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RC Glossary


New to the RC Hobbies? What does buggy, bulkhead, nitro mean in radio control car hobbies? Check out the glossary for remote control cars below.


  • LAID / Lay Down Servo --
  • Refers to a servo (primarily a steering servo) that is laid on it's side instead of upright to lower the model's CG.

  • Lawn Dart --
  • Refers to an off road ride that lands nose first instead of on its wheels after a jump. This usually creates a nice little divot in the middle of the track and brings the ride to an instant stop. In the game of RC Lawn Darts, distance is everything, so if you're going to nose it, at least go big.

  • Lay Shaft --
  • The large pulley shaft on a belt drive model that holds the spur gear and transfers power to the smaller rear and / or front diff pulleys.

  • LCD - Liquid Crystal Display --
  • A screen display commonly used for computer radios. LCD screens do not emit light, so a back lit screen is needed to see the display in low light situations.

  • Lead Acid - Pb - PB --
  • "This refers to the common """"lead cell"""" battery found under the hood of your 1:1 ride. Lead acid batteries create current through the reaction between lead plates and acids (such as sulfuric acid). Lead acid batts are HEAVY, so they don't find much use in the RC realm, but some smaller fist sized types are occasionally used to power starter boxes. Of course, popping the hood on the old '79 Pinto to power a DC charger from the battery is a great way to """"get-r-done"""" in the field."

  • Lean --
  • Refers to tuning a nitro engine to run with less fuel and more air. This is done by turning the needle valve clock-wise (such as to 'lean' the engine). More air may increase power, but also reduces fuel, which lubricates the engine. While running lean can help the fuel economy, running an engine too lean will cause overheating and damage. Some signs of an overly lean engine are: sputtering or stalling at high speeds, high engine temperature, stalling when the throttle is applied, and lack of visible smoke from the exhaust.

  • LED - Light Emitting Diode --
  • Commonly used for RC lighting applications, LED's are efficient and bright.

  • Lexan --
  • Lexan is a brand name for a blend of polycarbonate plastic. This is a crystal clear, semi-rigid material used to create RC bodies through a vacuum forming process. Lexan provides a good amount of detail while remaining flexible and durable. Lexan bodies are designed to be painted on the inside, which saves the paint from scratches. Be sure to use paint formulated for lexan, as it flexes with the body and doesn't pull away under impact.

  • LHS --
  • Abbreviation for Local Hobby Shop

  • Limiting Strap --
  • A strap used to limit the amount of down travel a solid axle or suspension arm has. In most cases, this is used on solid axle monster trucks built for racing.

  • LIMN - LiMn íV Lithium Manganese (Battery) --
  • LiMn batteries rely on a chemical reaction between lithium and manganese composites to create an electrical current. LiMn is virtually impervious to swelling or catching fire due to abuse (compared to other lithium based packs), but LiMn has a lower energy density than LiPo, resulting in the pack weighing in as slightly heavier, as well as having less voltage. LiMn packs may come in odd shapes that don't fit well in standard 6 cell locations.

  • Linear (Charge / Discharge) --
  • "Refers to a constant current (as opposed to a pulsing or variable current) used by some battery chargers for charging and discharging. Linear current is considered """"clean power"""", providing the most accurate and stable readings while charging or discharging cells."

  • Link íV Linkage --
  • Refers to the wires, rods, or turnbuckles (and related parts) that transfer movement from the servo to the part being moved. A link may also refer to the rods or turnbuckles that connect the hubs or axles to the chassis.

  • LION - Lion - Li-ion - LifeP04 íV Lithium Ion (Nanophosphate) (Battery) --
  • Lithium Ion batteries were introduced in 2002 by Yet Ming Chiang (the founder of A123). Lion batteries rely on the chemical reaction between lithium and electrolytes immersed in organics to create an electrical current. Like NiCad and NiMh cells, Lion cells require metal cans - this, along with the fact that they have a lower energy density than other lithium based batteries, makes them larger and heavier than other lithium based packs, as well as more volatile.

