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How Do You Hold an RC Remote?

If you want to know the correct way to hold an RC car remote keep reading. Also, learn how these remotes work, and how to reset it if needed.

How Do You Hold an RC Remote?

To properly hold your RC remote, use the following steps:

Secure grip:

Start by holding the RC remote in both hands, ensuring your grip is firm but not overly tight. You want to be relaxed, as tenseness in your grip could result in jerky movements of your vehicle.

Your fingers should have easy access to the control sticks and any switches or buttons on the face of the controller.

Thumb Position:

Place your thumbs on the tops of the two joysticks. This is the “thumbs” technique where the joysticks are operated using only the thumbs to push and pull.

Finger Support:

The remaining fingers should wrap around the back of the controller, providing stability and support.

Alternative Hold: Pinching Method

Some operators prefer the “pinching” method, where the thumb and forefinger are used together to control the sticks.

To do this, hold the remote as you would in the ‘thumbs’ method, but instead of only using your thumbs on the sticks, use your index fingers as well. This can provide more precise control for complex maneuvers but may feel less intuitive for new users.

Strap Use

If your controller comes with a strap, consider using it. The strap is designed to help reduce hand fatigue during long operating sessions by distributing the weight of the remote more evenly.

To use the strap, adjust it so the remote hangs at a comfortable level when you let go, then hold it in your hands when operating as described above.

Understanding the RC Remote

Most RC remotes, often referred to as transmitters, come with two joysticks. The left stick generally controls the throttle and yaw (rotational movement), while the right stick manages the roll and pitch (lateral and forward/backward movement).

These joysticks can be manipulated with your thumbs while holding the controller. Some remotes also include a strap attachment, which can be used to hang the remote around your neck for added stability and comfort.

How Does RC Remote Control Work?

A Traxxas Slash with its controller/Transmitter.
A Traxxas Slash with its controller/Transmitter.

The two main components of any RC system are the transmitter, held by the user, and the receiver, which is located in the RC model itself.

  • Transmitter: This handheld device sends signals to the receiver. The controls on the transmitter, often buttons, knobs, or joysticks, allow the user to command the RC device. These commands are translated into specific radio waves that are then transmitted.
  • Receiver: This is an electronic device located inside the RC model that receives the radio signals sent by the transmitter. It decodes these signals and converts them into electrical signals, which are then sent to the servos or electronic speed controllers (ESCs) to perform specific actions such as moving forward, turning, or reversing.

The Magic of Radio Waves

The transmitter and receiver communicate via radio waves. When a button or joystick on the transmitter is moved, it generates a specific command.

This command is converted into a digital signal that modulates a carrier radio wave. This modulated radio wave is then broadcasted through the transmitter’s antenna.

The frequency of these radio waves is crucial. RC devices typically operate on specific frequencies set aside for such purposes, usually in the 27 MHz, 49 MHz, or 2.4 GHz bands. However, the exact frequency used may vary depending on local regulations and the specific RC device in question.

The Role of Channels

RC systems are described in terms of channels. Each channel controls a specific function or aspect of the RC device’s movement.

For example, a two-channel system might control forward/reverse and left/right movement, while a four-channel system could control an airplane’s throttle, elevator, rudder, and ailerons.

More sophisticated systems could have six or more channels to control various additional features, such as camera functions in an RC drone.

Decoding Signals: Servos and ESCs

Once the receiver gets the modulated radio wave, it demodulates the wave to retrieve the digital command. This command is then converted into an electrical signal. Depending on the command, the receiver sends this signal to either the servos or the ESCs.


These are small devices that control the movement of parts such as steering mechanisms in RC cars or control surfaces on RC planes.

A servo consists of a small motor, a control circuit, and a potentiometer. The electrical signal from the receiver controls the motor inside the servo, making it move to a specific position.

Electronic Speed Controllers (ESCs):

These are used to control the speed of the electric motor. In an RC car, for example, the ESC receives a signal from the receiver and adjusts the power delivered to the motor, controlling the speed and direction of the vehicle.

Advanced Features

In the last few years, RC technology has evolved, introducing features such as multi-model memory (allowing one transmitter to control multiple models), dual rates (switching between different control sensitivities), exponential rates (adjusting the sensitivity of the controls in a non-linear way), and mixing (combining two or more channels).

How Do I Reset My RC Remote Control?

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Power Down Your Remote

Start by switching off your remote control. This can be done via an on/off switch, if one is present, or by removing the batteries.

Step 2: Wait for a Few Minutes

After powering down the remote, wait for a few minutes. This pause allows any residual power to drain from the device, clearing out the temporary memory.

Step 3: Remove and Reinsert the Batteries

Take out the batteries from the remote, wait for a few seconds, and then reinsert them. If the batteries are old or depleted, consider replacing them with new ones at this point.

Step 4: Power Up the Remote

Switch the remote control back on or insert the batteries back in. At this point, the remote should be in a “reset” state, and ready to be re-synced with the RC device.

Step 5: Re-Sync the Remote and the Device

Now, it’s time to re-establish the connection between the remote and the RC device. The process of re-syncing may vary depending on the model of your RC device. Generally, you’ll need to put both the device and the remote in ‘pairing’ mode and wait for them to establish a connection.

What Causes Remote Control Issues?

Before proceeding with the reset process, it’s essential to understand what can cause your RC remote control to malfunction. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Low Battery Power: This is the most common cause of remote control malfunctions. If your remote control isn’t working properly, first check the battery level.
  • Signal Obstruction: The signal between your remote control and your RC device can be obstructed by physical barriers or electromagnetic interference, causing functionality issues.
  • Mismatched Frequencies: RC devices and their remote controls are designed to operate on specific frequencies. If your remote and your device are not set to the same frequency, they will not communicate effectively.
  • Internal Glitches: Occasionally, an RC remote might encounter a glitch in its firmware that disrupts its operations. In such a case, resetting the remote might fix the issue.