Turn that rat’s nest into a work of art.
Since the day you started in RC, your first cars have probably been ready-to-run vehicles for the ease of plug-and-play action. Then comes the day when you would like to start racing competitively and you want get yourself a kit car that requires manual assembly that includes installation of the electronics. It’s fairly straightforward on how to wire up an RC car, and with a little bit of extra effort, you can get neat wiring like you see in factory drivers’ cars. The best thing is that you’ll need minimal tools to pull off the job. You’ll need to know how to use a soldering iron, have a pair of Lexan scissors, and zip-ties. The following step will show you how to get neat wiring and have your rig looking like it belongs to a pro.
MOUNTING THE ELECTRONICS
After you have finished putting together your new vehicle, locate the section in the assembly manual that takes you step by step on mounting the electronics. Follow the directions on where on the chassis you should mount your speed control and receiver. While mounting, leave a small amount of spacing between the servo, speed control and receiver that we will later use to tuck excess servo/speed control leads. When you mount the motor, slide it to the farthest point away from the speed control so you will have enough slack in the motor wires no matter what size pinion you will use.
WIRING UP THE MOTOR
As we’re getting to the first soldering step of our wiring job, go ahead and assess all the wires you’ll be working with and start to place them along the route they will be traveling in the car. Starting with the motor tab closest to the speed control, pull the wire straight to the motor and as you get to the motor can, curve the wire towards the tab to give you a little added slack. Repeat the same steps with the rest of the motor wires and don’t worry on how short you’re cutting the wires; you can always solder in new speed control wires if you decided to use it for a different car.
SENSOR WIRE CHOICE
Obviously, if you are running a sensorless system, you can skip this step. If you are running a sensored speed control/motor, you have options on sensor wires. Here are a couple of examples of different length sensor wires you can use. Generally, in an on-road car, you can use a shorter sensor wire versus an off-road vehicle where you will have to use a longer wire. You want to avoid any sharp bends or folds in the sensor wire due to the sensor wire strands breaking inside the insulation. The broken wires never reveal themselves and will leave you wondering why your motor is stuttering or glitching.
WIRING THE BATTERY
Let’s finish our wiring job with wiring up the battery. With your battery strapped into your car, pull the positive and negative wires towards the center of the battery then curve them towards the battery’s terminals. Use scissors to cut o the excess wire at the edge of the battery; again don’t worry about how short you’re cutting the wires, new wires can be soldered into the speed control if you ever use it for another car. When you solder in the battery plugs, install them in at a 90 degree angle so that when plugged into the battery, the wire stays against the battery to keep the center of gravity low and not affect the handling of the car.
CINCH IT WITH A ZIP-TIE
One of your best friends during an RC car wiring job is a zip-tie. Start with routing your servo and speed control wire leads to the receiver through the spaces you left between your electronic components. When you get to an area where there’s extra space (I used the space behind my receiver), start folding the excess wire and zip-tie it so that there is just enough slack to reach where it will plug into the receiver.
When the crew at RC Car Action reviews a car, we follow the same steps while installing electronics to get a vehicle ready for photos. As with anything else in life, it will take some practice to learn and perfect anything. Though a Team Associated TC6.1 sedan was used for this article, the same concepts can be used when wiring up off-road vehicles. Once you get hooked on racing and you start to have multiple cars, you’ll become a pro with neatly wiring in no time!