RC Car Action Membership Site http://www.rccaraction.com/members RC Car Action Membership Site Thu, 11 Sep 2014 15:14:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 VIPER VTX8 SPEED CONTROL WITH EZ LINK AND VF8.21 MOTOR http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/08/27/viper-vtx8-speed-control-with-ez-link-and-vf8-21-motor/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=viper-vtx8-speed-control-with-ez-link-and-vf8-21-motor http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/08/27/viper-vtx8-speed-control-with-ez-link-and-vf8-21-motor/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:30:00 +0000 The RC Car Action Team http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/08/27/viper-vtx8-speed-control-with-ez-link-and-vf8-21-motor/ Heavy-duty Brushless Horsepower

Electric horsepower in 1/8-scale models is definitely something you don't want to take lightly. Heavy cars and big volts guarantee the electronics you choose will be getting a workout, and it pays to invest in stout stuff. Viper RC easily scores stout-stuff points with the gear tested in this review, the VTX8 speed control and VF8.21 motor. Just picking up the chunky components is enough to appreciate their robust construction. The orange-anodized speed control is a beefy aluminum-cased affair, and the matte-black motor feels like a primed grenade (in a good way). The only lightweight thing you'll find here is the EZ Link programmer, a slim plastic unit that makes it easy to link to the speed control and make setup changes (which is probably why it's called EZ Link).

FEATURES

In addition to the 2100KV VF8.21, Viper offers the VF8.19 (1900KV) and VF8.27 (2700KV). Note the 3mm and 4mm mounting holes. Convenient.

The VTX8 is ruggedly built with an all-aluminum case. Nice touches include the carbon-fiber fan guard and the tuning LEDs built into the switch housing.

The VTX8 is available as a combo with the EZ Link tuner. Highly recommended for a just $15 extra.

As with this issue's other power system review, the VTX8 combo has more features and adjustments than we can fit here. For a full list of all you can tweak, check the specs.

Adjustable brake and throttle frequency and curves: We're used to seeing adjustable throttle and brake curves (also known as exponential or “expo”) as transmitter adjustments, but the VTX8 lets you alter the curves via the speed control. There are five positive and five negative curves for throttle and brake, each set independently. For even finer control of throttle and brake feel, the switching rate of each can be set—600-16,000Hz for the brake, 2000-48,000Hz for throttle. Lower frequencies give a more aggressive feel, higher frequencies feel smoother.

Smart Braking: The throttle gets all the glory, but braking control is a huge contributor to racing success. That makes Viper's Smart Braking system well worth experimenting with. The system is essentially a two-stage drag brake that allows you to select two different drag brake settings and set a “trigger rpm.” You set one drag brake value to be applied above the trigger rpm, and another value to be applied below it. Smart Braking also includes a “Dynamic Curve” setting. Once you reach the Trigger RPM, the system transitions smoothly to the drag brake value using the braking curve you selected.

Multi-stage timing advance: Timing advance isn't typically used in 1/8-scale racing, but nonetheless, the VTX8's timing advance system is highly configurable. In addition to setting the maximum timing advance (up to 20°), you can set the rpm at which timing advance (“boost”) is applied, as low as 500rpm or as high as 30,000rpm. You can also set the “Finish RPM,” if you don't want boost over a certain rpm. “Top Speed Timing” is also offered, allowing additional timing advance at maximum rpm — up to 5° in addition to the maximum timing advance setting. The rate at which the speed control applies the additional timing is set by adjusting the “slew rate” value from 1 to 10. Choose a lower value for a smoother transition, or a higher value for a more aggressive kick. If you experiment with timing changes, keep a close eye on motor temperature.

eight profiles: Viper pre-loads the VTX8 with four factory-programmed setups or “profiles,” plus four “blank” profiles for your custom setups. The factory profiles include two 1/8 buggy/truggy setups for 4S and 6S LiPo power, and two short-course setups with 2S LiPo and 2-pole or 4-pole motors. Each of the factory profiles can be tweaked to your liking if you don't want to create an entirely new profile.

Programming with V-Link

The V-Link's graphic interface makes it easy to dial in the VTX8's settings

In addition to the EZ-Link programmer, you can set up the VTX8 using a computer and the free V-Link download (Windows only, sorry, Mac guys). Once you plug the speed control into your computer using the PC Link cable (GVSPCLINK1), you can dial in the speed control's settings and update firmware using graphic controls. Configure the settings as you like, click “update,” and go.

PLUS

  • ⊕ Ultra-adjustable

  • ⊕ Inexpensive EZ Link makes programming simple

  • ⊕ High-quality construction

  • ⊕ Excellent power and performance

MINUS

  • ⊝ One-sheet manual could be clearer

SPECS

VIPER VTX8 SPEED CONTROL

  • Item no.: 6VSVT08001 (w/EZ-Link); 6VSVT08002 (VTX-8 only)

  • Price: $205; $190

  • Input voltage: 7.4-22.2V (2S-6S LiPo)

  • Motor limit: None

  • Case size: 46 × 53 × 41mm

  • Case material: Aluminum

  • On resistance: 0.00036Ω

  • Rated current per phase:

  • Cooling fan: Installed

  • BEC volts/amps: 7V/5A

  • Weight w/o wires: 113g

  • Power wires: 12AWG

  • Overload protection: Thermal (motor and speed control)

  • Low-voltage cutoff: Yes, adjustable (3.0V — 21.0V)

ADJUSTABLE FEATURES

  • Maximum brake: 0-100%

  • Drag brake: 0-100%

  • Brake frequency: 600Hz-160,000Hz

  • Brake curve: 1-5 positive; linear; 1-5 negative

  • Throttle frequency: 2000Hz-48,000Hz

  • Throttle punch: 1% -100%

  • Throttle curve: 1-5 positive; linear; 1-5 negative

  • Dead band: narrow/middle/wide/off

  • Acceleration boost: start/finish rpm, timing advance 0-20°

  • Top-speed motor timing: slew rate 1-10, 1-5° timing

  • Run mode: Practice/Blinking/Race

  • Motor direction: normal/reverse

  • Motor type: 2-, 4-, 6-pole

  • BEC voltage: 5-7v

  • Forward throttle: 50-100%

  • Reverse throttle: 25-100%

  • Auto-off: Disabled, 1-10 minutes

  • Battery cut-off: 3.0-21.0V

  • Motor temperature cutoff: off, 160-260°F

  • Speed control temperature cut-off: off, 160-260°F

VIPER VF8.21 MOTOR

  • Item no.: 8VSF082101

  • Price: $150

  • Dimensions: 69 × 42mm

  • Shaft: 19 × 5mm

  • Maximum voltage: 14.8V (4S LiPo)

  • KV: 2100

  • Rotor: 4-pole

  • Weight: 317g

SETUP & TESTING

The VTX8 arrives with the power wires already attached, so installation is quick. Use care when cutting and soldering the motor wires though; they aren't color-coded, so it's easy to mix them up if you aren't paying attention. The speed control's aluminum case has big, bold labels for the wires, so just open your eyes and you'll do fine. Radio calibration is simple; entering the calibration mode sets the neutral point automatically (so make sure your finger is off the trigger), then you just press the setup button to confirm the full throttle and full brake positions. Programming the speed control requires focus to count LED flashes (as is typical for modern speed controls) but Viper gets points for building the LEDs into the switch rather than burying them in the speed control. The hot setup is to skip the LEDs and get the VTX8 as a combo with the EZ Link programmer. You can save $15 if you get the VTX8 without the EZ Link, but you're going to want it and it'll cost you $25 to buy it separately — save $10 and get the combo. With the EZ Link, you just scroll through options using arrow keys, hit “OK” to select them, then use the arrow keys to adjust the values up and down. Much faster, much easier, and there's no wondering if you were actually adjusting what you thought you were adjusting. For actual track testing, I asked friend and regular 1/8 buggy racer Jason Fiock to install the Viper VTX8 and VF8.21 motor in his Tekno EB48.2. Jason reported the system was that very fast and very smooth, and the 2100KV motor delivered plenty of horsepower, with no shortage of torque to power out of turns and more than enough top speed for the straights. In fact, Jason wondered if Viper's VF8.19 1900KV motor might be a better choice for the tight track (Indy RC World in Garland, TX). Jason opted to run 3-cell with the 2100KV motor, and easily tapped in the appropriate low-voltage cutoff setting with the EZ Link programmer. Adjustments to drag brake and punch were also easy to make and effective. The more advanced options perform as indicated, but they require a good window of practice time in order to set them appropriately for the track'show up early, use the EZ Link, and if you've got the skills to make them work for you, a well-programmed setup can make a big difference in your lap times and how easily you get around the track.

THE VERDICT

Add Viper to the list of heavy-duty power systems worth considering for your 1/8 buggy or truggy, or 4WD short-course machine. The VTX8 and VF8 motor combo proved smooth, fast, and reliable, and with the EZ Link programmer, it was also very easy to program. Because the VTX8 has so many tuning options, the ability to quickly and confidently make adjustments is a huge plus. Overall construction and finishes on the speed control and motor are excellent, and as noted, they really perform. Unsurprisingly, this level of quality and capability doesn't come with bargain pricing, but the Viper gear is priced competitively with the other established high-performance 1/8-scale players, and in some cases, costs less.

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LRP FLOW WORKSTREAM SPEED CONTROL AND X20 MOTOR http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/08/27/lrp-flow-workstream-speed-control-and-x20-motor/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lrp-flow-workstream-speed-control-and-x20-motor http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/08/27/lrp-flow-workstream-speed-control-and-x20-motor/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:30:00 +0000 The RC Car Action Team http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/08/27/lrp-flow-workstream-speed-control-and-x20-motor/ TRIED · TESTED · TORTURED

Worlds-winning Pro Power System


As its name implies, LRP's Flow WorksTeam speed control is the blue crew's top-of-the line racing speed control, as used by LRP's team drivers. That includes Steven Hartson, who used it in his Associated B44.2 to win the 2013 IFMAR off-Road Electric 4WD Worlds, and Ronald Volker, who just won the prestigious 2014 Reedy Touring Car Race and recently sealed his fourth consecutive European Touring Car Series title. The Flow models include the WorksTeam for stock and modified classes and the slightly lower priced Flow Competition, which is perfect for stock racing because of its 9.5 turn motor limit. A machined aluminum case, included cooling fan, and an improved commutation algorithm keep temps in check, and naturally, the speed control offers a full range of tuning adjustments including variable timing. I tested the Flow WorksTeam in combination with LRP's X20 modified motor for the full LRP professional-grade brushless power experience.

FEATURES

The Flow Worksteam helped steven Hartson score the IFMar Worlds 4Wd cup, which can hold a ton of M&Ms.

It would require more space than we have here to cover all of the Flow WorksTeam's features, but here are a few standouts that merit a closer look. For a complete list of the Flow's adjustable settings, see the Specs.

Torque, Boost and Turbo timing: Dynamic timing advance is not a new idea in speed controls, but LRP goes one step further with the concept by offering three different types of timing change. Boost Timing works like the dynamic timing advance you may already be familiar with. Without physically altering the motor's sensor configuration, the speed control applies 5 – 50° of timing advance (as set by you) across the full rpm range. Torque timing actually reduces the amount of torque you feel making the low end smoother, which is helpful when you've got more torque than traction — and the X20 motors definitely have a lot of torque. Turbo Timing advances timing beyond the Boost setting, adding another 5, 7, or 10° of timing at full throttle.

Adjustable Boost Trigger and Boost angle: In case it hasn't already hit you, you can really fine-tune timing with the Flow. The boost trigger setting is the rpm at which the electronic timing advance engages, and boost angle refers to timing in degrees per 1,000rpm. For example, if you set the Flow for 30° of timing advance (boost), set boost timing for 7,600rpm, and set boost angle for 0.6°, that means the motor will advance timing 0.6° for every 1,000rpm over 7,600. The higher the boost angle, the more aggressive the “boost.”

Boost0 Racing: “Boost zero” is LRP parlance for “blinky mode.” When the Flow's dynamic timing (“boost”) systems are switched off, the speed control's blue LED will flash continuously to indicate there is no timing change when the throttle is applied. This makes it easy to confirm you're not cheating in a stock class or any other “no timing allowed” race situation.

