How To Repair An RC Car Antenna (Make & Install It Too)


How To Repair An RC Car Antenna

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If your RC car antenna has just gotten broken, the most feasible step would be to purchase a new one that fits your car or even just make a new one. We’re going to start by showing how you can make your own new RC antenna. Some people cannot afford to buy a new RC antenna, or if you are not near a shop or able to get overnight shipping, you may need to fix your antenna yourself in order to keep racing. This has been a dilemma that many people have faced and in this article we will show you exactly the steps that you need to take to repair your rc car antenna. 

In order to repair your rc car antenna, you will need to have a phone cord, a stick of some sort and a knife. Once you have these you will need to strip the wires and connect them with the broken antenna and use the stick to hold your new wiring up on the car. Although this is a temporary fix, it is very doable if you have some old wiring laying around. 

If you need to buy a new one to fix your rc car antenna the proper way, you can find them by clicking here. 

If you want to know exactly how to fix your antenna, you can watch this short video. 

How to Make Your Own RC Antenna

Materials you need

You will be needing:

  • 2 phone cords
  • Wire strippers or knife
  • A bamboo skewer or a stick

How to make it?

  • Cut off the ends of the 2 phone cords
  • Strip 1 end of the wire and twist those ends
  • Twist them together in order to connect to where your previous antenna was

That’s all there really is to making your own RC car antenna. Now that you’re all done with making the antenna, just put it back on the car, and test it out. 

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What You Need to Know About RC Car Antenna

Radio-controlled vehicles come with two different types of antennas. There’s an antenna on the transmitter or controller that transmits signals or messages to the RC, and there’s an antenna on the receiver of the RC vehicle that is responsible for receiving those signals. Your RC’s radio system is tuned to a particular frequency and a specific antenna length.

The transmitter antenna could be a solid metal tube, or it could be a piece of flexible wire that has an end cap (which may or may not retract into the controller) or a telescoping antenna where the sections pack inside each other when they are collapsed. Some radios will require you to crew the antenna into the controller, while other radios come already attached.

The receiver antenna is normally a long piece of plastic-coated wire that pushes out through a hole in the body and trails at the back of the RC. Right inside the RC, some of the antennae may be wrapped around. Some RCs like the RadioShack XMODS, come with plain, thin wire antennas that are stiffer than the wires of the plastic-coated antenna.

RC Transmitter Antennas

If you have one of these, you will want to fully extend the antenna before you operate your radio-controlled vehicle. When you do not fully extend the antenna on the controller, it can affect your range and your ability to have the RC under control. If your RC is acting haphazardly or is refusing to respond to your controls, the reason might simply you have not fully extended your antenna.

When you put your controller down (during a pitstop, for example), retract or collapse the antenna to prevent it from getting in your way or getting damaged. Do not pull with force on a telescoping antenna or retract/collapse it by pushing down from the top. Instead, retract it by grasping it lightly and sliding it down one section or two at a time. Although the telescoping metal antennae seem quite sturdy, they can bend and break quite easily.

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RC Receiver Antennas and installing them

To ensure that long receiver antenna wires will not drag on the ground and get caught in the wheels of your car, the antenna is typically kept in a flexible (but quite rigid) piece of tubing. The antenna sticks up above the RC but stays flexible, so in a rollover or crash, it doesn’t break easily.

  • Installing the Receiver Antenna

In order to have an easier time threading the antenna wire through the tubing, you can use a little oil to lubricate it, but keep in mind that oil can get sticky, and it also attracts dirt and dust. Talcum powder is an alternative lubricant you can use. Just put a small quantity in your hand and then draw the antenna through your hand, so it is coated in the lubricant. You can also try sucking the antenna through the tube. Or, suck some dental floss or a piece of thread through the tube, tie it to the antenna, and pull on the floss or thread pulling the antenna via the tubing.

To make sure that the antenna won’t slide back through the tube, if the tubing is narrow, tie a knot in the end or put a plastic or rubber antenna cap on the end. Keep in mind that this works only for narrow tubing.

  • Avoid Cutting the Antenna

If you cut the antenna wire on your RC, you could be increasing the chance of interference as you operate the RC car. This may cause glitches, so you will want to avoid cutting your antenna wire. To make sure that the antenna won’t drag, you can thread it through an antenna tube or try using soda straws, hollow coffee stirrers, or any semi-rigid plastic material.

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Some radios may work well with shorter antennas, but only cut the receiver antenna if the manufacturer endorses that. Make sure it doesn’t go shorter than the manufacturer’s recommendations.

If the long antenna is so much of a problem to you, try putting the excess wire into the vehicle. Make sure you don’t coil or bunch it too tightly because this will cause glitches. You can attach the excess antenna to the inside of the body even though this can make removing the body to reach the internal parts difficult. Better still, after you’ve run the antenna through the antenna tube, wrap the excess in a spiral pattern around the outside of the tube. Don’t wrap too loosely but give it some space, so the whole thing doesn’t bunch up in a single spot. With a small piece of electrical tape, secure the loose end to the tube and an antenna cap to provide more security.

Ensure that your receiver antenna does not touch any of the metal parts inside the RC, as this can also cause glitches and unsystematic behavior. You may wrap it a bit loosely around a cardboard sheet and attach it to the body or the receiver. Threading the antenna through a piece of flexible tubing (fuel tubing, for example) or using a strip of electrical tape to wrap it will help to save it from damage and prevent it from touching metal. Try as much as possible to keep the receiver antenna fully extended and not doubled-up or wrapped.

Conclusion

Now that you know about the different types of receivers, you can see that depending upon which one you need to replace will depend upon how you replace it. If you are in need of a quick repair, you can always find some wiring to fix your RC car antenna, but you should remember that you will need to replace your antenna in the long run. 

Matt Robbs

I love to spend time with my wife and 3 kids. There is no better way to get them off the couch and outside than for us to grab the RC cars or boat and enjoy the sunshine!

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