Why Won’t my RC car move (Electric)

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Why Won’t my RC car move (Electric)

Introduction:

Keeping an RC vehicle running for a long time is a hard job as parts will wear. However, you sometimes may find your RC won’t start up despite you keep it maintained. There are many visible and invisible factors that may cause the malfunction of the RC. The following article will list out the reasons and provide a simple solution for them respectively.

There are different components that may affect the vehicle:

Motor

This is the most frequently asked question in forums. The main reason is the wires are not connected to the ESC correctly, causing it fails to function. As some people may ignore the user manual, it usually guides you on how the wires are connected to the ESC. The other reason may cause the issue is having the wrong type of connectors between the motor and the ESC.

To solve this issue, reading the assembly instructions will help to fix the problem. The wires are usually come in three colors (brushless), blue (A plug), yellow (B plug) and orange (C plug) or two colors (brushed), blue (A plug) and yellow (B plug). For connectors, there are mainly two types of bullet connectors so you should acquire a pair of female and male connectors from your local hobby shop.

Tips: some vehicle types require maximum performance such as drift and touring cars. However, connectors will create resistance between the connection, causing the motor can’t operate at its max performance. To eliminate the problem, just connect the wires from the ESC directly to the motor.


Fig.1 connecting the wires directly to the motor

To make a good connection between wires, you need to learn how to do soldering and have access to a good soldering gun. If you are an RC beginner, you should spend some times to perfect this skill as you later will find it very useful in your hobby.You should also buy a Third Hand Soldering Iron Stand for holding your wires during performing soldering.

Speed Controller (ESC)

If the motor doesn’t move and the wires are connected correctly, it is most likely the setting on the ESC has messed up. The ESC is the module that controls the running ability of the vehicle. The settings you will be looking for is the neutral throttle point.  At the neutral throttle point, the car should stop.   But, when you turn away from the neutral throttle point on your handset, the car should move, if not, it can also have a bad connection from the ESC to the motor.

Solution for this is simple, a quick change of connectors will do as mentioned above. For the settings on the ESC, you read the user manual carefully and adjust the throttle neutral point accordingly.

Tips: some vehicle types require maximum performance such as drift and touring cars. However, as mentioned, connectors will create resistance between the connection, causing the ESC to drain the battery faster. To eliminate the problem, just connect the wires from the ESC directly to the battery using bullet connectors.


Fig. 2-3 Bullet connectors and T plug connectors

Handset (transmitter) and receiver

The handset and receiver should be used (synchronized) with the ESC; otherwise, you will not be able to control your RC car effectively. This problem usually happens when the throttle trim on the handset is not synchronized with the ESC. It is a common issue when installing a new set of handset and receiver.

It is simple to eliminate the problem, have a look in the user manual and find the proper throttle sub trim setup.  After that check, if the throttle trim is correct by inspecting the LED light on the ESC, whether it is indicating at its neutral position.  Then, you will be ready to go.

Fig.4 make sure the throttle trim is neither forwards or backward.

Driveshaft

If all your electronics are functioning well, then you should check if the driveshafts are properly connected to the axles. The common problem with driveshafts is that they have different assembly methods across different brands.  The more expensive RC cars usually are made of durable materials and have better designs for their structures while the lower priced RC cars have a simple design and made of less durable materials.   Thus, some of them have a grub screw to hold the dogbone and the axle while some reasonable priced RCs may just have an untightened pin with a ring to lock two components in place.

It is important to check if all the driveshafts are connected before starting up your RC. So do check the parts according to the user manual to familiarize yourself with the structure. If any components are not the same as the ones described in the user manual and you are sure that the RC is unmodified, replacing the part(s) will help you a lot since it is most likely that the part(s) is broken.

Fig.5 An example of a properly assembled driveshaft

Batteries

Batteries can be dangerous items especially when you deal with LiPo batteries since they are quite explosive when you handle them carelessly.  The first thing to remember is that never charge them overnight!!!

The materials in the batteries are quite flammable and maybe explosive if it touches the air. There are several signs that indicate your battery is no good to use, expanding in size, unbalanced cell voltage, getting a lot hotter when charging, a quick drain of battery when using it.  Always, pay extra attention to all these signs.

You should always put your batteries in a safety bag.

Another common issue is that Each ESC has a different type of connector. So before buying a new ESC, make sure that the battery in your stock has the matching connector with your newly purchased ESC.  If not, it is time to replace your batteries in order to keep you and your property safe. In addition, it is still possible to use when the connector is in a different type, just simply replace them with alternatives. If you do not want to learn how to solder wires, you can use the two head connectors.

Conclusion

It is important to investigate what’s wrong with your RC car when it doesn’t move. The most critical thing for us to do is to read the user manual as you will solve most of the problems there.  However, most of the beginners don’t seem to pay attention to details on the user manual.

So to sum up, there are three main steps in inspecting your RC.

  1. find out where the problem is in term of parts.
  2. check the user manual and find if the part looks like the one showing in the manual and define if it is broken or not.
  3. Third, replacing the part or repair it.

Thanks for reading

Writer: Kelvin Wong

Edited by Carlos Santos, your webmaster.

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