Transmitterless setup changes: you do not need to switch on your transmitter when making setup changes, just power up the Flow and do your thing. If you're using a non-2.4GHz radio, you'll just need to unplug the speed control from the receiver. But seriously, it's 2014. Get a 2.4GHz transmitter already.

Fading Compensation: LRP has devised a unique algorithm to compensate for falling voltage as the battery is depleted, so driving feel does not change (or the change is less apparent, at least).

X-Brake Pro: LRP promises “sharper response and super-linear feeling,” or as you may choose to call it, “crazy strong brakes.” The manual suggests you set up the transmitter to max out at 80% of max braking force. This is good advice.

INSTALLATION AND SETUP


The Flow speed control and X20 motor install like any other motor, but do pay attention to the speed control's orientation in the chassis. The sensor harness plugs in beneath the solder posts, and will be difficult to access if the back of the speed control is against a chassis rib or the side of the battery tray. The Flow arrives with power wires soldered in place, and the wire lengths are ample for any 1/10 scale car, including mid-motor 2WD buggies. Connector choice is left to you if you prefer to use plugs, and hard-wiring the Flow to the X20 motor's pre-tinned solder tabs was easy thanks to the scalloped tab shape.

I installed the motor using the factory setting for static timing. LRP's static-timing system is unique. Instead of rotating the entire endbell, the endbell is fixed and only the “PreciSensor” sensor assembly rotates. A plastic insert that surrounds the sensor harness plug sets the sensor's position at 27.5, 30, 32.5, 35, or 37.5°, with the 27.5° insert installed at the factory.

Radio setup is very quick; all you have to do is press the SET button to confirm the trigger's neutral, full-throttle, and full-brake positions. Tinkering with the other settings (drag brake, minimum drive, etc.) requires a little more focus; you use the MODE button to cycle through the settings, noting the LED colors to see what mode number you're on, and press the SET button to cycle through the values for each mode. Not hard, but an external programming card or PC interface system would be welcome.

With the default settings, the Flow cranks up power smoothly, precisely, and seemingly effortlessly — it's eerily good. The factory minimum drive setting of 7% throttle delivers a punchy but tractable feel that can easily be cranked higher for lower-power motors or dialed down for even more precise low-throttle control, which is helpful with a hot motor such as the 7.5-turn modified I installed (the 8.5-turn motor shown in photos is from our March issue's X20 motor review). I bumped drag brake from zero to 6% to suit my preference, and turned maximum brake down to about 70% at the transmitter. The Flow has a lot of braking force, with excellent modulation. If you run on high-traction tracks that favor hard, late braking, you'll like the precise braking feel. Slow is fast for me, so my experimentation with the boost setting was purely in the name of a thorough review — I don't need more straightaway speed! Unlike some speed controls I've driven that seem to “shift gears” when timing advance kicks in, the Flow retained its smooth feel with lower “boost angle” settings. As the manual explained, higher values gave a more aggressive “kick in” feel. With zero boost, my Associated T4.2 Factory Team topped out at 40.1mph. With the maximum boost setting of 50°, that speed jumped to 46.5mph. Yep, it works.

PLUS

  • ⊕ Pro-quality gear proven in battle'see Steven Hart-son's Worlds win

  • ⊕ Highly tuneable timing advance system

  • ⊕ Simple, precise static-timing adjustment

  • ⊕ Solid aluminum speed control case

  • ⊕ Updateable firmware

MINUS

  • ⊝ Not cheap (no surprise there)

  • ⊝ LRP doesn't offer a programming card or computer interface for setting changes

SPECS

LRP FLOW WORKS TEAM

  • Item no.: 80970 (Flow WorksTeam speed control only); 81143 (Flow WorksTeam with X20 7.5 motor)

  • Price: $190; $270

  • Input voltage: 3.7-7.4V

  • Motor limit (7.4V): 3-turn

  • Case size: 32 × 34 × 21mm

  • Case material: Aluminum

  • Voltage drop (@ 20amp per phase): 0.011V

  • Rated current per phase: 400A

  • Cooling fan: Included

  • BEC volts/amps: 6V/3A

  • Power wires: 12 gauge

  • Weight (without wires): 40g

  • Overload protection: Thermal (motor and speed control), locked rotor

  • Low-voltage cutoff: Yes, adjustable (3.2, 4.0, 6.4V)

ADJUSTABLE FEATURES

  • Drag brake: 0-40%

  • Minimum drive: 3-12%

  • Torque timing: 5-25°, off

  • Boost timing: 5-50°, off

  • Boost angle & activation (degress:1000rpm): 0.2-4.5

  • Turbo timing: 5, 7, 10°, off

LRP X20 7.5T MODIFIED MOTOR

  • Item no.: 50664

  • Price: $95

  • Input voltage: 3.7-7.4V

  • RPM (7.4V): 34,040

  • RPM per volt (KV): 4,600

  • Power (Watts) (7.4V): 357

  • Weight: 165g

  • Rotor: Balanced Work-sTeam, sintered, 12.5mm

  • Winding: Star pattern, copper multistrand

  • Rules compliance: IFMAR, EFRA, ROAR, FEMCA, JMRCA, BRCA, DMC

THE VERDICT

The Flow WorlsTeam includes an optional plug-in fan.

Note the rectangular insert around the sensor port. Four additional inserts are included to alter the angle of the PreciSensor and set static timing.

Here's the Flow Work-sTeam in Steven Hartson's B44.2 Factory Team. Note the optional WorksTeam capacitor.

I installed the Flow in an Associated T4.2 for testing.

Is anyone really going to be surprised that a $270 power system with Worlds-winning cred turns out to be a top performer? Probably not — I certainly wasn't surprised, given my previous experience with LRP gear and the inarguable success LRP has had on the track its many National and World titles. The Flow WorksTeam and X20 motor ooze quality and project a “serious racing equipment” vibe because they are indeed high quality and are serious racing gear. The price matches the performance, but the LRP gear is priced in line with competitive systems from other brands, so it's hard to complain there. And, you get what you pay for. In this case, you're paying for a speed control and motor that can win World Championships. —Peter Vieira

World's Fastest Firmware


The optional Bridge Spec.2 Firmware Update Link lets you connect the Flow WorksTeam to your computer and download the latest firmware via a simple online interface.

There was once a time when having the latest software in your speed control required you to go out and buy the latest speed control. With the LRP Flow, SXX, iX8, and Spin speed controls, you can update the firmware via your computer, assuring you always have the latest and high-performance code straight from the factory. Along with access to a PC or Mac and the required software download (free, of course), you'll need LRP's no. 81801 USB Bridge Spec.2 Firmware Update Link (not free, $35). The updater connects to the speed control the sensor wire port and plugs into the computer via USB port. Then all you have to do is follow the prompts on the screen to connect the speed control with the software, select the firmware file, and update the speed control. The latest updates for the LRP Flow are V4.7 for on-road, used by Ronald Volker in his on-road victories, and V3.8 for off-road, which is the same firmware Steven Hartson used to win the 2013 IFMAR Electric Off-Road Worlds' 4WD class championship. I uploaded the new V3.8 code for this review and the process was simple and fast.

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BASHER NITRO CIRCUS 4X4 http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/08/27/basher-nitro-circus-4x4/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=basher-nitro-circus-4x4 http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/08/27/basher-nitro-circus-4x4/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:30:00 +0000 Peter Vieira http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/08/27/basher-nitro-circus-4x4/ 1/10-SCALE 4WD SHORT COURSE TRUCK | ARR

PHOTOS BY RICHARD ESCOBEDO

Brushless power, 4WD, and 1/10 scale at a price you'd expect to pay for a mini


These are facts. The Basher Nitro Circus 4X4 short-course truck has a shaft-driven 4WD system, aluminum shocks, aluminum chassis, full ball bearings, steel gears, and a 3S-compatible brushless power system. It's 1/10 scale, not a mini. And it costs $180 as you see it here, minus transmitter and receiver. OK, so no radio gear, that saves a few bucks, but this much truck for under $200 is astounding. There are corners cut (you have to put the decals on yourself, no tools are included, the manual is sparse), but there appears to be good stuff in all the right places, and nothing looks patently weird or cheap. Generic maybe, since there are no logos or graphics on the gear beneath the body, but it all looks like solid stuff. For $180, it's well within “why not, I'll try one” range for an adult-sized RC budget, and highly tempting for anyone mowing lawns, washing cars, or walking dogs to finance their next purchase. Is it worth the dough? The only way to judge Basher's first short-course machine is by driving it, which is exactly what we're about to do.

VEHICLE SPECS



  • Item no.: 9249000806-0

  • Scale: 1/10

  • Price: $180

  • Weight, as tested 5 lb., 13.5 oz. (2651g)

CHASSIS

  • Material: 2.5mm Aluminum

  • Type: Plate with plastic side guards

SUSPENSION

  • Type: Upper and lower wishbone with pivot ball

  • Inboard upper arm positions (F/R): 1/1

  • Outboard upper arm positions (F/R): 1/1

  • Shock positions, towers (F/R): 8/2

  • Shock positions, arms (F/R): 8/2

SHOCKS

  • Bodies: Threaded aluminum, 12mm bore

  • Shafts: Plated steel, 3.5mm

  • Volume compensation: Emulsion

DRIVETRAIN

  • Type: 4WD shaft

  • Spur gear/pinion: 44T / 14T, steel

  • Differential F/R: Sealed bevel gear, greased

  • Driveshafts: Steel dogbones

  • Bearings: Metal-shielded ball bearings

WHEELS & TIRES

  • Wheels: Standard short-course style, 12mm hex

  • Tires: Rubber multi-terrain tread

  • Inserts: Closed cell

INCLUDED ELECTRONICS

  • Servo: Standard type, torque not stated

  • Speed control: 35-amp forward/reverse for sensorless brushless motor

  • Motor: 2080KV Sensorless

TEST GEAR (NOT INCLUDED)

  • Transmitter: Hobby King GT2B 2.4GHz 3-channel

  • Receiver: Hobby King GT2B 2.4GHz 3-channel

  • Battery: Zippy 4000mAh 3Sl LiPo and Turnigy 5.0 5000mAh 2S LiPo

TRIPLE-DIFF SHAFT DRIVETRAIN

Like the front and rear diffs, the center differential is sealed for oil but filled with grease, and features a steel ring gear. Stout aluminum center shafts connect the diffs.

More big-buggy tech, with front, center, and rear differentials in place. The diffs are sealed to accept oil, but are grease-filled from the factory. Each diff holds two spider gears instead of four to save a few pennies, and dogbone driveshafts are fitted front and rear in lieu of universal joint shafts to further trim cost. The pinion and spur gear are steel, and the center driveshafts — long rear, stubby front — are solid aluminum turnings that engage the differentials with steel cross-pins. Gear mesh is set “nitro style,” by sliding the motor and its chunky machined-aluminum mount closer or farther from the spur gear. The motor mount's cap nearly spans the entire length of the motor and is deeply finned, which will help keep motor temps in check. Again, all the parts are nicely executed. Nothing fancy, but far nicer than what you might expect from such an inexpensive truck.

PIVOT BALLS & BIG BORES

Turnbuckles set toe-in, and pivot balls adjust camber. Note the three-screw caps that capture the pivot balls. They work, but there's no provision for adjusting pivot ball play. The shocks are nice-looking, especially for the price.

Basher cleverly uses identical suspension arms on all four corners of the Nitro Circus, which helps achieve the kits low, low price and also makes it easier to keep spares handy. Pivot balls handle both suspension articulation and steering movement, which allows identical hub carriers to be used front and rear—again, fewer unique parts = lower price. The shocks are very well executed for a truck of any price, with dark anodizing, finely threaded bodies, and a dual-cap design for easy seal access. The shock bores are 12mm, which puts them into “big bore” territory, and their action is smooth out of the box. The shafts scuff easily, however, and their shiny finish was dulled after a few runs. From the factory, damping is very light, which gives the truck a lot of pitch and roll action as you drive'thicker oil will help.

2.5MM PLATE-ALUMINUM CHASSIS

The rims are molded in red and wrapped in soft rubber. The painted beadlock detailing looks nice, but flakes off easily.

