View Full Version : Alternate antenna ideas!

09-04-2002, 03:31 AM
Attached is an image of my car with replaced antenna. I did this for 2 reasons:

1. I was not getting the best range with the stock antenna.
2. The cat wants to chew on my stock antenna.

Ok, so I took a spring, pulled it straight, left a loop at the end and straightened out the other end. Then I took the insulation off a tiny wire from inside a modular telephone cord and slid a small section of this insulation over the straightened spring. This will slide down later for insulating the new antenna as it exits the circuit board cover.

Next, I desoldered the stock wire antenna and replaced it with my own. I bent it down and out the same hole that motor lead exits. Slid that insulation down and under the circuit board THEN I bent it out and up. The usulation stops well before exiting the car's back window.

So, now I have this tiny bare silver wire antenna. It is strong, it stays upright, it gets much better reception, and it looks more attractive than the stock wire.

1. So far, I only wish it was just a bit longer. The spring I had on hand is what I used. It's late, so if I had the time, I could have used a better-suited spring.
2. I am only slightly worried about the rigidity of the new antenna, not that it will bend, but that it might be TOO stiff. If the car flips, it may put undo pressure at the solder point.

Revisions and other thoughts:
1. I might like to try another spring, and perhaps one that is NOT pulled straight. This would give it some flexibility.
2. A better method of attaching the antenna might include a body-mounted version. This would either have to be wired to the circuit board (very inconvenient if the body needs to be removed) or I might come up with some kind of contact connection when the body is in place.
3. Ever taken apart a Nokia phone? The 8260 has no external antenna. How did they do that? well, there is a copper strip that zigzags under the cap. It's attached with double stick tape. I WANT that on my bit. Ideally, I take a copper sheet, cut out a piece for the INSIDE of my car body. Then, I carefully cut it into a zigzag of sorts. The result could be attached to the inside of the body, thereby creating a HIDDEN antenna that ends up having a LOT of overall length. You have to see the phone to get the idea. Then, this could be linked to the circuit board with a contact spring. That part should be easy enough.

Any thoughts? Anyone want to try my flat-hidden copper sheet antenna? If it works, I see fleets of bits out there with NO visible antennae!


09-04-2002, 10:48 PM
Looks nice, like a Mini-Z! You have to try the copper zig-zag idea, let us know how it goes!

09-04-2002, 11:41 PM
3. Ever taken apart a Nokia phone? The 8260 has no external antenna. How did they do that? well, there is a copper strip that zigzags under the cap. It's attached with double stick tape. I WANT that on my bit. Ideally, I take a copper sheet, cut out a piece for the INSIDE of my car body. Then, I carefully cut it into a zigzag of sorts. The result could be attached to the inside of the body, thereby creating a HIDDEN antenna that ends up having a LOT of overall length. You have to see the phone to get the idea. Then, this could be linked to the circuit board with a contact spring. That part should be easy enough.

Super ingenius! So far you've got at least 2 people who want to hear more about this when you do it!

Good luck!

09-05-2002, 09:38 AM
Ok, I did it. It took a while, but I did it. I have NO visible antenna on my car now.

I will post pics tonight, but basically, what I did was this:

First, I already have a spring-wire antenna setup. This was a solder job that is necessary for my new INTERNAL antenna to work correctly. I carefully bent the spring wire forward 90 degrees at a point about 4-5 mm above the edge of the circuit board cover. This resulted in my spring wire antenna pointing straight forward.

Next, I took a small round tool (screwdriver shaft would work) and tightly wrapped a double loop into the spring wire situated vertically. This double loop is slightly smaller in diameter than a pencil eraser.

So, if you can picture this now, I have a tiny round looped spring wire (loop is on edge, in other words, the circule can be seen from the side). This loop is situated JUST ABOVE the center of the circuit board. Getting this? The idea is that this loop is going to serve as a spring-fitting connection point to the UNDERSIDE of plastic body. Now, when I place the body on the car, this loop touches the inside center of the roof with slight compression. The point is that I want to make electrical contact to the part described below:

Now for the Nokia-style antenna. . .
I started with a paper cutout of what amounts to a flattened body layout. My plan was to cut out a copper sheet (.003 mm I think, not quite foil but a little thicker than that) and once I had the copper fitting correctly, cut it into an elaborate zigzag. This plan failed. It was just too hard to get a pre-fit and I found that I was constantly making adjustments to position, cut a little copper here, cut a little there etc. Solution was to start over with a new piece and totally ignore my paper template. This was MUCH better:

I started with a 2mm strip of copper that was 18" long. (sorry for mixing metric with inches!) The sheet I had was only 9" long, so I cut a 4mm piece and cut that lengthwise, leaving the end attached so it was one continuous piece 2mm long. In addition, I left a square tab at the end of one part to serve as a starting point and electrical contact under the roof of the car.

Now that I had the copper ready, I started out by trimming the larger tab at one end so that when placed on the roof, my spring-wire antenna above would touch the center of it. I taped it in place on the roof (this tape will come off later). Next, I began running the copper strip, flat along one of the roof struts to the back, folding it and flattening the folds where I needed to make turns. I made my way to the rear deck lid, went horizontally, then back along the rear of the body. Next, over the rear wheel well, a "W" on the door, a "M" on the front hood, another W on the other door, then to the back roof strut, and back to the roof where I trimmed off the excess. I taped it down the whole way to keep it in place. Eventually, I untaped the starting point which needs to be unobscurred copper so it can make electrical contact. By that point, the rest of it was taped down, so I could start to neaten the tape and tape down the end so it did not bump the start.

I went around the job and retaped where necessary, cleaning up my work and checking position so the flat copper strip could not be seen through the windows. When I was satisfied that it would not catch on the wheels, tape was not seen through windows, etc. I attached the body to the chassis! The looped spring antenna now touched the copper tab on the roof, and following my zig-zag, I now have a TOTALLY HIDDEN, 15-inch copper strip antenna!

Does it work? That's the real quesiton isn't it. After spending 3 hours screwing around with this idea and ruining my previous antenna to get here, I was excited and scared to test it. It works like a champ! I am only getting a SLIGHT increase in range (I have never had the best range anyway) but my car now has NO visible antenna and at virtually NO sacrifice in weight and space. I can easily re-route my contact spring antenna so as to minimize body cavity intrusion (to make room for LED battery etc.).

I DEFINITELY recommend that someone else try this to see if you get similar results. I had already tried coiling my stock antenna and had signal problems. I don't think the stock antenna with the insulation it has works all that well coiled around inside the body. The copper strip is the only way to go for me now.

I don't see any yet! No more kitty bites on the stock antenna, and no drag or balance issues associated with the stock wire. I do have to mind the copper in case I add LEDs or something else inside so I don't short something. I may make a second version with thinner strips to make more zigzags and increase the length. My tape job is functional, but something more permanent now makes sense. Pics coming soon!

09-05-2002, 11:32 AM
It works like a champ!

Excellent, can't wait for the pics!

Token User
09-05-2002, 12:54 PM
Interesting idea - I have sticky backed copper foil used for stained (leadlight)glass work at home ... could make for an interesting solution for my WRX.

Very cool mod.

Thanks caver01.

09-05-2002, 01:14 PM
The NEXT question is...

WHERE to buy the material?

caver01, NICE work! I want to try the technique too! But I don't have a Nokia as an organ donor!

09-05-2002, 01:31 PM
I do have a nokia phone like this, but I don't want to tear it up for my cars sake. Hey Token User, where can I buy the stidky back copper foil your talking about? Cause that sounds like the ticket.


09-05-2002, 02:05 PM
Would something like this help?

Antenna Booster (http://www.digitalsymmetry.com/nokia-3360-cell-phone-antenna.htm)

09-05-2002, 02:23 PM
I'm checking on it now...

09-05-2002, 02:53 PM
I thought about the stained glass foil, and this might work, but you would really have to be creative with your folds. This will make more sense when I post pics, but my copper flips with each turn where a fold exists. This would put a sticky side out until the next fold. I love the idea of self-adhesion because you get rid of the tape, but you would need to make every turn a double fold to keep sticky side down.

CLARIFICATION: I called this a NOKIA-STYLE antenna, but it is definitely NOT from my old phone. I made this from scratch using .003mm (I need to verify that number) copper sheets. I went to my local hobby store and picked up a 12" wide roll of the stuff for 15 bucks! Obviously I have way more than I need, but it is nice to have the material for other projects. My hobby store had this near all of the other dowels, metal stock, brass, etc for model making. They also had sheets of aluminum and stainless. I have no idea why I wanted copper. I don't even know for sure if the Nokia antenna was copper. Perhaps aluminum would work as well. In any case, I think I chose the right guage because it folds easily, yet is not so flimsy that it is hard to work with.

I will post pics tonight when I get home from work and clarify the thickness.

I was thinking about pulling off the tape now that I have the copper in place correctly. Then, I could carefully lift it out of the body shell, put adhesive on the under side and set it back. Might be a real mess too! I can live with some tape for now.


