Installing Radio Gear Into An RC Car

When building a radio controlled car, one of the most critical areas to get right is installing the radio gear. Whilst the technology behind any Radio Control system for any RC model is quite complex, the installation is in fact very simple indeed if you follow the instructions. The following tips and guidance applies to the majority of battery powered RC Cars from manufacturers such as Tamiya, Traxxas, Ansmann and HPI etc. Whilst they’re predominantly aimed at RC Kit builders, owners of Ready To Run models may also at some point need to install new radio gear or fit replacement parts, so I’d recommend bookmarking this page for future reference.

Typically receivers aren’t waterproof devices, so take precautions if you wish to run your car in wet environments.

Most basic cars use 2 channel radio systems: Channel 1 for steering, Channel 2 for Forward & Reverse

You’ll therefore have around half a dozen cables to connect up at most to get your radio system wired up to your speed controller (mechanical or electronic), and invariably ALL of them use a standardised array of different plugs and sockets for the different connections so you can’t really get it wrong, or at least if you don’t you’re unlikely to do any serious damage.

Typical Connectors & Cables

  • Servo signal/control lead
  • ESC signal/control lead
  • Battery Connector
  • Receiver Power Lead
  • Motor Wires (2 or 3)
  • Power Switch
All of these use unique or polarised plugs and sockets so the probability of a catastrophic error is minimal.

The following tips should help you complete a successful radio system installation everytime:

Where plugs and sockets are used, make sure all connections are clean and fit together tightly. If you’re using an older, second-hand radio system it may be prudent to use a suitable connection cleaner spray to make sure all contacts are as clean as possible before fitting.

Keep all radio system wires neatly bound using tie-wraps or wrap the spare wire round the shaft of a screwdriver to form a telephone-cord style coil to keep loose wires to a minimum.

Coil excess cables round a screwdriver shaft to keep them tidy

Make sure the aerial cable goes as directly up and out of the car as possible. This applies to both older 27 & 40Mhz systems as well as new 2.4Ghz systems. This will minimize interference from other components within the car.

Never trim the aerial cable. Its length has been set by the manufacturer to give optimum performance, so never be tempted to “neaten” it. If it’s longer than the aerial tube, simply wrap it back round the outside of the aerial tube and secure it with tape.

Whilst servos are a mechanical component, they’re supplied as part of most radio systems and must be firmly installed into the car to operate properly. Depending on the age of the car you’re using, you could have one or two or more servos. Servos are usually fixed into position using small plastic blocks supplied with your kit called servo-mounts. Steering servos are often protected from the stresses of running and inevitable crashes by a servo saver. Servo Savers are small plastic devices that absorb some of the impact from bumps and collisions via a simple spring.

Before installing your radio system it is essential to connect up your radio system to your ESC (electronic speed controller) to centre up the servos and neutral point of the ESC. Most RC Car instruction manuals show you how to do this and how the servos should be set for your specific kit etc.

Centring a steering servo and ESC neutral position

What’s the worst that can happen?

You get the steering servo and the ESC/MSC Servo or speed controller connections mixed up: In this case, your steering wheel or joystick will make the motor spin, and the forward and reverse joystick will operate the steering.

Solution: Switch the two plugs for the ESC/MSC and the steering servo over.

You get the motor connections the wrong way round: The car goes forward when it should go backwards, and backwards when it should go forward.

Solution: Switch the motor connections round. With a brushed motor just swap the two wires over (don’t worry about matching the colours). With a brushless motor switch 2 of the 3 wires over.

Motor Glitches when running: You could be getting interference if you’re using an older 27 or 40Mhz radio system.

Solution: Move the Receiver and Aerial cable away from the MSC/ESC & Motor.

As always, I hope you find the above information useful. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to submit them via the comment form below. 🙂

Vintage Tamiya 58040 Lancia 037 For Sale

This vintage Tamiya classic RC car is an absolute stunner and comes completely ready to run! The Lancia 037 in Martini livery is one of my all time favourites and I think it looks amazing on this model. This was Tamiya’s 40th model and dates from around 1983/84.

This 58040 Lancia 037 has been very well looked after and comes Ready To Run, with charger and two original NiCad batteries that are ok and will be fine to get the car running, but it could be worth investing a few pounds in some new, higher capacity NiMh versions to enjoy this RC Car to the fullest.

The body shell is in good condition but has had a few repairs done (from the inside) which are not visible from the outside though, and is a good quality “runner” shell. The window glass has also been replaced using plastic sheet, but this repair has been very well executed. The shell is finished to an excellent standard in Gloss White, and has very accurately produced reproduction decals (done by a very good friend of ours).

The chassis is vintage, and has been used but is in sound condition and still performs well. Fitted with 2 Futaba Servos and an unbranded receiver. It also has a series of vintage upgrades such as Oil Filled shocks to improve off-road handling, ball bearings for friction free running (improves battery life).

The wheels and tyres again are in good shape, but they are showing signs of wear.

If you’re looking for a nicely finished Vintage Tamiya model that you can actually run, then this is well worth a look!

Click Here To View The Auction Details

Etronix Probe Plus ESC Hop Up For Tamiya RC Cars & Buggies

A couple of weeks ago I decided to get my Tamiya Rising Storm back on the road after I cracked the chassis last August. The trouble with leaving cars off the road for such a long time though is that they often get used as ‘Donor’ cars in the meantime, and the Rising Storm was no exception. I’d used the ESC for another car which I’d subsequently sold, and the Brushless motor that was in it was just too fast for general running. So it was time to go scratting through the spares boxes to find a suitable motor.

