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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.


  • Narrow --
  • see width, wheel or width, chassis

  • Narrow Band (Radio System) --
  • Narrow band radios (transmitters) broadcast on only one specific frequency or channel. The frequency used depends upon the module (or crystal) installed. Some narrow band transmitters include : AM, FM, PCM. and PPM. Radios that operate in the 2.4 GHz range are broadband transmitters, operating on multiple channels. Note that the TX and RX must operate as one (thus a narrow band TX can't be used with a broadband RX). Narrow band systems may be susceptible to glitching from EMF (electromagnetic feedback), metal on metal vibrations, or any vibrations operating on the same frequency range.

  • Needle Valve --
  • "An adjustment on a nitro engine's carburetor that allows fuel into the engine. Basically, a needle valve is a threaded needle inside a cylinder that allows an amount of fuel to pass by according to how much of the tip is exposed to the entry point. Turning the needle valve clockwise leans an engine (lets less fuel in), while turning the needle valve counter-clockwise richens the engine (lets more fuel in). You will usually find 2 needle valves on an engine: a high speed needle valve (the one that is most prominent) and a low speed (found on the carb body). Some engines may even include a mid-range needle valve. Note that finer threads on a needle valve = more accurate tuning and better """"hold"""". BTW, the idle screw is not a needle valve, it just regulates how far the carb barrel will open."

  • Neodymium Magnet --
  • A rare earth magnet commonly used in electric motors. Neodymium magnets create a stronger magnetic field than conventional magnets, which results in increased torque and power.

  • Nerf Bar --
  • These mount to the sides of tub style chassis' to fill the gap between the side of the chassis and the body. They commonly resemble large oval rings, and are flexible to help support the body sides while still having some give.

  • Neutral Width --
  • See DEAD BAND (1)

  • Ni-Cad --
  • The abbreviation for nickel-cadmium

  • Ni-MH --
  • The abbreviation for nickel-metal hydride

  • NICAD - NiCad - NICD íV Nickel Cadmium --
  • "The standard rechargeable RC battery. The most common type of battery in use, although it is being phased out of production because of environmental concerns. Easily rechargeable, RC hobbyist must be aware that continued charging of this type of battery when it is still partially charged will lead to """"cell memory"""" and decreased runtime and performance.
    These batteries are best stored at about 1/4 charge íV it is recommended to use a 30 ohm resistor across the + and íV sides when storing NiCad fully discharged,. NiCads produce 1.2V per cell (resulting in 7.2V for a 6 cell pack). NiCad (as well as NiMH) packs should run around 150* after a good full run. A standard NiCad pack can usually provide about 3 to 4 runs a day without damage to the cells, as long as the pack is allowed to cool before charging."

  • Nickel-Cadmium --
  • See NICAD

  • NIMH - NiMH - Nickel-Metal Hydride (NIMH) --
  • "A common rechargeable RC battery. This type of battery has no """"cell memory"""", but features slightly less voltage than nickel-cadmium batteries. This means that for racers it is slightly less desirable but for most RC hobbyists these batteries are better because of less concern for maintenance.
    They are best stored at around 1/2 charge to fully charged to maintain performance. NiMH batteries tend to offer higher initial voltage and longer run times than NiCads (but like NiCads, they still produce 1.2V per cell), and their ease of use makes them popular among RC crowds. A typical NiMH pack will temp at about 140* - 150* after a good run, and if allowed to cool before charging, should safely provide around 4 to 5 runs a day without damage to the cells."

  • Nitro (1) Nitromethane Fuel --
  • "The fuel used in model (RC) engines - contains methyl alcohol, nitromethane (hence 'nitro""""), oil (for lubrication), and other inert ingredients. Nitro fuel is rated by the percentage of it's nitromethane content, with 10%, 20%, and 30% being the most common. The nitro percentage used in a given engine depends on the engine's compression, but as a rule of thumb: 10% is used for micro engines (such as a .05), 10% - 25% is used in small blocks (such as a .15), and 30% or more is usually reserved for big blocks (such as a .21). In general, the higher the nitro percent, the more power produced. The percent of oil in the fuel is also important, as this indicates the amount of protection for your engine. Oil content usually runs between 6% (for racing fuels) to 10% (for hobby fuels). Nitro fuel is hydroscopic (it attracts water), and may loose some potency when exposed to sunlight. So, keep the lid on and store it in a dark, dry place."

  • Nitro (2) Engines and Models --
  • Refers to a model engine that uses nitro fuel, or a model powered by a nitro engine. Some may also refer to nitro engines as gas engines.

  • Nitro Content --
  • A measure of the amount of nitromethane that is included in a mixture of nitro fuel. The normal amount of nitro content for fuel is 20% (when used in cars). Racers will use 30% or even 40%, but using a higher nitro content will shorten the life of the engine, which makes the high content fuels more suited for serious racers only.

  • Nominal Voltage --
  • Refers to a battery pack or cell's average voltage at 1/2 capacity or under load. The nominal voltage for alkaline cells is 1.5V, for LiPo cells it's 3.7V, and for NiCaD and NiMH cells it's 1.2V.

  • Nose Piece --
  • To retain a low profile, some buggy bodies use a separate piece for the area in front of the front shock tower (nose). This piece is usually bolted to the chassis instead of being held on with body clips.

  • Nubs --
  • Refers to the small pins or spikes that make up the tread of many off road racing tires.

  • Nylon --
  • A type of plastic used in many RC kits. There are many types of nylon:
    High-Impact Nylon is able to flex with crash impacts to resist breaking. Most HPI wheels are made from high-impact nylon, as well as many of our suspension arms and shock towers.
    Fiber Reinforced Nylon is a plastic that is mixed with fiberglass fibers to produce a stiffer plastic piece. The ratio of fiber to plastic will determine the stiffness of the piece. If it is too stiff, the strength advantage is lost because the piece can break too often. The electric RS4 MT uses a fiber reinforced nylon tub chassis.
    Graphite Reinforced Nylon is another type of fiber reinforced nylon, except that instead of fiberglass fibers, the plastic is mixed with graphite fibers, the same type of fibers that make up the graphite mesh in woven graphite pieces. The ratio of graphite fiber to plastic will determine the stiffness of the piece. If it is too stiff, the strength advantage is lost because the piece can break too often. We offer graphite nylon suspension arms for our RS4 Pro 2, electric RS4 MT, Super Nitro RS4 and the Nitro RS4 2/RTR/Racer 2 kits, and the stock shock towers of the RS4 Pro are made of a different type of graphite nylon.

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