09-05-2002, 02:58 PM
The antenna booster is what made me think of this. The booster is nothing more than a second antenna like inside the nokia phones these days. I have a hard time understanding how they can do anything without contact to the actual antenna. I might have used the booster, but it really is the wrong shape, and once you start modifying it, you might as well just install your own from scratch and get extra length to boot.


09-05-2002, 03:06 PM
Adhesive copper for stained glass foiling can be obtained online pretty easily. Nearly every art glass supplier sells foil like this in spools. Also, most cities have stained glass artists and usually supply shops. Check your yellow pages for stained glass.

The foil for stained glass is used to line the border of cut glass which is then soldered to adjoining cuts. The solder and foil form the joint that holds the glass. This technique, similar to "leaded" glass work was developed by Louis Comfort Tiffany at his studios in NY.

I would love to find out how the sticky foil works however. I don't think I would want to do double folds to keep the adhesive down, but I suppose you could do short runs and tack them all together with solder when you are done. I'd probably melt the car body doing that!


09-05-2002, 03:09 PM
Hey caver01, could you send me a business card size piece of what your using? The LHS here don't carry it. I will pay for it..
let me know.


09-05-2002, 03:27 PM
Hold on. I used a 9-inch strip, doubled, so about 18 inches overall. Straighter the better. A business card size might do OK, but all the turns you will have will be a real pain. For example, when I hit my 9" length about 3/4 finished, I had to deal with the next piece going the opposite direction. I had to fold it over and wasted a little bit of space. Not really a big deal.

Perhaps if you cut the business card into a square spiral, then fold the corners to get it into a straight line, THEN you can start putting it inside.

Ahh, what do I care! You can do it however you like! Sure, send me a Self Address Stamped Envelope and 50 cents and I will send you a business card of copper.

Now, I am not interested in making a business out of this, and certainly not going to sell anything through this wonderful forum. I do however want some feedback from someone else who might try this.

Consider yourself the lucky one who asked first!


09-05-2002, 03:45 PM
Cool, Thanks alot man. I'll send you an email.


09-05-2002, 03:48 PM
Hey caver02,

I tried to send you a mail, but your private. You can send me your address through my email. Thanks again...

Token User
09-05-2002, 03:54 PM
Originally posted by caver01 Adhesive copper for stained glass foiling can be obtained online pretty easily. Nearly every art glass supplier sells foil like this in spools. Also, most cities have stained glass artists and usually supply shops. Check your yellow pages for stained glass.I bought mine at a local stained glass studio (where co-incidentally I buy all my stained glass supplies :)). Its not too expensive, and comes in various widths and "backing colours: (black, copper, silver).

Originally posted by caver01 The foil for stained glass is used to line the border of cut glass which is then soldered to adjoining cuts. The solder and foil form the joint that holds the glass. This technique, similar to "leaded" glass work was developed by Louis Comfort Tiffany at his studios in NY.Trivia : The famous "Tiffany Lamp" - the copper foil was originally held in place with wax rather than glue. The wax then melted. A "genuine" Tiffany lamp will rattle - the wax melted away during the leading process, causing the glass to be loose in the framework of copper that resulted.

Sorry - I am building a glass studio in my garage. A very cool hobby - a cross between engineering, architecture, and artistic ability.

Originally posted by caver01 I would love to find out how the sticky foil works however. I don't think I would want to do double folds to keep the adhesive down, but I suppose you could do short runs and tack them all together with solder when you are done. I'd probably melt the car body doing that!I'll give it a try and report back. With the right tools, you can get a flat turn out of the foil, and if you slice the foil down the centre, it might be better still - a sort of "sticky wire".


09-05-2002, 05:57 PM
It sounds like the foil is a lot thinner that the copper I used. I doubt it makes a whole lot of difference for signal. Maybe it's better. I dunno. It would be pretty hard to get a flat turn with what I used.

As for your stained glass, I am trying to convince my wife to back me on the same hobby. I should just start buying glass etc. like I did with the Bit Char-G!

Are you going to be making lamps? I want to get into that hobby and just do lamps. I am dying to buy or build an 18" Wisteria. Huge project, I know, with its 2000 or so pieces, but with the right glass and replica base and ring components, this is the ultimate light in my opinion.

Sometimes, just for fun I browse Dr. Grotepass's gallery. Even his original designs are amazing.


Token User
09-05-2002, 06:05 PM
Stained glass stores are a strange place to go through - a cross between a "Michael's" craft store and "Home Depot".

Suggest we can take this offline. I try to keep online and offline seperate, but you might like to try emailing me (cse969(at)hotmail.com).

BaY oN AiM
09-05-2002, 07:02 PM

09-05-2002, 10:15 PM
i tried a variation of your idea. i used my wife’s' wire from her jewelry making kit and spun a very tight flat coil that is about the size of the electronics board cap (easily twice the length of the antenna). since i was just experimenting, i wrapped the end around the exposed antenna wire where it connects to the board tightly.
i tested this with about one inch of the stock antenna sticking out and got about the usual range. i pulled the antenna out a couple of inches more and i can now control my car from the other side of my house (almost three times the range i had before). although i haven't done away with the stock antenna, any increase in range is ok with me. i had horrible range before anyway, about half of what my brother gets with his bit. the best thing is, i've shortened the length of antenna stick out improving my handling. my bit was rolling over before with the 2.6 motor.

09-06-2002, 12:20 AM
Finally, here is my bit with the spring contact, so you can see my solder and insulation job, and the inside of the body with the copper. I think I want to redo the copper now that I know it works and make it thinner and more zig zags.


09-06-2002, 01:05 AM

Nicely done!

09-06-2002, 01:13 AM
Just a wacky thought but...Wouldn't plain ole aluminum foil work?

Doesn't get any easier to find and laying it out into the underside of the body would be a cinch (just form a sheet into the body and cutout the windows).

09-06-2002, 01:14 AM
Wow, very impressive. Can't wait to try it...


BaY oN AiM
09-06-2002, 01:40 AM

09-06-2002, 02:01 AM
i awas about to reply to this before 100s or replies went up but my dad sed i had to turn off the cpu. Well im suprised it worked. I used to have an antenna less housing for my old 5190. It wasnt that great though. Thats why i was, i think the word is skeptical, about this idea. Major props for figuring it out though. Thats a cool thing, and i might try it but only to one car. I like changing my antenna to match the cars color scheme. But yet this is an awesome idea and you deserve teh credit for thinking of it.

09-06-2002, 02:28 AM
I have to admit that although I now have the benefit of no external antenna, I was hoping to increase the range at the same time. I just did some reading on a site that was all about micro sized RC components for electric RC helicopters. There was one item that intrigued me--a 3-inch antenna constructed of coiled 36 guage wire. This is probably just the enamel coated motor winding wire. Anyway, this thing was supposed to be a super antenna. Now I am even more interested in what arch2b described. The helicopter part looked like a match stick. Now that I have the soldered spring antenna, it should be pretty easy to experiment with other stuff.

As for aluminum foil, I was going to try that, but it tears so easily I felt it was too thin, but hey, if you can make it work. . .


09-06-2002, 02:07 PM
Alright, I'm stickin this badboy to the top...Too cool a mod not to!

09-06-2002, 02:16 PM
Good call Namuna. I think that theres gonna be alot of input on this... I'll be doin this to all my cars.


09-06-2002, 05:32 PM
Yay! I've had my car less than a week and this little baby could become lengendary!

Actually, I still have only modest range. Today I took some motor winding wire and wraped it around and around a toothpick, the entire length and back again. I dunno how much wire that is. probably a couple feet of wire. Looks like a big red match stick. I left a little cowtail end, sanded off the enamel coating and tie-wrapped it to my car's spring antenna. This was going to be big. . . A super long coil antenna. . . results: Crappy. No better than my copper foil. Oh well. I think I really need to look at my controller. I think my controller is just weak.

Is anyone else out there using a brand new 57mhz controller with crappy range? It's Ok in the room, but I don't have the kind of wiz-bang 50 feet away kind of range some people report. Cripple caps removed from my car, and from controller. Next I am going to start fooling around with adding a custom antenna to the controller.

09-06-2002, 05:40 PM
I was thinking about buying a cheaper clone just to get the 57mhz controller from it. Any recommendations? I am starting to think that there is more to my controller than meets the eye, since I have not yet seen a picture of the cripple cap I had to remove. Most either have it missing, or the long-legged kind. not mine. Mine was CLOSE, but not the same. I wonder since it is brand new if something else is going on and my controller output power is less for some other reason.

So, any suggestions on a clone controller? Are they even interchangeable?

09-06-2002, 06:08 PM
Wow, this is one of the coolest threads of all time! Keep posting the ideas and results guys! :cool:

09-06-2002, 06:25 PM
hey guys, it's been really interesting to read this thread everynight with different replys every single day. Anyhoo. the question about using clone controllers, I have a Loctite skyline clone and the controller look slike a tomy one, but with one thing, the forward and reverse on the controller is reversed for the bit charges. so you would have to switch the wires in the car to account for that. Also i had a bullet with the same freq and the foward and reverse were ok but the steering was all backwards. it makes for a really good race when you have 2 batts and a hadicap of not being able to turn the right way.

so that's that.