The best candidate I found was a 17 Turn LRP V10 Spec 3 which was in pretty decent condition and had been fitted with new brushes. The problem was, the only ESC’s I had would only handle down to a 23 Turn motor. So I went hunting on Ebay and found these beauties… The Etronix Probe Plus ESC with a 14 Turn motor limit.

Etronix Probe Plus ESC For Tamiya RC Cars
Etronix Probe Plus ESC For Tamiya & Ansmann RC Cars

I ordered one from one of my favourite dealers, JE Spares to see what it was like.

Watch My Video Review On The RC Know How YouTube Channel

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hc8GldduUDg

Turns out, they’re remarkably good units which are so easy to install! No messing with trims, set up buttons and flashing lights. All the connections match like for like connections with most standard ESC’s such as the Tamiya TEU-101BK and TEU-104BK ESCs, so connecting it up takes seconds.  Just center your throttle trim and turn it on! Simples! It also comes with a pre-wired switch and a built in cooling fan too.

It can easily handle all 7.2v racing packs and 7.4V 2S LiPo’s too, but one important thing to remember is they don’t have a built in LiPo cut-off so make sure you use an external cut-off or alarm if you’re running your car on LiPo batteries.

The instructions supplied with it are very concise yet clear and easy to follow.

To test it we ran it up first on the bench then headed over to my favourite test track to run a couple of batteries through it. The results were very favourable indeed. After 20 mins of hard running the ESC had bearly warmed. Throttle response is excellent both in forward & reverse, and the built in brake performs just as you’d expect to give you accurate control in corners etc.

Is it worth the money?

Absolutely! If you’re looking to upgrade a standard RS540 Silver Can motor to something more powerful and your standard ESC won’t cut the mustard, or you wish to replace a vintage Mechanical Speed Controller then the Etronix Probe Plus is certainly one to consider. It’s so quick and easy to install making it perfect for beginners.

Where Can I Get One?

References

How To Connect Up A Tamiya Mechanical Speed Controller

Tucker posted a comment on an early post this week asking for assistance in connecting up a Tamiya Mechanical Speed Controller, so I thought I’d put together this quick and hopefully easy to follow video to walk you through the process.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u8NiraSuX0

Mechanical Speed Controllers were fitted to most early Tamiya radio controlled cars, from the 1970’s right through to the 90’s and beyond in some cases and offer pretty rudimentary three step speed control in both forward and reverse. The speed of the vehicle is controlled by a servo connected to channel 2 of a 2 channel radio system which operates what is essentially a rotary switch on the MSC.

Motor wires on a standard Tamiya MSC are normally coloured coded Yellow and Green. Ideally these should be connected to the matching wires on the motor, but this isn’t critical. Motors aren’t polarity sensitive so if the motor runs in the opposite direction to that required, simply swap the wires connections around.

The three thinner wires on the MSC – usually 2 purple and one blue connect to a high power 0.3 ohm resistor which regulates the power supplied to the motor to vary the speed. The blue wire goes to the centre terminal on the resistor and the two purple wires connect to the two outer terminals of the resistor.

The larger White connector is the Battery Connector. This is commonly know as a Tamiya Battery Connector and will be compatible with the majority of 7.2v and 8.4v battery packs and comes fitted to most MSCs as standard.

You’ll also notice a small red connector on the end of a two core black and red lead. This provides power to your cars receiver and should be connected to a simple power switch harness and then on to the Receiver.

Hope you enjoy the video! Any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments.

Speed Controller Basics: Motor Limit Rating Explained

One of the most common questions I get asked here at RC Know How about speed controllers, electronic speed controllers in particular is: What’s the fastest or most powerful motor I can use with my speed controller? So in today’s post I’m going to attempt to clear up a little of the mystery surrounding Speed Controller motor limits, and help you chose the perfect upgrade motor for your RC Car.

Mechanical Speed Controllers (MSC)

Basic 3 Speed Tamiya Mechanical Speed Controller

Older or more basic Radio Controlled cars often utilise what’s know as Mechanical Speed Controllers. These are simple mechanical switches that have three possible positions in both forward and reverse, operated by a servo. Due to the robust nature of these devices, there is rarely a motor limit applied to them, meaning you can run pretty much any brushed motor on one with minimal issue. So your only constraint as which motor you run in your rc car will be what type of rc car it is. You could easily fit a 10 turn brushed motor in a buggy with a mechanical speed controller, or you could run a 55 turn motor scale truck with little or no concern for the speed controller.

Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)

This is where things start to get a little more involved. On the face of it, things can look a little complicated, but really it’s not. All electronic components have their limits, and the handling capabilities of those used in an Electronic Speed Controller for RC cars will vary widely. As a general rule, the more you pay, the more capable the components.

Tamiya's TEU-104BK has a 25 Turn motor limit

If you look at the instructions or specification for any ESC, you’ll notice there is always a “Motor Limit” specified. This is the lower limit and relates to the minimum number of turns that a motor can have when used with the particular speed controller you’re looking at.

For example, a Tamiya TEU-104BK has a motor limit of 25 Turns. This means you can use any brushed motor of 25 turns or more with it. Go lower than 25 turns and you’re asking for trouble. Any motor that draws too much current from the ESC will soon cause the ESC to overheat and fail.

