Product Tips & Tutorials: General
Glossary (Terms and Definitions)
Posted by on 01 August 2012 02:01 PM

RC Glossary

2.4GHz  
The newest frequency band: no interference. free spread spectrum for digital RC system. (Will allow for the pairing of a transmitter to a dedicated receiver)

2 Stroke
Short for two-stroke cycle, it takes two full piston compressions to complete a cycle.

27MHz 
A FM frequency band used generally for ground RC and low Channel items. This type of system generally gets interference on their band. Usually have interchangeable crystals in the transmitter and receiver.

3D 
Combine two maneuvers at a time giving the ability to move in a three-dimensional motion. Ex. Piro Flip or Chaos

4 Stroke
Short for four-stroke cycle, it takes four piston compressions to complete a cycle. 

4mm Banana 
A type of connector that has a female and male end that is in the shape of a barrel

4WD
Short for 4 wheel drive. The drive train powers all four wheels to obtain better traction.

72MHz 
A FM frequency band used for general RC aircraft (helicopters and planes). Short range and may have interference.  Usually have interchangeable crystals in the transmitter and receiver.

A arms 
Suspension arms on the front of RC cars that are A shaped.

Aileron 
Hinge control surface on the main wing of a plane that causes the plane to roll.

Ailevators
Two elevator servos plugged into two different channels on the receiver to control the elevator with the option of moving the servos independently in conjunction with ailerons.

Airfoil
Shape of wing, propeller, or blade that creates lift, thrust, or propulsion.

AMA
An abbreviation for Academy of Model Aeronautics. It is an organization the governs the model aviation in America.

Amps Hour
Measurement of constant current of electricity flow.
Analog Servo
A type of servo that operates by using constant on and off pulses.

ARF
An abbreviation for Almost-Ready-to-Fly. These are pre-built kits with some electronics included in the model but it is not complete. See ARTR, RTF, RTR, BNF, PNP and KIT.

Armature 
Rotating central part inside a motor's can.

ARTR 
An abbreviation for Almost-Ready-to-Run. These are pre-built kits with some electronics included in the model but not complete. See ARF, RTF, RTR, BNF, PNP and KIT

Ball Link 
Type of linkage that uses balls rather than control horns.

Balsa
A light weight and foamy type of wood used to construct certain RC model planes.

Bearing
A part that hinders the relative movement of two or more parts

BEC 
An abbreviation for Battery Eliminator Circuit. A circuit of which can eliminate the use of a separate power supply for the receiver.  It uses the battery pack that powers the RC to power the RX. See UBEC.

Bipe 
An abbreviation for biplane, which is a plane that has two sets of main wing, upper and lower.

BNF 
An abbreviation for Bind-n-Fly. Same as PNP. See ARF, ARTR, RTF, RTR, PNP and KIT.

Body Clips 
Pins or clips that keep a body/shell attached to the chassis of a vehicle

Bog
Stuttering of a nitro engine when trying to accelerate

Brushed Motor
Type of electric motor where current is supplied through the mechanical sliding contacts between the motor case and the brush rotors.

Brushes 
Components of a brushed motor that rotates in the motor housing.

Brushless Motor 
Type of motor of which doesn't use mechanical sliding contacts. Brushless motors are generally more powerful, longer lasting, and more expensive than a brushed motor.

Bullet Connector 
A type of connector that is in a bulletshape (male end) that is generally used between the motor and ESC.

CA Glue 
CA is an abbreviation for Cyanoacrylate, a type of fast setting glue.

Camber 
References to the vertical angle of a car's rear and front wheels

Carbon Fiber
Type of material used to construct frame or parts for RC and is considered a very light weight material that is stronger than steal, but has the ability to flex unlike steel.

Carburetor/Carb 
A component of a glow or gas engine that mixes fuel and air before the mixture is combusted in the combustion chamber of the engine.

CB
An abbreviation for the Center of Buoyancy. Refers to the balance point of a watercraft.

CC 
An abbreviation for Cubic Centimeter.  Generally use as a measurement for small engines and items.

CCPM 
An abbreviation for Cyclic Collective Pitch Mixing. Three independent servos that manipulates the swashplate that allows a helicopter to move and blades to pitch.

CG 
An abbreviation for the Center of Gravity, which refers to the balance point of an aircraft. This is used to determine the best balance of the aircraft for maneuverability and stability.

Channel
The number of functions your radio is able to control (e.x. up, down, left, right, bank right,  bank left, retractable landing gears, etc.). Some radio systems allow programmable collective movement which is a mixing function.