09-07-2002, 02:27 AM
GENIUS!!!! :eek:
but too advanced of a mod for me to try
ill stick to the wobbly 6 inch antenna :D

09-07-2002, 03:31 AM
what about QFM's antenna mod?

09-09-2002, 09:02 AM
I never tried their mod. My point was to internalize the whole thing so it does not interfere with obstacles, cats, etc. I was also hoping to increase the range.

09-10-2002, 01:28 PM
Well, I finally played with my POT, doing the mod to adjust it with a tiny screwdriver. ATTENTION, DON'T PRESS HARD THROUGH THE HOLE! Since my POT is waxed, and the PCB has the hole in it, I pushed a tiny screwdriver through to adjust it without disturbing the wax. As expected, it got a little tight from the wax. So there I was, doing the adjustment, pressing hard to get it to turn when I noticed that the white plastic was sliding AWAY from the PCB!!! Oh crap! I really did it this time! That little part has the tiniest copper wire leading down to one of the legs where it solders tight. Sure enough, I have NO signal at all. I pushed the thing back down on the board, and it started making contact again. Whew. All I need to do is re-solder it, right? Wrong. It did not work. The solder remelted, and somehow missed the wire completely, pulling AWAY from it.

Long story short (too late) I had to carefully pry the tiny copper lead away from the white plastic it sits in, tin this wire, push it back down into the groove, and build a solder bridge from the connection leg to it. I should have been a surgeon. Worked like a champ. However, now the adjusted POT was way off. I finally removed the wax and adjust the POT and now I get a pretty good 12 feet of range before stutters.

Well, This is just not enough for me. 12 feet is fine, especially without a visible antenna, but if I am going to make any progress, I want increased range. So, tinkering I go. . .

I attached a piano wire (.015mm?) to the existing antenna and routed it out the back window. Yes, now I have come full circle and have an external antenna again, but this time with the POT adjusted. My range was much better this way.

CONCLUSION (finally)
You can get away with a totally hidden antenna. That much is clear. Range is OK with the copper foil as is, in fact, it's about as good as the stock antenna ever was. However, with a springy piano wire, you can get range even better!

Next Experiments:
1. Explore the piano wire technique with tiny zig zags inside the car to see if that gives better results than the copper foil.

2. Try making a halo wire around the body, perhaps over the wheels, to see how that works.

3. Invent some kind of detachable clip thingy so I can swap out different antenna ideas with the small spring antenna I have now

4. Try another finer copper antenna, with more zigs and narrower strips.

5. Test piano wire ideas of varying lengths to see if there is a noticeable difference.

6. make another attempt at a micro coil like the Z-72 pictured here:

Anyone else having any luck with non-traditional antennae?

09-10-2002, 03:22 PM
i gave up trying to use my camera, so i scanned my bit with my antenna mod i explained in an earlier reply in this thread.

09-10-2002, 03:31 PM
Is it just sitting there or is it connected to the antenna? How does it work?


09-10-2002, 03:55 PM
I was wondering that. I am glad to finally see the image. This is exactly what I thought you did based on your description. It DOES look like it is just sitting there. Inquiring minds want to know.

I wonder if a rectangular sprial would work better or worse?

You'd think that there is somebody out there, what, with that Micro z-72 antenna out there and such, that knows a bit about antenna technology. I suppose the simple answer is to stick something huge into the air! But we are getting results with these ideas. I guess I am looking for a compromise between range and functionality. I'd go back to a piano wire external which is much better than the insulated stock model (almost impossible to see the bare piano wire) if that is my best option, but it is fun exploring ideas.

09-10-2002, 04:14 PM
Yep that's the best part. caver01, I got the copper today. muchas gracias. I'm trying a new idea as I type. (I'm good)
There has to be some kind of a booster tip out there somewhere for the controller that gives the signal a super boost. I'm like Tim the tool man Taylor. I think the controller needs more power, and a longer antenna (at least 2') with a signal booster tip.
Does anybody know if the cellular booster tips will work? Just a thought. We'll figure it out in time...


09-10-2002, 04:19 PM
i am not confident enough yet with my soldering skills to go near the board on my bit. luckily leds are cheap, i've learned soldering and practicing with my light kits for my differnt bodies. anyway, i very carefully bent a tiny hook at the end and compressed it tightly at the antenna connection to the board. someday i will replace the antenna wire, the piano wire sounds like a winner, and permanently attach the mod to the same point. i don't get the amazing range some claim, but i was only getting about 5ft before and now at least 15-20ft. my brothers bit gets 15-20ft right out of the box. it seems it's just luck of the draw.

09-10-2002, 04:45 PM
It think I should point out that in my near screwup with the pot, my solder job had a profound effect on the "tuning" of the signal. Obvious, a glob of solder on that thing pulled me off-signal enough so that I had to adjust it.

Arch2b, have you tried adjusting the pot at all yet? You might squeeze even more out of that coil. Care must be taken (I will only adjust from the wax side now) and you need a pretty tiny flat screwdriver, but the wax is easily removed and this adjustment is very easy if you go in 1/8 or 1/4 turns. On mine, I could give it a good 1/2 turn either way before noticing changes in range, so there is an acceptable level of slop and clearly, a "center" that was not perfect from the factory. I know this is the antenna thread, but I am starting to think that our tweaks are only going to show the best results if the frequency is properly tuned.

09-10-2002, 04:50 PM
Also, anyone reading this thread is concerned about range. It would be a mistake not to mention the huge thread over on ausmicro's forum detailing the various cripple caps that are out there. What a mess THAT is. There are so many different controllers. I am surprised nobody is paying attention to the REV numbers on those boards. Time to get active in AUS I guess. . .

09-10-2002, 06:40 PM
getting off topic for a sceond,
no, i haven't tried adjusting the pot. i'll have to experiment with that. the only positive is microsizers are cheaper (at $30) if i break something.
yes, my 45mhz loctite zexel gt-r controller had the cripple cap, and i removed it. i didn't notice any real improvement in range however.

09-10-2002, 07:41 PM
So, what are you doing with the copper foil I sent? Don't keep us in suspense!

BaY oN AiM
09-10-2002, 09:04 PM
who r u talklin to.????

09-11-2002, 11:17 AM
Sorry, that was for payaso. He is taunting us with his last post saying:
I'm trying a new idea as I type. (I'm good)

I can only hope it works!

09-17-2002, 03:55 PM
You guys are complicating things. The thickness of an antenna is meaningless on a receiver. Its length is not important. The longer the better. My antenna has been invisible on most of my R/C cars since 1976. I use magnet wire. I snake it like a squashed series of Z's back and forth across Trim-Tape almost the width of the car. Then I lock it down with another piece. This sits or is taped down inside the car. It is connected to the RX deck with a push-in connector glued to a 1/64" plywood that the tape is attached to at one end. 1/4" wide is all I use. This removes the flimsy magnet wire from my Ham-Fists. BAE

09-17-2002, 04:14 PM
All I did was cut down the stock wire the car come with.
so intead of having 6 inches of wire hanging out the side of my car, I cut it down so there's only about 1 1/2 inches... AND so far I haven't noticed a difference in reception.

I'll have pics up soon to show you

09-17-2002, 04:39 PM
can you post pictures, i am having a hard time following your description. sounds really interesting though, never heard of magnet wire before.

09-17-2002, 05:03 PM
Short antena

09-17-2002, 06:42 PM
Magnet wire is the same as the enameled wire that goes to the steering. I use a little thicker wire. I'll post as soon as I can. It will be a short while since one of these is made it can't be taken apart. BAE

09-18-2002, 09:28 AM
I tried something similar, wrapping magnet wire around a toothpick. This amounts to a coil, which perhaps is not as good as "compressed Zs". It had little effect. I have lots of the wire you mention. I'd like to see how exactly you are doing it.

Right now, I can put a huge wire antenna on my car and it does nothing to increase above what I already get. I think I am pretty much at my limit. Time to focus on the controller for me, but I would love to see your technique.

09-18-2002, 10:09 AM

09-18-2002, 01:49 PM
I got mine in a 3 pack, multiple sizes at RS. Sorry you have bad luck. Find an electronics store.

BaY oN AiM
09-18-2002, 08:28 PM
i took an antenna from a nokia 3390 phone.....

i have it on my bcg alrdy but i blew my batt. so i have to wait for a new one be4 i can test it....

btw tis about 1square inch.....

09-19-2002, 03:40 PM
Making a coil can wreak your reception. I tried that on a CB receiver years ago and it was worse than the original. The 'Z' bends are loose, not touching each other. BAE

09-20-2002, 01:23 AM
Hey dudes,

I've change my controller's antenna to a telescopic one and removed the crippling capacitor from the car's PCB to improve my range to 23feet. big pic here (http://www.system6.org/charg/IMGP0721.JPG) I haven't bothered changing the car's antenna yet.

You can find information about removing crippling capacitors at http://tinyrc.com/qfm/racing/index.htm

09-20-2002, 10:13 AM
Tonight, my friend martin and I changed the antenna on the car to a 160mm long, 1mm thick copper wire with a red enamel coating.

We tested the range and got to 80feet (24metres) before the car began to stutter!!! :D :D This is a vast improvement over the 5metres out of the box. :P


09-20-2002, 10:35 AM
Wow, I'm pretty sure that is a new record! Does the giant antenna affect handling at all though?