Similarly, an HPI Sc-15wp Waterproof Electronic Speed Control has a motor limit. This means it can handle any brushed motor with 15 turns or more.

The same rule applies in general too with Brushless motors. Lower motor limits are again quoted in the ESCs specifications and instructions and you shouldn’t go any lower with the number of motor turns than the rated limit on the ESC.

Conclusion

Hopefully that helps explain what the “Motor Limit” rating is on an Electronic Speed Controller. Ultimate, don’t run a motor with a lower number of turns than the rating on your ESC. Always choose a motor with the same or a higher number of turns than the ESC motor rating and you’ll be fine!

Not sure what Motor Turns means? Click here for our Motor Turns Explained

Featured Cars For Sale

Sorry for the lack of action on the site again this week. I’ve been up to my ears in all manner of things with other projects, but I’ve finally got myself organised and will be expanding the beginners guide next week with more articles about painting body shells, chassis construction tips and more.

Anyway I have managed to get one of the cars I’ve had sitting around in garage back on the road at last and it’s now up for sale on ebay, along with some rather sort after Losi XX spares. Plus a friend of mine has decided to sell of the actual Tamiya Hotshot that was featured in the recent review of the Radshape RC HotShot bumper upgrade article. Personally I think he’s bonkers, but hey… who am I to judge. So if you’re interested, here’s a bit about the cars we have for sale this week…

Tamiya 58300 ABT Audi TT-R DTM TA04SS

I have a real passion for Audi’s and I’m really fond of this car. It’s built around the Tamiya TA04SS chassis which is a belt driven full-time 4×4 design. Fully ballraced for longer runtimes and better overall performance. This particular model was fully stripped, cleaned and rebuilt last weekend and comes almost ready to run with a 27Mhz radio system, original mechanical speed controller and NiCd battery pack. All you need to get this car on the road is a suitable charger and 8AA batteries for the handset. The bodyshell is in OK condition but there are some cracks around the bottom edge and a large-ish crack to the front-left of the shell, just under the windscreen. This crack has now been repaired with fibreglass tape. The shell is certainly not in showroom condition, but it’s fine for bashing.

Click here to view the Auction listing


Tamiya 58391 HotShot 2007 – Auction Ends Tonight!

This one is a real beauty! It’s the actual car featured in our recent Radshape HotShot Bumper Upgrade review. Comes fully ballraced, with Esc & 2.4 Ghz receiver in car. Supplied with both the Radshape bumper upgrade and the original Tamiya T Bar bumper. Tamiya Dark Impact wheels & hexes plus the original Tamiya Block Wheels. Acoms 2.4 Ghz transmitter and Rc Dirt Bag (Quaggie), 3000 NiMh 7.2v Battery, plus the original instructions too! This is one auction not to be missed that’s for sure…

Click here to view the Auction listing

Tamiya 58354 Frog Re-release – Auction Ends Tonight!

Another quite reluctant sale this one, but again in stunning condition. Fully ballraced and with Tamiya Esc. 2.4 Ghz Radio system. Rc Dirt Bag (Quaggie) for transporting the car. 2000 NiMh 7.2v Battery and original Instructions included. Without a doubt a top end piece of kit. tested in the garden only twice to check in working order. A1 condition and a real stunner.

Click here to view the Auction listing

Losi XX Buggy Parts

We also have an assortment of Losi XX buggy parts that we’re putting up for sale too. So if you have a Losi XX buggy that you want to get back on the road, take a look at these. There’s lots more parts to come too next week, so if you need anything, drop us a line. Losi XX buggy spares.

 

Show Us Your Ride – Your Very Own RC Car Gallery

Sorry I’ve not had time to post anything this week 🙁 but I do have lots of new articles planned for the comings. I’m really motivated to get the beginners guide section of the site completed so that I can finally release it as an eBook you can read anywhere and on any platform, rather than having to trawl through the site. This week I’ve been really busy with other stuff unfortunately, but I have managed to add a couple of really nice new pics to the Readers Rides gallery! If you haven’t seen the Readers Rides page yet, then check it out here.

It’s a corner of the site that I really must make more of a feature off as it gives you guys (my loyal readers) chance to show off your RC cars. Share your creations, hacks and paint jobs. Everyone needs a little inspiration sometimes and Readers Rides is just perfect for that. Submit your pics now using the form on the Readers Rides page. Don’t forget to post your pics to our Facebook Page too!

Check out the latest Readers Rides

Tamiya TNX 3.0 by Scott

[singlepic id=58 w=320 h=240 float=center]

A rather cool Tamiya Lunch Box Duo by Sam

[singlepic id=56 w=320 h=240 float=center]

One of my all-time favourite submissions from Eric… Axial Honcho SCX10

[singlepic id=47 w=320 h=240 float=center]

Check out more Readers Rides and Upload your own here!

Radshape Front Bumper / Skid Plate For Tamiya Hotshot Review

A little while ago this nice guys over at RadShape sent us a box of stuff to review, and in that box was a rather tasty looking Brushed Aluminium Front bumper / skid plate upgrade for the Tamiya Hotshot. It’s a really nice piece of kit but we didn’t have a Hotshot kicking around in the office unfortunately so we recruited one of our readers, Stephen to test it out for us. Here’s what he says:

Looks Cool!

