Tips and Tricks - Don't skip the tips and tricks below the links
Airbrush Magazine - Airbrush
Balance Jig - by
Glow Fuel - by Tony van Roon
Balsa Facts - by SIG Manufacturing Co.
Buddy Box Leads - by Futaba Inc.
Carl Goldberg Eagle II review - by Jim Sharp
Engine Modifications - by Steve Jahr
Facts about NiCad Batteries - by Tony van Roon
Flight Simulator Controller - by Howard Sullivan
Giant Scale RC Tech Tips - Great tips, fastening, trim, make your own decals...
Glow Plugs - by FOX Manufactureing Co.
Intro to Servos, I - Introduction, construction, modifications
Intro to Servos, II - X-ref chart, clock, driver, controller, freq.
JR XP783 Transmitter Review - Helicopter version
JR XP8103 Transmitter Review - Aircraft version
Leaf Spring Tail Wheel - by Howard Sullivan
Maintaining Your Batteries - by Jim Ewing
Model Trim Problems - by Mike Briese
Mouse Can Muffler - by Bob Adkins
NiCad Seminar - by Red Scholefield
Practical Model Design - by Howard Sullivan
Propellers, prop-balancing - by Tony van Roon
Prop Chart - by Top-Flite
R/C Battery Clinic - All about batteries.
R/C Interference Primer - by Max Feil
Setting-up a Helicopter - by Tony van Roon
Servo Connector Pin out - by Howard Sullivan
Servo Interconnections - Servo wire color codes
Some Answers About Fuel - by Horizon Hobbies Distributors
The Power Source - It's about batteries...
Throttle Valve Adjustment - by Howard Sullivan
Transmitter Tray - by Howard Sullivan
R/C Tips and Tricks
Charge 1400's batteries at 5 amps then repeak at 5 to 6 amps.
- Charge 2000's batteries at 4 to 5 amps and reapeak at 5. Charging at higher rates will reduce overall cell life, but may increase cell output voltage. We recommend a peak detection type charger for best performance and cell life. Competition electronics, Tekin, and Novak all make good reliable chargers. Try to get your first peak as close to the start of your next heat as possible, then repeak it when the heat before yours start.
- At the end of your race discharge your pack at approximately 20 amps (10 1157 tailite bulbs work well) with some type of cutoff switch (Dean's Black Box, Liteswitch, or MPH Tracker). If a cutoffdevice is not available use a voltmeter to monitor pack voltage. Bring pack down to .5 volts per cell (Ex. 6 cell 3 volts). Then discharge each individual cell using a discharge tray down to about .05 (while in tray). Let packs rest in this discharge state until next race. I recommend that you use packs only once a day once a week for longest lasting performance.
- Great way to clean gas vehicles- Use "Simple Green" diluted with water (Appr ox. 50-50 mix). Avoid your electronics with this mixture.
- I recommend the use of Dynamite Blue Thunder or O'Donnel fuels in On and Offroad cars and trucks. Use 10 to 20 percent nitro for 1/10th scale offroad trucks (10% will be easier to drive and engine runs cooler). Use 20 to 30 percent for 1/8th On and Offroad and Oval. Remember that with higher nitro contents the engine will usually run hotter and the needle setting might need to be readjusted to compensate.
- A temp gun in order to get your mixture set properly. They are well worth it considering the cost of engine replacement parts.
- If you happen to pop a glow plug don't just replace it and start the engine again. First inspect the bad plug, if the element is gone DO NOT restart the engine without completely disassembling and cleaning the engine, the element that is now inside your engine will quickly destroy it. If some type of debris is seen on the plug then some type of internal problem is already occuring.
- Use carpet tape on your rims (Offroad and Sedan) to adhere the liner to the wheel for less "Squirm". Also diminishes tire growth at high RPM. If you use a hole in wheel to vent don't forget to put corresponding hole in tape.
- Make an offroad tire washer using a plastic shoe box and a plastic handle cleaning brush shoe-goed to the bottom. Fill with water to the top of the brushes bristles.
- An easy way to remove your tires from your wheels is to place them in an oven at 325 deg. for about 10 minutes. Be sure to use GLOVES. The tire should come off easy.
- If you are racing at an outdoor track when it is cold and parts are breaking , boil some water in a pan, remove the pan from the heat and place a NEW part in the water for 15 minutes. This method gives the part a minimal flex allowing the part to give in wrecks.
