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    Useful information about RC Boats & Model Ships

    • What is an RC model boat?

    • What boat classes are there?

    • How is an RC motor boat controlled?

    • How is a RC sailboat controlled?

    • What was to be ich observed when using RC Boats?

    • Frequently asked questions about RC boats

    What is an RC model boat?

    Prototypical rescue cruiser

    The abbreviation RC stands for "Radio Controlled" or "Remote Controlled" and means as much as radio controlled. The driving and steering functions are therefore transmitted wirelessly from a transmitter to a receiver in the model.

    Depending on the design of the model boat, other functions can also be controlled via radio. In true-to-original ship models, fire-fighting cannons, lights or cranes can also be operated by radio.

    The prototypical setting of a dinghy is thus possible in the reduced scale just as easily as with the original. The shipbuilders are open to the door in this area. With a little imagination, a handful of talented tinkets and the latest remote control technology, almost every project can be realized in the field of ship model construction.

    But not every model ship builder places value on special functions. While one is more likely to design its model at maximum top speed, another model builder would rather only let the wind cross its model. Or should the model ship be more suitable for children? How good is that there is a wide range of activities in the area of RC boats, where every leisure captain finds the boat that is perfectly suitable for himself.

    What boat classes are there?

    Model boat is not the same as model boat and every interested model boat driver has concrete ideas about the performance characteristics of the new model boat. For this reason, the RC boats at Conrad Electronic are divided into different classes.

    Remote controlled boats

    This is the entry-level class in the area of model boats. In this division, ready-to-drive model boats are offered, in which the driving and gaming fun is in the foreground. Depending on the design, only standard batteries have to be inserted into the remote control and the model and you're ready to go. Almost from the packaging onto the water.

    In addition, the remote-controlled models are sometimes quite inexpensive and the driving and steering functions are easy to learn thanks to the child-friendly operating elements on the transmitter. Thus these models are ideal for having fun with children at the bathing lake or at the pond in the park.

    Rechargeable drive batteries are already used to power the drive motor in the higher entry-level price category. This enables a cost-effective operation and the models are very fast on the water thanks to the powerful rechargeable batteries. The mums and the papas are really fun to make a few quick laps on the pond with the children's racing boat.

    To the remote-controlled boats

    RC Model Speedboats

    Ready to run

    In this area model boat fans will find everything was desired. From prototypical model ships with detailed structures and impressive special functions to the really fast offshore racers, everything is there.

    Speaking of everything. Many motor boats are offered as Ready to Run (RTR), where the remote control and the drive battery are supplied in addition to the model.
    The fast driving fun on the water is twice as much given.


    Almost ready to run

    In the Almost Ready to Run (ARR) version, the boat is largely prefabricated and has yet to be completed and, depending on the version, completed with drive and remote control components.


    Kit models

    For the kit models, you may still make the right products. Here boat modelers can really let their imagination run wild.

    To ensure that the assembly is not too difficult, the manufacturers of model boat kits have already done the most difficult work, such as forming the fuselage or preparing the superstructures, ex works.

    Thus, the model builders can concentrate on the fitting-exact assembly of the components when assembling the model. However, at the latest in the color scheme, the model builders have again opened up all possibilities.


    RC Model Sailing Ships

    With a remote-controlled sailing boat you experience a ship model, which on the one hand can be challenging and on the other hand totally relaxing. A real challenge is to read the wind and the waves correctly and then set the rudder and the sails optimally for the desired course.

    Now a slight breeze is enough and the scaled-down yacht makes a really good ride. If a second or third model sailing boat is on the same course, it will be exciting. Because very quickly you can see who can master the sailing trim perfectly by remote control and who can expand his head start boat length by boat length by a clever choice of course.

    After your final journey, sit back and relax and enjoy the sun, wind and waves as you glide silently over the sparkling water surface. If you want to give yourself a cup of coffee or cut off a piece of cake as a reward, then you can safely put the remote control transmitter aside for a short time. Your sailing boat will keep its course continuously and will continue to move quietly even without constant steering corrections.

    Or press the transmitter into the hand of a passer-by present. Experience has shown that a short instruction is sufficient to enable even beginners to safely control a model sailing boat.

    RC Model Submarines

    RC submarines are a very special type of remote-controlled model boats. The extraordinary attraction of these boats lies in the three-dimensional maneuverability of these remote-controlled underwater vehicles. Experienced model submarine drivers manage to steer their model under water in the border area between visible and invisible in such a way that it appears unnoticed, and to the delight of the spectators, suddenly directly in front of them.

