linking the toy and the controller, while their counterparts are wireless. 

Further, most of these devices run at 27MHz or 49MHz frequencies, which the FCC assigned to basic consumer devices. Nonetheless, the more advanced RC toys use 75 or 72MHz. Fortunately, RC toys include a label of their frequency range, so ensure you check the label. 

Operating RC toys is similar regardless of frequency. Transmitters vary from one-function controller to complete-function versions with numerous options. 

For the one-function options, the best example is one that makes your RC toy move forward when you press the button and reverse once you release it. Besides, to stop this type of toy, you need to turn it off manually. 

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On the other hand, for full-function controllers, they feature six major controls:

  • Reverse 
  • Forward 
  • Forward & left 
  • Forward & right 
  • Reverse & right
  • Reverse & left 

For most of these controllers, not pushing any buttons makes them stop as they wait for another command. Also, controllers for more cutting-edge RC systems usually employ two joysticks with a few response levels for accurate control. 

Radio Control 

Let’s talk more about radio control, having covered all you need to know about RC toy car transmitters. To better understand radio control, let me give you an example of an RC toy that uses 27.9MHz frequency. Here is what will happen when you utilize the transmitter. 

You press the button to make the toy move forward. 

The button converges several electrical contacts, hence completing a circuit linked to a certain part of an integrated circuit (IC). 

The circuit makes the transmitter send several electrical pulses, each signal with a couple of synchronization pulses. These pulses will then inform the antenna of the new information, like turning, moving forward, or reversing. 

The transmitter sends a few radio waves that oscillate with 27.9MHz. 

The RC toy is continuously monitoring the said frequency for a signal. Once the receiver gets the radio waves, it sends a signal to a filter that ignores anything not 27.9MHz. The relevant signal is turned into an electrical pulse sequence. 

This pulse is sent to the IC in the RC toy, which translates the sequence and triggers the motor. 


How Do Remote Controls Run an RC Toy?

Remote controls run a toy when a radio wave is produced using a transmitter and sent to the receiver inside the toy. The moment more buttons are pushed, the more the signals are produced in electrical pulse form, which moves through the air to deliver a specific demand to the RC toy. 

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Can I Increase My Transmitter’s Range?

Absolutely. To increase it, you can utilize transistors to boost your RC toy’s transmitter signals. Nonetheless, this might be difficult and expensive. The most affordable way to do it is to replace your antenna with a bigger, more efficient one. 

Moreover, you can use a directional antenna to boost the transmitter’s signal. 

How Can I Stop Interference?

When two gadgets run under the same frequency, there will for sure be interference. Therefore, if yours has the option to switch frequencies, it should be easy enough. If not, you can modify the frequency level until there is no interference. 

In Conclusion

Now that you know how remote control RC toys work and how the transmitter, receiver, and power source work, you are good to go. These toys rely on specific frequencies to transmit signals to and from the transmitter. 

You are now ready to go out into the world, invest in an RC toy of your choice, whether an airplane, automobile, or boat, and have some fun. However, remember to take a few precautions for safety, like double-checking if everything is running smoothly before you use your RC toy. Also, carry some spare batteries so the depleted ones don’t cut short your fun times! 

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