Buying a RC Car/Truck
Here's some things to think about ...
Is new better than used?
Money is a precious thing, and you don't want to waste it. If your interest in RC cars is moderate to low, or you just want a play toy, you may want to go with a used car. Usually you can find someone willing to sell an old vehicle for $200 or less, fully loaded (with transmitter, receiver, speed control, and motor). Most vehicles are in good condition, though you may need to buy $20 worth of parts to get it running well. Also, when buying used, assembly is not required.
If you think RC car racing is a good hobby and you think you'll stick with it, buy a new vehicle. You will thank yourself later. You may fork out about $400 just to get the vehicle running, but everything will be new and you won't have to worry about how the previous owner treated it. Putting the vehicle together will be a tedious process (it took me a week), but later, when you break something, you will have mechanical knowledge of and be able to fix the vehicle very easily.
Which one, a car or a truck?
Cars and trucks differ in the way that they handle. Cars excelerate faster, and can turn a corner quicker than a truck because they weigh less than a truck. Trucks, on the other hand, are more stable because they have a wider wheel base. If you are a beginner to RC racing, I recommend that you buy a truck.
Maintenance Tips and Tricks
Throughout the time that I have been racing, I have made it a point to ask other racers what they do to better the performance of their vehicle. Also, I have found clippings in different RC magazines with tips and tricks.
Here are some of those tips and tricks on maintenance I have learned ...
Breaking it in ...
You will want to break in your new motor. This ensures that parts are running smoothly. To break in my motors, I like to connect them to a half-dead battery and let them run until the battery is dead. It is important that you do not attach a fully charged battery to the motor, as it could cause undue wear on the new motor's parts. It is good to oil the motor before breaking in.
Oil will help your motor stay cooler, increase the speed of your motor, and decrease the amount of friction within the motor. To oil your motor, place a small drop of motor oil in the top and bottom bearings/bushings of the motor. Motor oil costs about $5 in your hobby shop.
Comm Drops ...
Comm drops improve the electrical flow between the brushes and the comm. If you are using an older motor, you may want to place a couple of drops in your comm. If you do this while the motor is running, you may notice your motor speed increase. I don't bother using drops in newer motors, as they do not have worn parts on the comm or brushes that may inhibit electrical flow.
The lighter the springs, the faster the motor will run. In contrast, the heavier the springs, the more torque the motor will have. Watch out, if you put springs that are too light on the motor, the motor may not give enough torque to push the vehicle acceptably. Springs that are too heavy will push too hard on the comm, slowing the motor down and wearing down the comm faster. In on-road racing, you would use lighter springs, while in off-road racing, you would use heavier springs.
I have found that placing a spring that is 1 step lighter on the positive side of the comm than on the negative side will give the motor more overall speed, while not compromising the overall torque.
Brushes, like springs, also play a major roll in your motor's performance. When I buy a stock motor, I buy a set of "R" brushes. "R" brushes are of a higher performance compound than the standard brushes that come with your motor. "R" brushes increase both the torque and the speed of the motor. When your brushes get old, ie. become less than half the original length, or have a purplish color at the tip, throw them away. Using old brushes can also wear out your motor faster.
There are two styles of brushes, "Stand-up" and "Lay-down". Stand-up brushes transfer more electricity to the motor for a shorter period of time, giving your vehicle more speed, and less torque. Lay-down brushes transfer electricity for a longer period of time, giving your vehicle more torque, and less speed.
Always use 3 capacitors on your motor. Less than 3 may cause your vehicle to glitch. Capacitors cut down on the amount of radio interference the motor gives out. One capacitor should go from the positive to the negative, one from the positive to the can, and the other from the negative to the can.
Keep them clean ...
Try to use motor/bearing cleaner from an aerosol can. I like to turn my motor on a dremel (drill) tool at a low speed and spray into the motor through the vents or through the top at the comm. Doing this allows the spray to reach more of the motor. While cleaning, be sure to take the springs off and pull the brushes out of the comm shute. This will help to clean the comm. Some drivers like to use a motor bath to clean their motors. A motor bath is okay, but after the motor bath has been used a few times, your motors cannot be cleaned as efficiently. After you have cleaned your motor, you should clean the comm. You can buy a comm cleaner for only a couple of bucks. Once the comm is cleaned, it should be a bronze/copper color. You should clean your motor after each run. Remember, the cleaner the motor, the longer it lasts!
