Max speed runs are usually the first thing I do when I get a new RC car. Your car is brand new, so this is the time to see how fast it can really go! But, how do you track your RC car max speed? Is the car going as fast as the manufacturer said it would?
In this post we will see how to track your RC car’s max speed and take a look at a few GPS units that can help you log the data!
How To Track Your RC Car Top Speed
The easiest way to track your RC car max speed is to attach a GPS to the car and let it log the data. A GPS unit will log data points when making your max speed runs. The software will take the data gathered from the GPS to see how fast your car went from data point A to data point B.
But max speed isn’t the only thing the GPS can collect. The RC Car GPS can then calculate all kinds of information such as:
- average, min, and maximum speed
How To Attach The GPS To Your RC Car
To get started collecting your RC car’s performance data, you must attach the GPS on top of your vehicles body. The GPS will not work as well if you try to attach it under the car’s body. So, install the GPS unit with a clear and unobstructed view of the sky above.
Attach the GPS To Your RC Car with Velcro
Sticky Velcro is probably the easiest way to attach the GPS unit to your RC car. From my tests and experience, Velcro with a sticky tape on the bottom will keep the GPS unit secured to the car.
All you need to do is measure the size of the GPS unit and cut the two pieces of Velcro. Velcro comes with hook (the scratchy side) and a loop (the fuzzy side) pieces. Attach the hook strip to your car and the loop or fuzzy side to your GPS.
Attach the GPS to the car and let it sync with the satellites above.
How Does An RC Car GPS Work?
GPS technology works by connecting the GPS receiver attached to your car with a satellite constellation that is orbiting the earth. The satellites can log the position of your RC car while its driving.
In simple terms, the GPS is mapping out exactly where AND when your car is at a specific location on the earth. With both the where and when information, the software that comes with RC car GPS units will be able to calculate the speed, acceleration, and other useful information.
Who Should Track RC Car Max Speed With GPS
Anyone can use GPS to log their RC car’s speed. RC drag racers, road racers, and even high performance bashers can track their speed.
If you are tuning your RC car with a new battery, motor, or pinion/spur gear setup, you want to see how fast the vehicle is moving. After all, what’s the point of installing new components on your rig if they don’t provide a performance boost.
Drivers will typically log their RC car or trucks max speed, then take the vehicle to their workbench and make adjustments.
You might install a high speed pinion gear, install a different KV motor, or try out a higher C rated LiPo pack. But, you have to log the performance metrics after you install these new parts to see if they make a difference.
That’s where the GPS comes in! If you carefully track your speed runs in a log book, you can see which parts and components actually move the needle and improve your vehicle’s performance.
Popular RC Car GPS speedometer And Data Loggers
There are several popular RC Car GPS units on the market. Below are our top picks for drivers that want to start logging performance metrics for their RC cars.
This small form factor GPS unit can easily attach to your RC vehicle using Velcro. It is great for RC cars and trucks, but can be attached to boats, planes, and helicopters too.
The best feature about this GPS is the built-in screen. It can display how fast your RC was going without connecting it to your phone or computer. That is the biggest advantage of this unit over our other picks. Its a really nice feature to immediately see the results of your speed run without unhooking all of the equipment.
The unit comes with a rechargeable 200 mAh LiPo battery and should last about 2 hours on a full charge when recording data @ 10 Hz.
You can download the GPS data and see it on Google Maps. This is neat if you are doing any first-person driving and want to map where all you went with your RC!
Some of the key specs for this GPS unit are:
- GPS and GLONASS connection
- Update frequency of 1 – 10 Hz
- Dimensions of 2.6 in x 1.6 in x 0.8 in (65mm x 40mm x 20mm) (LxWxH)
- Can collect speeds up to 560 mile per hour!
The GNSS speed meter from Sky RC is another great option to track your RC cars speed using GPS technology. This unit will connect to your smart phone instead of displaying information on a screen. Depending on what you want from your GPS speed tracker, you may want to use the smart phone app instead of the basic LCD that the Dynamite unit comes with.
This unit is built for RC drivers. You can tell because the different modes are tailored to both drag racing and track racing.
GPS technology is fairly standardized among the different products on the market, so the software and mobile connectivity really make this unit stand out. You should carefully consider the software that comes with the unit. All the GPS data is great, but if you can’t consume it and use it, it won’t add much value.
From our testing on our RC trucks, you won’t be disappointed with this unit.
Some of the key features this GPS unit has are:
- Drag Race Mode (popular for RC darg racers)
- Track Race Mode (popular for racing on a track)
- Visual LED lights that show connectivity with BlueTooth and GPS
- Metric and Imperial units
- Mobile mapping application and data logger
- Small form factor (40 x 39 x 16mm Weight: 38g)
The final product on our list is another module from SkyRC. This unit is similar to the Dynamite unit and has a built-in screen. However, it does not collect as much information as the other two units on our list.
it also does not connect to a smartphone app. You can read the information on the screen and download the entire dataset onto your computer later.
I prefer the smartphone compatibility and software of the SkyRC GSM020 over the LCD screen. I am a tech guy, so I like having all the bells and whistles the smart phone app provides.
Some of the key qualities of this GPS unit are:
- Screen onboard to see quick stats
- PC link for data logging on Bing Maps
- 10 Hz data collection (high precision GPS data)
- Up to 1 hour and 45 minutes of data collection @ 10Hz
- Measure top speed, average speed, and max altitude
FAQs For How To Track Your RC Cars Max Speed
How to track your RC car’s max speed?
The best way to see how fast your RC car can go is with a GPS module that you attach to the RC vehicle’s body. A GPS unit can track data points like speed, acceleration, distance, and location. To track you RC car’s speed tuning a GPS speedometer, reset the top speed on the unit, and drive the car as fast as it can go in a straight line. The GPS will log the RC car’s max speed.
Are GPS speedometers good for RC drag racing?
GPS units can be used to fine-tune your RC drag car. Units like the SKY RC Model #GSM020 have drag racing modes that can track your run times, acceleration, and max speed. You can use the included software to log each run to help you see what adjustments are helping or hurting your drag RC cars performance.