Radshape Hotshot front bumper / skid plate
Radshape Hotshot front bumper / skid plate

“The Radshape Aliminium Front Bumper /Skid Plate for the Tamiya Hotshot is strong, well made and very easy to fit. As an alternative to the ‘kit supplied’ plastic bumper it looks pretty cool especially if you add the Tamiya Dark Impact wheel/tyre combo too! As far as ‘aesthetics’ are concerned, it does look a lot more appealing than the stock plastic bumper supplied with the hotshot, and especially if the colour of the car is black which, of course, makes the bumper more noticeable

A little over exposed?

No protection for the front wheels & suspension unfortunately
No protection for the front wheels & suspension unfortunately

From a practical perspective it looks strong enough to survive multiple head on impacts, be it from walls, rocks or other cars but my personal concern lies with any kind of impact where the front wheels take most of the hit, thus potentially damaging the rods, steering, etc. In that respect I’d prefer to keep the supplied Tamiya bumper, which, at least, protects the whole of the front width of the car. I’m just thinking on the lines of avoiding expensive repairs here!

Now if they made one almost exactly like the Tamiya original, or at least somewhere near the same width, in black or brushed aluminium, I’d be more inclined to use it with much greater peace of mind.

Fits Like A Glove

New bumper is a direct replacement for the original and uses the same mounting points
New bumper is a direct replacement for the original and uses the same mounting points

Regarding fitting – no problem at all – fits snugly into place and mounts in exactly the same way as the original Tamiya bumper. Easy!

Original centre screw is too long for the new bumper
Centre screw is too long for the new bumper - (Ed. Same applies to their boomerang bumper too)

As far as my Hotshot is concerned, I believe the central screw is the wrong type/length for the Radshape bumper (fine on the Tamiya type) as it doesn’t screw all the way in but I’m sure that can be easily remedied.

Conclusion

Looks superb, but could leave you open to costly repairs in an accident.
Looks superb, but could leave you open to costly repairs in an accident.

Overall a really good piece of kit that does what it’s supposed to do and looks very cool with it! It certainly gives your Hotshot a more realistic look than the original bumper. If you’re concerned about the vulnerability of your front wheels, steering & suspension and its suitability for bashing, use this for show purposes only, or when you’re running your car on open or in obstacle free areas. Compatibility wise, it’s a direct swap for the original hotshot bumper so fitting is a breeze, but they need to supply a shorter centre screw!

Where Can I get One?

[wordbay]tamiya hotshot bumper upgrade[/wordbay]

Traxxas Slash 2wd Brushless Short Course Truck For Sale

I’ve decided to put my 1/10th Scale 2wd Traxxas Slash Radio Controlled Short Course Truck up for sale! 🙁 It just doesn’t get used enough now as I have too many projects on the go, and the 4×4 sees more action these days. It’s a lovely truck, fitted with a 9T EzRun Brushless system. Runs really well with a good top speed and quick acceleration. I’ve give it a really good clean up and it’s all in sound working order apart from a little a couple of the shock shafts are corroded and could do with replacing. The body shell is in good condition considering the amount of use it’s had and has been fully lined with duct tape to prolong its life. There are a few cracks to the rear though (all Slash shells seem to crack here).

Traxxas Slash 2wd Brushless Ready To Run

The tyres are worn but have plenty of life left in them, and the underside of the chassis on most of the chassis components exhibit the usual scratches and scuffs you’d expect to find on a used Off-Road RC truck. Fitted with Acoms 27Mhz radio gear and Traxxas steering servo. The receiver is mounted in a waterproof box and the esc is splash-proof so it can be ran in most weather conditions. Supplied ready to run with Ansmann fast charger and 8.4v 5000mah NiMh battery.

View The Auction For This Traxxas Slash 2wd Here

RC Car Bearing Basics

Fitting bearings to an RC car is one of the cheapest, most effective upgrades you can possibly perform, but it’s maybe not the quickest as it means you’re probably going to have to strip most of the car down to fit them. Plus, as with most things in the world of Radio Controlled Cars, it’s never as easy as just grabbing a bag of bearings and fitting them, you’ve first got to decide which bearings will be best for your application. So today I’m going to take a look at the various types of bearing on the market and also how to look after them. Adding bearings to your RC car instead of the horrible, basic plastic bushes will give you noticeable improvements in your cars performance all round, from longer run times, to faster acceleration, to marginally improved top speed, so it’s definitely worth considering. Ok, let’s get stuck in to the nitty gritty!

Ceramic Bearings For RC Cars

Ceramic RC Car Bearings
Ceramic RC Car Bearings

Ceramic bearings are thought of as the ultimate in RC bearings. If you want the best and your budget is unlimited, then this is the option for you. Ceramic bearings are substantially lighter than their standard steel counterparts, and their ultra-hard construction means they’re much harder wearing, can handle much more heat and indeed, much higher speeds. Personally if you can only afford a few ceramic bearings, the place you need to use them first and foremost is in your cars Ball Differential if it has one. I’ve lost track of the countless times I’ve replaced the steel bearings in my Ansmann XT Pro ball diff. I can practically change them with my eyes shut. They’re not cheap at all, but they outperform and outlast all other bearings.

If speed is your number one priority, then ceramic bearings should be high on your list.  If you’re a racer, these may well help to give you the edge over the competition due to lower weight and minimal friction. They’re also fine for bashing too.

