Selecting an RC Car

Picture if you will, a desire to enter the world of RC Cars. Perhaps there is a latent desire to drive, or you see someone driving, and it looks cool. Or that you work (or have worked) with an enthusiast, and want to give it a try.

Regardless, we all start at square one. This post will explore a few use cases and some common advice that can be taken or discarded.

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Shitty RTR tires

Just a quick post. My first RC car was/is a Losi 8ight v3 RTR. It was pretty pricy for what it is, a 4wd buggy with 4S compatible electronics (at least compared to others in the class). Now I know that a TLR kit will cost more for a comparable vehicle, but it comes with better components, and missing a lot (like motor, ESC, controller, tires) that you will have to buy (so, getting started is like $1,200)

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The Traxxas Ecosystem

The RC bug has bit me, bad. I currently have two RC cars, a Losi 8ight 1/8th scale buggy, and a Traxxas X-Maxx that I bought used (barely used) with Traxxas batteries and charger(s).

But this post is more about the Traxxas RC ecosystem, with a Product Manager’s eye on their efforts.

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Traxxas life – Batteries

As I mentioned before, I picked up a Traxxas X-maxx that was lightly used. Part of the package was their “Completer Kit”, in this case two monstrous 6700 mAh batteries, and since the dual ID link charger struggles to put out enough power to charge two of these monsters, the prior owner bought two of the beefier spec single chargers.

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The X-maxx Files – Day 1

As it arrived yesterday (super fast shipping for those who care, I Paypal’d the money on Thursday, and the truck arrived on Monday) I felt the need to get the rubber side down and test it out.

First, the body is perfect. No noticeable blemishes. A stock X-maxx with any real ‘bashing’ on the clock will have some scrapes, gouges, and possibly cracks in the lexan shell. It is clean.

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Oops, I did it

As part of the RC car bug that has bit me, I have been on the lookout for my next acquisition. I have been leaning towards an Arrma short wheelbase Truggy either their Notorious or the Outcast. Essentially the same chassis, but with different bodies.

But while I have been researching, I keep watching Kevin Talbot’s videos. Kevin is a basher par excellence. At first I thought his YouTube [Channel] was cartoonish, over the top, and while entertaining, not really serious. Partly this was because of his ad for his eBay business methods he prepends (for the record, I don’t mind that, and it isn’t that annoying) to the videos. But as I watch more and more of his pieces, there is a method to his madness.

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Money Pit

One of the attributes of a good hobby is that it costs money. Sure, you are going to spend money to get started. That is easy to see and to account for. And to do your hobby, there will be some ongoing costs. Whether it is greens fees if you are a golfer, or gasoline if you are a motorcyclist, or tires and gear if you bicycle.

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RC Drivin’

If you have been following along with the saga, you are aware that I had a splurge purchase, a Losi 8ight E RTR remote controlled car. Technically, it is a buggy, 4 wheel drive, 1/8th scale.

Alas, it arrived the day that I headed to Barcelona on a business trip, and when I returned, it became apparent that I also needed a IC3 to IC5 converter cable. I took that opportunity to also get some better tools (using Allen wrenches was not an option…)

This weekend, I got it charged up, and ran a couple of charges through the car in the street near my house.

Wow. It is fast. I learnt quickly to not grab a fistful of throttle. It gets up and GOES. I did take it easy at first, and played with settings. The steering trim is very touchy. Possibly this is due to the bargain transmitter.

I got pretty good at going, and using the brake. Apparently, if you “push” the trigger once, that applies the brake. Push it a second time, and it goes in reverse. I got pretty good at doing the “Rockford”. That is going in reverse, slamming on the brake, and pivoting. Known as the “J” Turn.

I only flipped it over 2 times, in nearly 2 hours of running. Not too bad.

There are some scuff marks, the beginning of a patina of speed. No broken parts, but, I do need to buy some tire glue, as the high G turns, and some high acceleration runs did peel off the glue on the inside lip of the front tires.

It is fun. Lots of fun. I have a lot to learn, and a lot of skills to build, but so far, it brings a pretty monstrous smile to the face.

I do think I will need a second car, a true basher. Looking hard at the Arrma Outcast.