Dive! Dive! Dive! Into the Wonderful World of RC Subs

By Kevin Hanson
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Whether you are new to the hobby of remote-controlled boats, a grizzled veteran or somewhere in the middle, you can experience the unique and specialized fun of piloting a remote-controlled submarine. You can buy these underwater explorers from any number of RC boat stores, and these RC subs offer you countless ways to enjoy the wonderfully wet world of RC boats.

Long-time RC boat enthusiasts, whose interest in and passion for the hobby just might be fading into oblivion, could discover that buzzing around under the waves is not only more fun than buzzing around on the water's surface, but also that it presents unforeseen challenges. Mastering these challenges could rekindle that old fire you once had inside you.

Beginning and intermediate remote-controlled boat operators will very likely have to face the same or similar challenges as the so-called experts, along with an entirely different set of obstacles to master.

Types of RC Submarines

Before you dive into the remote-controlled submarine realm headfirst, you should know a few things. First, the two most popular types of RC submarines are micro RC subs and mini RC subs. As you can probably tell from the names, there aren't many differences between these two models, especially when it comes to size.

Micro RC submarines are small enough to ply the depths of most bathtubs, aquariums and fish tanks. In fact, they’re not much bigger than a medium-sized goldfish. Mini RC submarines are a little larger than the micros, and are suitable for submerging in a swimming pool or small pond. In general, the average size of most remote-controlled subs is about 4 inches long, 2.5 inches wide and 2 inches tall.

How Low Can You Go?

There’s a great scene in the movie “U-571” from the year 2000 wherein a nerdy, pocket-protector-wearing character asks the too-macho-for-his-own-good captain or admiral (played by Bill Paxton): "How deep can this submarine go?" To which Bill Paxton replies, “She’ll go all the way to the bottom if we don’t stop her.” It’s funny because it’s true.

The maximum depth to which most remote-controlled submarines can dive typically depends on the radio system used to control them. They can only submerge as deep as the radio system’s signals can reach the receiver to maintain control over the sub. Some RC subs are manufactured with the capability of deeper journeying; however, the majority of RC subs run best when kept above 20 feet underwater.

It may seem obvious, but remember that the farther your RC submarine gets from you, the controller, the less depth it can attain because the radio signal has to traverse a longer distance to get to it.

Don’t Think Too Deep

The simplest answers are usually the best. So, if you can’t remember all the aforementioned details about how far beneath the waves to safely submerge your RC sub, just follow this simple rule: Only dive as deep as you can go and still maintain visual contact and remote-control contact with your sub.

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