Clevis 
A small plastic or metal part that attaches to a linkage rod coming from a servo to the control horn of a control surface

Co-Axial Rotors 
Pair of counter-rotating rotors for a helicopter (top and bottom set) rather than the traditional single blade system. See Collective Pitch and Fixed Pitch

Collective Pitch 
A rotor system for helicopter that allows the blades to move collectively.  See Co-Axial Rotors and Fixed Pitch.

Control Horn 
A small plastic or metal part that attaches to the control surface.

Control Surface 
Refers to the moveable parts of an aircraft that changes the orientation of the aircraft in flight. Commonly used control surfaces are ailerons, elevators, rudder, and flaps.

Coreless Servo 
A type of servo made of mesh wire rather than copper wire, spun around the motor.  This provides quicker acceleration and deceleration resulting in a smoother response.

Cowl 
Part that covers the engine or motor of an aircraft.

Crankshaft 
Internal component of an engine that drives the piston up and down, transferring the motion to propelling an aircraft or the movement of a vehicle.

Differential 
A gearing mechanism that spins the wheels at different rates when in rotation.

Digital Servo
A type of servo that operates using shorter wave lengths to power the motor.

Direct 
Battery wire connectors are "directly" soldered to the battery pack. See Indirect.

Drag 
The force that adds resistance to movement of any object through the air.

Dogbone 
Part that connects the differential to the axle. This allows the transfer of power from motor to differential to wheels.

Dual Rates 
Switches or knobs on a transmitter that allows the user to control the sensitivity of the controls.

EDF
An abbreviation for Electric Ducted Fan. A proportion system that propels an aircraft through the intake of air through the aircraft’s fuselage using a fan.

Electric Start 
Rather than the traditional pull start, the starting mechanism is a replaced electronic device that turns the crankshaft in a motor. See: Pull Start

Elevator 
Hinged control surface on the horizontal stabilizer that allows the plane to climb or dive.

Elevons  
Elevator and ailerons control surface are combined, generally seen on delta-wing aircraft.

End Point Adjustment 
Adjustments programmed using the transmitter to set the end points of a servo

Epoxy 
A two part adhesive using 1:1 of resin and hardener.  Generally takes 5 minutes to an hour to dry and is used to strengthen the bond at critical points in an aircraft

ESC 
An abbreviation for Electronic Speed Controller.  A device that controls the throttle function on an electric RC.

Exponential 
Adjustments toward movements of a servos travel but not proportional to stick travel.

Fail Safe 
A safety feature which sets the servos or motor to a set position when the radio system lost signal or interrupted.

Firewall 
The motor/engine mounting plate for a plane

Fish Tail 
When the tail of a car slides out, will be hard to control and may roll over

Fixed Landing Gear
Type of landing gear that does not rotate or pull up during flight, it stays stationary

Fixed Pitch 
A type of rotor system where the rotors are fixed and will not be able to pitch. See Co-Axial and Collective Pitch.

Flaperons
Mixing function that allows two ailerons to move in the same direction at the same time to act like flaps

Flaps 
Control surface that creates drag when landing an aircraft

Flex Shaft 
A wired shaft used in RC watercrafts to drive the prop. This allows the shaft to move if the shaft is curved

Floats 
Canoe like structure that allows an aircraft to take off and land in water acting as fixed landing gears for water surfaces.

Flooding 
This occurs when the fuel and air mixture is incorrect and there is too much fuel in the combustion chamber to burn

Fuselage 
The main body of an aircraft

Gain 
The sensitivity adjustment for a gyro or mix controller

Glow Igniter 
A device that attaches to a glow plug that heats the glow plug to a sufficient temperature to start the combustion process in a nitro engine

Glow Plug 
Acts like a spark plug. Once the engine starts, the heat produced by the combustion keeps the coil in the glow plug burning. In turn, the glow igniter can be removed.

Gearing 
The relationship between the spur gear and pinion gear on an RC car

Governor 
A device on helicopter that controls the RPM of the rotor head  to help keep it spinning at a constant head speed.

Gyro 
A device that measures and maintains an RC craft's orientation

Head Locking 
Commonly referred to as “Heading Hold” as a type of gyro that senses rotation and maintains crafts direction

Head Speed 
Rotational speed of a helicopters rotor head measuring in RPM

Hinges 
A part that connects moving a control surface to stationary a counterpart

Horizontal Stabilizer 
See Elevator

Hover 
To maintain a stationary position in midair without climbing, diving, swaying or rolling

Idle Up 
A setting on the transmitter that limits the throttle minimum even at 0% throttle

IMFAR 
An abbreviation for International Federation of Model Auto Racing. A set of guidelines/rules for racing at the international level of competition.

