Gas-powered remote-control cars provide realistic racing fun. They burn a gasoline-like fuel called nitro (made of methanol, nitromethane and lubricant) with miniature internal combustion engines. Losi's Ten-T gets even more authentic by adding a starter that works like a diesel engine's. Nitro cars are usually hard to start: You have to pick them up, use a hand-held motor to spin the engine, and simultaneously work the remote's throttle. With the Ten-T you just hit "start" on the remote.
That turns on the car's own electric motor, powered by a 7.4-volt lithium-polymer battery. The motor turns a starter shaft behind the engine, which spins the crankshaft until the engine's suction draws in fuel. Meanwhile, the battery also lights a glow plug, similar to a spark plug, in the engine. The plug's hot element, combined with the compression of the fuel-air mixture when the piston rises, ignites the fuel. Then the plug keeps glowing, and the fuel keeps burning, until you're ready to call it quits.
Design Highlights on the R/C Car
Telemetry:The Ten-T is among the first R/C vehicles to come with a built-in telemetry system, similar to those in a pro racecar. Sensors on the car continuously beam data on speed, temperature and battery voltage to a display on the remote.
Fuel Tank: The 2.5-ounce tank includes a weighted pickup tube that follows the liquid as it sloshes around, ensuring that it can grab and deliver fuel even when the car drives up a steep hill. A full tank runs the engine for about 10 minutes (standard for high-power nitro cars), and it's refueled from a squeeze bottle.
Engine: The single-cylinder, 3.4cc engine provides 1.8 horsepower, enough to send the 6.2-pound car up to 45 mph in a few seconds.
Drivetrain: In the four-wheel-drive vehicle, the engine transmits power to the wheels by engaging a clutch and kicking off a series of gearsets that lets each wheel spin at a different speed. Dual disc brakes stop both the front and rear axles.
Suspension: The front and rear suspensions are adjustable to tackle many terrains. Shifting the control arm alters ride height, camber (the vertical angle of the wheels) and toe-in (the degree they point in or out). Turning a collar on the oil-filled shocks changes springiness.
Steering Servo: This small, high-torque electric motor moves the wheels' control arms. You can tweak its movement from the transmitter -- for instance, to alter the distance it turns with each command or limit the steering angle to speed over straight tracks.
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We actually did this when we were younger when we got our first gas powered car that came with an hand held electric starter. We ripped apart the car and worked it into the body it worked but you still had to prime the glow plug and bend down to push the button for the starter motor.
Has Popscience been off the planet for the last 20 years? I read nothing here that has not been on the RC market since I can't remember when. If you think that this is all new technology perhaps you would like to come and root around my workshop, it would give me an excuse to blow the dust of some of the bits and pieces that I have and see if they still work. Maybe this article should be in your yesteryear retro articles you are running lol!
Yup traxxis has had built in electric starter motors on their nitro trucks for a Kong time .
As the previous comments state, Traxxas has had this for over a decade easily. It should also be noted that this system is nice for display purposes, but it is useless to more serious R/C competitors. I haven't had the chance the latest releases, but the older ones just added weight to the car and often failed during serious racing.
It's just bells and whistles = more weights and $$$. There's nothing a starter box can't start.
I guess you all failed to read the title "The Most Advanced Gas-Powered R/C Car". Hince the word "Advanced", of course there has been an on board electric start system, but this one is no were close to how they have been in the past. Most of the stuff this nitro truck is fitted with has not been around in the market. When have you seen a nitro truck that can be started from the remote with out touching the truck? I also dont every recall nitro vehicals coming with temp/speed/battery sensors that can be viewed on the digital remote.
To the comments saying that this isn't anything new:
Nowhere in the article does it state that this is new technology. The title of the article is "How It Works: The Most Advanced Gas-Powered R/C Car". Not "New R/C Car Technology That Nobody Has Ever Heard Of!". Come on and enjoy it for what it is. Not everyone knows what is current and available in the R/C market. No need to be so critical.
I enjoyed the article. Thank you PopSci!
I don't believe there's any 3.4cc engine on the planet that provides 1.8 horsepower.
Dick997, That is low for a 3.4cc engine. The good ones can get 2.4 HP. Look up O.S. engine .21 VZ-B V-Spec Limited Edition.
@Dick9997 - its running an alcohol/nitro mix at 20,000+ rpm. Besides, small displacement engines typically have higher horsepower-per-displacement ratings due to the ability to rev higher. Even then, a 8193cc Top Fuel dragster motor makes in the neighborhood of 8000hp, for a ratio close to 1, whereas 2.4hp/3.4cc ~ 0.7
Exactly HazMatt!!...but you know how some folks are...they don't read the article, they go straight for the hate! Although the article does say "How it works: The most advanced gas powered RC Car". So one could ASSUME this means most current...anyway, good post!
Oh yes, silly me, forgot that if it revs fast enough then even a trivial amount of torque will generate HP. Thanks for the education.