This is a $180 truck? The Nitro Circus still looks like a far more expensive ride.

The Basher's big battery tray easily holds the fat Zippy 3S LiPo I chose for testing.

The Nitro Circus 4X4's chassis configuration is loosely based on ⅛-scale buggy tech, and features the familiar plate-chassis and upper-deck construction we're used to seeing on big buggies. The 2.5mm chassis plate has slightly radiused sides that help provide additional stiffness, but it's the 3-piece machined aluminum upper deck that provides the real support. The center differential is pushed well forward on the chassis to make room for the not-included battery, and the simple post-and-strap battery retainer can accommodate standard size packs as well as taller configurations (such as the Zippy 3S pack I installed). Overall fit and finish looks good, with and a media-blasted finish to hide machine marks and a nice shade of bronze anodizing applied to the aluminum parts. It doesn't look like a $180 truck.

36MPH BRUSHLESS POWER

No fancy graphics, but Basher's 35-amp speed control and 2080KV sensorless motor performed reliably in testing.

There's no shortage of aluminum in that motor mount.

When it comes to getting a 1/10-scale 4WD short-course truck to hustle, only brushless power will do. Incredibly, Basher has managed to provide the Nitro Circus with a pretty solid setup for the truck's price. The 2080KV motor isn't particularly speedy on a two-cell LiPo (I clocked the truck at 23mph on a Turnigy 5000mAh pack), but with a 3-cell brick installed (a Zippy 4000mAh in this case), the Nitro Circus will easily blast to 36mph. The system is sensorless and free of any fancy graphics, but who cares? It works. Heck, it's even adjustable, with adjustable max-reverse throttle, brake force, drag brake, deadband, punch, and timing. The speed control auto-detects LiPo cell count and cuts voltage at 3.2 volts per cell. You can select lower voltages, but better to play it safe.

BEHIND THE WHEEL


Mike's Hobby Shop in Carrollton, TX, was the site of the Basher Nitro Circus 4X4's photo shoot and maiden voyage. The outdoor track is an off-road playground that sees action from a variety of vehicle types and scales week in and week out, and was a good all-around test of the Basher's manners in the dirt. The truck's 4WD system was highly welcome on the slippery layer of loose dirt that covered the harder-packed earth beneath. Where 2WD trucks require a light touch, the Basher just drifted through in full opposite lock with all four tires churning. The lightly damped suspension allowed an ample amount of body roll, which made the truck appear very animated on the track but also contributed to the occasional handling surprise as the chassis recovered and broke traction with a spinout. The tires contributed some handling sketchiness as well, as their carcasses are very soft and the truck rolls onto the sidewalls when pushed hard in the corners. Not to worry, we're not racing here—if you spin out, just re-aim the truck and keep driving.

As expected for a 4WD short-course truck, the Nitro Circus flew off jumps well and responded well to throttle inputs for flight corrections as long as the truck wasn't pitched into the wind and “parachuting,” as short-course trucks tend to do with their full-coverage bodies. Backsiding jumps allowed for smooth touch downs, but flat-landing overtaxed the shocks factory spring and damping setup, allowing the chassis to slap frequently. The Basher took it in stride, however, showing only scuffs for all the wear and tear. Flips and tumbles also did little to faze the truck, which rolled out ready for more action after each biff.

After wrapping up the photo shoot and fun-running at Mike's, I gave the Nitro Circus a thorough street thrashing at home. Nothing beats driving at a track, but most RC vehicles (especially play cars) see much more action hopping curbs and pounding playgrounds. In the wide-open spaces of the neighborhood cul-de-sac, the Basher's 2S top speed of 23mph did not seem as speedy as it did on the track—3S was definitely the way to go, with 36mph on tap for a lot more fun. 4WD made it easy to climb over the neighborhood's beveled curbing and the shallow transitions from street to sidewalk made good jumps. I was surprised how hard the truck could be pushed through turns on the grippy concrete without flipping. The Nitro Circus put on a good show as its chassis leaned mightily and the tires folded beneath the rims, but it hung on. Cutting the throttle would initiate a pleasing slide, and cop-show chase maneuvers ensued. Quick direction changes were not the truck's forte, however. The steering servo isn't very speedy, and the servo saver is very soft — which is good for preventing servo damage, but made the truck feel lazy when trying to make quick heading changes. No changes were made to the truck's setup during testing, save one. While reverse was handy when nosed against obstacles, the factory setting only gave reverse 20% of the power forward-throttle offered, and it made for lethargic back-ups. Bumping max-reverse up to 100% took only a few moments of button-pushing, and enabled much more aggressive stunt driving.

+

  • Crazy low price

  • Higher quality and performance than expected

  • Adjustable speed control

  • Floppy handling

  • Decals application is left to you

  • No hobby store parts support

TEST GEAR

HOBBY KING HK GT2B Transmitter

Low-cost, reliable, and LiPo-powered. Pretty good for $25!

Basher offers the Nitro Circus “ARR,” which stands for “Almost Ready To Run” and means you'll have to supply your own transmitter and receiver. I chose Hobby King's $25 GT2B system and my expectations were low (based on the $25 price tag), but the 3-channel setup proved quite reliable and delivered more range than my eyesight would allow. There are rubber grips on the wheel and handle instead of bare plastic as cheap transmitters often use, and there's even a dual-rate steering knob under the radio's “hood” (along with the usual trims and channel-reversing switches). The biggest surprise is the included battery — not a set of alkalines, but an 800mAh LiPo! Hobby King even includes a USB charger that plugs into the radio. Once installed, the battery never has to come out. Dislikes? Only one: the chrome steering wheel, which works fine but looks like a Pep Boys hubcap.

FINAL WORD

When discussing the Basher Nitro Circus 4X4, it's hard not to begin every sentence with, “For $180 …” Any of the truck's shortcomings dissolve into hardly-worth-mentioning quibbles when you consider the very low price. Could use thicker shock fluid? I have to put the decals on myself? Needs a 3S pack to top 30mph? Who cares, it's $180! I hate to use the old “bang for the buck” cliché, but Basher really does deliver a high bang-to-dollar ratio here, leaving plenty of cash in your PayPal account for upgrades, more batteries, or whatever. The only thing low price can't make better is the lack of hobby store support. With no parts on the wall at your favorite RC dealer, you'll be left waiting by the mailbox when parts go pop. But if you're already out of range to visit brick and mortar stores and buying everything online anyway, there's no reason not to give the Nitro Circus 4X4 a shot if you'd like to get into 4WD short course on the cheap.

SOURCES

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TEAM DURANGO DEX 210V2 http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/08/27/team-durango-dex-210v2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=team-durango-dex-210v2 http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/08/27/team-durango-dex-210v2/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:30:00 +0000 Aaron Waldron http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/08/27/team-durango-dex-210v2/ 1/10-SCALE ELECTRIC 2WD BUGGY | KIT

PHOTOS BY JOEL NAVARRO

Revamping the Swiss Army knife of the 2WD buggy class


When Team Durango released the original DEX210 three years ago, they were a major standout in the surge of new manufacturers jumping into a 2WD buggy arena that had been a two-horse race for the better part of three decades. Born from the mind of German hardcore racer-turned-engineer Gerd Strenge and bred in high-level racing across Europe, Durango brought new design ideas and never-before-seen adjustability to the class. The fresh approach to a 2WD buggy was unique, because it had to be. The car was destined for the carpet and Astroturf courses of Europe as well as the high-speed dirt tracks of America. As a result of this forward thinking, the DEX210 was easily the most successful of the division's newcomers, netting national championships across the Old World and the highly coveted Invitational title at the Reedy International Race of Champions. Much like Durango has done more than three revisions to their 4WD buggy, Strenge and his team drivers never stopped working on ways to improve the platform, stopping only long enough to win last year's 2WD European Championship. The result of this development is the DEX210v2, with a long list of changes to make it faster, stronger, and easier to drive.

VEHICLE SPECS


  • Item no.: TD102028

  • Scale: 1/10

  • Price*: $280

  • Weight, as tested: 3 lb., 9.6 oz. (1650g)

CHASSIS

  • Material: Machined aluminum, hard anodized

  • Type: Plate

SUSPENSION

  • Type: Lower H-arm with upper camber link

  • Inboard camber link positions (F/R): 2/2

  • Outboard camber-link positions (F/R): 2/4

  • Shock positions, towers (F/R): 3/5

  • Shock positions, arms (F/R): 2/3

SHOCKS

  • Bodies: Threaded aluminum, 12mm bore

  • Shafts: 3mm steel plated

  • Volume compensation: Emulsion

DRIVETRAIN

  • Type/ratio: Three-gear transmission/2.6:1

  • Spur gear/pinion: 81/not included

  • Slipper clutch: Adjustable dual-disk slipper

  • Differential: Adjustable ball differential

  • Driveshafts: Steel CV-style driveshafts

  • Bearings: Rubber-sealed

BODY, WHEELS & TIRES

  • Wheels: Team Durango dish wheels, yellow

  • Tires: Not included

  • Body: Clear Lexan, untrimmed.

TEST GEAR (NOT INCLUDED)

  • Transmitter: Futaba 4PKS-R

  • Receiver: Futaba R614FS

  • Speed control: Trakpower MS-1

  • Motor: Trakpower 8.5-turn

  • Steering servo: Futaba BLS272SV

  • Battery: Trakpower 2S 4500mAh 90C Shorty LiPo

  • Tires (F/R): Pro-Line ION Front 2WD tires, MC compound/Pro-Line ION 2.2” Rear tires, MC compound

EXTRA-ADJUSTABLE AERO-ARM SUSPENSION

Straight front arms increase ground clearance over the previous gullwing design, but they mellow out the steering response too. Will aerodynamically shaped front arms become a thing? We'll see.

The shock positions of the shorter rear tower are the biggest change to the rear suspension. Durango's 12mm “Fat Shock” big bore dampers are unchanged from the v1 kit.

The biggest changes to the v2 buggy are attached at both ends of the chassis. Durango kept its innovative steering knuckle design that uses replaceable inserts to adjust axle trail, but they're affixed to the end of radically different front arms that forego drastic gullwing upsweep of the original DEX210. Along with the inevitable geometry change, which should lead to smoother and less aggressive steering, as the arms increase the ground clearance of the arms over rough terrain. Further, the “aero-neutral” arms are shaped to minimize the drastic upward angle caused by the kickup of the front bulkhead in order to reduce aerodynamic lift, though it will be difficult to quantify just how much difference that actually makes. What will make a huge difference, however, is the extra webbing and material used to make the arm, which should make them much more durable than the arms they replaced. The front shock tower is tougher as well as it's made of a stiffer material than the original car, and now features a rearward-swept profile that makes it easier to access the inboard front ballstuds.

The rear shock tower is revised as well, and is shorter than the previous DEX210's, giving the v2 more downtravel for plusher jump landings. The material is stiffer, and with redesigned webbing there's more of it, for increased strength in high-speed crashes. The rear arms now boast shock mounting holes on both the front and rear, allowing the rear shocks to be mounted in front of or behind the tower. Durango says that mounting the shocks in front of the tower will offer smoother transitions across surface changes and increased cornering agility, while bolting the dampers to the back of the tower increases forward traction on low-grip surfaces for higher straight-line stability. A low roll-center rear pivot block is standard on the v2, which generates more forward grip, and the transmission case has been redesigned to offer a second inboard camber link mounting option with more material added around the mount for more durability. Durango's 12mm “Fat Shock” big bore dampers with 3mm plated shafts are carried over from first-gen DEX.

MACHINED & HARD-ANODIZED CHASSIS

It may be difficult to spot most of the updates to the v2 buggy over the original, but each little tweak and change makes a big difference on the track.

The DEX210v2 chassis is 8mm longer ahead of the battery compartment, shifting the buggy's weight bias slightly rearward.