Indirect
Battery Wire Connectors are connected through a bullet system and are not permanently soldered to the battery pack. See Direct

Inrunner
A type of motor where the rotational core is held within the can

Inserts 
Rather than inflating RC tires with air, foam inserts are used to provide cushioning between the wheel and tire 

Inverted 
The maneuver in which you fly upside down

KIT 
Requires the builder to build the unit piece by piece. Does not come with any electronics or radio equipment. See ARF, ARTR, RTF, RTR, BNF and PNP.

kV 
An abbreviation for kilovolt. The higher the kV the lower the T and visa versa. Lower the kV means that it will have more torque compared to one with higher kV. See Turn.

Landing Gear 
An assembly that includes the wheels and struts used for landing. See Tail Dragger and Tricycle Gear.

Leading Edge 
Refers to the front edge of a wing, prop, or blade that hits/cuts the air first. See Trailing Edge.

Lean  
Adding more air and lessening the fuel mixture in a carburetor for a nitro engine. See Rich.

Linkage 
A mechanical device between a servo and a control. Generally connected by ball links.

LiPo 
An abbreviation for Lithium Polymer Battery. A type of battery used to power transmitters, receiver packs, and RC crafts.

mAh 
An abbreviation for Milliamp Hour, a measurement for total capacity of a battery. (The higher the mAh the longer play time)

Metal Gear Servo 
Rather than the standard nylon gears that run the servo and servo arm, it is replacement with a metal alloy, which allows the servo to move faster and more accurate.

Mixing 
The ability to mix two or more servos with a single input.

Mode 
The layout of the stick control on transmitter. MODE 1 Left Stick, Vertical/Elevator. Horizontal/Rudder Right Stick- Vertical/Throttle, Horizontal/Aileron MODE 2 Left Stick, Vertical/Throttle, Horizontal/Rudder Right Stick, Vertical/Elevator, Horizontal/Aileron MODE 3 Left Stick, Vertical/Elevator, Horizontal/Aileron Right Stick, Vertical/Throttle, Horizontal/Rudder MODE 4 Left Stick, Vertical/Throttle, Horizontal/Aileron Right Stick, Vertical/Elevator, Horizontal/Rudder. MODE 2 is the standard in the US.

Needle Valve 
A screw with a needle like end that regulates the amount of fuel entering the carburetor, also known as Low Speed Needle

NiCd 
An abbreviation for Nickel Cadmium. A type of battery used to power transmitters, receiver packs, and RC crafts.

NiMH 
An abbreviation for Nickel-Metal Hydride. A type of battery used to power transmitters, receiver packs, and RC crafts. (The same chemical compound found in AA and AAA batteries)

Nitro 
Short for Nitro-methane, is a type of fuel used in nitro engines.

Nose Wheel 
May also be known as Nose Gear. The front landing wheel of a tricycle landing gear system, usually with steering capabilities.

Nylon Gear Servo 
Servo gear made out of nylon. Gears are slower, less accurate, and prone to failure.

One-way Bearing 
A type of bearing that will allow a shaft to go only in one specific direction. (See: Bearing)

Outrunner 
A type of motor where the core is stationary and the outer shell spins around the core.

Parallel Circuit 
Running batteries in parallel circuit will give double the mAh. See Series Circuit.

Pinion Gear 
A gear that sits on the drive shaft.

Pitch 
Referring to the angle of a blade or prop.

Priming 
Giving the carburetor fuel before starting up a nitro engine.

Pull Start – 
Rope/pully like mechanism that is used to start an engine manually. See Electric Start

PNP 
Short for Plug-n-Play. An RC aircraft that comes with everything including a receiver but is missing a transmitter. It just requires a transmitter that will bind with the pre-installed receiver. See ARF, ARTR, RTF, RTR, BNF and KIT

Prop 
Short for propeller. Pieces that are attached to an engine that creates forward thrust on a plane. Either made of wood, plastic, carbon fiber, or fiber glass.

Pushrod –
Similar to linkages, it is a mechanical connection between a servo and control horn.

RC 
An abbreviation for Radio Control.

Receiver Battery 
A power source for a receiver.

Retracts 
Short for retractable landing gear. Wheel and landing gears that retract into the wing or fuselage to reduce drag.

Reverse Servo 
A type of servo that rotates in the opposite direction compared to the standard.

