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HomeTips & GuidesWhat Is Sensor Wire Harness in RC Car? Functions and Factors To Consider When Designing One

What Is Sensor Wire Harness in RC Car? Functions and Factors To Consider When Designing One

What is a sensor wire harness in an RC car? RC cars might seem like simple toys, but their simplicity is relative. Some have multiple sensors to interact with the environment to enhance the user experience.

These sensors require wire harnesses for power supply connections and signal transmission. Let’s analyze the functions of these sensor cable harnesses by first looking at the sensors present in these vehicles.

Table of Contents

Types of Sensors in RC Cars

Advanced, high-performance RC car models have the following sensors to track various aspects of the vehicle’s performance and surrounding environment.

Temperature Sensor

RC cars contain multiple temperature sensors to monitor the heat levels of various critical components, such as the battery, motor, and electronic speed controller.

These components can get damaged if the sensors are absent when they malfunction or operate outside the safe temperature range. It is similar to what you get in EVs.

An electronic speed controller

An electronic speed controller

Voltage Sensor

Voltage sensors measure the battery pack’s voltage to ensure it is at the recommended range to run the motor and other electrical components. Its specific function is to prevent over-discharging, which can damage the battery.

RPM Sensor

This sensor keeps tabs on the motor’s speed or revolutions per minute to optimize the gear ratios for maximum speed or torque. Also, it ensures the motor operates within its ideal RPM range.

Current Sensor

Electric current sensors monitor the power drawn from the battery by the vehicle’s electrical components (especially the motor). Data from this sensor helps monitor power consumption in real-time, fine-tune the car’s performance, and in problem diagnosis.

Position Sensors

As the name suggests, position sensors help check the position of the vehicle’s components, like in drivable cars. For instance, they can check the steering angle or suspension positions to steer the vehicle precisely and fine-tune the performance.

Wheel/Suspension Sensors

Wheel and suspension sensors keep track of factors like wheel slippage, suspension travel, and wheel speed.

This data goes to the onboard computer (usually a microcontroller) to fine-tune traction control and suspension systems while also delivering feedback to you via the controller.

A remote controller for an RC car

A remote controller for an RC car

Camera/Computer Vision Systems

Cameras are great for delivering a first-person view when driving the RC car while out of sight. Some miniature vehicles incorporate cameras and other computer vision systems to help with object detection and navigation.

Gyroscope and Accelerometer

Gyroscopes and accelerometers detect changes in motion, direction, and orientation. Although uncommon in RC cars, some advanced units have them for stabilization control to keep the vehicle balanced for better handling.

GPS Module

If you drive the RC car out of your eye’s range, you’ll need cameras and a GPS module to relay its location and speed in real-time. GPS modules also help deliver advanced telemetry data.

Proximity Sensor

Proximity sensors work hand-in-hand with cameras to detect obstacles and avoid collisions. They include infrared and ultrasonic sensors but are more typical in RC cars built for autonomous or semi-autonomous driving.

An ultrasonic sensor module

An ultrasonic sensor module

Even regular cars built for autonomous or semi-autonomous driving must have these sensors and cameras to make the road ahead more visible to the onboard computer.

Sound and Light Sensors

Some RC cars can have sound and light sensors for a more interactive remote driving experience.

What Is Sensor Wire Harness in RC Cars?

A sensor harness cable is a system of wires and connectors used to link the sensors in RC cars to the electronic control systems for data analysis. These harnesses have four primary functions.

Electrical Connectivity

Harnesses contain several wires with terminals or connectors at the ends for linking the sensors to the power supply. Some draw electrical current from the electronic control system instead of directly from the battery.

Whichever the situation, sensor cable harnesses interconnect these electrical components, enabling them to function.

Data Transmission

Besides the power supply, sensor wire harnesses enable data transmission from the sensing component to the electronic control unit, microcontroller, or the relevant computer handling the RC car’s operations.

The harnesses transmit this sensor data in real time to the computer to make the appropriate changes, usually via actuators.

Organization

Whether basic or advanced, RC cars need organized wiring harnesses to keep the cabling neat. And since the vehicles have limited space inside the body frame, organization is critical to prevent tangling, wire cuts, or other damages.

An RC car (note the limited space in the cabin)

An RC car (note the limited space in the cabin)

On top of that, it is more straightforward to diagnose or repair well-organized wires if anything goes haywire.

Protection

Bundling the wires in harnesses protects the single cables and connectors from external stresses, such as stretching and chafing.

Wrapping them using electrical tape or inserting them in protective tubes safeguards them from the outer environment. Also, it creates sturdier sensor cables that are more resistant to stretching due to the bundle strength.

Factors To Consider When Designing and Installing RC Sensor Wire Harnesses

The sensor cable harness in RC cars must ensure the sensors communicate reliably and effectively with the electronic control system. So, consider the following factors when designing them.

Determine the Sensor Types and Placement

The first thing to do is determine the sensors you’ll use in the RC car, considering the data you want to collect in real-time to control the vehicle.

RC car parts before assembly (note the wire harness)

RC car parts before assembly (note the wire harness)

After that, identify the most appropriate sensor location while considering things like visibility for camera mounting and heat spots on the motor/battery casings.

Pick the Wires and Connectors

Pick suitable wire types and gauges for your sensors to ensure they can handle the load current and voltage with zero or minimal resistance.

Also, consider wire color coding and labeling for easy identification, especially during maintenance.

As for the connectors, ensure they are compatible with the sensor and computer (ECU) pins or terminals.

Consider Scalability

Upgrades like including additional sensors might be inevitable in the future. So, design the harness wiring diagrams to accommodate these electrical connections with minimal wiring interference.

Plan the Wiring Route

Determine the shortest, most effective wiring route to channel the harness in the RC car. Avoid routing through areas with moving parts or high temperatures.

An RC car motor disassembled for wire soldering

An RC car motor disassembled for wire soldering

Incorporate a Centralized Hub

Include a centralized hub in the wiring for easier management by consolidating the sensor harness connections.

Weatherproofing and Protection

Your RC can pass through wet areas, and the wheels can splash the water into the harnesses.

So, consider weatherproofing the wiring, sensors, motors, and all electrical components to enable you to drive in the mud and rain. You can install sensor dust covers for dustproofing, as well.

A robot resembling an RC car

Secure Mounting

Mount the sensors, harnesses, batteries, and all electrical components firmly in the vehicle to prevent vibrations or wear that can hamper signal wire transmission.

Test and Troubleshoot

After installing the entire electrical system, conduct dry runs and troubleshoot the system to ensure the sensors function correctly.

Documentation

Document the sensor wiring harness design, including its wire types, connectors, and sensor functions, to assist with troubleshooting and future changes.

Wrap Up

When looking at RC cars, the facade can be deceiving. The electrical wiring inside can be incredibly complex if the vehicle is an advanced type.

And the harnesses must match the sensor complexity inside. So, design and plan for these wiring cables appropriately if building an RC car.

We can help you design this system, plus give you friendly quotes for the wiring harnesses. Comment below or contact us for more details.

I am Lillian Yang, having been a sales manager for over 10 years.

I have received many positive reviews from customers. They have praised our excellent service, on-time delivery, and high-quality cable assemblies.

For your projects, please provide cable assembly files/images/smples, etc., so that I can send you a quotation within 24 hours.

Contact me now and let’s get started on building your wire harnesses!

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