The hard-anodized aluminum chassis that forms the backbone of the DEX210v2 is 8mm longer than the original, with the primary benefit of greater stability on rough, high-speed tracks and when landing from jumps. The narrow plate features a machined slot designed to accept optional chassis weights for further tuning of weight distribution, is bolstered with plastic bolt-on side plates that are larger than the v1 for a better fit with the new cab-forward body as well as offering more mounting room for electronics. The battery channel is long enough to accept shorty, standard, and saddle packs when placed in line with each other, even in mid-motor configuration, with a small amount of room to move the pack back and forth. Up front, you'll find a new aluminum steering rack that replaces the plastic piece from the original buggy for more precise steering response and less deflection on rough surfaces. The rear of the chassis is bolstered with a new “finger brace” design that detaches with the removal of just six screws, making it easier to access the gearbox and pivot block in rear-motor configuration, or the motor when the chassis is assembled with the motor mounted amidships.

MULTI-POSITION TRANSMISSION

Unlike other cars in its class, the slipper adjustment nut and spring are located on the opposite side of the transmission from the spur gear and pads.

One of the most notable features of the original DEX210 was its innovative transmission design that could be built with three or four gears, in order to reverse the motor's left-to-right orientation, and installed in front of or behind the rear shock tower, all without extra parts. Nearly all racers chose either a standard 3-gear rear-motor build, or a typical 4-gear mid-motor configuration, but it's still an interesting option that will give tinkerers and non-stop tuners plenty of replay value as they continue changing their cars every other race night. Though Durango offers an optional gear differential, the v2 employs the smooth ball diff from the original buggy, fitted with new outdrives that are longer to prevent the driveshaft from popping free — especially important given the car's added downtravel from the shorter rear shock tower. Also, to cope with the increased travel, the CV-joint of the rear axle has been redesigned for greater articulation, up to 39 degrees.

BEHIND THE WHEEL


I certainly didn't need another excuse to head to my local indoor track, SDRC Raceway, but completing the DEX210v2 kit build was enough motivation to pack my truck and hit the road. During my final assembly of the car, I didn't even bother trying to install the useless front body clip tucked under the front shock tower and instead used strips of Velcro along the chassis guards to hold the body in place. I'm also thankful that I double-checked the alignment of the wing mounts before reaming the pre-marked hole locations, as they're not correct for when the car is built in mid-motor. Although I had several pairs of tires for other cars ready to be bolted in place, I learned that I still couldn't use them on the v2 thanks to Durango's insistence on non-standard 14mm hexes — needless to say, test day got off to a bit of an aggravating start. I glued up a set of Pro-Line's MC-compound Ions, which have quickly become one of my favorite tires on warm days, spun up the differential on the pit table for a few minutes in order to seat the parts for proper setting of the diff and slipper, and took it easy for the first pack on the track while the tires broke in. Confident that the car was ready to go, I installed a fresh battery and got down to business — and it's a good thing I had the foresight to set the MS-1's “Initial Throttle” setting to “Lowest,” because the 8.5-turn motor needed no help yanking the front tires free from their contact with the clay. The added stability afforded by the v2's extensive suspension and chassis updates is apparent from the first pull of the trigger, as the car squares up and takes off with nary a squirm. With more grip, it's easier to pick up the throttle sooner exiting corners or dive to the inside of turn one from a standing start. With the longer chassis in place, the v2 holds its line when traversing rougher sections of the track and is likely the most important part of the recipe when it comes to the buggy's overall stability as the car soaks up rough jump landings with ease. I found that the car jumped more controllably and landed with a softer touch than previous edition DEX210's that I've driven, transforming jump combos from “a section to survive” into passing opportunities. Durango's 12mm big-bore shocks, among the first to be used in the 2WD class on the original DEX, do an excellent job of taming chop and the kit setup worked well even for the high-bite clay surface. Along with the chassis, the additional rear down-travel that's easily adjustable thanks to the droop screws, no doubt plays a part in the car's rough track prowess and phenomenal rear grip.

The kit setup for the v2 calls for trailing axles, which tame the car's initial turn-in aggression for smooth corner entry, especially at speed. The progressive feel of the steering response made it easy to carve clean lines around the infield of the course and I rarely felt like the buggy was at a loss for steering response while simply lapping on a practice day, though I may have tried different inserts on a race day in order to find that extra edge for turning inside a competitor in order to make a pass. Rather than spend time changing the inserts, however, I bumped up the drag brake setting on the MS-1 from 10% to 20%, and that helped enough to quell my desire for more steering. I found the v2 to be more stable under braking than its predecessor, requiring less patience when getting on the binders to set up for a slow corner and giving me the confidence to pitch the car into the apex sideways before dropping the hammer to hit the next jump.

+

  • Revisions radically transform overall driving performance

  • Key updates make the car easier to disassemble for maintenance

  • Incredible amount of tuning options

  • Still uses non-standard 14mm hex wheels

  • Front body clip is still frustratingly impossible to access

  • Marks for wing mount holes are for rear-motor only

TEST GEAR

TRAKPOWER MS-1

The MS-1's most prominent feature is definitely the aluminum case, which weighs a bit more than you might think for a unit of this size, but it's packed with tuning options and a seamless driving experience that allows the racer to focus on cutting clean laps.

With its black machined aluminum case, the Trakpower's racing-level speed control scores a “10” in bling factor, though it receives high marks in other regards as well. The MS-1's tiny footprint and location of the receiver lead, sensor harness, and five gold-plated solder posts make it easy to install in almost any kit, let alone the larger side guards of the DEX210v2. Saying at this ESC has a “motor limit” of 2.5 turns is a bit silly, since not even on-road racers use anything lower than that, but it's nice to know that the unit is more than up to the task of anything you'll likely bolt into place, especially the 8.5-turn motor I used as well as the 6.5, 10.5, 13.5, and 17.5 motors with which it's also available. Myriad useful tuning options, like drag brake and “start power” are easily accessed via pressing buttons and counting LEDs, and Trakpower's “MS Connect” works much better than its Microsoft-sounding name would lead you to believe.

FINAL WORD

Team Durango's DEX210 was a refreshing addition to 2WD buggy racing because it broke the mold of what a competitive car had to look like, and for that reason alone it still stands out among its competitors. In typical Team Durango fashion, the updates they've included with the v2 make such a profound effect on how easy it is to drive, work on, and live with the car that you can't help but wonder why that wasn't how it was done in the first place, but that's how competitive racing works — you don't know until you try. From the updates to the suspension, to the longer chassis, to the redesigned outdrives and driveshafts, and even the new ball cups and ball studs — the DEX210v2 is an upgrade over the original.

SOURCES

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LOSI/HORIZON HOBBY LST XXL2 http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/08/27/losihorizon-hobby-lst-xxl2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=losihorizon-hobby-lst-xxl2 http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/08/27/losihorizon-hobby-lst-xxl2/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:30:00 +0000 RC Car Action http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/08/27/losihorizon-hobby-lst-xxl2/ 1/8-SCALE 4WD TRUCK | RTR

PHOTOS BY JOEL NAVARRO

Losi busts the nitro status quo with a gas-powered goliath


During the big monster truck boom in the early 2000s, Losi surprised all of us by announcing that they would join the RTR monster truck fray. At the time, Losi was well known for producing race-only vehicles, and once the shock of the announcement wore off, the excitement grew because Losi was also known for stepping outside the box when it came to designing a vehicle. The reveal of the LST did not disappoint; it was packed full of innovative features that made it stand out from the rest. During the ten years since the truck's debut, the LST has seen updates with different bodies, tires, transmission configurations and a size boost to its current “XXL” dimensions. The latest LST-formula change, however, is a quantum leap beyond any styling or spec changes — it's a game changer. In addition to electronic stability control in the form of Spektrum's proven Active Vehicle Control (AVC) system, the LST XXL 2 features a gasoline-burning engine with electronic spark ignition. That's hardly news in a 1/5-scale vehicle, but it's a first in 1/8 scale. And unlike the large-displacement “weed wacker”-style engines of big 1/5-scale buggies, the LST's engine fits in a nitro-size footprint and is built like a conventional nitro engine — mostly. Here's our exclusive full test of the Losi LXT XXL 2.


VEHICLE SPECS


  • Item no.: LOS04002

  • Scale: 1/8

  • Price: $799.99

  • Weight: 13.1 lb (5897g)

CHASSIS

  • Type: Double deck plate

  • Material: 2.5mm aluminum

SUSPENSION

  • Type (F/R): Double-wishbone with fixed hub carriers

  • Inboard upper arm positions (F/R): 1/1

  • Outboard upper arm positions (F/R): 1/1

  • Shock positions, towers (F/R): 2/2

  • Shock positions, arms (F/R): 2/2

SHOCKS

  • Bodies: Threaded aluminum, 24mm bore

  • Shafts: 3.5mm plated finish

  • Volume compensation: Emulsion

DRIVETRAIN

  • Type: Shaft-driven 4WD

  • Pinion/Spur: 18/70 (1st) 25/63 (2nd)

  • Slipper clutch: 3-pad, adjustable

  • Differentials: sealed gear

  • Driveshafts (F/R): Steel universal

  • Bearings: Rubber-sealed

POWER SYSTEM

  • Engine: Losi .31 2-stroke, gasoline

  • Manifold: Tubular aluminum

  • Pipe: Tuned type, aluminum, gas-specific

  • Fuel tank: Screw-top, 300cc

INCLUDED ELECTRONICS

  • Transmitter: Spektrum DX2E 2.4GHz 2-channel

  • Receiver: Spectrum SRS4200 4-channel with AVC

  • Throttle servo: Spektrum SMPS601 waterproof

  • Steering servos: Spektrum SPMS601

  • Receiver battery: 7.4v 2000mAh LiPo

  • Starter: Losi Roto-Start shaft starter

TEST GEAR (NOT INCLUDED)

  • Unleaded gasoline, 91-93 octane

  • LiPo battery charger

  • 6-cell NiMH stick pack (for Roto-Start)

DYNAMITE GASOLINE POWER

A CDI control unit takes care of not only providing the spark for the engine but it does it just at the right time.

Yup, that is a gasoline engine. It's about the same size as popular .21 and .28 sized nitro burners.

The LST's spark plug doesn't match any standard-size hobby store or hardware store plugs, so make sure your shop carries a few spares (better yet, get a spare before you need one).

At a glance, you might think the LST XXL 2 is nitro powered. Its Dynamite .31 engine is about the same size as most of the nitro engines used in monster trucks and has the familiar finned-head styling we associate with nitro power. Look closer, and you'll quickly spot the spark plug wire coming out of the center of the heat sink head; this sucker is gasoline powered. Gasoline with 91 or higher octane is required and gets mixed with the included 2-stroke oil in a 14:1 fuel/oil ratio, which is completely different from what we are used to when it comes to gasoline-powered 1/5-scale vehicles. Features of this engine include a slide carb, a pinch-style design piston, large heat sink head and spin-start backplate. To power the spark plug and properly time its firing in the combustion cycle, the LST is equipped with a Capacitor Discharge Ignition box. The CDI box is powered by the included 7.4V 2000mAh LiPo receiver pack and uses a sensor and flywheel-mounted magnet to fire the spark plug when the piston is at top dead center. Spent exhaust gases exit through a Dynamite Tuned Pipe that looks like a pipe you would find on a nitro-powered truck but this one is specifically designed to suit the unique power delivery of the gasoline engine. 2-stroke gas is contained in a large 300cc fuel tank at the back of the truck and according to Losi it will give the LST a run time of 25-plus minutes. The fuel tank uses a screw-on instead of a flip-top lid. This slows down pit stops, but is a safety feature required by gasoline's lower flashpoint compared to nitro fuel. A three-shoe aluminum clutch allows the engine to engage with the transmission and is mounted to a flywheel that is optimally weighted for the gasoline engine.

SHAFT-DRIVEN, 2-SPEED 4WD

A beefy 2-speed transmission gives this big truck plenty of grunt and go.

No fiber here. The steel calipers clamp a pair of steel rotors, metal to metal.