Rib 
Vertical structure in a balsa wood plane that provides support for the wing

Rich 
Add more fuel and lessen the air mixture in the carburetor for a nitro engine. See Lean.

ROAR 
Abbreviation for “Remotely Operated Auto Racers”. Is a set of guidelines/rules for racing and is normally used as a stamp of approval for products.

Roll 
A type of aerobatic maneuver in which an aircraft rotates around an imaginary centerline

RPM 
An abbreviation for Revolutions Per Minute.  It counts the amount of time a blade rotates within a one minute time period. (V x kV = RPM)

RTF
An abbreviation for “Ready-to-Fly”. Minimal assemblage is required and everything is included with the aircraft. Users should be able to be airborne within approximately 10-15 minutes. *Generally want to fully charge the battery first.

RTR 
An abbreviation for “Ready-to-Run”. These vehicles come with everything and is ready to run out of the box. *Generally want to fully charge the battery first.

Rudder (Watercraft) 
The steering mechanism for a watercraft

Rudder (Plane) 
Hinge mechanism that allows a plane to yaw left and right

Receiver (aka RX)
An electronic unit that relays the transmission signal from a transmitter to control the throttle and control surfaces.

Scale 
This can either be related to the relevant size of an RC craft compared to the actual size of the original item or the trueness of the model compared to the original item.

Scratch Build 
Building something from scratch using plans but involves research

Seaplane 
Planes that stay afloat in water by using floats or platoons.

Series Circuit 
Running batteries in series will double your voltage. See Parallel Circuit.

Servo 
A small motor encased in a plastic or metal housing with a protruding arm that controls rods, linkages, levers or other mechanical arms on a RC. See: Analog Servo, Digital Servo, Coreless Servo, Metal Gear Servo, and Nylon Gear Servo

Servo Arm 
An attachment to the drive gear that transfers the rotational force of the servo to a control surface

Servo Saver 
A mechanism that reduces stress on a servo gear that helps prolong the servos life.

Shock 
A device that softens the wheels suspension during obstacles, jumps, or sharp turns.

Simulator 
Computer software that simulates RC crafts for beginners to use to practice basic controls

Skids 
Landing attachment for helicopters that are not in wheel form, but in “skid” form, hence the name skids.

Slipper Clutch  
A device to maximize a vehicle's traction by regulating how much power is transferred from the motor/engine to the drive gears

Spinner  
A nose on certain planes that creates a smoother airflow

Swashplate 
A mechanical device that uses a disk attached to shafts which translate motion from the rotating drive shaft to a helicopters head. Adjustment of the swashplate is controlled by a servos cyclic pitch

T (Turns)
An indication of how many number of turns each armature has. Higher the turn, the slower the motor. See kV.

 Tail 
Refers to the back portion of an aircraft that contains the vertical and horizontal stabilizers

Tail Dragger 
The landing gear on a plane where there are two landing gears in the front and one at the tail. See Landing Gear and Tricycle Gear.

Tamiya 
A type of connector that is white in color. Generally used for battery connections.

Throttle  
A control function on the radio that regulates the speed of the motor. Acts like a gas pedal

Thrust 
Amount of force a motor provides to propel an aircraft forward

Torque 
The measurement of force it takes to turn a motor

Tracking 
Both blades of a helicopter rotating at the same level


Trailing Edge 
The rear most edge of a wing, prop or blade. See Leading Edge.

Tricycle Gear 
Landing gear on a plane where one is located at the nose and two at the main gear. See Landing Gear and Tail Dragger

Trim 
Small adjustments on the transmitter that adjusts the servo to level out the RC in a stable position.

Turbine 
A type of internal combustion engine that uses gas

Transmitter (aka TX) 
A hand-held device the transmits signal to the receiver. May also be known as Radio Transmitter or Radio.

UBEC 
Similar to a BEC but rather than it being part of the ESC, a UBEC is external. See BEC.

Ultra Deans 
The type of connector that is T shaped. Also known as Deans.

Volts/Voltage 
A measurement of electricity formally expressed as the difference of electric potential between two points of a conductor carrying a constant current of one ampere

Vector 
The ability for an aircraft to adjust the direction of thrust from its main engine(s).

Wheel Pants 
Covering for wheels on non-retracting or fixed landing gears. Helps create a streamline to prevent drag.

Wing
Lifting surface of a plane.

Wing Root 
The area of which the wing is attached to the fuselage

Wing Tip 
The outer tip of the wing furthest away from the fuselage

Wingspan 
The length of a wing from one end to the other

Yaw 
The horizontal left and right movement of a plane controlled by the rudder.



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