Cool it off ...
After each run you should allow the motor to cool off. If the magnets inside motor get too hot, they deteriorate and the motor will not run as efficiently.
Differences between Stock and Modified ...
Stock Motors - Stock motors are a low cost, low maintenance motor. They are not meant to be dismantled or tampered with in any way other than by changing the springs and brushes. They operate using bushings.
There are three classes of stock motors: ROAR, NORRCA, and ProCar. ROAR requires a timing of 24 degrees of the armature and consisting of at least 27 turns of 22 guage wire. NORRCA requires the same restrictions as ROAR, except that NORRCA allows for the timing to be changed. ProCar uses slightly different specifications: 12 degrees of timing, and only 21 turns on the armature.
Modified Motors - Modified motors cost a bit more than stock motors, usually about twice as much. They are much faster than stock motors. You are allowed to take these motors apart, change the timing, the armature, the bearings, the springs, and the brushes. There are many different classes of modified motors, specified by two numbers: n/n2. n (ranging from 8 to 25) is the number of turns of wire around the the armature, and n2 (ranging from 1 to 4) is the number of wires turned around the armature. For instance, 12/2 would mean there are 2 wires turned 12 times around the armature. The smaller n is, the faster the motor is. The smaller n2 is, the more torque the motor has. Unlike stock motors, many different classes of modified motors may be run in a race. If you are just starting with modified motors, you may want to buy a 18/3 class motor. That will be quite a bit faster than stock, but not so much that you can't control your vehicle.
Bearings and bushings help to lessen the friction in various places on your vehicle.
I clean my bearings after each race heat, or after a couple of batteries worth of play time. The more you clean your bearings/bushings, the longer they will last. Dust and other particles like to cling to oiled bearings and bushings, and will chew the life out of them.
Whether you have bearings or bushings, you should oil them after each cleaning. Oil helps a bearing or bushing run more freely, causing less friction and wear. If you do not oil your bearings, they may overheat and freeze up (stop rolling), usually destroying the bearing.
After I have cleaned my bearings, I check them for rolling friction. That is, when I roll them, are they rolling smoothly. If they do not roll near to smooth, or get caught, I replace them. Bearings usually need replacing more often than bearings. If you are replacing a bushing, go ahead and spend a couple extra dollars and replace it with a bearing.
Pinion/Spur Gears Ratio ...
I like to run about a 1:4 ratio between pinion and spur. In other words, I use an 87 tooth spur gear with a 22 tooth pinion gear. This seems to be about the apex of torque to speed for offroad. DON'T OVERGEAR!! After a good, hard run my motor gets pretty warm, but if it gets hot enough to burn me, I lower my pinion a tooth. Overgearing will harm your motor. The magnets inside will deteriorate and the motor will not perform as well.
Gear Mesh ...
There should be a little bit of play between the pinion and spur gears. If the gears are meshed too tightly, the gears will wear out faster and the vehicle will not handle well.
Gear Pitch ...
There are 3 different gear pitches (sizes of teeth). 32, 48, and 64. 32 pitch gears have very large teeth, usually last longer, but lack in efficiency. 64 pitch gears have very small teeth, allowing them to wear out faster, but are very efficient. 48 pitch gears have mid-size teeth, and when taken care of, last long, and don't lose much efficiency. 48 pitch gears are the most commonly used.
The correct combination of shocks and springs is very important in how your vehicle will perform on the track.
I put 30 weight shock oil on both the front and the rear of the truck. If your oil is less than 30 weight, your shocks may return too quickly, causing your vehicle to bounce. Oil that is too heavy will not allow the shocks to return quick enough and your vehicle may bottom out on jumps and bumps, slowing it down.
I have found that my truck handles better with a soft (yellow) spring in the front and a slightly harder (pink) spring in the rear. Soft springs on the front of the vehicle will give the vehicle more steering, whereas soft springs in the rear will give the vehicle more traction. Also, if the springs are too hard, the vehicle will bounce it's way down the track.
The Test ...
To test your shock/spring setup, place your vehicle on a flat surface and push it down to the floor. If the shock/spring combination is correct, it should take about a second for the vehicle to rise to full height.
Ride Height ...
Most people say that the dogbones at the rear of the vehicle should be straight across. My truck runs best when the dogbones run slightly upward toward the tires. The front ride-height should be about 1/4 inch from maximum height. When doing ride-height tests, have your motor mounted and a battery in place. Not doing so will yield false results.