The LST XXL 2 comes equipped with a clutch-type 2-speed transmission to give the truck a lot of low-end grunt and enough top speed to make anyone happy. Shift points are adjustable so you can have the truck shift from first to second as early or as late as you want. Normally you would see a transmission with a single- or dual-pad slipper clutch to reduce shock to the drivetrain when driving the truck but the LST feature a unique compact 3-pad slipper. With three pads sandwiching three steel slipper plates, the clutch has plenty of capacity for a heavy monster truck. Connecting the transmission to the front and rear sealed gear differentials are heavy-duty steel 4mm diameter universal driveshafts and the same type of shaft finishes the job of transferring power to the tires. As expected for a truck of this size and cost, all the drivetrain components ride on ball bearings. To slow the truck down the LST uses a dual disc brake. What makes this brake system different is that there is no friction type material used; instead it's a metal on metal deal.

DOUBLE-DECK ALUMINUM CHASSIS

You won't see a chassis like this anywhere else — not only is it unique, but it's also very stiff.

The LST's chassis is unlike any other chassis on the market and consists of three bottom plates, a main chassis plate that spans the gap between the front and rear gearboxes and two top plates. Multiple molded and gussets tie the plates together to give the LST an exceptionally rigid platform. Most components needed to operate the truck are mounted directly to the main chassis plate, except for the receiver battery, receiver and fuel tank. The receiver battery is located underneath the main chassis plate and it's incased between two plastic mounts. Although it's covered, it still leaves the battery exposed to hazards such as water, mud and debris. The receiver, however, is well protected by a molded box in the front of the chassis, and it can be accessed by removing the body clip and flipping up the lid. Three molded standoffs keep the fuel tank in place and above the chassis to keep it from rubbing on the aluminum and wearing out. The engine and transmission are the heaviest components on the chassis and are centrally mounted to best balance the truck's mass between the suspension systems.

SPEKTRUM EQUIPPED, INCLUDING AVC

The Spektrum DX2E is Losi's go-to RTR system.

The LST XXL 2 arrives with a full suite of Spektrum gear, including a DX2E transmitter and a pair high-torque metal-gear servos. The combined torque of the two steering servos is well over 300 oz.-in. Of course, the star of the electronics show is Spektrum's Active Vehicle Control unit, which we've covered extensively in previous articles and named our “Innovation of the Year.” Along with sophisticated software, AVC uses accelerometers and microelectromechanical (MEM) gyros to compare your inputs at the transmitter to what the LST is actually doing, and make corrective inputs as needed. Exactly how much help AVC gives you is easily adjusted by turning the AVC knob on the DX2E transmitter. You can crank it up, dial it down, or turn AVC off completely with just a twist. The radio gear is powered by the same included 2S, 2000mAh LiPo that fires the ignition system, but you'll have to supply your own LiPo charger.

SUPER-SIZED SHOCKS AND SUSPENSION

Those are the biggest shocks you will ever see on a monster truck and they are easy to adjust thanks to the threaded aluminum bodies.

Losi used four monster-size shocks to damp suspension on the LST, and with their 20mm bores, the shocks are easily twice as large as the shocks used on any other monster truck. These super-smooth shocks feature red-anodized aluminum threaded bodies for easy ride height adjustment and are an emulsion design—no bladders. The plastic shock caps have bleeder holes for easy setup when it's time to change shock oil. The suspension uses molded plastic upper and lower arms and they are not setup to allow for camber adjustment. The arms do, however, have mounts for optional swaybars to keep the chassis more flat in the turns if you are going to be racing this truck or bashing in an area where it's pretty flat. All inner hingepins are supported by beefy aluminum plates to keep them from spreading or bending during the roughest driving.

BEHIND THE WHEEL


The difference between gasoline power and nitro power is apparent as soon as you fire up the LST XXL 2. There's no need to carry a glow igniter'thanks to the spark ignition system, you just crank the engine with the Roto-Start, and it begins running immediately. Once the engine is warmed up, there's ample torque to break all four tires loose under hard acceleration. Before you know it, the two-speed transmission kicks in and the truck is up to speed in no time, which we clocked at 37mph. According to Losi, 40+ is possible with a gearing change. The Dynamite .31 gasoline engine has plenty of power to move the big truck but it also has great throttle response just like a nitro engine. It also sounds like nitro, with a high-pitched scream rather than the burble associated with 1/5 scale cars. Thanks to the ignition system, you don't have to continuously blip the throttle to keep the engine from loading up and stalling out; you can let the engine idle and when you go to pull the trigger it takes off with no signs of stalling. The LST XXL chassis has already proven stable with nitro power, and handles the same with its new gas gear on board. It turns with authority and braking is almost too good at times. Hard braking on high-traction surfaces can lift the rear wheels into a stoppie, or completely flip the truck if you don't ease off the brake. Rest assured, you'll always have plenty of braking power, and it's much easier to reduce braking power in a system that has “too much” than it is to increase the braking power of a system that doesn't offer enough. Jumping the LST is awesome; its massive shocks soak up the landings very well, and in the air, and you can easily bring the front end down if necessary thanks to those strong brakes. AVC adds another dimension of control. The truck's big footprint and 4WD give it good handling without electronic help, but in rough terrain that makes it hard to hold a line, dialing up the AVC makes it much easier to keep the LST on its intended heading. Another area where the LST excelled was run time and reliability. Our test truck routinely gave 20-plus minute run times on each tank of gasoline, and restarting the engine while hot posed no challenge. Fill-ups were slowed by the screw-on fuel tank lid, but the screw-top is a required safety feature. The carburetor also required less tuning than a nitro engine's carb typically needs. Once broken in, the needles required only slight adjustments between driving sessions days apart. This is as easy as fuel-power gets.

Once the truck has been driven for a while and the receiver battery gets to the point where its voltage is too low to safely operate the truck you will see that the servos slow down and as an extra warning sign you will also notice that the engine will start to run erratically. This happens because the receiver battery is also providing the spark for the engine and as the voltage gets lower the spark weakens. The good news is that with the way that the power is set up on this truck, when the receiver battery gets too low or there is a total power loss the engine will shut off and there will be no chance of a runaway like we often see with nitro powered vehicles.

+

  • Runs on inexpensive pump gas

  • Plenty of power and long run times

  • Mega-sized shocks and AVC deliver super-stable handling

  • Screw-top fuel tank slows down refills

  • Spark plug is unique, not a hardware store part

  • Big truck, big price

Running & Setup Tips

PERFECT PREMIX

Before pouring gasoline into the LST, you must first mix the fuel with pre-mix oil, which Losi includes. Don't use your old nitro fuel bottles for this, only use gasoline-approved containers for handling gasoline. Fill the container with a gallon of 91-93 octane fuel, then add 9.5 ounces of oil — the marks on the side of the bottle allow you to see how much you're pouring. This will give you the 14:1 gas-to-oil mixture the engine requires. Shake the container to mix the oil, and give it a quick shake before each fill-up to make sure the gas and oil are fully mixed. Horizon highly advises to only use Dynamite High-Performance 2-Cycle Engine Oil for the premix oil.

BREAK IT IN RIGHT!

Follow the break-in instructions in the manual precisely. Proper break-in is critical to proper engine operation, life, and performance. Be patient and follow the steps to the letter. Do not use the “let it idle” break-in method some suggest for nitro cars—only use Losi's prescribed partial-throttle break-in procedure. Do not skip this!

TEMP TUNING

Losi indicates specific temperature ranges for break-in and operation, so an infrared temp gauge is a must. Inexpensive gauges can be found for under $30, or you can spend more and get a unit with more features such as the Dynamite Pro Temp Gun (DYNP2000), which offers a backlit display and laser sighting. Measure the engine's temperature at the crankcase, not the heat-sink head.

BRAKE DE-BOOSTER

The power of the brakes on the LST XXL 2 may be a little too powerful for some. The Spektrum DX2E radio is equipped with endpoint adjustment for the brake, but some may still not like the feel of the brakes once the endpoint has been adjusted. A spring is used to apply pressure to the brake discs and it's pretty stiff. If you replace it with a softer spring, the braking on the truck will be a little more controllable.

FINAL WORD

The years have been good to the Losi LST and the future looks even better not just for this truck but for gasoline power too. The engine is super easy to tune and keep running, and AVC makes anyone an expert driver. The LST XXL 2 isn't cheap at $800, but neither is the nitro-burning version at $670 (as priced at HorizonHobby.com). That's a $130 premium for gasoline power and AVC, but the price bump is quickly offset by fuel savings. If you figure on saving $25 for every gallon of fuel, you'll cover the extra cost of the XXL 2 after five gallons' worth of running. There are other savings that cannot be calculated in dollars, including the greater convenience of gasoline power and the easier tuning and operation we experienced. After spending time with the LST XXL 2, we're even more confident that we made the right choice by naming the LST XXL 2 our Truck of the Year. It's that good.

SOURCES

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TEAM C TC10 http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/07/17/team-c-tc10/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=team-c-tc10 http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/07/17/team-c-tc10/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:00:00 +0000 RC Car Action http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/07/17/team-c-tc10/ 1/10-SCALE ELECTRIC 4WD TOURING CAR | KIT

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOEL NAVARRO

This newcomer to competition touring hits the pavement running with a high-tech, two-belt design


Team C has only been around for a few years, but they've quickly earned a reputation by producing competitive cars in the off-road segment of RC. They've enjoyed plenty of great success on the dirt, with the latest generation of Team C vehicles capturing national titles across the globe and competing in the world arena. With hopes of doing the same on asphalt, Team C engineers have conjured up the TC10 touring sedan. At first glance, you can tell that Team C did their homework and held nothing back when they designed their first on-roader. The TC10's feature list includes a double-deck carbon-fiber chassis, aluminum front and rear bulkheads, and an efficient dual-belt drive system. It's always exciting to receive a manufacturer's first attempt into a new segment of the hobby, and it looks like the TC10 has all the ingredients to make it a winner. Let's hit the track.


VEHICLE SPECS

  • Item no.: TC10

  • Scale: 1/10

  • Price: $420

  • Weight, as tested: 3.04 lb. (1382g)

CHASSIS

  • Material: Carbon fiber

  • Type: Double-deck plate

SUSPENSION

  • Type: Front and rear H-Arm with turnbuckle camber link

  • Inboard camber link positions (F/R): 3/3

  • Outboard camber link positions (F/R): 1/2

  • Shock positions, towers (F/R): 5/5

  • Shock positions, arms (F/R): 1/1

SHOCKS

  • Bodies: Threaded aluminum, 12mm

  • Shafts: 3mm shafts, plated

  • Volume compensation: Bladder

DRIVETRAIN

  • Type/Ratio: Twin-belt 4WD/1.9:1

  • Differential (F/R): Spool/oil-filled bevel gear differential

  • Driveshafts: Aluminum universals

  • Bearings: Metal shielded ball bearings

TEST GEAR (NOT INCLUDED)

  • Transmitter: Airtronics M12

  • Receiver: Airtronics RX-472 2.4 GHz FH4T 4-channel

  • Speed control: Airtronics Super Vortex ZERO

  • Motor: Savöx 17.5-turn

  • Battery: Prime 6500mAh 2S 100C LiPo

  • Servo: Savöx SC-1251MG

  • Tires: Team Powers 36R premounts

  • Body: PROTOform Lexus LF-A, painted by Fatty Graphix

CLASSIC TWO-BELT DRIVETRAIN

The TC10 uses a gear differential in the rear that is virtually maintenance free.

Removing two screws is all it takes to remove the spur gear, which allows for quick gearing changes.

The TC10's drivetrain is a traditional two-belt design, with a pair of aluminum pul leys sandwiching a nylon spur gear. A machined-aluminum mount holds the motor, and the nylon-reinforced belts can be adjusted via rotat ing cams that hold the rear diff and front spool. You can tighten the tension on the belts for greater reliability when racing modified, or looser for minimal resistance when running in the stock class with a 17.5-turn motor. The rear gear differential is virtually maintenance free, and can be adjusted using oils of different viscosities. Light weight aluminum outdrives connect to the rear universals via plastic “blades” that cut down on wear and reduce backlash for smoother power delivery, and the outdrives for the front one-piece spool are made of plastic, which gives similar benefits with less rotating weight. A pair of 20-tooth pulleys are mounted to the center shaft alongside the spur gear. Spur gear changes are quick and easy, requiring only the removal of two screws, and together with a very usable 1.9:1 internal gear ratio, the TC10 can be geared to suit any track or motor.

PRO-SPEC SUSPENSION

The short-profile shocks on all four corners help to lower the CG considerably. The TC10's suspension is fully adjustable to suit any track condition.