  • LIPO - LiPo - LiPoly íV Lithium Polymer (Battery) --
  • John Goodenough (of Sony) introduced LiPo technology in 1996. LiPo batteries rely on a chemical reaction between lithium and a gelled polymer electrolyte to produce an electrical current. These batteries don't require a metal can like NiCad and NiMh cells, and are instead grouped together in 'plates' or 'sheets'. Instead of the gradual discharge curve of NiCad and NiMh batteries, LiPo's tend to hold a charge longer into the run, but drop off steeply at the end. They tend to offer a lower internal resistance than nickel based cells while retaining higher voltages during high amp draw. LiPo batteries offer a significant increase in voltage (with 3.7V nominal voltage per cell, and 4.2V per cell fully charged) and run time over NiCad and NiMh batteries, while weighing around 1/3 less. The downside is that they are more expensive and require a LiPo specific charger. To prevent damage to LiPo's, never let the cell voltage drop below 3V per cell, never charge them over 4.2V per cell, and always store the packs at 1/2 charge. When balancing LIPOs, try to keep them within 0.1v per cell. REFERENCE : 1S = 3.7V, 2S = 7.4V, 3S = 11.1V, 4S = 14.8V.

  • LIPO Balancer --
  • A unit that is attached between the battery charger and LiPo pack while charging to balance the individual cells. Some chargers have a balancer built in. Balancing the LiPo cells is recommended, as it increases the cycle life and allows the pack to produce maximum power. LiPo balancers are usually rated by the number of cells they are designed to balance (such as 2S, 3S, 4S, ect.), and may require a specific harness that fits your particular pack style. Some balancers may have the ability to balance the pack without the use of a charger, and are powered by the battery itself while using this function.

  • LIPO Cradle --
  • An adaptor used to secure LiPo battery packs in models designed to use conventional can battery packs (i.e. NiCad and NiMH).

  • LIPO Sack --
  • A flame retardant bag used to encase Lion and Lipo packs when charging them. This helps reduce the chances of damage if the packs happen to catch fire.

  • LIPO Warmer --
  • "A 'heating pad' used to warm LIPO cells during charging. You may ask, """"Why the ,&!! would I want to heat my batteries when I charge them, doesn't that damage them?"""" The short answer is, """"Not always."" Keeping LIPOs warm during charging may lower internal resistance and increase initial voltage (punch). LiPo warmers are also great for those that live in colder climates, as it will help extract more power than cold batts can provide. Don't just toss your LiPos in a toaster oven while charging, though. 100* is around the optimal temp needed, anything more will probably cause epic damage to the pack."

  • Liquid Masking Film - LMF --
  • A paste-like film that is used in place of masking tape. This is brushed on inside a lexan body before painting, and the paint design is (carefully) cut into the film, then the area to be painted is peeled away. Use a light touch when trimming LMF to prevent scoring the body - it cuts much easier than tape.

  • Lithium Ion --
  • See LION

  • Lithium Manganese --
  • See LIMN

  • Lithium Polymer --
  • See LIPO

  • LMF --
  • Abbreviation for Liquid Masking Film

  • Lock Nut --
  • A nut with a nylon insert that 'grabs' the screw threads, locking the nut in place and preventing it from backing out due to vibration. The most common uses for lock nuts in RC is for wheel nuts, slipper nuts, and ball diff nuts.

  • Locknut --
  • "A type of nut that features a nylon insert that helps to """"grab"""" the threads of a shaft or bolt, helping prevent the nut from loosening. Commonly used on axles and other critical areas of RC cars."

  • Loop Scavenger --
  • Refers to a nitro engine with a single bypass port directly across from the exhaust port.

  • Low Speed Needle Valve - LSN --
  • The low speed needle valve regulates the amount of fuel that enters the carb of a nitro engine at idle or low speeds (RPM). This needle valve is commonly located on the side of the carb body where the throttle linkage attaches, and resembles a large flathead screw. Rotating the needle valve clockwise lets in less fuel (leans the air / fuel mixture), while turning the needle valve counter-clockwise lets in more fuel (richens the air / fuel mixture). Only adjust the LSN after the high speed needle has been properly adjusted.

  • Low Voltage Cut off - LVC --
  • This is an electrical unit that is usually installed between a LiPo battery pack and the ESC. Many ESCs are also available with integrated LVC. An LVC cuts off or drastically reduces voltage from the LiPo pack once the pack reaches a predetermined threshold - usually around 3.2 to 3.4 volts per cell. This prevents the pack from becoming overly discharged, which easily damages LiPo batteries. LVCs are usually rated for a certain number of cells (such as 2S or 3S), and some may allow the actual voltage threshold to be set by the user. LVCs for RC car use are commonly 'hard cut off', meaning all power to the ESC (and motor) is disabled once the voltage threshold is reached. 'Soft cut off' units are commonly used on electric aircraft - this just reduces the power at first, enabling the pilot to land before all power is lost.

  • LSN --
  • Abbreviation - See LOW SPEED NEEDLE VALVE

  • LUGS --
  • Refers to the raised section (treads) of aggressive off road tires.

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