RcTek : Information & Resources for the Model Car Racer

Remote Controlled Model Car Differentials

This section of the RcTek site is devoted to differentials, what they are, what they do and the different types of that can be fitted to radio controlled model cars.

What is a Differential?

A differential, or as it is commonly referred to as, a diff, is an aptly named assembly that exists to allow the driven wheels at each end of an axle to rotate at different speeds. This helps (and depending on the type of diff and the circumstances, hinders) in controlling the traction available to the model car as it attempts to divide the torque equally between the two wheels.

Differential Basics

Differential Basics

In this first article, we introduce the basics of the theory and practicalities of the differential. We explain what a differential is and some of the pitfalls of having one and then inform you about solid axle alternatives and how they overcome their limitations.

Open Differential Parts Identification

Geared differential parts identification

To serve as a reference for the other articles in this section we have a short article about identifying the parts inside a basic bevel geared planetary differential.

How Open Differentials Work

How differentials work

This article explains just how open type differentials work using a series of animations to show what happens when a model car either travels in a straight line or corners.

Differentials Advanced

This is just a short article about the simple theory behind improvements that can be made to the open differential that is coupled with a simple tip to increase traction when using a basic differential.

Differentials, Differentials and More Differentials

At this point we will begin to introduce the different types of differential that are available for radio controlled cars (and possibly some that aren’t).

We will start with the so called ‘adjustable differential’, which is somewhat of a misnomer, as just about every alternative to the open differential has some degree of adjustability.

The Adjustable Differential

Adjustable differential

The simplest solution to corner traction problems is the adjustable differential, which is a derivative of the open differential. Although the example given is usually fitted to the largescale cars it shows just how simple an effective solution can be.

The Ball Differential

Ball differential

The ball differential is probably the most widely used type of differential used in radio controlled model cars. In this article we introduce and describe the parts of a typical ball differential.

Further Information

Check refer to our Frequently Asked Questions and Glosssary sections for explanations of unfamiliar terms used throughout these articles.

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© 2001, 2009 by Darren Burnhill