One of the most important tools when tuning your sedan to the track on race day is its suspension, and the TC10's race-bred suspension has an incredible amount of adjustment that gives any driver the tools needed to be at the front of the pack. Stiff suspension arms limit twist and stay straight and true, yielding consistent handling. The arms mount to the chassis via an aluminum anchor that pivots and mates to a fixed toe-in block. Robust 3mm-thick shock towers offer five pos sible shock mounting positions on the front and rear, though the arms only offer one shock mounting position. Team C includes 1.2mm and 1.3mm swaybars to tune the TC10's chassis roll, and the rear arms incorporate three mounting positions to further tune the effectiveness of the anti-roll bars. Camber settings are adjusted via upper links that include lightweight aluminum turnbuckles. The low-profile shocks feature attractive threaded aluminum bodies, measuring in at 12mm in bore, with matching aluminum collars for precise ride height adjustments, while the overall short length of the shocks helps keep the center of gravity as low as possible.

CARBON-FIBER CHASSIS

An aluminum overhead servo mount bolts to the centerline of the TC10 to avoid binding chassis flex.

The bottom side of the chassis shows the TC10's perfect symmetry, which gives it excellent balance.

The TC10's double-deck carbon-fiber chassis not only offers a solid platform, but it also has some adjustability to offer. The chassis is completely symmetrical from left to right to give the TC10 perfect torsional and lateral flex. To further aid with equal flex, major components like aluminum bulkheads and suspension arm mounts are centrally bolted to the chassis with the motor mount and servo over hang mount affixed directly down the center of the chassis. A narrow 2mm thick carbon-fiber upper deck mounts to the front and rear bulkheads via four screws and two screws each attach to the motor plate and steering rack support. By removing screws from the top deck, the chassis' tor sional flex can be altered — fewer screws, more flex.

PRECISION STEERING SYSTEM

Three steering linkage positions on the steering knuckle allow various Ackerman and linkage length settings.

The TC10's steering system is adjustable for toe-in via turnbuckles as expected, but it also offers additional adjustability to finely tune the feel of steering. Each of the steering knuckles includes three mounting holes for the ball stud, allowing you to move the stud farther outboard or closer to the kingpin to alter the amount of steering Ackerman. For finer Ackerman adjustments, the dual-bellcrank steering system holds the tie rods via forward-facing ball studs threaded into the aluminum drag link. By installing spacers beneath the ball studs, minute adjustments can be made. One item you won't find in the steering system is a servo-saver; if you choose to run one, you'll have to go with a servo-mounted unit, as there is no provision for one in the bellcrank system. As the TC10's design intends, I installed a sufficiently durable servo (a Savöx SC-1251MG metal-gear unit) so I could forego a servo-saver and the steering imprecision that can come with it.

BEHIND THE WHEEL


I tested the TC10 at Heritage RC Park in Chula Vista, CA, where they've just laid down new asphalt and begun ramping up their on-road program. With a couple hours of practice time before racing started, I got down to work. With the car built to the settings suggested in the manual, I ran the first couple of battery packs through the TC10 while I learned the track layout. The first thing I noticed was how easy it was to drive fast around the track. As the tires broke in and traction came up, the TC10 really started to come alive and my lap times began to shed tenths. With racing about to start, I checked the car's settings. I set camber to negative 1 degree on all four corners and dialed in 0 degrees of front toe-in. The TC10 clung to the track like Velcro, though initial turn-in when entering the first 180 was a little on the safe side as the TC10 had a slight, but controllable push. The switchback chicane section was no challenge as the TC10 snicked through with its rear tires neatly tucked in line. After the first qualifier, I decided to stiffen up the front and rear suspension. The box stock setup, though well sorted, allowed a bit too much chassis roll for the track conditions and created more mechanical grip than I needed. The chassis roll makes the car easy to drive in loose conditions, but on high-grip asphalt, too much traction will slow down your corner speed. I wanted to keep the same balance, so I moved the shocks out one hole on the towers. For the second qualifier, the TC10 was considerably better and quite competitive in the infield of the track. By keeping the overall balance of the first run but initiating turns more quickly (thanks to the stiffer suspension setting), the TC10 gave me the confidence to push harder. Throughout the rest of the race day, the small changes I made to the TC10 gave me faster lap times, and I have no doubt that more trigger and tuning time will shave more precious tenths off my laps.

+

  • Excellent handling right out of the box

  • Superb fit and finish

  • Top-shelf materials

  • Easy to work on and tune

  • Wheels not included

TEST GEAR
Airtronics M12


The Team C TC10 is a high-caliber sedan, which in turn demands the use of a radio of the same caliber. The M12 is Airtronics' flagship radio and the superstar that is considered the standard in the highest levels of racing. In hand, the M12 felt like a comfortable steering wheel in an exotic sports car. Its optional larger grip and steering wheel drop-down allowed me to further tailor it to my liking. Its extensive tuning menu helped me to precisely adjust the TC10's steering and throttle feel for ultimate control on the track. The M12 unlocked the full potential of the Airtronics Super Vortex Zero ESC and RX-472 receiver used in this performance test by allowing speed control adjustments to be made directly from the radio — a very useful feature when making adjustments on the fly right before a heat or main.

FINAL WORD

The TC10 works hard on the track, rewarding the driver with easy drivability, solid durability, and plenty of tuning options for any track. It's a solid performer at the local level looking to add to Team C's growing resume of race results. This comes to no surprise considering that the TC10 is a very well-designed and built sedan. After a full day of racing with the TC10, I was overall impressed with its high level of competence on the asphalt and ability to quickly adapt to track conditions. The TC10's price point puts it in the same class as most sedans on the market, but in my opinion, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck. There is one thing that money can't buy, and that's confidence, which you're sure to have when driving the TC10.

SOURCES

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TEAM DURANGO DEX410V4 http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/07/17/team-durango-dex410v4/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=team-durango-dex410v4 http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/07/17/team-durango-dex410v4/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:00:00 +0000 Erich Reichert http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/07/17/team-durango-dex410v4/ 1/10-SCALE ELECTRIC 4WD BUGGY | KIT

PHOTOS BY PETER HALL

Durango sharpens their 4WD and attacks the competition


The original Team Durango DEX410 is among the new-age, off-road rockets responsible for the transformation of the 4WD buggy class over the last decade. In the early 2000s, when the class was still at a loss for viable options from major manufacturers, the Team Durango 4WD buggy project quickly became one of the most exotic and sought-after buggies in the world. It all started with Durango founder Gerd Strenge lending a handful of hand-built prototypes driven by the fastest racers in the world, like Mark Pavidis, Billy Easton, Travis Amezcua, and more, for just one race weekend at a time. After Team Durango was officially founded in 2009, the newly named DEX410 was released to the public to rave reviews — and an IFMAR World Championship in the hands of Martin Achter. The platform has been updated nearly every year since, leading up to the v4 edition shown here, which boasts improvements to the suspension, drivetrain, and all over to make this the most efficient, durable, and best-balanced DEX410 to date.


VEHICLE SPECS

  • Item no.: TD102030

  • Scale: 1/10

  • Price: $400

  • Weight, as tested: 4 lb. (1,817g)

CHASSIS

  • Material: 2mm aluminum

  • Type: Machined plate with plastic side guards

SUSPENSION

  • Type: Lower A-arm with adjustable upper link

  • Inboard camber link positions (F/R): 6/12

  • Outboard camber-link positions (F/R): 2/3

  • Shock positions, towers (F/R): 4/4

  • Shock positions, arms (F/R): 2/3

SHOCKS

  • Bodies: Threaded aluminum, 12.4mm bore

  • Shafts: Black titanium nitride-coated steel, 3mm

  • Volume compensation: Bladder

DRIVETRAIN

  • Type/ratio: Shaft-driven 4WD, 2.47:1

  • Spur gear/pinion: 87T/21T

  • Differential F/R: Sealed bevel gear, silicone filled

  • Driveshafts: Steel CV-style

  • Bearings: Rubber sealed

WHEELS & TIRES

  • Wheels: Yellow dish wheels, 14mm hex

TEST GEAR (NOT INCLUDED)

  • Tires: Duratrax Persuader C3 Super-soft compound

  • Transmitter: Futaba 4PKS Super R

  • Receiver: Futaba R614FF-E

  • Speed Control: TrakPower MS-1

  • Motor: TrakPower 6.5T

  • Steering servo: Futaba S9155

  • Battery: TrakPower 6000mAh 80C 7.4V LiPo

LIGHTWEIGHT GEAR DIFFS

The DEX410 was one of the first cars to run gear differentials and they've been lightened for the v4 to lower rotating mass and improve acceleration. The diff cases are also now easier to remove for maintenance as well. Simply remove four screws from the end of the buggy and it pulls out without disassembling the rest of the drivetrain.

Durango was the first to include gear differentials in their 4WD kits and they've made a name for themselves as some of the best in the hobby. Because they're filled with oil and gears, a gear diff is more consistent and has more forward bite when exiting corners compared to a ball differential. For the DEX410v4, the fluid-filled diff gets upgraded with a set of lightweight cross-pins and internal gears. The weight reduction lowers the rotating mass of the assembly for better acceleration and consistency. Finally, the diffs are housed in newly designed gear cases that are easier to remove. Simply remove four screws and a plastic cover that holds them in place and you can rebuild the diffs without taking the rest of the car apart to get to them.

TWO-WAY SLIPPER CLUTCH

The 410v4 features an all-new Two-Way Slipper Clutch that slips independently for the front and rear wheels which keeps power moving to the wheels on the ground at all times.

For the v4, the slipper has been upgraded to Durango's new Two-Way Slipper Clutch that allows the front and rear wheels to have their own separate clutch. Because the wheels on either end of the buggy can slip on their own, the buggy can put the power down smoothly when two of the wheels are off the ground. The power from the clutch is transferred to the diffs through a set of high-strength universal driveshafts. The rear of the shaft enters the diff case at a steep angle to clear the batteries, which makes the smooth-operating universal joints essential to reduce heat and friction and get the power to the wheels efficiently.

LOW CG CHASSIS LAYOUT

The center drivetrain is raised up on the DEX410v4 in order to place the buggy's heaviest components like the motor and battery close to or right on the center of the chassis. Moving the majority of the vehicle's weight to the centerline lowers the center of gravity and improves handling.

The key to the DEX410's handling is its ultra-low center of gravity and centralized weight distribution. Rather than using a straight pack mounted to one side of the 2mm thick aluminum chassis and offsetting it with the motor on the other, or running a saddle pack with one half of the pack seated on each side of the center drive, the v4 tucks a saddle-style pack behind the slipper unit and directly underneath the driveshaft. In front of the slipper, the motor is mounted as close to the centerline as possible and the steering servo is directly below the front universal. Mounting the majority of the buggy's running weight on or as close to the chassis' centerline lowers its center of gravity and gives the buggy nimble handling. The trade off is that in order to remove the batteries you will have to remove the slipper and lift the rear driveshaft out of the way.

PRO SHOCK PACKAGE

12.4mm big bore shocks come standard on the v4 and are finished off with threaded aluminum bodies and black TiN shock shafts. The buggy also includes a full set of pistons including blanks that you can drill to your own specifications.

Durango equips the v4 with a full set of 12.4mm big bore shocks that features hard coated threaded aluminum bodies and all new low stiction O-ring seals. The seals are made of a special low-friction material that's very durable to maintain smooth shock movement under the toughest conditions. Inside the shocks, Durango gives you a full set of TiN coated shafts that are coated black rather than the traditional gold color and a choice of four different pistons as well as a full set of blank pistons that can be drilled to create optimal damping rates. Talk about tuning potential!

ENHANCED SUSPENSION TUNING

Both front and rear suspension assemblies have wheelbase adjustment built in to give you the ultimate in setup options and are finished off with DIMEC X ball cups for increased articulation.