    However, the technical effort until it is ready is not insignificant. For a submarine, all hatches, flaps and separation points must be absolutely tight so that no moisture can penetrate the boat during underwater travel.

    The control of a submarine takes place either via the rudder that can be adjusted via remote control command or via the motor nacelles attached to the outside of the fuselage. Of course, the drive motors can also be controlled continuously from the shore in both directions.

    Static or dynamic
    diving can be done either dynamically or statically with an RC submarine. For dynamic diving, the submarine requires a certain forward drive at the water surface and then controls the required diving depth with the help of the depth rudder. If the drive motor is then switched off by remote control or stops in the event of radio interference or due to empty batteries, the depth rudder has no effect any more and the submarine resurfaces automatically.
    Static diving, on the other hand, fills or empties ballast tanks in the model with water. The submarine can thus change the diving depth almost standing on the spot. Some submarines use both dive methods combined to improve maneuverability.


    Our practical tip: To make it work underwater 

    RC submarines are still operated with "outdated" 27 or 40 MHz remote control technology. This has its good reason, because the longer a radio signal is, the better the penetration into the water is. In the case of clear fresh water, the penetration depth can be up to 10 m under favorable conditions. However, as the salt content increases, the value decreases. While the chlorinated pool water still reaches about 3 m, the sea water has reached an end after only a few centimeters.

    Modern 2.4 GHz remote control systems are completely unsuitable for remote control of model submarines due to their short-wave signals. The same applies to radio cameras on board the submarines, which transmit their signals via 2.4 or 5 GHz to a monitor on the shore. As soon as the boat dives, the image transfer will collapse. Only recording on a camera-internal memory card or a cable connection helps.


    How is an RC motor boat controlled?

    Motor (1), steering servo (2), receiver (3) and drive controller (4).

    In most cases, a radio remote control with two control channels (2-channel remote control system) is sufficient for controlling an RC motor boat.

    With one channel, the drive functions forward, stop and reverse are controlled and with the second channel the steering function, i.e. the adjustment of the rudder blade at the rear of the model, is controlled.

    The rudder is adjusted with a commercially available model-making servo and a boat speed controller is used for the drive motor. Boat speed controllers control the drive motor according to the driving commands at the transmitter and also have a connection for water cooling.

    To the boat controls
    RC Boat double drive

    With some boats, the developer saves the effort of a ship's rudder incl. the mechanical linkage and simply uses two motors lying next to each other with a separate ship's screw.

    In order to be able to drive a curve, the left propeller rotates more slowly and the boat turns a left curve through the larger propulsion of the right propeller.

    The different speed control of the two motors, depending on the position of the control stick on the transmitter, is performed by a special electronics system in the boat.

    Whether a rotary knob remote control, a hand-held transmitter or an existing console transmitter is used for controlling a model boat, is entirely up to the personal preferences of the respective user.

    Modelling Remote Control

    If, for example, other functions such as light, cranes, winds or other electrically operated attachment parts can be switched by remote control on a model ship model, various switching modules can be used.

    When using a 4-channel remote control system, two channels can be used for the driving and steering function and the other two channels for controlling the additional functions. In combination with the corresponding switch decoders, a variety of switchable functions are available.

    To the switching modules

    Practical advice

    Since you can never completely prevent water from entering the fuselage in an RC boat, the remote control components used should be waterproof or be housed in a waterproof casing.


    How is a RC sailboat controlled?

    Sailing wind servo (1), rudder servo (2) and Flaut drive motor (3).

    The remote control components

    Just like for an RC motor boat, a 2-channel remote control system is sufficient for an RC sailing boat. One channel is used for the steering function. Since a sailboat usually does not have a propeller drive, the second channel is used to adjust the sails. Special sail wind servos are used for this purpose.

    A conventional model-making servo, which is used, for example, to adjust the rudder blade, has a rotation angle of approx. 90 – 110° if the control stick on the transmitter is moved from one end position to another.

    With the same control movement, the attached pulley rotates 360 several times with a sailing wind servo°. Thus, the control lines for the sails can be changed over a wide range in length. Depending on the direction of travel and wind, the sails are then opened wide or powerfully sealed.

