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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.


  • G 10 (Garolite) --
  • A fiberglass composite most commonly used for chassis or shock tower construction. G 10 is lightweight but moderately flexible, and is almost exclusively used on electric on road models, especially those that run on high bite surfaces (such as carpet).

  • Gate --
  • Refers to a pair of markers used for rock crawling competitions. Gates indicate where to go on the trail, and you must pass between the markers without touching them to complete with previous section and continue to the next section. Just about anything can be used to mark a gate, but a tennis ball cut in half is the most common choice.

  • Gauge - AWG (American Wiring Gauge) --
  • Refers to the diameter of electrical wires. The lower the gauge, the larger the diameter of the wire (i.e. 10 gauge wire is larger than 12 gauge wire). Larger wires can carry more current. For electric rides, using a lower gauge wire results in slower acceleration and softer braking, which may be useful on small, loose tracks.

  • Gear --
  • A general term that normally refers to either the spur gear and pinion gear.

  • Gear Cover --
  • Commonly found on off road 2WD electric models, this is a protective alloy or plastic part that covers the spur and pinion gear to prevent dirt and debris from contaminating them. Some gear covers also have an access hole for adjusting diff or slipper settings.

  • Gear Down --
  • Refers to changing out the pinion or clutchbell, or spur gear, to increase acceleration and torque at the expense of top speed. Gearing down is accomplished by either installing a pinion or clutchbell with fewer teeth (i.e. changing an 18T pinion to a 17T pinion) or installing a spur gear with more teeth (i.e. changing a 72T spur to a 74T spur). Note that pinion or clutchbell changes can be made 1T (tooth) at a time for subtle changes, while spur gears can only be changed by 2T at a time, for more dramatic results. Gearing down increases run time.

  • Gear Ratio --
  • Any 2 meshing gears will have a ratio, which refers to how many revolutions the smaller gear spins compared to 1 revolution of the larger gear. This is usually expressed as xx.x : 1 (such as 32.6 : 1). To find the ratio of 2 gears, simply divide the number of teeth on the larger gear by the number of teeth on the smaller gear. The primary drive ratio (pinion / clutchbell and spur) and internal drive ratio (diff / ring gear and output gear) are the 2 most common ratios used in RC.

  • Gear Up --
  • Refers to changing out the pinion or clutchbell, or spur gear, to increase top speed at the expense of acceleration and torque. Gearing up is accomplished by either installing a pinion or clutchbell with more teeth (i.e. changing an 17T pinion to a 18T pinion) or installing a spur gear with fewer teeth (i.e. changing a 74T spur to a 72T spur). Note that pinion or clutchbell changes can be made 1T (tooth) at a time for subtle changes, while spur gears can only be changed by 2T at a time, for more dramatic results. Gearing up decreases run time.

  • Gearing --
  • In general terms, this refers to the ratio of the spur gear and pinion gear, when compared to the internal drive ratio of the car.

  • Gel Cell --
  • The BIG RC battery. A gel cell resembles a motorcycle battery, and is sometimes used to power starter boxes and DC only chargers. However, gel cells are most commonly used to power the hand held starters for RC planes or helicopters.

  • Getting Lapped --
  • "A term used when the lead car in a race is passing another car. That car """"loses a lap"""" or """"goes a lap down"""" to the leader. If you are getting lapped, it's usually good form to let the leader get past you in a turn by going wide through the corner. This is even more important if the leader is battling with another car."

  • GFC --
  • "Abbreviation for GLASS FILLED COMPOSITE. This is a common """"plastic"""" used for RC parts."

  • GHZ - GHz - Gigahertz --
  • "A frequency of 1,000,000,000 cycles per second. Spread spectrum radios are often referred to as 2.4 GHz systems, meaning they?transmit a """"bit"""" of data at around?2,400,000,000?times per second."

  • Gimbal --
  • Refers to the pivoting mechanism operated by the 'joysticks' on stick radios. The gimbal allows the stick to move side to side as well as up and down, effectively allowing each stick to operate 2 channels. For stick transmitters designed specifically for RC car use, the gimbals usually only allow throttle and brake on the left stick and steering on the right.