09-21-2002, 02:39 AM
i read somewhere that someone added a cell phone reciever thing to the inside of their body..they said the range was boosted up some.......

BaY oN AiM
09-21-2002, 07:33 PM
dont use cell phone anteenas...they dont work....

09-21-2002, 08:08 PM
i thought i would try using a stiffer, slightly shorter, larger diameter wire one of my other bit's. i think i did rahter well having never picked up a soldering iron before making my led kits.
(1) of (4)
what did you wrap the wire around to get the nice loop at the end? i pushed the wire through the whole in the pcb board to solder so that if the car flipped or something, it wouldn't break the soldering joint. i just have to watch out for drastic things, like th car getting squashed and the wire breaking the pcb board at the corner.

09-21-2002, 08:10 PM
it took a lot of patience bending the wire so many times.
(2) of (4)

09-21-2002, 08:16 PM
the car i race with. the first drawback i new was coming, i can't run under anything under 5" in height.
(3) of (4)

09-21-2002, 08:20 PM
my car i use while not racing. the second drawback is it produced no gain in range, but did not decrease it either. benifit is it's shorter, lighter which makes the car easier to control with high speed motors.
(4) of (4)

09-24-2002, 09:43 AM
Good job on the wire bending. It is a lot of work. I slipped my insulation down further and glad I did. My wire would have touched the solder points for the motor. Actually, mine compresses a bit when I put the body on.

As for the loop, my soldering iron came with a strange aluminum poker tool with a slotted tip. I slipped the wire into the slot to hold it and wrapped it around to get a nice loop. Any screwdriver would work though. The important thing to know (and that you cannot see looking at it now) is that after wrapping to get the loop, I trimmed the excess. It would have looked pretty nasty if I had left the unwrapped portion. I went around twice to get a good circle, then clipped the excess.

I think it was an important step for eye safety. I would hate that end to poke a nice kitty in the face!

In the end, if I am going to have an external antenna, I much prefer a bare solid, springy THIN wire like this to an insulated flimsy one.

09-24-2002, 10:20 AM
i angled the wire up to almost touch the pcb board before bending to go out over the motor cap to avoid touching the same solder points you mentioned. on second thought, i should have done the same thing as a "just in case" measure. i only insulated the portion that comes in contact with the motor cap. i don't know if there is actually any concern there, but i figured i'd rather be safe than sorry. if i am determined enough, i'll cut off what insulation i have and put on a longer length. it's ahrd to get around all the right angles. mine compresses some also. almost enough to pop off the pcb cover, at least when the car goes off a stair or something.
i didn't get any accessories with my soldering iron, so i'll try your suggestion. i have poked myself with the antenna.
i agree, if you have to have an antenna, better to have a nice one than one that flops and in my case causes my car to roll over. when it's zipping around, you can't even really see the antenna. next best thing to not really being there.
side note: my cats are too lazy to play with the car. i have to run into them before they take action. my dog on the other hand will just walk bye and scoop it up in his mouth and take off with it, the new antenna should put a stop to that though.

09-27-2002, 12:24 AM

where did you buy your Z body? i'm trying to look for some BMW bodys and can't seem to find em :)

09-27-2002, 01:45 AM
tinyrc: nah, the handling was fine!! gotta luv it :)

09-27-2002, 10:08 AM
Antenna boosters do not work. They are a scam and I have had booster dealers removed from computer shows here in Da Burgh. I'll post my antenna mod next week. BAE

09-27-2002, 10:49 AM
Originally posted by Def

where did you buy your Z body? i'm trying to look for some BMW bodys and can't seem to find em :)

Def, I think you have the wrong user. My car is a silver Honda S2000 Bit Char-G. I don't own a Z.

09-27-2002, 11:44 AM
if you're talking about mini z bodies, there are several online shops;

09-28-2002, 07:09 PM
I was thinking you could make a PCB antenna pretty easily. Using a square coiled pattern. If you use a double sided pcb you will get 2wice the length using the same amount of space.

I've seen this done for small bugs, the PCB includes the antenna and by doing this you dont need a long wire... it makes them easier to conceal.

If I have time I'll try it a post my results.

09-28-2002, 08:34 PM
one side of the coil tends to cancil the otheer out. Thats why you zip-zag instead of coil. BAE

10-15-2002, 03:41 PM
When these ideas are perfected please make them cpmmercially available to those of us without the abilty?

10-15-2002, 06:43 PM
I have to test my 'camo' antenna. I haven't had a chance yet wits any bit. I am too worried about getting a replacement.

I just found out that "MammothMarine" has a set of boosters for $100. That's 4 cars and a X-mitter. Of course I bought the set. I just couldn't keep quit about it knowing how we all feel. If TinyRC had the set I would have bought it here. But I can't find Boosters here. I am now torn between putting them away for potential neices and nephews. (sic) I'll get the mods from Tiny of course. I wish that I could have gotten the boosters here also.

We have been playing with the oem IRs that we got from tinyrc. They rock! I'm probably the only one around here to know which kit car they actually ended up with. Not on purpose, I'm sure. But it is a GOOD replica. BAE

10-17-2002, 11:37 PM
i tried making an internal antenna and gave me a worse reception

10-18-2002, 05:54 PM
One side cancells out the other. BAE.

10-18-2002, 07:58 PM
Originally posted by baleisen
One side cancells out the other. BAE.

huh what do ya mean by that?? i did do zig zags

i also tried like 5 other external antennas ..will post soon

10-22-2002, 01:57 AM
Ok, so great pic, but how does it work? I am glad somebody else is trying this out. If it were not for the damn cat, I would have a nice piano wire antenna, but this is interesting. Anyone else wanna post a pic of a wild antenna idea?

10-22-2002, 10:14 AM
i noticed that most antenna mods involve various wire configurations. has anyone tried using a section of a metal tape measure (mini, of course)? i remember reading somewhere that naval cadets at annapolis used a home depot tape measure and used it for several antenna on a school built orbiting satellite. i figured weight could be an issue depending on the length (could change the center of gravity also), but the antenna is upright and flexible. a sturdy enough connection and where the antenna exits the body is another issue to deal with. the tape measure cost is only $2+ from most anywhere. if you play your cards right, you can cut up a full size tape measure and use it for a rear spoiler. i just might buy a clone to test this on.

11-16-2002, 10:07 PM
that idea with the stainded glass foil doesn't work. I tried it and it reduced my range i just think it's conductive enough. i'm going to try it with the copper sheeting i don't know it might work better i guess i'll just have to find out.:D but i will not remove the stock antenna untill i know it works thanks for the idea c ya

11-17-2002, 12:50 AM
Hi, i have a quick question will the wire of a telephone cord work for a antenna, sum1 told me it would work. so i opend it up i took out 1 wire out of the 4 and i cut the plastic so that the wire would show and i found a string (made out of cloth or cotton sumthing) well can i still use this wire? and will the string effect the reception?

11-17-2002, 02:48 AM
heh. you know those cell phone antenna boosters? well one came with a faceplate for my phone and sucked. i wonder if it would work for my rc car.

11-23-2002, 02:08 AM
Holeshot - cool - thanks for the report! :)

11-23-2002, 03:56 PM
holy crap that's massive range....mine can go..*starts counting his steps*...about 7.5 feet before it bums out!

11-23-2002, 05:26 PM
hey that copper antenna really does give u alot of distance but i didn't get that 60 foot range but i got about 20 feet before it started to studder thanx for the ideareally

11-23-2002, 05:28 PM
this is it

11-23-2002, 05:29 PM

11-24-2002, 11:57 AM
god all you but science guys kick ass....go to worst rc comp to see my bag of steaming crap

11-24-2002, 09:27 PM
how about using some kind of " paper clip " ???:confused: well that work.. well a little??

11-26-2002, 03:03 AM
here's my antenna mod. i used an old cell phone antenna and a jumper (hard drive). i just "plug" it in to play and then take it off for storage. the range is about the same - 7 feet. but i have not done the transmitter antenna mod yet.

11-26-2002, 03:06 AM
here's a better view.

El Rojo
11-27-2002, 10:05 AM
What you guys are talking about is a base loaded antenna. The micro RC flyer guys have been using them for years. Youcan make a baseloaded internal antenna using wrapping wire (from RS) and one of those coffe stirrers that look like a small straw. The critical attribute to any antenna is length. Changing the length of the antenna can adversely affect reception.

For more info on base loaded antennas, go to http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/index.php?topic=ezone
and do a search on "base loaded antenna".

I am doing a base loaded antenna for my mod. I am going to make a contact on the chassis (and body) from copper foil (and contacts for the LEDs as well), this way, I can switch bodies without having to undo the wires.

El Rojo

11-27-2002, 06:04 PM
imm going to use copper too look ......just need a sodering iron

11-28-2002, 07:48 PM
I was just wondering, is this ACTUAL copper? I took it from a wire I had laying around my room-I think its from a pair of headphones.

11-28-2002, 07:49 PM
and this one. (sorry about the flash, it didn't look good at all without it on)

11-28-2002, 08:32 PM
I wrapped the wires around eachother, and they didn't improve my range, I don't think that they are actual copper, but I'm not sure.

