How to Use Radio Control Toys

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How to Use Radio Control Toys

Radio control toys are popular modern toys that are self-powered vehicles controlled by a remote. These toys work using radio frequencies that allow the vehicles to be controlled wirelessly from a distance. Radio control (or R/C for short) toys come in all different shapes, sizes and specifications. From simple affordable electric-powered boats and airplanes to luxury high-tech petrol or nitro-powered cars and trucks, there are radio control toys to suit everyone no matter their age or experience level.

With the rise of internet shopping, buying radio control toys and products has never been easier thanks to consumer-based websites like eBay.

The purpose of this guide is to inform the reader about how to use radio control toys and guide them through purchasing one on eBay.

How Radio Control Toys Work

Radio control vehicles generally come in two formats; toy grade and hobby grade. Toy grade R/C vehicles are more affordable, simpler to run and easier to maintain than their counterparts. These R/C vehicles are targeted at children and as such come pre-assembled often without the ability to change any of their components.

Hobby grade radio control vehicles however are more advanced and more technical than toy-grade R/Cs. These vehicles are targeted at a more mature audience and are intended to be used by hobbyists in radio control vehicle racing. Due to this, hobby grade R/Cs are more versatile than toy grade versions and as such contain interchangeable parts so the owner can modify and customise their vehicle as they wish.

Radio control vehicles are devised into three categories relating to their power type:

Electric R/C vehicles are powered by rechargeable batteries whereas petrol-powered R/Cs use a combination of unleaded petrol and two-stroke oil to fuel their chainsaw-type engines. Nitrous-powered radio control vehicles run on a fuel called Nitromethane to power their two-stroke engine.

Each type of radio control vehicle has their benefits and drawbacks that should be considered before purchasing:


Electric Powered

Petrol/Nitrous Powered





· Quiet

· Cleaner and safer (no exhaust fumes) so can be used inside or outside

· Easy to start

· High top speeds

· Quick acceleration

· Can be used on long runs with only a little  amount of fuel

· Larger size generally means more versatility so can be used on more surfaces than smaller electric R/C cars



· Less visible/recognisable to others

· Slower top speeds

· Slower acceleration

· Limited run time (even with multiple batteries)

· Noisy (bad for neighbours but good for alerting people to be careful of the R/C car)

· Exhaust fumes prohibit indoor use

· More difficult to start (with engine starter)

Regardless of the power type, radio control vehicles all work using the same radio system format. Each R/C toy is typically made up of two main components: the vehicle and the remote (or transmitter) that controls the vehicle.

R/C remotes/transmitters come in various shapes and styles from the simple two-handed panel remote to a gun-shape remote with a trigger and steering wheel. Simple toy-grade vehicles will have a similarly simple remote to control it whereas a high-spec hobby grade model will have more complex remote to cater for controlling it.

Within each remote -regardless of the power type or R/C grade- there is a special radio component that controls the vehicle depending on the instructions given by the operator when the remotes buttons are pressed.

The R/C vehicle then picks up these transmissions using its own unique internal receiver and once interpreted the vehicle carries out the operator’s instructions in a seemingly instantaneous manner.

What to do With Your New Radio Control Toy

  • Once your radio control toy has been purchased, the first thing to do once it has been taken out of the box is to read the instructions. This is the most important thing to do before the toy is taken for a spin.
  • Unlike many other toys where the instructions aren’t always a necessary read, radio control toys (especially hobby grade) can be very complex so it is essential that the instructions are read cover to cover before it is played with.
  • From charging the batteries and inputting the fuel to using the remote controls buttons, there are often many advanced features on radio control toys so the instructions must be thoroughly read to ensure that your vehicle is properly set up and ready as well as that it is safe to use.
  • For anyone who is new to the radio control arena, reading the instructions will not only guide you about how to use the toy but it will also give you a greater idea about what owning an R/C vehicle includes.
  • Once the instruction manual has been read entirely, the best thing to do next is to take the vehicle for a test run. For electric R/C vehicles indoors in a large open space is often best. For petrol and nitro-powered R/Cs however inside isn’t an option, so you should try to find a large smooth surface outside like a car park to practice in first- the area should ideally be empty and quiet.
  • For radio control aircrafts, you should find a quiet field that does not have any ponds or lakes for your R/C to crash into. The area should be clear of people and not near any power lines or a forest. When testing R/C boats you should try to find a large body of calm water that is not near any drains or sewage pipes.
  • For all test runs no matter the R/C vehicle type, the conditions should be good so dry and not windy are the main considerations.
  • Poor weather (especially stormy) is not only bad for R/C toys because of the wet and the wind but radio static can also interfere with their radio systems causing them to malfunction and possibly become lost or severely damaged.
  • During the test run you are trying to discover how the toy responds to the remote so practice using the throttle and steering buttons until you are comfortable that the vehicle is being well-controlled. Once this has been mastered, you must test out the rest of the buttons and commands on the remote in order to know what each of them does and how to control the vehicle when each command is given.

Where to use Radio Control Toys

  • Besides leisurely driving, boating or flying, radio control vehicles are also used for competitive events. Whether it’s track or off-road racing or dog fighting, using radio control vehicles in a competitive manner is great fun for everyone.
  • Nowadays there are an increasing number of radio control events up and down the country for you to enter your R/C no matter the type, size or power.

How to Stay Safe When Using Radio Control Toys

  • Although ‘toy’ is in their name, some radio control models are more complex than many toys and as such must be treated with respect. The best way to stay safe with your new radio control vehicle is to buy age-appropriately and to read the whole instruction manual prior to operating it.
  • With hobby grade R/Cs (especially petrol and nitro-powered models) supervision of children under the age of sixteen might be necessary so it is vital that you read the product’s information entirely before purchasing.

How to Buy Radio Control Toys on eBay

  • Buying a radio control toy from eBay could not be simpler. eBay is a fantastic place to buy radio control toys not only because of the large range of products available but also because of the flexibility that the website offers. Whether the buyer is looking to buy a new or used R/C toy, bid for their item in an auction or buy it straight away (with the Buy Now function), eBay is the best place to buy radio control toys.
  • Just type in ‘RC toys’ into the search bar or search through the categories. Then click on the appropriate search results to be taken to that specific product’s page. Here the buyer is met with a wealth of information relating to the product including: a detailed specification, a product analysis and comments about the items condition as well as photographs of it.
  • Once the buyer has found the desired radio control toy, they have two options regarding purchase: to buy immediately (by clicking Buy Now) or to bid in an auction (by entering a Bid).
  • Besides the large amount of information provided about its products, eBay is also known for its competitive pricing, flexibility over payment and its security (thanks to PayPal) on the internet.


Owning a radio control toy regardless of its intended use is great fun and will provide the owner hours of enjoyment. There are many different types of radio control toys available in many different vehicle types of different shapes, colours and sizes. Whatever your radio control preference, experience level and budget eBay is a great place to buy the RC vehicle or product you need.

With the help of this guide and the easy navigation on the website, buying a radio control toy from eBay is easy. The right R/C vehicle that matches the owner’s desires and requirements will provide them great fun for years and years to come.

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