By Joe Rich
How to prevent RC car radio interference.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that RC car racing is such a popular hobby.
After all, they have come so far that racers can now customize their cars to fit whatever style and specifics that they want to make.
Doing this on a full-sized car can get extremely expensive and be time-consuming.
But on an RC car, you can customize your car down to the finest detail and do so at a much more realistic cost.
When you do this, racing your RC car can invoke a sense of pride as well as enjoyment while watching the car that you built zip around the track.
The thing about RC cars is that there are a number of variables that can keep your car from running wild around the track.
Running out of gas or battery power, tires that wear down too quickly, or damage to the car are just a few things.
One thing to keep in mind is the radio frequency of the car and the remote.
When you buy an RC car, it actually has its own radio frequency.
This is so that you can directly control the car without having to worry about someone else taking over the frequency.
When you buy the car, that frequency will actually be on the package of the car as well as on the bottom of the car itself.
This allows you to know your car’s frequency should something happen where it gets changed or disrupted.
There are instances where the radio frequency can become interrupted, however.
When this happens, it can cause havoc in that it can interrupt your controls and disrupt your race.
For those who competitively race, this can be a big issue to have to deal with.
Thankfully, there are things that can be done to help minimize the interference that happens so that you can keep your car flying around the track without issue.
These aren’t guaranteed to work, but they will certainly give you a better chance of avoiding that radio interference.
The question of “how to prevent RC car radio interference” isn’t a simple one, but there are many different answers that could prove to be successful for you.
Try some of these solutions to keep your car moving without interruption and avoid the frustration of losing your command over the car.
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Try Keeping Your Distance From Other RC Vehicles
Keep in mind that the other cars are just like yours.
They come with a separate frequency specifically to that car.
This means more radio waves out there passing through one another when there are more cars out in the same space.
When this happens, those waves can cause interference with each other and result in hiccups when trying to control the RC car.
So naturally, you would want to keep away from other RC cars if you can do so.
For most toy-grade RC vehicles, the operating range is somewhere around the 75 or 100 foot mark. It could be more, but that’s a good rule of thumb, so you will have to get quite a bit of distance between yourself and other vehicles to minimize that potential interference.
If your range, for example, is 100 feet, try to double that amount if you can.
Give that extra buffer between you and the other vehicles to minimize wave crossover and interference.
Keep in mind that this may not be possible for those racing RC cars on a more competitive basis. In settings like that, vehicles are closer because they are racing one another, and distance is simply not possible to achieve.
Choosing Separate Frequencies
Though each RC vehicle does come with its own radio frequency, there is a chance that they could overlap.
After all, there are thousands upon thousands of vehicles but only so many radio frequencies to choose from.
Ideally, if you are operating in close proximity to other cars, they should have different frequencies.
For instance, a 27MHz can run alongside a 49MHz vehicle with no problem.
If you are in an open space with other people and can’t quite achieve the distance that you want, check with each other on what the frequency is.
If you have multiple vehicles, this is a good practice to implement.
Make sure that all of your vehicles are different frequencies so that they won’t interrupt one another when you have them out together and having different frequencies means less of a chance that they will overlap with others.
Choose RC Vehicles That Have Band Selectable Frequencies
There are some vehicles that will come with a fixed frequency.
Most of the ones that use the 27MHz use a more specific Channel 4 of 27.145MHz.
These are some of your more basic models and the ones that don’t offer any real level of adjustment.
There are, however, some vehicles that have what is known as band selectable frequencies.
These allow you to select a small portion or band from the frequency to use.
Generally speaking, the band selectable has a channel switch that is both on the controller and on the vehicle itself.
These channel switches mean that there can be changes anywhere from two all the way up to six channels or bands.
Because of this, it means that a couple of 27MHz band selectable cars can operate with little issue in the same area so long as each vehicle and controller has a different band setting.
You may have noticed this on a car before but not realized what it meant.
It may have said something to the effect of 27MHz but has “play with up to 3 cars at one time.” This means that the toy RC car that you have has selectable channels that are all within the 27MHz range.
Keep in mind, however, that the manufacturer will rarely specify what those specific channels are.
Thankfully, they will likely use what is known as standard color coding so that you can figure out the frequencies easier.
- The first is Channel 1. This is often labeled as brown and is 26.995MHz.