Damp or Loose Track ...
When the track is damp (ie. just sprayed down), I use TEAM LOSI X-PATTERN (spiked) tires. Large spikes are good for damp or loose track conditions. They can dig deeper into the ground (unlike the fuzzies) and gain much more traction.
Hard Track ...
I use PROLINE 90 fuzzies for hard ground conditions. Since they have small pins, most of the tire touches the ground, thus giving more traction. If you use spiked on this type of track tires, the vehicle will ride on the spikes and will not have enough traction to run a good race.
When I run on-road, I use PROLINE ROAD HAWGS tires. I very rarely lose traction with these tires. Use caution ... you should lower your pinion a tooth or two to keep your motor from overheating. There is very little slippage with ROAD HAWGS, so the motor must work much harder to move the vehicle.
Note: When running off-road, I use TEAM LOSI ribbed tires on the front. When running on-road, I use ROAD HAWGS on the front and rear.
Camber plays a large roll in how well your car steers. Most people say that camber should be set at 3 degrees negative pitch in the rear and 1.5 degrees negative pitch in the front for the LOSI XXT. I have found that a setting of 1.5 degrees negative pitch on both front and rear works better for my truck. When your vehicle rounds a corner, the outside tires should sit near to flat on the ground. If you notice more wear on the inside of your tires than the middle and outside of the tires, your camber may have too much pitch. If you are running on an oval track, you may want to adjust the camber on the inside tires to a positive pitch (usually for on-road).
Toe helps your vehicle drive straighter and keeps it more balanced. You should have a slight toe-in on your front tires, just enough to see the tires pointing inward. If you give your vehicle too much toe-in, speed will be compromised.
There are four things to think about when buying a transmitter/receiver set: How much are you willing to pay, how powerful does the transmitter need to be, how many channels do you need, and the style of the transmitter.
As a beginner, you can usually get away with buying a good, cheap AM radio, costing less than $100. These radios usually include a transmitter, a receiver, and two servos. After you have practiced, you may want to move up to a more expensive radio, around $200 to $300. Most drivers who have been in this hobby for a long time will have radios that can cost $400 or more.
Transmitter Power ...
Generally, the more you pay for your radio set, the better quality the radio set will be. The more powerful, the further you vehicle can go without glitching problems. Power can range anywhere from 150 feet to SO FAR YOU CAN'T SEE YOUR VEHICLE. You don't need one that powerful! There are three classes of radios: AM, FM, and PCM. AM radios operate on the AM bandwidth, and are often prone to glitching. FM bandwidth radios are usually more powerful than AM, and glitching is far less common, though pricing is higher. PCM radios, even more powerful, also send an encryption code that, if not received by the receiver, does not allow the vehicle to glitch. PCM radios usually cost a couple hundred more than AM and FM radios.
Number of Channels ...
Most RC vehicles only require a two channel radio. One channel controls the acceleration, and the other channel controls steering. Three and four channel radios are usually reserved for RC helicopters and planes. I have seen some strange RC vehicles requiring three channel radios, including a RC van equipped with a remote controlled rocket launcher. You won't see many of those participating in races.
Transmitter Style ...
There are two common styles for transmitters, the stick and the pistol grip. The stick transmitter consists of two joystick-like grips for acceleration and steering. The pistol grip is held much like a gun, the trigger being the accelerator, with a wheel at the top to control the steering. Most drivers prefer the pistol grip transmitter due to the ease of steering with the wheel.
Common Radio Frequencies ...
Most radio sets include removable transmitter and receiver crystals, marked TX for transmitter, and RX for receiver. Frequencies are generally denoted by a channel number, used at many races. The following channels are for AM and are shown channel number first, then frequency in MHz:
61 - 75.410 71 - 75.610 81 - 75.810
62 - 75.430 72 - 75.630 82 - 75.830
63 - 75.450 73 - 75.650 83 - 75.850
64 - 75.470 74 - 75.670 84 - 75.870
65 - 75.490 75 - 75.690 85 - 75.890
66 - 75.510 76 - 75.710 86 - 75.910
67 - 75.530 77 - 75.730 87 - 75.930
68 - 75.550 78 - 75.750 88 - 75.950
69 - 75.570 79 - 75.770 89 - 75.970
70 - 75.590 80 - 75.790 90 - 75.990