    Like the big role models, some RC sailing boats also have a small electric drive, which brings the boat back safely to the country even in the case of a low noise.

    Sometimes a standard servo with an excessively long servo lever is also recommended for sailing adjustment. This is more cost-effective than a sailing wind servo and partly also works quite passable. Unfortunately, the cable travel is much shorter with this solution and due to the long servo lever, the power on the rope is not particularly high. For this reason, this solution is more suitable for smaller sailing boats or for boats that are only used in weak winds.

    Position of the RC sails

    The sail adjustment

    The illustration opposite shows the position of the sail in different directions of travel.

    When the wind blows from the top (from the north) and the sailboat goes down (south), the two sails are wide open. They stand at a 90°-degree angle to the longitudinal axis of the boat, in order to provide the greatest possible demand area for the wind.

    As soon as the sailing boat leaves the south course and sails toward the south-east (SO) or south-west (SW) (lower right and left figure), the sails must be drawn briefly to the boat (dense) and immediately reopened. Thus, depending on the direction of travel, the rear sail (large sail) or the front sail (fock sail) can turn to the other side by the force of the wind.

    For the further journey in the direction OF SUCH or SW, the sails may not be opened completely as far as when driving toward sins.

    If the boat strikes a course to the east or west, the sails must be drawn much closer to the longitudinal axis of the boat (dense). The sails on the hull are closest when the boat crosses diagonally against the wind (figures above). 

    For controlling an RC sailboat, it is best to use a hand or console transmitter, in which the control stick for the sail adjustment does not automatically spring back to the center position.

    In contrast to the control stick for the rudder adjustment, which is automatically held in the center position by spring force, the control stick for the sail adjustment must always remain in the position in which it was last moved.

    What was to be ich observed when using RC Boats?

    Clarify insurance cover

    The fact that a large, heavy speedboat flying over the waves at over 80 km/h poses a certain risk potential certainly lights everyone up.

    But even was it possible to catch Especially when children play in the bathing area with remote controlled boats. For this reason, it should be clarified in advance whether the operation of a remote-controlled motor boat is covered by the existing liability protection or whether additional insurance must be taken out.

    If required, the German Modellflieger Verband also offers additional insurance for model ships.

    Find suitable waters

    The best solution is the association waters of a ship model building club. These unified waters are perfectly suited for ship models and there are appropriate structural devices to easily put the model into the water and also to be able to take it back easily. Sometimes even models with combustion engines can be driven, was otherwise almost impossible. And in the event of a disturbance, there are always a few helping hands to get the dousing boat back on land quickly.

    If you don't have a club nearby, you have to look for a suitable driving water in your own right. As river waters are usually unsuitable for remote-controlled model boats, the focus must be on standing waters. But you may not let your boat go wherever possible.

    If the waters are privately owned, the owner must ask how far the land may be entered and the waters may be driven.

    With public accessible waters or bathing ponds one can easily go to the water, but that doesn't mean that one can also drive there with a model boat. In this case, ask the responsible administration whether the operation of model boats is permitted or whether there is an area specially designated for this purpose. If such areas exist, it must also be ensured that a model boat avoids such shore areas that are taboo for nature conservation or animal welfare reasons.

    Frequently asked questions about model ships

    My boat was running full of water. What was to be done?

    First, the drive battery must be completed or the batteries inserted in the boat must be removed. The rechargeable battery or batteries must then be stored in a warm place for drying.
    If the water has been removed from the boat, the boat can also be dropped for drying. If a drive motor is installed, the motor shaft bearings must be treated with a moisture repellent lubricant such as WD40 before drying. If everything is dry again, the function and range of the remote control must be checked on land before the model is put back on the water.

    What do I do if my boat isn't working in the middle of the water?

    There are different methods: In a ship model club, remote-controlled lifeboats are often available, which carry the left-lying boat ashore. Alternatively, a rowing boat can be used for rescue or you can wait until the model lands automatically by wind and waves. However, this option is only advisable if the relevant shore section can also be entered for recovery.

    The remote control does not work properly and the rudder servo is constantly ticking. What can I do?

    If a receiver with a plastic housing is used in the model, there may be water inside the housing. In this case, remove the receiver and open the housing. Check if the board is wet. If this is the case, put the circuit board away for drying. If the board is dry, the fault may be a loose contact with the connectors, in the battery box or on the switch cable. If possible, the receiver must be replaced for test purposes.