RcTek : Information & Resources for the Model Car Racer

Radio Control Equipment Basics - Receivers

This article is part of a section of the RcTek site that provides information about the radio equipment used to control model cars.

In this article we have information about the radio receiver and the crystals used in both the transmitter and the receiver.


Radio Control Receiver

The receiver is the unit that is responsible for converting the signals sent by the transmitter into electrical pulses that the servos understand. It has to have a least as many channels as the transmitter.

Receivers come in many different shapes, sizes and configurations. The most important difference between them all at a beginners level is that some receivers contain circuitry to allow the batteries that power the motor (engine) in an electric car to also power the radio equipment. This type is called a BEC (Battery Eliminator Circuitry) receiver and the other type of receiver uses a separate battery pack to supply power to the radio equipment.

For the vast majority of model car owners a two channel receiver is all that is required, one channel for the steering and the other for the brake and throttle.

Some of the large scale car owners use a three channel radio to control the front and rear brakes independently. All other scales usually only have a single brake setup and so cannot implement this system.

Receiver Connectors/Plugs

Radio Control Servo Plugs

The connecting plugs on the receiver are the same as those on the servos. Please refer to the Servo article for further information.

Receiver Wires

Radio Control Servo Wires

The connecting wires on the receiver are the same as those on the servos. Please refer to the Servo article for further information.


Radio Control Crystal

The crystal is the part of the radio control equipment that is responsible for the frequency/channel that is used to control the model car. The crystals that are used in model cars are purchased in matched pairs, one for the receiver and one for the transmitter.

Crystals are normally marked RX for the receiver and TX for the transmitter.


Apart from the notes regarding the connecting plugs and the wires, there is really no more to say in a basic article about receivers. Please use the links to the other items that go together to form a radio control system.

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© 2001, 2009 by Darren Burnhill