11-28-2002, 09:02 PM
no worries i got the copper wire for u but i gotta ask how did u connect the wires to your car plz post pics

11-28-2002, 09:17 PM
Are you asking me? If you are, I just wrapped it around the end of the antenna wire. I stripped some of the coating off.

11-28-2002, 09:20 PM
im not sure if that's copper....lol maybe it's brass

11-28-2002, 09:34 PM
Probably, because ir doesn't do crap for my range...

11-29-2002, 12:45 AM
I don't think you will get much of anything by just wrapping a bit of copper around the existing antenna. The idea is to solder new copper wire to the circuit board, then coil the new wire in such a way as to improve range. Now, there are all sorts of ways to do this, but from what I can tell, the overall length of the antenna wire with respect to your transmission frequency has a lot to do with its ability to improve range. Also, there are some here that say coiling can have a cancellation effect. Finally, with respect to tight coils that may touch each other, it is important to recognize the difference between bare wire and wire that has an enamel coating. The coating allows wire to be wrapped tightly without conducting across the wraps. In other words, the enamel provides insulation. Enameled wire is used in the construction of electromagnets, such as those used in your car's steering assembly.

There are a lot of techniques to use here. For me, my idea was to internalize the antenna as best I could. For others, it's about getting better range. Some don't mind curly pigtails, while others like a bull-whip, extra-long antenna. The "best" often boils down to a combination of personal preference versus what you are trying to acheive with your mod.

11-29-2002, 01:04 AM
Using 1/32 of a wavelength,

A 27MHz antenna should be about 1.1 feet.
A 49MHz antenna should be about 7.5 inches

11-29-2002, 08:27 AM
wuts with that lenth thing u said DarthRacer can u figgure out wut my 57MHz should be

11-29-2002, 08:29 AM
see me antenna is copper rite now and it like 2 cm shorter then the staock antenna but i get a 20 foot range there are pic on the 7th page of this thread

11-29-2002, 05:19 PM
Yea, what about me? I got 35. And what makes the difference? It shouldn't matter!

11-29-2002, 09:25 PM
you bit scientists confuse the hell outta me

11-29-2002, 09:28 PM
I'm with you, my head hurts!

Hey, this is cool, you gotta try this out. Put a long copper wire (a foot long) and stick it out of the back of your car like an antanna. Go in reverse, then go forward for a second. When you stop going forward, your front end of your car will bounce up and down looking like it has hydraulics :D

11-29-2002, 11:57 PM
I've never heard of this stuff, but if it works, that would be super cool! I would definitely go out adn buy some :D I would coat my car in it, lol.

11-30-2002, 03:38 AM
Actually, someone in this thread suggested that idea way back when I was talking about the copper foil. I don't think they ever tried it though. Might be worth a shot, but you would still have to setup a contact spring of some kind like I did on my car to connect the paint to the circuit board when you attach the body. Will it work? Who knows. I don't know enough about radio to know if metallic conductive paint has the same abilities as wire to capture a radio signal. Try it. That's probably the only way we will find out.

12-01-2002, 06:30 PM
my antenna snapped on my bit char-g. the part where the antenna is held still squezzed through the rubber and then it snapped off over time. i only get a few inches without following it around. how can i fix it.

12-01-2002, 08:02 PM
i'm not sure i understand where your describing the break?

12-01-2002, 08:21 PM
Unsolder it from the board and solder another in its place. BAE

12-01-2002, 10:25 PM
k i tried aluminum right. It works and u get pretty good range. But less than b4. And its actually quite easy to do. All u do is shorthen the exsisting antenna and take aluminum. Put the aluminum in ur car and put the wire in 2. COnnect them together by pinching some aluminum around the shortened stock antenna. But i have a quaestion. Is it the length of the antenna tha ,matters or the surface area???

12-02-2002, 01:06 AM
I think there is some science to this that would say that the length is what is important. As noted previously, the ideal antenna is one with an exact length that is proportional to the frequency, but as always, If you get acceptable results with aluminum foil, go for it! Nice to hear about that one.

12-02-2002, 02:21 AM
about the copper wire... how thick or thin does it have to bee

12-02-2002, 02:23 AM
i tried a mod of 2 copper wire twistd and solderd,,, but it didnt give me any reception , does it matter when you twist the two copper wires??? or does it matter when i accidenatally putten a bit more led on to the board?

12-02-2002, 06:35 PM
i am gonna install a new antenna. I wanna know do u actually have to solder it on the chip cant u just cut the stock antenna in half and strip it then attach the new antenna??? I can do both but the second ones is a lot easier! LOL

12-02-2002, 07:02 PM
if u just solder it to the origanal antenna and u were trying to put a copper wire on it it would be floppy cuz of the weight

12-02-2002, 07:08 PM
tried a mod of 2 copper wire twistd and solderd,,, but it didnt give me any reception , does it matter when you twist the two copper wires??? or does it matter when i accidenatally putten a bit more led on to the board?

r u sure u are using copper. i don't think it would matter if u twisted 2 together.

12-02-2002, 07:09 PM
where did u get this wire?

12-02-2002, 07:21 PM
cat 5 copper wires can be aquired at your local radio shack

12-02-2002, 07:45 PM
Does it matter how long the wire is, if it is copper? My antenna just recently broke off, and I put some copper wire on, and it gets crappy range. The wire is about 2 inches long-is that long enough?

12-02-2002, 08:01 PM
2 inches is def. too short

12-02-2002, 10:49 PM
What should be the minimum length? About 4-5 inches?

12-03-2002, 01:24 AM
i used a wire copper wire.... this is the one on the inside of the wire of my eletronic burnt out solder iron i opend up the wire and took the copper wire thats in it... well i got a new wire that i found on the house imm going to test it soon

12-03-2002, 03:27 AM
This is getting ridiculous. You wanna fix a broken antenna, get some wire, stick it on. What kind? Who cares. Make it match the original. You wanna experiment with something, try it. If you get good results, post here. Geez Louise.

12-03-2002, 02:38 PM
its not experimenting, its proven, the cat 5 copper wire does give yo better reception that the stock wires, and 4-5 inches is perfect is you want a great range.

12-03-2002, 05:02 PM
Hmm...I think I will just unsolder the copper wire I put on that is too short, and put another one on! YEA! That's what I'm going to do! :D

12-03-2002, 09:04 PM
saran-wrap makes the antenna better

12-03-2002, 10:55 PM
How does it make it better? And, have you tried it?

12-04-2002, 01:40 PM
yes friend megazord. that is what saran-wrap does. it is electric so it will make you go very fast. electric is the thing that is fast in your engine like zoom. :cool: :cool:

12-04-2002, 02:45 PM
i havent tried it....i did it lol and the range is excellent, a big step up.

12-04-2002, 04:59 PM
So, I would just wrap it around my antenna? Or, are you just yanking my chain?

12-04-2002, 06:08 PM
i was talking about the cat5 mod.

12-04-2002, 07:08 PM
i did it.... copper wire super 25 feet baby!

12-04-2002, 07:42 PM
Oh. BTW, nice car darkarchez!

12-05-2002, 01:24 AM
thx man.... hey check this out .... i made a quick add .... it gave me 10 more feet by adding foil into my wire... omg dam man it had good max range when i put this piece of foil onto it check it

12-05-2002, 02:25 PM
ok this foil mod ddint work that much.... but inspired of caver01
spring mod and foil mod... it really inspired to use a spring wire when i went outside and tested this mod , i recieve good results .. a small piece of wire gave me a big 53 feet!!! i was surpised of this feet for a smal silver spring wire i think the spring wire would give you better results than the copper wire.... because it gave me a big feet for a such small amount of spring :D

12-06-2002, 05:07 PM
So, basically, you have a spring wire for the antenna, and you put tinfoil on the INSIDE of your car?

12-06-2002, 09:04 PM
I might have missed it because 11 pages o fthis thread got a bit long, but has anyone tried using a copper pin to draw a long antenna inside the body of the car? If I remeber right Radio shack used to sell a copper pin that could be used for touch up work on pcb's. It would seem like this is the easiest way to route a long path of copper inside the car.

12-06-2002, 09:57 PM
That has ben mentioned, but I don't know if it has been tried yet.

I used a spring and got a range of about 67 feet. (hard to measure with a normal measuring tape.

12-06-2002, 10:54 PM
So, jsut a standard spring straightened out and soldered onto the chip works awesome?!?!? I will try that :D

12-06-2002, 10:56 PM
Lol, I got one problem. Would I just use a spring out of a pen? Or, would I have to find another one?

12-07-2002, 12:29 AM
well what i did is that i use a the led pencil ones you know the ones that are big... but before braking the led pencil be sure to make sure it is long enough before u stretch it.... i got mine off a led pencil.. i strecth it and soldered it on... it took a while before i got to solder it on because it stiffness totally irratating when u cant put it on.... but yeah when i went outside it was powerfull enough to go 53 feet.... with the foil mod...