With today's off-road races held on an increasing number of different tracks and surfaces, suspension adjustability is a must for any competitive buggy. Durango has outfitted their new buggy with front and rear arms that allow for nearly a half an inch of wheelbase adjustment. Up front, there are also new 19-degree aluminum caster blocks that provide tons of turn-in. Durango also includes their new DIMEC X ball cups that are specially shaped to provide an increased amount of articulation from top to bottom in the suspension travel. Being able to adjust the wheelbase gives the v4 more options for a wider variety of track conditions from loose to high-bite surfaces and from tight to sweeping turn designs.


+

  • Extremely adjustable chassis and suspension

  • Two-way slipper clutch really works!

  • Easy access diff design

  • Battery removal requires removing center drivetrain

  • So little chassis space, so much wire to tuck away

BEHIND THE WHEEL

For power, I installed TrakPower's MS-1 brushless speed control and 6.5T motor along with a their 6000mAh LiPo saddle pack battery. 4WD buggies are notorious not having a lot of room to run receiver and motor wires but the DEX410v4 takes this to a new level. All of the electronics are positioned next to each other on the chassis which means, and if your skill set allows, you'll want to shorten up the leads on your speed control and servo and swap the stock sensor cable for a shorter one. Durango's new cab forward body was sent to Larry at Kustom RC Graphics for a slick blue and yellow on carbon-fiber scheme that came out awesome and with a full set of super-soft compound Duratrax Persuader racing tires mounted up, the DEX410v4 was ready to hit the track. First at Wolcott Hobby's indoor facility where grip is high and agile handling and quick response are a must to put down laps at speed. The manual's box settings put the v4 in a “middle of the road” type of setup so I shortened the wheelbase on the front arms to get the car turning tighter and take advantage of its centrally mounted weight and put it closer to the front wheels. On the high-grip track, the buggy likes to be driven aggressively. Turn-in is instant and the balance of power and traction coming out of the turns leaves you pulling the trigger harder and sooner. Jumping is extremely controlled; steeper lift-offs result in a level flight in need of little to no throttle input to keep the car shiny side up. Over easier-graded jumps the v4 insists on a little extra gas to keep its nose in the air, but this type of attitude gets the car back on the ground and accelerating quickly. Wolcott's outdoor track is an equally hard packed, but more sandy type of surface, for which the Persuader tires were better designed. With less traction and wider sweeping turns, I pushed the front wheelbase all the way forward, and actually tucked the rear end forward a bit to put a little more weight on the back wheels. I also backed out the rear arm's droops screws to increase the amount of travel in the rear. On the looser surface, the rear bias wheelbase 410v4 handled takeoffs with ease, even considering the astounding amount of power the TrakPower 6.5 churned out. The slipper worked double time keeping the buggy tracking forward off the start line but quickly engages and launches the v4 to warp speed. Traction in a straight line is handled with ease by the full-time 4WD system and pitching the car into turns after a burst of speed, the buggy slid slightly but kept on line. Braking at the end of high-speed shoots settled the car in a more controlled manner that made the buggy easier to steer. The aggressiveness that the v4 insisted on indoors needs to be held back a bit when running outside but smooth tight lines and careful acceleration out of the corner resulted in a land missile of a buggy down the next shoot. Wolcott's outdoor track is designed with 1/8-scale vehicles in mind, and as such the jumps are big. Undeterred by extended flight times, the 410v4 gives you time to adjust its attitude in the air, pitch the car down and get it back on the ground whenever you want. Even over the jumps I completely overshot, the buggy landed with poise and pressed on with no loss of control as the chassis slapped on the ground; whichever wheels hit first were powered forward by the two-way slipper and the buggy kept on its course.

The Durango Buggy Story

Durango's original hand-built prototypes, with a polished aluminum chassis and gearboxes, were the most sought-after race cars of the early 2000s. (Photo by Sebastian Suerstedt)

When it was first designed at the turn of the millennium, the car referred to simply as “the Durango buggy” was something of RC folklore here in the U.S. Original designer Gerd Strenge had produced a handful of these prototype cars for himself and a few select pro drivers and they were nearly impossible to get your hands on. What set this buggy apart from the rest of the pack was its wild chassis layout: the steering servo was tucked up inside the nose of the car, with the speed control, receiver, and motor all in front of the middle of the car. Placing all of this up front left room for the battery pack to be positioned behind the center where it was put on the centerline with the driveshaft over it. This layout placed the majority of the car's weight down the middle of the car, and kept its center of gravity was massively low. Without all that weight to pitch side to side, the Durango buggies were fast, nimble and had consistent traction no matter where it was raced. Gerd worked with Serpent to put the car, to be named the S500, into mass production but the project was put on hold early in 2008 in response to a decline in the global economy. By the end of 2008, Gerd and designer Michael Vollmer formed “Team Durango” as its own brand and launched the car as we know it today, the DEX410. In 2009, the 410 took top honors in the IFMAR World Championship backed it up with a runner-up finish in 2011 at the hands of team driver Jörn Neumann. The DEX410 has lived on to see its all new fourth generation but has really changed very little over the years. Considering that the buggy pictured is a nearly 10-year-old prototype, the v4's lineage is apparent and the Durango way of doing things has been established as one of refinement and small changes to a revolutionary design that was clearly ahead of its time.

FINAL WORD

Team Durango doesn't make wholesale changes to their cars. When compared to the v3, you'd be hard pressed to identify a lot of what makes the v4 that much better of a buggy even though they're in there. As is often the case in life, the finer things are in the details; things like adjustable wheelbase front and rear, droop screw-limited rear arms, fine materials and well-thought-out, unique designs make this buggy even better than it already was. The DEX410's life story, at times, seemed impossible but its innovative layout and design won the hearts of racers instantly, and kept life behind the buggy until it finally came to be. When invention meets revolution, the combination results in success and with the finely tuned changes made to the v4 paired with all -new components like a two-way slipper and high- strength universal joints, the DEX410v4 is a champion in the making. The only question left is if you can handle it.

SOURCES

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KYOSHO SCORPION B-XXL VE http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/07/17/kyosho-scorpion-b-xxl-ve/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kyosho-scorpion-b-xxl-ve http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/07/17/kyosho-scorpion-b-xxl-ve/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:00:00 +0000 Aaron Waldron http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/07/17/kyosho-scorpion-b-xxl-ve/ PHOTOS BY JOEL NAVARRO

1/7-SCALE ELECTRIC 2WD DESERT BUGGY | RTR

Kyosho dresses up its just-right-sized buggy for the desert


There are plenty of different classes of RC vehicles that are relatively standardized across multiple manufacturers, like the 1/18-scale mini and the 2WD short course truck, and then there are vehicles like the Kyosho Scorpion XXL platform (reviewed in the February 2013 issue) that rebel against these social norms and dare to be different. The Scorpion's dimensions make it the only 1/7-scale vehicle on the market, slotted between the traditional 1/8-scale buggy and even larger-scale vehicles. The newest version, the B-XXL, adds a heap of scale appeal and radically transforms the driving experience, making it the perfect match for that open lot at the end of the cul-de-sac that's too rough for smaller vehicles but doesn't quite have enough room for a 1/5-scale vehicle to maneuver about. After reading up on this interesting vehicle by Kyosho, and then lifting its swing-away body, I couldn't help but be curious about how well it worked.

VEHICLE SPECS



  • Item no.: 30974

  • Scale: 1/7

  • Price*: $690

  • Weight, as tested: 12.3 lb. (5600g)

CHASSIS

  • Type: Stamped 3mm aluminum plate

SUSPENSION

  • Type (F/R): Lower H-arm with upper camber link

  • Inboard camber link positions (F/R): 1/2

  • Outboard camber link positions (F/R): 1/1

  • Shock positions, towers (F/R): 1/1

  • Shock positions, arms (F/R): 2/2

SHOCKS

  • Bodies: Plastic 18mm bodies with ride height clips

  • Shafts: 4mm, plated finish

  • Volume compensation: Bladder

DRIVETRAIN

  • Type/ratio: 2WD with three-gear transmission/3.49:1

  • Spur gear/pinion: 63/14

  • Slipper clutch: Dual-disc adjustable

  • Differential: Sealed oil-filled bevel gear

  • Driveshafts: Steel dogbones

  • Bearings: Metal-shielded

WHEELS & TIRES

  • Wheels: Kyosho black 8-hole wheels with red bead-lock

  • Tires: Kyosho all-terrain block pattern, open-cell foam

  • Body: Kyosho matte black Scorpion B-XXL, One11 Ink graphics

ELECTRONICS

  • Transmitter: Kyosho Syncro KT-201 2.4GHz FHSS

  • Receiver: Kyosho Syncro KR-200 2.4GHz 4-channel

  • Speed control: Team Orion Vortex R8 brushless LiPo speed control w/ reverse

  • Motor: Team Orion Vortex 7 2250Kv brushless motor

  • Steering servo: Kyosho KS-203 waterproof metal-gear, 128 oz.-in.

TEST GEAR (NOT INCLUDED)

  • Battery: Peak Racing 4200mAh 2S 7.4V 45C LiPo battery x2

*Price varies by dealer

TRACK-READY SUSPENSION

The engineering work on display here isn't an accident. The shock dropdown on the front arms and the low-axle design of the caster blocks play a huge part in the buggy's cornering performance.

Examples of Kyosho's decades of experience designing suspension geometry for 2WD buggies (with two IFMAR World Championships in 1987 and 2013 to their credit) can be found at both ends of the car. The unique front arm design maintains maximum ground clearance while lowering the shock mount like a gull-wing, and a wide shock tower stands up the coilover dampers for a more linear shock response. Those 13mm bladder-equipped beauties are, surprisingly, plastic — but you'd never know it with their plush action and quality feel. The front spindles lower the axle height significantly, contributing to the buggy's steering response and overall demeanor, and while there aren't many options for adjustment, the buggy does have a vertical ball stud and adjustable camber links at both ends.

FLIPPED 2WD POWERTRAIN

Technically, slipper clutches are not supposed to be used for traction control — they're simply supposed to absorb drivetrain shock through ruts and jumps. With this much power in a 2WD vehicle, though, you'd be forgiven for using that adjustment nut.

The term “mid-motor” is common among 2WD buggy circles these days, but while the Scorpion XXL platform places the transmission and motor in front of the rear axle like many of today's top racing buggies, it still uses a 3-gear transmission like a rear-motor car. — is means that in relation to the chassis, the motor spins in the opposite direction of today's 4-gear tranny-equipped vehicles. After that, the power is guided past a dual-disc adjustable slipper clutch before entering the gearbox, equipped with an oil-filled bevel gear dif ferential that's essential to helping tame a 2WD buggy. Steel dogbones key into the rear axles, which are fitted with 17mm hexes to match the front axles with inboard front bearings.

METAL/PLASTIC HYBRID TUB CHASSIS

Take off the scale front and rear bumpers, and the body mounts on the side, and the Scorpion XXL looks like a race-built 1/10-scale car on Miracle-Gro.

The main backbone of the Scorpion B-XXL is comprised of a stamped 3mm slab of black-anodized aluminum that's fortified with plastic side rails to increase rigidity and provide the mounting structure for the beefy, supportive roll cage. The body mount hinges at the back of the cage and is held down in front by body clips. The cage itself is mounted to the chassis using body clips as well. Up front you'll find a dual-bellcrank steering system with a 2mm aluminum steering rack, while the center of the car has an adjustable battery compartment with sliding side rails and a body-clipped retaining strap to hold a variety of different sized packs. The motor sits immediately afterward, driving a transmission located in front of the rear axle.

INCLUDED RUNNING GEAR

Team Orion's Vortex R8 is waterproof, as is the KS-203 steering servo. Make sure your LiPos are water-ready!

Kyosho's Syncro KT-201 provides all of an RTR radio's basic functions with an easy-touse digital screen, and it's light and comfortable with just four AAs.

Though not fitted with cockpit details like the original Scorpion XXL, the Lexan shell of the B-side is designed to mimic a Class 1 desert racing buggy and painted matte black, with inner front fenders that do a fantastic job of preventing body rattle and protecting the inside of the car from debris. Black and white graphics with red trim, printed by SoCal-based firm One11 Ink, perfectly complement the red bead-locks on the 8-hole black wheels. Those wheels are wrapped with block-treaded tires that are the same size on all four corners — when compared to the tires on the single-seater XXL, the fronts are 10mm larger in diameter and 12mm wider, and the same diameter but 16mm narrower in the rear. Power is provided by a waterproof Team Orion Vortex R8 speed control and the Vortex 7 2250Kv motor is designed for the original XXL, all controlled by the also-shared Syncro KT-201 2.4GHz radio system.