- The second is Channel 2. With a red label, this signifies 27.045MHz.
- Third is an orange sticker for Channel 3. This signifies that the channel is at 27.095MHz.
- Fourth is your yellow sticker for Channel 4 and it denotes 27.145MHz frequency.
- Fifth is 27.195MHz frequency and is denoted by a green sticker.
- Last, is the blue sticker for Channel 6. This is a frequency of 27.255MHz.
If you ever forget what these color-coded stickers represent, there are guides online that break this down so that you know exactly what your frequencies are.
Having this color panel available at a moment’s notice allows you to make that change on the fly should there be interfering signals in the area.
Preventing Interference on Hobby-Grade Vehicles
There is a difference between toy-grade and hobby-grade cars.
The former is meant to be a little less serious, something that anyone can pick up at a moment’s notice and begin enjoying.
They don’t take as much time, effort, or money to enjoy but can lead to a bit of confusion if you don’t know what you are dealing with.
A hobby-grade car is much more comprehensive.
There are also kits available so that you can build a vehicle to your customizations.
These are the types of cars that take greater attention to detail but allow for greater customization.
The costs of hobby-graded cars is also much higher.
This is because the cars and the parts are of much stronger quality and allow for the aforementioned greater customization.
If you are serious about your RC car and want to make all the customizations, then going with a hobby-grade car is the way to go.
The thing about these hobby-grade vehicles – which are the more expensive trucks, cars, aircraft, and boats that can only be found specifically in specialty hobby shops or online in the form of kits – is that they have a wider range of radio frequencies that are available to use.
Because of the greater attention to detail and level of customization, there are also stronger and wider frequency sets for the radio signals that are used in the remote control.
There are actually things known as removable crystal sets.
These allow the user of that vehicle to change frequencies easily as well as the channels within those frequencies.
They also have six channels within the 27MHz range (which is what is also used for toy RC cars), 10 different channels on the 50MHz frequency range (which is where radio license is required), and a whopping 50 channels that are in the 72MHz range, which is for aircraft only.
There are also 30 channels that are in the 75MHz range that are available for all of the hobby-grade vehicles that are remote controlled within the United States.
There are also some toy-grade vehicles that use the 49MHz frequency as well.
There are five channels within this range, starting at 49.830 and going up to 49.890MHz.
This allows for adjustments to be made to some toy-grade RC cars to avoid those interference problems.
While radio interference is a problem with lower quality, toy-grade RC cars, they become less of an issue with higher classes of RC vehicles.
There are actually some hobby-grade vehicles that come equipped with what is known as a fail safe device.
This is meant to detect any potential frequency interferences and either slows down or stops the RC to avoid any potential problems.
These devices can also be purchased separately if you decide that you want one.
There are other methods as well. The 2.4GHz frequency range can be used with some DSM controllers and receivers as well as special software.
This is meant to nearly eliminate radio interference issues that can occur when out on the track.
Racing RC cars can be a whole lot of fun, but there is more to it than simply turning them on and letting them go.
With kits, adjustments, and radio frequency interference to worry about, you could be left to wonder why your car isn’t racing quite up to the level that you think it should be.
Pay attention to the labels on the box. It will list the radio frequency on which your car and controller operates, but it won’t list all of the channels available on those frequencies.
Do a little bit of research when buying your car so that you can be aware of all of the available frequencies.
Especially in a situation where you can’t give ample distance between your car and others out on the terrain, it can be helpful to have options when it comes to your radio frequency.
It might cost a little more to have a variable frequency vehicle, but it could be worth it to make the investment.
For those who simply want to have fun with their car, this isn’t the largest priority.
More often than not, you can simply change locations and start using your car again as soon as there is ample distance between you and the other cars.
For more serious RC racers, it might be worth the investment to get a variable RC car/controller.
This will give you the option of changing frequencies in a flash to minimize the interference that can take place, particularly on a crowded racetrack.
Being able to minimize that interference can mean the difference between finishing in the middle of the pack or taking the checkered flag.
Don’t let those interference issues sink your race experience.
Make the change to a variable radio frequency device that will keep you ahead of the competition and on the track moving at top speeds.
RC cars can feel like more than a hobby.
They can certainly be comprehensive enough that they can take a lot of time and knowledge to use to the fullest extent.