12-07-2002, 12:35 AM
one quick one.... also if you read on the page 11... i add a foil onto the spring , when the foil on the spring it made it have better reception kinda like a super big attena... in other words imm trying to say is that if you add foil into your spring hard what ever wire you have you may recieve some feet like what i did i recive a extra 10 feet off of it:D

12-07-2002, 12:56 AM
Cant wait until the 12th page! b16 :bdrop:

12-07-2002, 01:35 AM
I just found this forum a few minutes ago and ive been skimming through the articals everyone has been posting. anyhow, heres a little something to stimulate your mind.
I have one of those RC Microsizers that I myself have been playing around with. only, My results are quite a bit drastic.
my "Tiny" Microsizer now has a range of 30 feet.
Heres what i did...
I used the almighty 555 timer IC and some simple circuitry consisting of 6 transistors, 4 capacitors, 5 resistors and a voltage to frequency IC.
The 555 timer is used as a tuned frequency oscillator which works with the VTF IC. this itself creates an energy sucking antenna only it receives the signals, converts them to a voltage, and now with a couple of transistors and capacitors creating another oscillator, gets converted back into a much stronger amplified signal outputting to the factory installed antenna on the cars circuit board.
One thing that ive noticed is...
None of you are thinking of how radio signals work.
Any type of coil or resistant metal carries a frequency. Im sure youve all heard of power lines emitting small amounts of radio frequency, sometimes giving people tumors, cancer and so fourth.
Anyhow, the motor inside your cars obviousally contain a coil which revolves inside the motor within a magnet. This creates a what i like to call "Static interference". The Heat sink/motor casing is metal also touching the motor therefore carrying this static frequency. IT IS WISE TO KEEP YOUR ANTENNA AWAY FROM THE MOTOR AND MOTOR CASING.
Just food for thought.........

12-07-2002, 01:44 AM
i dont get it????? :confused: hmmm how did u really make your 30 feet???

12-07-2002, 02:27 AM
can u post a schematic for your amplifier?

12-07-2002, 04:02 PM


12-07-2002, 05:44 PM
WOW! I made a coil antenna with insulator running up out of the car about half an inch to reduce "static interference" (as grimchild informed us of) and I got my car to go an astonding 65 feet. You may not get these results because my car came stock 35'.

I think it is the luck of the draw on how far your car will go stock. If you take off the cripple cap I got 3' 7" + and when I took the crip cap off my car I got another 1' 3"

I also took off the two FTCs or FCTs (whatever it is called) and got about 3 more feet.

But this mod takes the cake! I added 22' 1" when I added a simple 4.5" coiled copper wire to my circut board.

I am so excited. My Bit can go all the way accross my schools gym floor!

12-08-2002, 01:00 AM
Glad I Got Through To Someone...
Obviousally You Have A Better Car Than Most Of Us And Still Doubled Your Range, I Just Have A Crappy 27mhz Microsizer, It was on sale so I Thought, What The Hell...

12-18-2002, 01:44 PM
I want to elaborate on what Sonic said, I think he hit the nail on the head with this one. The LENGTH of the antenna is very important for any radio device. Just search the internet for HAM radio sites and see how much time (and money) these guys put into precisely tuning the length of their antennas. One thing that I remember form my HAM days was that the antenna needed to be an evenly divided fraction of the full wavelength for that frequency. In other words it needs to be 1/2, 1/4th, 1/8th, 1/16th, 1/32nd, 1/64th, etc. the length of the wavelength.

So being the nice guy that I am, I've calculated the length for the various RC frequencies used in our hobby. I've attached a TXT file with the lengths in it, that'll keep the columns in line easier than just pasting them here. Pay close attention to the 1/64th Wavelength lengths, as this is probably what most will use.

This length is the TOTAL length of the antenna, from the solder point on the PCB to the end of it. One trick that you can do is the "pig-tail" trick you've seen a few times here, just wrap the antenna around a small straw or something, creating a spiral if you will. The theory behind this is similar to the bottom-loaded CB antennas where you have a coil of wire at the bottom of the antenna, and a straight vertical wire the rest of the way up. The reason that is done is because all you are worried about is the total length of the wire, not the length of just the straight part. So you could get a 1/2 wavelength antenna int he space of a 1/4 wavelength antenna in this manner. However, as with any antenna, the higher it is the better reception it has.

Based on that, I'd suggest using the 1/64th or 1/32nd Wavelength length of antenna (depending on the frequency you have), then bottom loading the wire by wrapping a few coils around a small straw just as the wire comes out of the car body, then leave 2 inches or so sticking up straight. Note: when wrapping the wire, make sure that it is an evenly spaced coil, no wire overlapping the previous coil. Not so important on insulated wire, but extremly important if you use bare copper wire. If one coil of bare wire touches another, you've shorted the antenna out and created a length from the PCM solder point to where the coils are touching. The rest of the wire is useless.

This would account for the differences everyone is seeing in their antennas, as the different between a 27MHz car and a 57MHz car is quite a bit in terms of antenna length.

I know that posting this is a bit hypocritical, since I have not personally tried this, but I'm an very confident that it'll increase the range of your car. I will be trying it myself later this week/weekend, and I will post my results. Currently I only have an OEM Bullet (RallyRacer), but I have two Bit Char-G's (Nissan Gloria and Black Celica) coming within a week. Yea, I know, I'm hooked already. :)

Hope this helps,

12-18-2002, 03:55 PM
WOW! This has really helped the range of my car! Thank you!

12-20-2002, 11:45 PM
Well gang, I'm not sure what to make if this. I'll just tell you what I did, the results and then let you make your own assumptions.

This is all on the brand new 45 MHz Bit Char-G Nissan Gloria, right out of the box with no other mods at all:

First I fully charged the batt and it ran 8 feet and stopped.

The first thing I did was to open 'er up and re-route the antenna out the back of the PCB and un-knot it. That gave me a total of 12 feet before the car quit.

I then de-soldered the antenna and added one that was 7.8 inches long (the gloria is 45MHz). I used solid core CAT5 cable. At first I zig-zag'd the antenna inside the car body with only about an inch or so sticking out. That got me a total of 8 feet. I then had the antenna coming straight out of the car with all 7.8 inches sticking straight up. That got me around 25 feet or so (didn't measure this one). Good distance, but it was almost 8 inches of antenna sticking up. 25 feet isn't bad, but my clone did that right out of the box, or right out of the bullet I should say.

Next I cut the antenna down to 3.8 inches (the 1/64th wavelength for 45 MHz). I was back to 8 feet.

Next I de-soldered the cripple cap on the car itself. No change, still 8 feet.

Next I de-soldered the cripple cap in the transmitter. I have a Rev 5 board, and from everything I could find, it's c11 that is the cripple cap. I took it off, but it made no difference at all, still at 8 feet.

So, I tried the twisted pair of CAT5 and solder the top end together thing. The length of the antenna is about 6 inches or so, twisted. I've got the top ends soldered together. So in theory the total length of the cable is about 12 inches (from the PCB out to the soldered ends and back). The end that comes back into the car is not soldered to anything. Guess what this gave me...yep, 8 feet. I tried it sticking straight up and I also zig-zag'd in inside the car for aesthetic reasons, no difference.

So that's where I stand now, all that work and I'm back to 8 feet. The plus side is that the orange twisted pair looks cool, and it's very ridged so it can take a fall off the coffee table pretty well and not bend the antenna most times. I would just like more than 8 feet out of it. If anyone else has any suggestions, I'd appreciate them.

One side note, I also have a 35 MHz clone bullet. Tonight when messing around with them I noticed that the 35 MHz transmitter from the clone would control the 45 MHz Bit Char-G. I'm wondering if the cripple cap on the car itself is the cause of this? Maybe removing it allowed the car to "see" more of the frequency band, and actually see into other bands. I don't know, it's kind of weird. I guess that blows my reasoning behind getting a different frequency, so I can race them.

Oh well, back to the science books and back to the drawing board.

:bts: bc12m b24awgs bg986 b45m b26

12-21-2002, 06:14 AM
Folding the antenna cuts its effective length. Coiling the antenna changes its effective length. My solution is to use an OEM transmitter until I map out the differences between the two x-mitters. Changing the final x-istors for higher output ones would be illegal but work well. BAE

12-21-2002, 10:33 PM
Background: I have three different brands currently at home... all have used the Bit char-G type spooling antennae on the transmitter.

This past weekend the wife and I babysat for some friends and their child had the "bullet" variety car (27Mhz) with the telescoping antennae on the transmitter.

His car was obnoxiously loud, slow and had HORRIBLE wheel alighment... BUT I could not get the car far enough away from me to lose range (through three rooms... call it 45-50ft)...

That was all well and good, but the car itself was not acceptable... I stopped "testing" his car and got mine out to drive with him...

Meanwhile my wife (frustrated because her car was a 27Mhz as well), got hers out in the kitchen (lets say 30ft away - through a wall) turned the controller on and started to charge her car. While it was charging she was startled due to the car spinning tires while charging... the telescoping antennae from the bullet car was able to reach her un-modded antennae to control it (stutter-free) from 30ft away through at least one wall)...

Gonna work this week on modding my non-race abled Lxx with the internal antennae and a telescoping transmitter antennae...