  • Glitching --
  • The term that refers to your car losing control temporarily, another term for interference. This happens when the signal from the radio transmitter to the receiver is interrupted for some reason. To solve glitching, make sure you have fresh batteries in your radio, you aren't running near overhead power lines, the antenna on the radio and the car is fully extended, the car antenna isn't in direct contact with carbon fiber or graphite parts (they cause interference), the car antenna isn't cut and the car antenna isn't wrapped around itself. Sometimes twisting the motor wires will help solve glitching. In severe cases, you may have a defective or broken receiver or transmitter. Consider sending either or both to the manufacturers for repair (after talking with their customer service people). In extreme cases you may want to consider replacing your radio gear (get a new FM radio, etc.) or a new receiver.

  • Glow (Plug) Driver - Glow (Plug) Igniter --
  • A battery operated device that clips onto the glow plug of a nitro engine. The glow driver heats up the glow plug element for initial starting, then is removed once the engine is running. You will not get a nitro engine started without a glow driver (unless you are using an E-Z START type of system), so don't even try.

  • Glow (Plug) Igniter --
  • See Glow (Plug) Driver

  • Glow Plug --
  • The 'spark plug' of a nitro engine. A glow plug is screwed into the head and protrudes into the combustion chamber. A wire coil (element) inside the glow plug reacts with the chemicals in nitro fuel and the heat in the combustion chamber, causing the element to heat up and 'glow' (much like a light bulb filament) and ignite the air/fuel mixture. A glow driver is used to heat up the glow plug for initial starting, but is removed once the engine is running. Glow plugs come in two varieties - standard and turbo, and may be rated as hot, medium, or cold for different running conditions. Standard plugs may also be available as long or short - always use the style suggested by the engine manufacturer (long plugs increase compression, and may actually be struck by the piston if used with an engine designed for short plugs). However, if you need a short plug and all you have on hand are long plugs, you should be able to get away with adding an extra glow plug gasket to the long plug.

  • Glow Plug Gasket --
  • The copper 'washer' used to seal the glow plug at the combustion chamber. Always use a glow plug gasket, and ideally, the gasket should be changed every time the glow plug is removed (but we all know that's not gonna' to happen).

  • Glow Plug Temperature --
  • Glow plugs may be rated by temperature, such as hot, medium, or cold. This refers to the 'burning' temperature of the plug filament (coil), which helps to fine tune engine performance. A glow plug's temp depends upon one or more of three factors: the size of the plug coil, the diameter and depth of the plug cavity, and the coating or alloy of the plug housing. Hotter plugs tend to use thinner coils, larger cavities, and silver or gold plating on the housing, and are best used with small blocks or engines running a lower nitro content. Colder plugs generally use thicker coils, smaller cavities, and black oxide coating, and are best used with big blocks or engines running a higher nitro content. Hotter plugs are best used if the weather is humid, or to bring up engine temp during cold weather and to help make an engine easier to start. Colder plugs help reduce engine temps during hot weather or help eliminate pinging (detonation).

  • Grip (1) Pistol Grip Radio --
  • Refers to the handle on a pistol (trigger and wheel) transmitter (a.k.a. pistol grip), as opposed to a gimbal (a.k.a. stick) radio.

  • Grip (2) Traction --
  • Refers to the amount of available traction, also referred to as 'bite' or 'hook'.

  • Groove --
  • "also known as """"the racing line"""", this is the fast way around the track. The quickest way to get around the track is not always a straight line from corner to corner. This term is usually most used in oval racing."

  • Grooving --
  • no, not dancing! This is a term used to describe the way some tires have a tendency to develop a groove on the inner edge of the tread as they wear. This is less likely to happen to belted tires or tires with firm inserts. Grooving is also a condition that occurs when you have too much negative camber in your car.

  • GYRO --
  • An electronic unit originally used for heading hold on RC helicopters, but commonly used with RC drifters. A gyro senses the model's heading (direction) and angle, then sends signals to the steering servo to automatically adjust steering angle to help keep the model in the desired heading. Most gyros have adjustable sensitivity, determining how much they can over-ride driver input. RC motorcycles commonly use mechanical gyros in the wheels to help keep the bike upright at low speeds and to help right the bike after cornering.

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