Metal Shielded RC Bearings

Metal Shielded Bearing
Metal Shielded Bearing

If you’re on a budget, then metal sealed bearings will probably be your weapon of choice. If you buy a set of bearings off ebay or from your local hobby shop, this is more than likely the type you’ll get. Despite their low cost though, they do perform fairly well and have pretty low resistance as they can and do spin freely. By nature, the metal shield isn’t that great at keeping dirt and dust out of the bearing, so more regular maintenance will be needed to keep this type of bearing in good order.

Opting for this type of bearing will certainly give you better acceleration and longer run times but the overall life of the bearing will be shorter than its counterparts as they are heavy and run hotter too, which ultimately means faster wear. That said though, when used in motors, clutches and gearboxes, they can actually last longer than rubber sealed bearings as being all metal, they can dissipate heat quicker, resulting in less bearing failures.

Rubber-Sealed Bearings For RC Cars

Rubber Sealed RC Bearing
Rubber Sealed RC Bearing

These are the first choice for most bashers who want to be able to thrash their machine all day long in the dirt, then just through it back on the shelf until next time. The rubber seals do an amazing job of keeping the internal moving parts free of dirt and debris and help reduce friction and increase speed no-end. The materials used and their construction is similar to that of the metal shielded variety discussed earlier which helps make them low cost, just marginally more expensive than the all metal variety. They offer decent performance too, so unless you really are a speed freak, you’re not going to be able to tell the difference between a rubber-shielded bearing and an all metal one when it comes to burning rubber!

They also have a good lifespan too thanks to the rubber seals doing such a good job at keeping the moving parts clean. So while the steal balls inside them will wear just like in any other bearing, the wear rate is certainly kept to a minimum.

Maintenance wise, again, the requirements are minimal with the rubber shielded type. You can pretty much run your RC Car in any conditions imaginable and never really give these bearings another thought until they fail completely.

Keep ’em Clean

RPM Bearing Blaster
RPM Bearing Blaster

As with all moving parts on your RC Car, keeping them clean goes a long way to giving you many hours of hassle free bashing. All bearings need some maintenance at some point during their life, even the rubber sealed variants. All bearings will perform better with a little TLC every now and again, after all, there’s no such thing as a maintenance free bearing. With the exception of the bearings inside your cars sealed gearbox, dirt and debris is going to be present somewhere in a bearing at some point in its life, so don’t be lulled into a false sense of security with them. Grease on bearings does a remarkable job of hiding the sounds of dirt crunching around inside the bearing!

Maintenance of bearings is actually really easy though, and it’s worth doing as it’ll save you £’s in the long run an give your car better performance for longer. The hardest part of bearing maintenance is removing them from the car and reinstalling them afterwards. You often have to strip almost the whole car to get at them all, so make sure you have the manual to hand so you know how it all goes back together!

To clean your bearings, you can use proprietary cleaning tools such as RPM’s bearing blaster, which hold the bearing in place while you give it a good squirt of electrical cleaning fluid. Each bearing should be given a good soaking to flush out as much dirt as possible. If you don’t have a Bearing Blaster, or indeed any electric motor cleaner, just use any small container and healthy blast of WD40. Allow the bearings to drain and dry off any excess cleaning fluid with a rag before you move on to the next one. Once cleaned, give the bearing a drop of two of your preferred lubricant and give it a roll to coat the balls inside. Fit them back into your RC Car and you’re done.

What Lubricants Should I Use?

Just like shock oil, bearing lubricants come in a million and one varieties.  Some bearings are supplied packed with grease which is a generally heavier, thicker lubricant that helps protect the balls and their cages from damage and dirt, but these don’t move as freely as oiled bearings. Opting for a lighter bearing lubricant such as a dedicated bearing lube will help your bearings spin much faster. If you want to head down the grease route, choose Lithium Molybdenum Grease (Lith Moly) from any motor factors. This is my grease of choice as its performance remains the same whether your running your car in temperatures of -10 degrees or +30 degrees C.

If you’re really stuck and want to head down the oil route without breaking the bank, for bashing purposes you can’t beat a drop or two of the trusty 3-in-1 general purpose oil, available from most hardware stores.

Conclusion

So hopefully this has enlightened you on the subject of bearings and you’re now a little wise, or maybe bored you’re bored to tears and never want to hear the word bearing again! However you feel though, it’s well worth fitting bearings to your car. For the £10 or £15 it usually costs for a complete set to suit your model, it’s a worthwhile investment. Just decide which type will suit you best and give them a try.

HPI SC15WP Lipo Compatible Budget Electronic Speed Controller With Drag Brake

I’ve been asked several times recently about suitable speed controller upgrades for brushed motors, primarily to replace the standard TEU-101bk Tamiya electronic speed controller (ESC) or the old mechanical speed controller (MSC), which sent me on a bit of a hunt for a good value, future proof and much more capable speed controller. After a few discussions with friends and a little Googling, a good friend of mine put me on to these little beauties… The HPI SC15WP Lipo Compatible, Waterproof Electronic Speed controller for brushed motors.

HPI SC15 WP Electronic Speed Controller With Drag Brake
HPI SC15 WP Electronic Speed Controller With Drag Brake

Waterproof & LiPo compatible

The HPI SC-15WP is a forward and reverse electronic speed controller with built in LiPo (Lithium Polymer) battery compatibility, which means it’ll cut power to the motor when the battery voltage drops to 3.0v per cell, protecting your batteries from damage. LiPo batteries are fast replacing the older NiMh type battery and the battery of choice for most RC enthusiasts, so having a speed controller with a built in cut-off saves buying add on LiPo alarms or cutoffs. It’s also capable of handling 6 and 7 cell (7.2v and 8.4v) NiMh & NiCd racing packs too.

