Sunday, March 25, 2007

RC18T Update

Well, I took the truck to the dirt track and raced it around a little bit. I was fun, except that the larger 1/10th scale cars see this little one as a sort of speed bump. The truck ran great and let me tell you, it took a beating. There was a couple of times that I thought for sure it would be broken by the time I got over to it (like when you get off center in a jump and it ends up cartwheeling down the track). Fortunately, the most damage of the day was a little tire mark on the body, which is more like a glory scar than damage. On the straight-away it could really go, but I was disappointed to find that it was about equal with a slightly modified 1/10th scale buggy or truck.

That was on Wednesday, and thursday through sunday we went to Chelsea's sister's house in Idaho for a little break. Naturally I took the RC to play with it. So Thursday night I got to playing around with the motor controller and really managed to mess it up-or so I thought. I found out that the motor had gotten programmed in reverse and I was having fits getting it to work right. Finally I had to leave it alone until Friday mornining when I could call the Castle Creations (the guys that make the motor and controller) Tech support. We sorted out some issues that I was having with my radio, like you always have to reverse the throttle channel when using Futaba radios, and the fancy anti-lock brake feature that my radio has will not work with this brushless system. Anyway, the point is the settings on my radio were preventing the proper operation of the motor system. This also explained some of the cars schitzofrenic behaviour. And at long last the motor and controller are properly programmed and playing nice with the Futaba radio system.

The great thing about all this is that it turns out that it was programmed to only run at 50% in reverse (which I thought was forward), so it was only running at 50%. Now that I got it fixed I know what 100% looks like and its downright dangerous. I wouldn't even be comfortable running it at full speed on the road in front of my house. The first time I fired the motor after fixing it was in my sister-in-laws living room and I gave it so much gas it wheelied right over on top of itself. I would not even be able to get it up to full power at the track. Not enough runout.

Now that I have fixed the warp drive, I have some concerns. The unfortunate plastic drivetrain parts are now not long for this world. The rear differential outdrive is already showing signs of deformation. These outdrives are definitely the weak link, so they will probably be the first to be upgraded. MIP makes equivalent parts that are made of hardened steel (slight upgrade from plastic), but they cost like it. They are $15.00 per differential and I would need two for the truck. I don't mind doing one at a time, though.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying this car. As I said in a previous post, I've wanted to get into this for many years.

Monday, March 19, 2007

At last, Completion!!!

I must apologize to all my anxious readers out there for my recent lack of blog posts. This post, however, will make up for the dry spell.

At last the RC18T lives! Complete with digital computer transmitter and state of the art brushless motor technology, the machine is now ready for its debut race at the local track. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able take this thing out and really let it rip. Somehow it seems that I'm not really getting the most out of the fancy electronics by doing figure eights in my living room.

Behold the photo diary!!

This is the pile of parts that started out as my first high end RC car. This is one of those little things I've wanted since I was a teenager. During the construction, which basically consumed the last week of my semester break, I didn't take many pictures but here is one at an early stage of construction:
Here you can see that the shock towers are in place as well as the differentials and main driveshaft.

Ater I got it painted I had something a little more flashy to look at:
See, snazzy. I don't think this picture does justice to the paint job. The red has a texture that I love. I got the idea from a website about painting RC cars of all places. It was also my first experience with liquid masking agent. I probably won't be my last, the stuff was quite useful. There will probably be some more stickers added later. I got some stickers with my Mamba and that's definitely the sort of thing you want to brag about. Also, this particular kit was a factory team edition of the model so I got some factory team decals. The only trouble is I can't decide where to put them.

Here's a cool picture of the back of the car. You can see some of the Factory Team upgrades such as the blue aluminum drive shafts, springs and shock bodies. On the other kits you have to pay extra to get these.
Finally, here's the whole setup, complete with radio and battery:
And here's a closer look at the electronics:
This view also allows you to see the factory team components very well. Essentially everything that is blue aluminum is an upgrade part. I ordered the battery lead as 14 gauge with a deans connector. It was overkill. The speed control only has 16 gauge inputs anyway. Also, they turned out to be a little tough to deal with in terms of getting them in the package, but it all worked out.

In the end, it's all thanks to my wife for sometimes letting me act more like a son than a husband.