Food for thought: The transmitter may have FAR more to do with the range then the receiver antennae of the bit


12-21-2002, 11:44 PM
what gauge is good for a nekkid copper wire? or cat5 wire?

12-22-2002, 12:40 AM
I've been meaning to post this discussion for quite some time..
The transmitter DEFINATALLY has some issues.. I used a transmitter from and old R/C Airplane i hardly ever use and popped in a 27mhz cap to allow it to control my microsizer. The controller didnt work at first, the car needed to be tuned a bit to match the controller, but once i got it working the car was capable of going further than i could even see.. i dont have an exact distance, but the plane the controller came from obviousally had to have a great distance all its own..
To tell you all the truth, i dont beleive these cars are really worth the effort. Even if you Can get them to go more than 50', what good is it gonna do ya ? you need decent flat surface to run them on which limits out a lot of fun. I would pay big bucks for a miniature R/C hovercraft. If anyone comes across one, send an email, i'd much appreciate it.....

12-22-2002, 03:00 PM
one of the guys in this forum is working on a mini HoverCraft as we speak...... his name is TallGeeseIIII, he should be pretty close to finishing by now........ check with him, maybe he'll cut you a deal........ l8r

12-22-2002, 05:23 PM
I would die before I made a R/C hovercraft. I mean, taking apart the whole thing, ripping it apart, taking parts out... Ugh, I would just die!

12-23-2002, 12:51 PM
check this thread for his progress(hovercraft)....... http://www.tinyrc.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4987

anyways, back to the antenna ideas........ has anyone thought of using Guitar String? i was looking at my guitar and the thought hit me..... anyways, just a thought...... lemme know what yall think........ l8r

12-23-2002, 03:44 PM
Guitar string sounds good, except it may be too flimsy, and heavy. It might be too thick to solder onto the chip - or even to be soldered at all!:eek:

Lead Foot
12-23-2002, 07:49 PM
The 27Mhz Bits use the same frequency as Channel 4 of the larger RC Cars. Has anyone tried using a full size radio with a #4 Crystal to see if they can control the bit. Unfortunately all I have at the moment is Channel 6

12-23-2002, 08:46 PM
What would the channel 6 one be??

Lead Foot
12-23-2002, 11:46 PM
Here are the channels

Number Frequency Colour
1 26.995 Brown
2 27.045 Red
3 27.095 Orange
4 27.145 Yellow <--- Bit/Microsizer Freq
5 27.195 Green
6 27.255 Blue <--- My controller

Link to Frequency Charts (http://www.rctek.com/radio/rc_model_car_radio_frequencies_usa.html)

These are the freq. used by the T-Maxx

I can't believe it would be to expensize or to hard to use different channels.

12-23-2002, 11:49 PM
Oh, that's JUST for 27MHz.... Wow, there must be tons of channels!

12-24-2002, 08:19 AM
But I've always wondered how Frequencies were handled at R/C airfields...

Obviously two people can't fly in the same frequency without causing serious problems to one-anothers gear. At the same time, there are not "infinate" frequencies available to the hobby (or are there)...

So does everyone just call out frequencies in use when the new guy arrives?... Does everyone have to carry around quick-swap frequency kits?...

I really am interested (and my local hobby-shop-guy is a salesman, NOT an enthusist... he'll nod and go along with aything ya say... *sigh*)...

12-26-2002, 03:50 AM
About how they figure out who runs at what frequency... they usually have a list of all the frequencies. and when someone drives (or flies) they take that frequency so no one else will.

I have a question here. Has anyone tried this controller antenna mod? And if so, does it work? And if not, do you think it will??

It's the fourth product down the page.


12-26-2002, 10:37 AM
Would have had the controller-mod finished last night (to prove the theory), but need to go out for supplies to finish it now...

The Lxx controller (maybe all of them, but this is the first controller I have opened up) literally fell apart upon opening... three solder connections and one wire broke, just from the act of opening the box.

The solder connections and wiring insode are so incredibly poor quality that I am amazed the car runs at all... so I am picking up some cat-5 cable this morning and rewiring the entire controller before sealing it back up.

If you are NOT comfortable with soldering or tinkering I would avoid this mod... I simply can't help myself though... *GRIN*

12-26-2002, 10:58 AM
Originally posted by I2ed
what gauge is good for a nekkid copper wire? or cat5 wire?

I used a 24g solid copper with insulation. It's durable and doesn't bend when I take the car under the fridge or cabinets. Well, it bends but returns to it's original height after I leave the fridge or cabinets.

12-26-2002, 11:50 AM
The transmitters are what you need to worry about, not the car. I tore apart my MS remote for parts (LED's, wires etc...) I now use a clone transmitter and I get all the range I could use.

12-26-2002, 09:12 PM
Originally posted by egonpax
I have a question here. Has anyone tried this controller antenna mod? And if so, does it work? And if not, do you think it will??

It's the fourth product down the page.


U can actually find that antenna @ Radio Shack for less than $4 [#270-1409] It should be the same antenna. I know that it is the exact same antenna that QFM sells. :)

12-27-2002, 02:36 AM
What do some of these acronyms (or whatever) mean?




So I guess I shouldn't open my controller... I suppose that's why not many people do and they modify the car's antenna instead.

12-27-2002, 03:18 AM
QFM is a poster I have seen about and/or a dealer of parts and mods (mind is fuzzy... 2:30am) ;)

Lxx is short for Lxx char-G "the best of the knock-offs" according to most opinions I have heard...

Finished the mod tonight and have learned ALOT... hehe... (all details below pertain ONLY to my knowledge of performing the controller antennae replacement once on an Lxx brand 45Mhz controller). I'll try to put as much detail here as I can manage before catching some Zzzzz's.

1.) What to be aware of going into this project:
- The controllers seemed to have been designed to explode on opening by some sadistic "engineer" in China... The having been said it is an amazingly simple (although frustrating) procedure.

- most of my frustration spawned from actually removing the PCB (Printed circuit board) from the "top-side" of the controller once it was opened.

- I had to remove the PCB due to a wire breaking from the solder on the top-side.

- most of the wires within are very short AND delicate... I solved this by replacing both battery leads and the antennae lead with 24gauge insulated solid-core wire (the stock wires seemed to be about 64gauge twisted-core)

- Make certain to wait for the solder to set... few things set off such a solid string of profanities then FINALLY getting the solder just right and then letting go of the wire too soon and having to do it all over again.

2.) The antennae... learned alot here in retrospect:
- Damn BestBuy for not having any digital cameras in stock today... this would be SO much easier to describe with pictures...

- Think hard about how you will fasten the telescoping antennae securely to the case. I thought I had it all figured out until I had the case open and realized I didn't have the foggiest idea.

- I ended up taking the TA (telescoping antennae) into the case and using the screw-hole that it was originally attached to the phone base that it came from and threading one of the internal antennae clips through that with the other prong wrapped around the TA.

- I then used a liberal amount of elmers glue (didn't want to use epoxy or such and make the mod TOO permanent...) inside the case around the TA (this is not a solution either as I have already broken the elmers seal when testing the stability of its hold on the TA *shrug*)

- most important in the securing of the TA to the case is a snug fit of the actual case shell around the antennae AND a solid hold inside from the antennae prongs there...

3.) Re-assembly of the Controller case:
- after getting over my solder jitters (haven't soldered in years and was never a "pro" by any standards) and securing the antennae the hardest part was actually REassembling the controller case.

- If you do not have a wire break and have no need to unfasten the PCB from the "top" of the case then DO NOT unscrew the PCB... it was a nightmare to reassemble due to the plastic toggle pieces coming out of place

- Now IF you do have to remove the controller PCB (or simply want to for the experience) then learn this piece from this post if nothing else: slide the car-charging dock free from BOTH sides of the case shell... I did not due this until after several frustrating minutes. What can I say... it was late :D

On to the controller mod results now:

I am SOOO happy that I did this mod (and I will do it again on my 4 channel booster control (when I actually order one that is))!

Range is MUCH increased... so much so in fact, that I have performed the "no visible antennae on the car" mod as well and still have at least 20ft of clear range (can't test further tonight without risking waking up my wife :) )

If ya want to know more or have suggestions because I have done this completely back-asswards, then by all means ask and tell... too tired to believe even 3/4 of the above makes any sense... :P

12-27-2002, 11:25 AM
Originally posted by egonpax
What do some of these acronyms (or whatever) mean?


QFM is short for Quest For Madness. http://www.questformadness.com/ has 30+ common mods and instructions for Bits. It's a real good site check it out.

12-27-2002, 02:13 PM
Thanks for the correction Monkey... I did disclaimer that it was late when I posted... :D

12-27-2002, 02:29 PM
Hmmmm, how did this thread last so long without being promoted?...Let's put this where it belongs.

12-27-2002, 07:16 PM
Originally posted by DensityMan
Thanks for the correction Monkey...

No worries!!! Just helpin' out where i can :D

12-28-2002, 10:46 PM
it's hard to believe myself that this thread has gone so long. i posted in pages 2 thru 5 which seems sooo long ago. it's a testament to the multitude of ideas and experiments that continue the quest for ever better range. keep em coming!