The other added bonus of the HPI SC-15 is that it’s waterproof! Always a good thing in my book. There’s nothing worse than taking your car out for a spin in the rain and having it refuse to work because you drove through a puddle! Driving through puddles and getting muddy is what it’s all about, so HPI have taken every step possible to seal this ESC from the ingress of water and keep your car in full operation during wet conditions. Use with brushed motors down to 15 turn.

Faster Faster Faster!

Yes this is the second most asked question in the emails I get… How can I make my car go faster? Well, this HPI Electronic Speed Control certainly gives you the potential to go faster, a lot faster than most standard ESC’s allow. The SC-15 WP is capable of handling brushed motors down to 15 turns, allowing you to go much much faster indeed. Standard ESCs tend to have a limit of 21T or above, so this is definitely a marked improvement.

Slower Slower Slower!

For those among us that are getting into the exciting world of RC Crawling, this nifty little box of tricks also has a hidden feature which isn’t mentioned in most of the sales literature, but is mentioned in the manual… Drag Brake. This is where the ESC automatically brakes the motor when the throttle is returned to neutral, a feature that is constantly in use during rock crawling to give you much more accurate control over your crawler as you navigate difficult terrain… So if you’re looking for a budget rock crawler ESC, this is definitely one to consider.

Easy Installation & Setup

The SC-15WP is a like for like replacement for the TEU-101BK and other standard speed controllers in terms of connections, having a standard Tamiya battery plug, bullet motor connectors and a power switch pre-soldered onto a flying lead. So installation takes little more than a minute or two. Setup though is easy thanks to the in-depth instruction manual which walks you through the 4 settings – Start Power, Reverse Power, Battery Type & Drag Brake. Other than that there’s a little LED that indicates the status of the unit and that’s about all.

Features & Specification

  • Waterproof!
  • 6- or 7-cell NiMH compatibility.
  • 2S LiPo compatibility.
  • LiPo safety cut-off.
  • Standard battery plug .
  • Dual bullet-style motor plugs.
  • Drag brake, making it perfect for crawling!
  • Suitable for use with Tamiya, Ansmann, HPI and Traxxas RC Cars.
  • Drop in replacement for most Stock ESCs such as the Tamiya TEU-101BK and TEU-104BK

The HPI SC-15WP is a standard part on many HPI RC Cars, but as I’ve mentioned it’s well worth considering as an upgrade for any new or vintage Tamiya, HPI or Ansmann car to replace the standard ESCs with limited functionality. I’m currently considering upgrading at least 3 of my cars to use this ESC (Tamiya Grasshopper II, Tamiya TL-01 Audi Quattro, Tamiya TA-02 based Bowler Wildcat.) and at £29.99 retail price it’s very competitively priced compared to ESCs offering the same spec and functionality from other manufacturers.

This ESC is a standard part for these HPI models:

  • RTR BLITZ WITH 2.4GHz and SKORPION BODY.
  • RTR E-Firestorm 10T 2.4GHz (UK 3-Pin).
  • RTR SPRINT 2 SPORT 2.4GHz WITH BMW M3 GT2 BODY.
  • RTR SPRINT 2 DRIFT 2.4GHz WITH 2010 CAMARO BODY.

Where Can I Buy One?

[wordbay]hpi sc15 wp esc[/wordbay]

Tamiya Vintage Hotshot 2 – Model 58062 For Sale

I’m posting this on behalf of a good friend who’s selling his Vintage Tamiya Hotshot 2. The car is in excellent condition for its age and comes with all original components, plus 40Mhz receiver. This would make an excellent project car of any beginner or experienced RC enthusiast, as it would benefit from a strip, clean and rebuild, allowing you to explore & learn how the car works and is put together (Never a bad thing).

Tamiya Hotshot 2 For Sale
Tamiya Hotshot 2 For Sale

This Tamiya Hotshot 2 has been used but is well looked after and will provide many hours of off road fun for its new owner. To get it on the road you will need batteries, a charger and a transmitter which can all be purchased easily from your local hobby shop of from Ebay for just a few pounds.

» See all the details of this auction on Ebay «

Model Specification

  • Model number: 58062
  • Model name: Hot Shot II
  • Released: 21-May-87
  • Drive: 4WD shaftdrive
  • Suspension: Double Wishbone all round
  • Chassis desc.: ABS monocoque
  • Body: Lexan polycarbonate
  • Motor: RS-540S
  • Width: 235mm
  • Length: 390mm
  • Height: 160mm
  • Wheel base: 262mm
  • Tread front: 194mm
  • Tread rear: 194mm
  • Ground clearance: 15mm
  • Weight: 1720g
  • Scale: 1/10
  • Front tyre: 30/88mm
  • Rear tyre: 38/88mm
model number 58062
model name Hot Shot II
released 21-May-87
drive 4WD shaftdrive
suspension Double Wishbone all round
chassis desc. ABS monocoque
body Lexan polycarbonate
motor RS-540S
same chassis Click here for car list
original price N/A
width 235mm
length 390mm
height 160mm
wheel base 262mm
tread front 194mm
tread rear 194mm
ground clearance 15mm
weight 1720g
scale 1/10
front tire 30/88mm
rear tire 38/88mm

Tamiya 58512 VW Camper Wheelie

Preliminary Review

Tamiya are currently releasing a steady stream of new and re-release models at the moment, but one that seems to have sparked a bit of a debate is the  new Tamiya 58512 VW Camper Wheelie. This quirky 1/10th scale RC Monster Truck (I think we can call it that), comes as the usual construction kit and features a slightly caricatured version of the early VW T1 Split Screen camper van body shell, which to me makes this a bit of a Marmite model (you either love it or hate it). Personally, the jury is out at the minute as I can’t decide!

