IR Battle Conversion for RC Tanks




About: Combat veteran who likes to tinker

This instructable will show you how to install a DBC/DBU IR battle system in a 1/16 RC tank!

Step 1: Parts/Tools List

1. 1/16 RC Tank (I will be using a Heng Long KV-1)
2. DBC (I will be using a DBC RC2HL)
3. DBU

This requires the most basic of tools to complete.

Small screwdrivers
Wire cutters
Soldering iron/gun
Zip ties (I consider these tools)
Exacto knife, Dremel or some other preferred cutting tool.

DBC/DBU guides

DBU Build:

Step 2: Remove Upper Hull

With the tank on its side, remove screw holding battery hatch, unplug then remove battery. Next remove 6 screws from the bottom of the hull. Then remove 2 screws (1 each side) above the sprocket that holds the rear of the upper hull in place. Gently lift turret and upper hull assembly from lower hull(careful there are wire still connected). Disconnect the wires connecting the lower hull to the antennae and turret(this one has 3). This is a good point to inspect for damage if it's the 1st time you've had the tank open. I found the mount for the 8pin connector broken(which is common).

Step 3: Remove Turret

Sorry for the blurry pictures!
At this point I will desolder the 3 turret control wires and label them for easy identification later.  Unscrew and remove the turret ring, separate turret from upper hull. Set upper hull aside

Step 4: Disassemble Turret

Remove 6 screws holding turret together. Separate turret.

Next is completely optional!
Remove main gun elevation unit and airsoft unit.

Step 5: Installing DBU IR Sensor

Choose a good spot to mount your DBU that wont interfere with the turret components(This varies from model to model). I decided on the right rear of the turret so I can keep the airsoft functional. Next drill/cut/dremel your opening for the DBU pins/mount.I used a small piece of pcb with a 5 pin connector for my DBU cable/mount. Check for proper fit then epoxy the pcb in place.

DBU cable needs to be able to reach the front of the lower hull!

Step 6: IR LED

Next is mounting your IR LED! This is how you hit the enemy vehicle. Since i kept my airsoft function I am unable to install the IR LED in the gun tube. So I removed the stock red fire LED next to the main gun where the coax gun should be. Because of IR battle rules, the LED must be recessed in some sort of tube 9mm. Reason being IR LED's produce a wide "V" pattern, the tube reduces this making a more focused beam.
Cut a piece of CF tube with LED recessed 9mm. Put a drop of superglue(CA) to hold the LED in place but can still be removed if needed. Insert CF tube into gun mantle, align the tube as best as possible. Again put a small amount of CA on the tube to hold it into the mantle(Tube will be adjusted later when testing). As with the DBU best method is mounting a 2pin connector inside the mantle for easy LED changing without opening the tank.

LED connector wires need to reach the front of the lower hull! So start with about 12 inches of wire we will trim excess.

With this completed we are finished with the turret!

Re-assemble turret keeping all wires clear of moving parts(this is where we start using zip-ties).

Step 7: DBU Hookup

I will be removing the stock receiver and using my own 2.4ghz rx. If you use the stock receiver and radio refer to build guides at the beginning of this instructable. Attach servo extensions to DBU and rx. Unhook 3 wire cable from stock receiver and plug into DBC esc connector(this plugs into port CN8 on RX18). Plug in IR connector and DBU cable. Find a suitable area to mount the DBU and your rx. At this point program and bind your rx, follow the operations guide for initial configuration and testing before you re-assemble the tank.

Install complete!

Thanks and have fun!



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    12 Discussions


    Reply 1 year ago


    3 years ago

    Hello great job thanks, I am extremely new to RC tank.. could you please explain to me.
    I want to buy this Infrared receiving device
    do I plug this into my Remote control receiver or do I need some other chip system like the DBU or the DBC could you tell me what DBU and DBC. I have 2 rc tanks without infrared device on. and, I am extremely bad with electronic so I rather buy these devices and plug in rather than custom build my own. Please help and I hope you understand my questions.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    That is only the IR receiver "Apple". You would need this This is only for Henglong, Mato tanks and will not work with Tamiya IR battle systems like the DBC does.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great Job, I read this valuable post about rc Tank . I like this model its color and design both are really very nice.These types of model are real source of enjoyment for kids, I really like this information about the model and its features. thanks for sharing......

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! I am planning on making an Instructable on R/C Tank IR Battling and Rules in the future.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    RC Tank is a best hobby of boy and exciting for kids also.Thanks for sharing such a nice information about tank. It have many excellent features that change a small playground for realistic battlefield immediately.