What is that Antenna on your RC car? and what is it used for? These are the questions I had in my head and for that reason I decided to write an article to explain this for you. As well as how to replace them and where to get them.
What is an RC Car Antenna Wire Used For? The antenna wire is used as a receiver and transmitter for radio frequencies for your RC Car. It allows you to communicate with your vehicle over long distances and is an important part of the Radio controlled technology.
So now you know about these antennas, let me explain in more detail, in particular, how to replace the receiver wire, without causing transmission interference, things to avoid so you don’t have any issues and maintain the best RC car (Click for the best 7 RC cars).
— Hearns Hobbies (@hearnshobbies) February 21, 2019
What is an RC antenna car Wire?
So in this section I’m going to explain exactly what an RC car antenna wire is. In the RC car, there is 2 antennas. One is on the controller which sends signals to the RC vehicle, referred to as the Transmitter. And the second one is attached to the actual vehicle itself, called the receiver.
The actual antenna is tuned to a specific frequency so that it can communicate with your vehicle correctly.
What is this antenna wire made out of and what does it look like?
As discussed earlier, there are two types of antenna wire. The transmitter and the receiver. So, in this section I will break down what each of them looks like. So, let’s start off by looking at the transmitter wire first.
The transmitter Antenna
The transmitter antenna can be one complete tube like metal attachment, or it can be a retractable telescopic type of metal. Like one of those metal retractable tubes you used to have on “walkie talkie’s”, know what I mean?
When you push down it reduces the length of the tube, so it can be safely packed away when you are not using it. You may also get other variations, which have a flexible tight metal with a plastic end cap on it.
Now that you know about the transmitter, let’s move on to the receiver wire and what that looks like.
The Receiver Wire
The receiver wire is usually a long piece of wire which is covered by plastic tubing to protect it. In some cases it may be rolled inside of the vehicle, but effectively will be a long piece of wire that is attached to the RC vehicle. You will definitely notice this, it can’t be missed.
Using the transmitter Antenna
In this section I’m going to explain to you exactly how you will use your transmitter. This is the Wire/metal tube which is attached to the controller, which you’ll be holding. The controller will typically be a wheel or a stick depending on which one that you have.
Assuming you have a telescopic version, the first thing that you need to do is to extract the antenna and make sure that it is at his maximum length.
This is important because if you do not, this can cause interference when you are trying to transmit the messages to the receiver. This can impact the performance.
To keep your transmitter wire/metal safe and to extend the lifespan of this item, it is advisable that you fully retract it when it is not in use. So that you don’t stand a chance of bending or breaking it when it is not in use. For example, someone could walk past it accidentally, kick it and then bend or break it, are you with me?
Be careful when you are retracting and extending it. Trying to pull it too hard may mean that you underestimate your own strength and inadvertently break the metal. Trying to retract it too forcibly could also damage it as well, so just take care.
Best practice for the RC car receiver antenna
It is advisable to keep the receiver wire from dragging on the floor. If you allow this to happen it may snag or pull on something while you are driving the vehicle. This could damage the wire, which will then stop you communicating with your vehicle.
It is usually covered by a thin plastic tubing to avoid things like this happening, but just look out for this potential problem.
How to install an RC car receiver Antenna
In this section I’m going to explain how you can install the RC receiver antenna on to your RC car. This is a fairly simple procedure. You just need to take your time and make sure that you do it with the correct technique.
The idea is to feed the wire through the plastic tubing provided, so that you can install and replace the wire. The best way to do this, rather than trying to force it through, is to lubricate the wire so that it slides through the plastic tubing without any issues.
The best way to do this is to either use some kind of oil or even talcum powder. This will allow it to slide through the tube with no problem whatsoever.
You can put it directly onto the wire and then lubricated through the tubing. Alternatively you can put the lubrication onto your fingers, then slide the wire through your fingers and then ease the wire through the plastic tubing.
Once you have done this, you need to make sure that the wire does not accidentally pull back through the tube after you’ve correctly put it in. The best way to prevent this happening is in one of two ways:
- Tie a knot at the end of the the tubing on the wire to stop it coming back through.
- Plastic Cap: Alternatively you can attach some kind of plastic cap to stop this happening.
Things to avoid doing
Please Don’t Cut it
Avoid cutting the antenna receiver wire. If you cut the antenna receiver wire there is a chance that it could cause interference or cause some loss of communication between the controller and the receiver so this is not advisable.
Avoid Dragging It
Where possible avoid the receiver antenna wire dragging on the floor while you are using it. This will cause interference.
To avoid the wire dragging on the floor you can feed the wire through some plastic tubing to prevent this. If your car does not have any plastic tubing you can substitute this with a simple drinking straw that you may have in your kitchen.
As discussed earlier, it is not advisable to cut the receiver wire provided. However if you read the instructions and your manufacturer explicitly gives you instructions of how to do this then it is fine as long as you follow the instructions that they have provided. Just make sure that you do not cut it any shorter than they say is required.
When it comes to dealing with excess wire from the receiver I have some tips. If you have already fed the wire through the tubing and there is still excess wire. And this dragging down and potentially touching the floor.
You can avoid this by trying to group it together and put it inside the vehicle, however you need to be careful that you do not scrunch this wire up to compact because it can cause interference and glitches in the Frequency transmission.
Therefore, another smarter way of dealing with this issue is to simply wrap the excess wire around the plastic tubing that you have used. Giving you more of a cleaner frequency transmission.
Just bear in mind if you do do this, make sure that you do not bunch the wires together too tightly because this will cause interference. Make sure that you evenly space out the wire so it is not doubling up on itself, if that makes sense?
Where can you get this wire from if you need a replacement? The first thing that you should do is read the instructions to see if you have any special instructions from the manufacturer, with regards to the length of wire, or if you should be cutting it.
If you haven’t got any specific instructions, you can measure up the wire that you require. In particular looking at the thickness of the Wire and also counting the little strands inside the wire.
The reason that you need to do this, is so that you can try and get the closest match to the existing wire as possible, You can then go to your local electric store and pick up a replacement which resembles your previous wire.
This wire, in most cases should be a 1 mm circuit board electric wiring but just check your manufacturer’s instructions. In case there is anything different or specific to your RC car model. Next, check out this article on amazing self driving RC cars.