58512 VW Camper Wheelie
58512 VW Camper Wheelie

On one hand, it makes me chuckle, which I think is what Tamiya intended, as it certainly brings a fun side to the hobby, much like the Lunch Box did back in the 1980’s and continues to do so today… But will it become a classic like the Lunchie? I honestly don’t know.

The model itself is based on the same chassis as the Wild Willy 2, the WR-02, which is a proven chassis design, capable of some crazy stunts and can pull wheelies until the cows come home. It’s supplied complete with new LiPo compatible TEU104-BK Electronic Speed Controller, ABS monocoque chassis and rear wheelie bar. 4 chunky, oversized monster truck tyres complete the look, sitting on a set of standard Wild Willy 2 white plastic wheel rims.

Scale VW Camper Project Capabilities? Hmm… Maybe… Maybe Not…

When I first saw this in an early video of the prototype, my first thoughts immediately focused on the idea of 100’s of scale VW Camper Van projects springing up all over the place, with people creating true to life, scale interiors etc with this shell mounted on one of Tamiya’s M chassis. Unfortunately, the shell doesn’t currently match the wheelbase of any other Tamiya chassis, so unfortunately the scope for a quick and easy scale camper van has gone out of the window here. Plus the slightly over exaggerated features of this model make the body even less suitable. This is a real shame in my opinion and I think Tamiya have definitely missed a trick here.

Don’t Knock It Until You’ve Tried It…

Ok, so I’ve slated this model as far as scale projects and scale looks are concerned, but what about the fun factor, isn’t that what this hobby is all about? Well, yes, to me, it is, and for that, you can’t really knock the Tamiya VW Camper Wheelie at all! Continuing in the tradition of fun, Monster Truck RC models from Tamiya, like the Wild Willy, Wild Willy 2, Lunch Box and Monster Beetle to name but a few, I guess it’s one of those things that just had to be done. On the face of it, if you’re new to the hobby, or you fancy something a little less serious that a touring car or scale project, then this could be the one for you.

The kit itself is pretty straight forward to assemble and the body shell doesn’t need a great deal of detailing unless you really want to go down that route, so younger modellers should be able to tackle this model without much hassle. For more info visit Tamiya.com.

Featured Build Coming Soon…

I think as I can’t decide 100% whether I like this model or not, I’m just going to have to build one, so look out for a fully detailed build and review of this over the coming weeks.

Features & Specification

  • Chassis: ABS Monocoque WR-02
  • Suspension: 4 wheel independent
  • Damper Type: Plastic coil over friction shocks
  • Drive Train: 2WD gearbox
  • Motor Included: Electric type 540
  • Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)

Where Can I Get One?

[wordbay]tamiya 58512[/wordbay]

Tamiya CC-01 Pajero Scale Crawler / Trail Rig Project Part 2

I’ve been doing a little more work on my Tamiya CC-01 Mitsubishi Pajero Scale Crawler project this week. After adding the JunFac front skid plate initially I decided begin to tackle the rear suspension to a) give it more movement and b) allow it to move much more freely.

The rear suspension travel on the Tamiya CC-01 is a little too restrictive for crawling, and the stock plastic components are a little too toy like for hardcore crawling applications. The configuration is a 4 link type with is the setup of choice for crawling, but the plastic components just won’t withstand much abuse, not do they move that precisely or smoothly. But this is where another JunFac upgrade comes into place. Those clever Koreans have developed a rather nice kit to upgrade the stock plastic 4 link arrangement to a full aluminium setup. Their J100210 JunFac CC-01 4-Link Suspension Conversion kit also comes with a nice black centre skid plate to protect the central drive shafts & transmission.

CC-01 Original Rear Suspension Arrangement

Installing the kit begins by simply removing the current rear suspension links and associated screws, and removing the ball joints from the ends of the rear shocks.

Original CC-01 Suspension Removed

The JunFac upgrade kit comes very nicely packed in a tough polythene bag, but there’s one massive omission in my opinion… No Instructions! Which leaves you faced with a rather stylish looking aluminium puzzle, which take a bit of thinking about! So I began by separating out all the different screws, rods and brackets into sizes so I could try and work out, with the aid of the JunFac website, what went where and how.

Junfac CC-01 4 Link Upgrade Kit
No Instructions - Just One Big Fancy Puzzle!

It doesn’t take too long to work out what goes there though, and by measuring the hex screws against the various holes you can soon work out which ones hold which part in place. I used plenty of Liquid Thread Lock on all metal to metal joins such as the rods and brackets. There’s little chance of them coming undone but I didn’t want to take the risk! Hopefully these few close up pics will help show how the whole thing goes together :).