12-30-2002, 12:42 AM
Well I don't know if this has been mentioned, considering I haven't read all 13 pages of thois thread, but I got a clone for Christmas called a Thunder Charger, and the range I get from it completely stock whoops my Microsizer. It has a solid non-insulated wire antenna that comes out from under the pcb board and goes up a couple millimeters before being shaped into a horizontal rectangle just about the same size as the pcb board. I'll post a pic some time later if I can.

12-31-2002, 04:01 AM
I've heard conflicting remarks

What is the better wire solid or stranded?

How did Sonic arrive at his divide by 3 formula?

Using KFEdaddy2ks wave length method i got a length of 15.6(1/16) inches for a 45mhz bit radio antenna.

Using Sonic's formula i got a 13.6 inch lenght for th radio antenna.

So which method do I go by to get an optimum antenna length?

12-31-2002, 06:05 AM
I tried using my 27.145Mhz, yellow TX from my T-Maxx, and it cannot control my Microsizer. It sends different signals that the MS RX does not understand.

01-03-2003, 12:11 AM

I just modded my panther clone with a piece of solid 24 gauge copper wire. My range increased from 12 feet to 34.5 feet. I made sure the two wires were the same length.

01-03-2003, 01:35 AM
its not only the length of the antenna that helps with better distance, but power into the tx also plays a big role in it as well.

most clones get better range because most clones use 3 batteries as opposed to 2 as in the char-g and ms.

01-05-2003, 01:33 AM
nice idea holeshot. i think im gonna use ur antennae mod. thanks.

01-10-2003, 04:25 PM
Just a couple shots of the Franken-car ((Lxx chassis/body; crushed in shipping from Hong Kong; rebuilt to be better... stronger...))



01-12-2003, 01:05 AM
well im not sure if some 1 said this or not but if u want more range with any tools all u have to do is pull up the pvc..the antenna will have a knot in it..unravel the knot and if u dont have a hole going thro the hood or the roof of the car, reroute the antenna so its goning to the back opening...i geuss it got me atleast 5 more feet of range..or maby its just me...

01-12-2003, 02:03 AM
wow my first post was on page 6 . WOW!!!

this thread is H U G E

Tiny you should turn this into a book

lemme say it again WOW!!

01-17-2003, 10:34 AM
hey i think u guys have got like really great ideas and well did anyone think of trying to like ask ppl who know about this kind of stuff or like look up sites on it cause i bet there are like a million sites

02-03-2003, 05:35 PM
Wow, this post is like getting acient!:p
Keep it up guys

02-18-2003, 09:51 PM
14 pages thats freakn bonkers haha is that a TintRC Forum Record >?!

02-18-2003, 09:56 PM
Originally posted by MadMicroDoc
14 pages thats freakn bonkers haha is that a TintRC Forum Record >?!
check out the alberta modders over 700 posts and about 30 pages :D

02-20-2003, 02:35 AM
Ok, back on like page 5 there was a post about a thread in ausimicro about removing crip caps and all the different types of controls. Was wondering if someone could post a link to it.
I have a new Booster car and a Wild Char-g both with crappy range I want to see if I can remedy..

02-20-2003, 12:51 PM
one note regarding the tx...
i've tried 3.6v to the TX instead of the
standard 2.4v and it does increase range on my 45mhz lxx...
however, running with the 3rd cell on the tx also increases
the charge voltage.
to accomodate for this (those running single cel bits)
i used the switch modification so that i can switch
between 2 and 3 cell tx power....
basically, i use 2 cells to charge, 3cells to control
the car...
can't give exact measurements on range yet,
but from what i've seen, my car stutters consistently
when it runs next to my kitchen fridge and i am about
12 feet away....
with 2cells powering the tx, it stutters
with 3cells powering the tx, i get full control......
have yet to install the telescoping antenna at this point.

03-11-2003, 09:12 PM
I've a few Ideas and wondered if anyone cared to try them or was interested anyway.

I was thinking about the "nokia phone antenna" issue, and was curious, if you could find a way to just use copper wire, say put a very thin layer of sticky tack or something along the inside of the body in order to make your "zigzags" with the copper wire, how effective would that be? (you may be able to get more zig-zags in there, but i don't know the effectiveness of it in general)

Also, another Idea would be (going along with the nokia theme here *grins*) I've got an old phone antenna, the kind that you plug into the phone and attatch to your car with a magnet? I just found it today actually... And I wonder if you could change the type of hookup then make a "plug-in" for your controller!

I'll try to draw what i mean soon!

03-11-2003, 09:52 PM
here's a drawing...

The antenna has a wire and a shield. that would be perfect for a mono phone plug and jack.

I don't have them handy, so right now I couldn't tell you where to make the connections. and I can't do it now because I'm at home and my controller is at college. Will try next week.

I was thinking the advantage here would be if you were just racing or playing around in a room.

If you don't mind being tethered, you could have range over most of the room with the dual antennas.

Also, i figured removable would be best since no one probably wants to stay tethered.

03-12-2003, 01:00 AM
I don't know if it's luck or my car, but just removing the cripple cap on the car and changing my car antenna to a Cat 5 that's about 5 inches long made my reception over 50 feet. It reached the end of my friends hallway that's over 50 feet long and ran out of space to go any further. Don't know how much further it will go, but I added a telescopic antenna to my controller. I wonder how far that will make it go.

03-12-2003, 01:12 AM
cat 5? care to clarify for me?


Also, if that's true, I suppose the additional antenna wouldn't be necessary. But I think it also depends on where you are. certain places cause more distortion and interference than others. On a dead straight hallway with few obstructions, I would immagine there isn't much interference.

Also. can anyone verify that different frequencies results in different "performances"? maybe people can check in with that.

My brother was playing with his stock 49mhz microsizers against a 27mhz microsizers at school, and a little over half the distance out, the 27mhz cut out. (this is with high interference I would assume, all the metal chair and desk legs)

if anyone can tell me how I'm doing on my assumptions lemme know! Thanks~

03-28-2003, 07:28 PM
Cat 5 = Networking Cable
There are like 8 wires in a standard network cable.

I was going to use a Cat 5 wire, but forgot it at home (Bits and tools kept at work, late shift is boring)
So I found a cable left over from a phone system upgrade marked: "General Cable Cat 3 Backbone 24 awg 12 pair"
This bad boy has 24 seperate solid core copper wires in it! Very rigid wires like the Cat5 which I like.

Removed the "crip cap" from the car, put a wire antenna slightly longer than twelve inched and did the "pigtail" look on it.
Now my cars (MS classic and MS Sport) will go about 40+ feet in the parking lot!

04-05-2003, 01:49 PM
I have a few questions for the people that know about rf.

1. So it is just length that matters not height, when i think about a rf wave i would think a upsidedown L shaped antenna would work the best.

2. Does the antenna have to be able to coduct electrity? and if that is the only requiment then the pcb pen idea should work.

3. Stranded or Solid core, most people go solid but the person that seemed to know the most about this kind of stuff said that it gave more surfaces to chatch rf, which would mean shape and gauge would matter greatly, but then i have read the paino wire seems to work great

This is mostly speculation so dont take any thing i have said to be truth at least until someone backs me up...

04-09-2003, 10:41 PM
so overall after all these experiments which combo's do u think is the best? spring wire+alluminum foil internal antenna? copper wire+copper sheet internal antenna? or juss plain spring wire? and how long should it be?

04-10-2003, 01:00 PM
I have made a antenna out of wire from a motor its about half inch long, i decided that i wasnt going to use it( i dont want to solder in the little tiny bit) if someone wants to try it out i will post some pics. I was thinking it would be internal, but with my body its too snug (just glued front bumper back on) its coiled around q-tip stick that is cut to length

04-11-2003, 02:06 PM
Im gonna make an internal antenna tooday... And plan using smth from an old capacitor:cool:

05-15-2003, 09:39 AM
Well, I have not posted for a while, and since I started this thread I thought I would check back in. There has been some amazing responses to my original message. Thanks everyone for contributing. I've been out of the micro RC for a few months working on other projects. I would never have guessed this thread would capture several hundred replies and over 25,000 views. Incredible.

I continue to use my origninal hidden antenna on the silver honda. Works just as good as the stock antenna. However, in my experiments, I have found that the best antenna I can install on any of my cars is a piano wire, or basically, as stiff metal wire. I like to put a loop at the end so no eyes get poked out!


05-15-2003, 09:54 AM
caver, it turned out to be an extensive and long experiment! actually it's called music wire, i had to buy more for a recent project...it seems to work the best for me too. not invisible or internal but stiff, hardwired and no dragging. i posted pictures way back on page 6...i think i started in on page 3! really is amazing it has gone this far.

one of two (http://tinyrc.com/forums/attachment.php?s=&postid=9703)

two of two (http://tinyrc.com/forums/attachment.php?s=&postid=9705)

06-05-2003, 02:40 AM
so far this is the best antenna that i have seen.. I am getting awesome range. and its completely hidden (with the stock bodys because they were designed for it



08-14-2003, 11:01 PM
i think that ant is coll i will try that on my MS

11-07-2003, 10:38 PM
has anyone ever thought of using the chrystals out of a 14 channel frs radio? that could give a huge range.