Rear Axle Mounted Shock Brackets
Rear Axle Mounted Shock Brackets
Close up of rear axle brackets
Close up of rear axle brackets
Rear Aluminium Axle Brackets and 4 Link Kit Installed
Rear Aluminium Axle Brackets and 4 Link Kit Installed

Testing Testing 1, 2, 3

It’s pretty easy to test the whole setup once it’s in place. With the chassis upside down, give each rear wheel a press, compressing the suspension fully on each side one at a time, then press both wheels down, checking for any rubbing or straining on any components as you go. Finally, give the rear axle a twist to flex each side fully in opposite direction.

The JunFac upgrade gives very slightly more rear end articulation than the original set up, so you don’t gain a lot there, but what you do gain is a much more durable 4 link arrangement that’s less likely to break or get hung up on the rocks or other obstacles when you take your Trail Rig out into the wild.

Junfac 4 Link Suspension Kit Testing
Junfac 4 Link Suspension Kit Testing

Finally with the centre skid plate in it’s now ready for a proper test run.

Junfac 4 Link Upgrade Complete
Junfac 4 Link Upgrade Complete

In the next installment of the Tamiya CC-01 Pajero Scale Crawler project I’ll be looking at Tyre Upgrades. Thanks for reading!

[wordbay]tamiya cc01[/wordbay]

Tamiya CC-01 Pajero Scale Crawler / Trail Rig Project Part 1

Ever since my Fiance and I took part in the Iconic RC Longest Crawl up Mount Snowdon last June, I’ve fancied getting a bit of a Scale Crawler or Scale Trail Rig together. Earlier this month, one of my fellow contributors to this site, Dave let it slip that he had a Tamiya CC-01 Pajero model 58132 up for sale at a very competitive price, so I thought I’d take the plunge and use that as the basis for a decent looking Scale Trail rig project. Rather than go for an off the shelf purpose built scale crawler like the Axial SCX10 Honcho or Dingo, I’d take the Tamiya base model and turn it into a much more capable machine.

Tamiya CC-01 Pajero 58132
That stock bumper has to go! It's to Toy like for me.

The CC in the CC-01 chassis name stands for Cross Country, which means exactly that. It’s a chassis that’s designed to do a bit more than just drive around on flat asphalt, it’s a kind of a go anywhere chassis, offering realistic performance similar to that of the real Jeeps, Pajeros and Touareg’s, but as a stock chassis it’s not capable to handle big obstacles.

My Plans For The CC-01 Pajero

I have a few modifications planned for the Pajero over the coming weeks. So of which involve purpose made modifications from the likes of JunFac and GPM, others will be home made providing I can source materials. I’m determined to use recycled/re-purposed materials where possible rather than buying in materials to complete the modifications and upgrades. So here’s the list of mods I’ll be covering:

  • Steering servo upgrade – Power HD Metal Geared Servo
  • Speed Controller (ESC) Upgrade – Mtroniks TIO Rock C Crawler ESC with Drag Brake
  • HPI 35T or 55T Motor – The stock Silver Can motor is way too quick for scale performance and doesn’t offer enough torque when trying to drive over large obstacles!
  • Lock front and rear diffs – I may possibly experiment with a limited slip differential at the front to maintain a reasonable turning circle.
  • Rear 4 Link Suspension Upgrade
  • Rear Droop Shocks – To allow much more articulation at the rear end
  • Front Skid Plate
  • More realistic bumper with winch – Possibly an operational one
  • Steering upgrade – The stock steering is quite sloppy and limited so increased and more precise movement is required if possible.
  • Centre skid plate to protect centre drive and drive shafts
  • Experiment with alternative battery positions to allow the use of square shaped Lipo batteries
  • Upgraded tyres – The stock ones are way too hard to provide the levels of grip required for even light crawling duties.
  • Wheel weights – The model is quite top heavy due to the hard ABS body shell, so I’ll be experimenting with adding weights to the wheels to lower the Centre of Gravity and improve its performance up and down steep inclines.
  • Wing Mirrors! These were missing from the model when I received it, so I’ll need to source some to complete the appearance if nothing else.
  • No doubt more modifications and tweaks will arise as I progress so stay tuned!
  • Raise the body shell a few millimeters to improve tyre clearance when suspension is fully compressed and give more clearance generally
  • Tougher kick boards – Will probably replace them with metal kick bars for greater protection for the body shell.
  • Real spare wheel and custom spare wheel mount on the rear.

So to kick things off, here’s a few pics of the model as it arrived, before I embark on what hopefully will be a fun and fruitful journey, and then the first mod!

Mod 1: JunFac CC-01 Front Skid Plate

I’d toyed with the idea of making up my own front skid plate, which I may still do at some point but I decided as it’ll be visible at all times when I’m running the model, that I’d go for the more professional choice, the J80023 JunFac CC-01 Front Skid Plate from Fusion Hobbies. This is a rather tasteful and minimalist alternative to the stock front bumper. To fit you simply unscrew the 3 retaining screws holding the existing plastic front bumper on. Remove the bumper and line up the JunFac skid plate which is an exact match with the two outer mounting positions of the original bumper. Secure the new skid plate in place with the new black hex bolts supplied with the JunFac upgrade. It’s simple, but it looks much much better than the original I think you’ll agree!

JunFac CC-01 Front Skid Plate J80023 In Place
JunFac CC-01 Front Skid Plate J80023 In Place

I’ll be posting weekly if not more frequent updates as work progresses. As always, any suggestions or comments, please feel free to post them in the comments box below!

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