+

  • Tons of power

  • Athletic and thrilling off-road performance

  • Solid included running gear

  • Looks awesome!

  • Difficult to drive in slippery or sandy conditions

BEHIND THE WHEEL


Though nearly 40mph may not seem terribly fast, a 12-pound vehicle that's over two feet long provides plenty of reason to be alarmed when launching rocks and blitzing through increasingly rough terrain. Remember that whole reverse-rotation thing with the three-gear transmission? The gyroscopic effect of the motor has a slight tendency to make the buggy feel like it's fighting your encouragement for it to go straight, which is only made worse by the amount of horsepower on tap. On asphalt or a high-grip surface it's not very noticeable, but lower traction environments require a gentle trigger finger to harness the Scorpion's full potential. The transmission doesn't seem to affect the car's braking abilities, however, as the car comes to a stop under a reasonable amount of control for a 2WD vehicle that only locks up the rear tires.

It's difficult to believe, with identical suspension dimensions and rear tires that much narrower than that of its predecessor, but the overall handling balance of the B-XXL far outshines its single-cockpit sibling; credit the B-XXL's sure-footed composure on its much softer rubber. With appropriate restraint of my throttle finger (or not), Kyosho's big buggy absolutely shredded both of our favorite SoCal test sites with nimble handling and impressive bump absorption, making quick work of the makeshift track used for our video and soaking up every massive jump off of which I launched it — and there were plenty. Though its size makes it rather numb to mid-air inputs, the B-XXL touched down drama-free unless I was particularly bone-headed or overzealous, and even then it landed rubber-side down more often than not.

Not having the front wheels to pull the buggy along not only makes it more difficult to get the buggy moving quickly, but it doesn't help the buggy's relatively low ride height (for its size) when it comes to bashing through brush and small shrubbery, which trip up the B-XXL more than they would a monster truck. That's not really the point of this desert racer, though — the most brilliant, and rewarding, part of the whole Scorpion B-XXL is how much performance you can coax out of it with a bit of careful driving, versus the grip-it-and-rip-it approach of the common monster truck.

FINAL WORD

The Scorpion B-XXL stands out from an assortment of cookie-cutter car and truck classes in almost every way possible — its size, design, styling, and driving performance are unlike anything else on the market. Kyosho dared to be different (in a pretty awesome way) and the end result is a vehicle that's well-equipped, innovative, and interesting in every way. It's a bit of an odd size, and its 2WD powertrain requires a lighter touch than a 4X4, but for the appreciative hobbyist looking for something different, the Scorpion B-XXL is an entertaining mix of size, speed, and style.

SOURCES

Kyosho America kyoshoamerica.com

Peak Racing peakracing.com

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TAMIYA LAFERRARI http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/07/17/tamiya-laferrari/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tamiya-laferrari http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/07/17/tamiya-laferrari/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:00:00 +0000 RC Car Action http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/07/17/tamiya-laferrari/ 1/10-SCALE ELECTRIC 4WD TOURING CAR | KIT

PHOTOS BY JOEL NAVARRO

The only shot you'll have at driving Ferrari's hybrid monster


Tamiya's TT-02 chassis harkens back to the days of a ordable pavement pounders that placed an emphasis on low-buck fun. As the parking lot scene gave way to full-on competition designs, kits rapidly escalated in quality and performance — but also became more complex and expensive. While Tamiya has found plenty of success in that realm, winning five of 10 IFMAR World Championships in the class, the LaFerrari TT-02 is proof that Tamiya hasn't forgotten the leisure side of the hobby. Available as an unassembled kit that hovers around the $150 mark, this Italian-bred stallion offers an easy build with detailed instructions, simple construction, and a low parts count. Tamiya kits are legendary for their high-quality parts fitment and logical assembly process. The kit even includes a brushed motor and speed control, but we upped the ante and installed an LRP brushless power system for good measure — because anything “Ferrari” deserves top-shelf horsepower.


VEHICLE SPECS

  • Item no.: 58582

  • Scale: 1/10

  • Price: $155

  • Weight, as tested: 2 lb. 9 oz. (1276g)

CHASSIS

  • Type: Molded semi-tub

  • Material: Plastic

SUSPENSION

  • Type: Independent double-wishbone

  • Inboard upper arm positions (F/R): 1/1

  • Outboard upper arm positions (F/R): 1/1

  • Shock positions, towers (F/R): 2/2

  • Shock positions, arms (F/R): 2/2

SHOCKS

  • Bodies: Plastic friction shocks, 11mm bore with aluminum caps

  • Shafts: 10mm plastic

DRIVETRAIN

  • Type/ratio: Shaft-driven 4WD, 2.60:1

  • Spur gear/pinion: 70/22

  • Slipper clutch: None

  • Differentials (F/R): Gear-type

  • Driveshafts: Plastic front and rear dogbones, plastic center driveshaft

  • Bearings: Plastic and metal bushings

WHEELS & TIRES

  • Wheels: Tamiya 5-spoke, 12mm Hex

  • Tires: Tamiya 2.5 in. Street Treads

  • Body: Tamiya LaFerrari

INCLUDED ELECTRONICS

  • Speed control: Tamiya TEU-105BK

  • Motor: 540 brushed 27T stock, closed endbell

TEST GEAR (NOT INCLUDED)

  • Transmitter & receiver: Tamiya Finespec 2.4GHz 2-channel

  • Speed control: LRP Spin Super brushless

  • Motor: LRP Vector K7 13.5T

  • Steering servo: Tamiya TSU-03

  • Battery: LRP 2S 7.4V 5700mAh LiPo

Rather than a plain rod shape, the plastic center shaft has a girder-like design to resist flex.

ALL-PLASTIC DRIVETRAIN

With the motor cover removed, the plastic motor mount is revealed.

The TT-02 chassis saves a bunch of bucks by spec'ing an all-plastic drivetrain, and Tamiya does a good job of engineering the parts around the material. The outdrives and dogbones are extra beefy, and use steel cross-pins and stub axles for strength in these high-stress areas. The main shaft is heavily webbed and ribbed to resist twisting, and keys deeply into the drive-pinion cups. Likewise, the bevel pinion and differential ring gears are ruggedly molded with broad tooth faces, and the diffs each contain four spider gears. Plastic bushings support the main shaft and stub axles to keep the kit's cost low, but the diffs spin on 12×8mm ball bearings. Once greased and assembled, you can expect long, long wear out of the drivetrain, which is under-taxed by the kit motor (and why we had no hesita tion in dropping in more horse power).

FULLY LICENSED FERRARI BODY

As Ferrari's new top-shelf model, its body design is among the most radical of the Italian marquee's lineup, and Tamiya absolutely nailed the car's proportions in stunning detail.

The awesomely scale RC body is a replica of the full-scale LaFerrari first unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show. Tamiya's version has flawless body proportions and smooth, well-defined lines. Detachable rear brake cooling cowls and scale side mirrors are a great touch, and the body is ready to accept front and rear LED light systems with the included mounts and brackets. The body comes clear, ready to accept the color of your choice — but really, does any color on Earth look better on a Ferrari than red?

ONE-PIECE SEMI-TUB CHASSIS

The TT-02 chassis does a great job of packaging the electronics, and it's an easy build.

Battery access is easy, just yank a couple of body clips. Here, an LRP 5700mAh LiPo provides the power.

The TT-02 chassis is cleverly designed to minimize the number of individual parts, and this is evidenced by the semi-tub chassis, which features integrated front and rear lower gearboxes, drive-shaft bearing supports, and arm mounts. The chassis configuration is typical for shaft drive, with the battery on the left side of the car and all the electronic gear on the right. As always with Tamiya kits, the fit and finish of the parts is impeccable. The thickly molded ABS construction can take a hit and return perfectly to its form tweak-free, thanks to the one-piece design and plastic with just the right amount of give. Although the material is flexible, excessive flex is minimized with torsional support beams that line the bottom of the chassis, which results in good steer ing response and traction on clean surfaces.

TEST GEAR
LRP Spin Super Speed Control and Vector K7 13.5T Motor

The Spin Super arrives pre-wired with a genuine Deans plug. The K7 motor is fully rebuildable and features easy-to-solder wire tabs.

The LRP Spin Super speed control is an excellent entry-level, sensored unit that features a small footprint and forward and reverse operation. The 13.5T motor is more than enough to accelerate this dream machine to 33+ mph during testing — more than enough speed to satisfy even the most critical RC enthusiasts. And to provide an impeccable power source, LRP's 5600mAh “Competition Car” LiPo gives the Ferrari plenty of instant-access battery burst, with runtimes averaging around 15 minutes long — plenty of run time considering the rpm generated by the 13.5T motor. Although many users may not run such hot gear, it is great to know that the LaFerrari's drivetrain has the potential to handle high-performance power.

  • LRP Spin Super speed control: Item no. 80230, $75

  • LRP Vector K7 13.5 motor: 50461, $65

  • LRP Comp. Car Hardcase 5700mAh LiPo: 430206, $100

REVERSIBLE SUSPENSION COMPONENTS

Fixed-length arms lock in the suspension settings, and friction shocks absorb jolts. Gotta love the faux brake calipers — extra style points!

The TT-02's suspension features fixed-length upper and lower suspension arms, which typically means that suspension settings are fixed. In the case of the TT-02, however, Tamiya ingeniously designed the suspension parts to be configured in a variety of positions to alter the chassis' dimensions. Ride height can be set high or low by flipping the hub carriers, width can be increased by installing wider-off set hex hubs, and wheelbase can be set to “short” by flipping the suspension arms. The width and wheelbase adjustments will come in handy if you decide to outfit the chassis with a different body, and the “high” ground clearance setting can help with rough parking lots. Expect a bouncy ride at any setting though, as Tamiya specs friction shocks with the TT-02. Each shock has just four parts that cleverly interlock together without hardware or tools, making for speedy assembly. You can upgrade to Tamiya's oil-filled CVA shocks later for a smoother ride.


+

  • Easy and fun to build

  • Lots of upgrade potential

  • Highly detailed body

  • Chassis can be configured for different body styles

  • Oil-filled shocks are not standard

  • Tires don't include inserts

Here's the real deal — Tamiya nailed it!

Ferrari's Hot-Rod Hybrid

Stuck somewhere between exotic and erotic lays the LaFerrari — an extremely exclusive hybrid built to overload the senses. It is the first Ferrari in decades designed outside the Pininfarina studio. The resin-infused, carbon-fiber body is a design that challenges the outrageousness of Zender, McLaren, Lamborghini, and even the Vector. How fast is this very limited production (just 499) Italian? Try this on for size: 0-60 in 2.7 seconds, reaching 125mph in 6.8 seconds and tops out at 218mph. It has a 789 horsepower, 6.3L, V-12 engine. But, if that's not enough, LaFerrari also draws acceleration from an additional 161hp HY-KERS electric motor for a grand total of 950hp. Yes, this is a true hybrid unlike a Prius owner's wildest dreams. With 517 lb.-ft. of torque and the ability to rev past 9,000rpm, this is the world's ultimate (for now) sports car. And the price? Well, as they say, “if you have to ask …” The only ones not asking are part of the Jay Leno Car Club. As for the rest of us, try $1.5 million.
—Alan Paradise

BEHIND THE WHEEL

Unlike a slammed competition touring car that can only run on a smooth track, the LaFerrari has generous ground clearance for all-around street and sidewalk running. It almost feels like a rally car, easily handling dusty, uneven surfaces and minor debris. Cracked asphalt, drainage dips, and other pavement imperfections were easily handled. For really rough stuff, flipping the reversible C-hubs will give extra ground clearance. High-speed testing was completed in an empty tennis court, which had recently been resurfaced. Thanks to the LRP 13.5T brushless motor, the car had plenty of grunt off the line. The efficient 4WD shaft system put the rpm to the ground with authority, and although the stock tires that come with the car are decent, they lack tire inserts. As a result, traction suffers a bit, but the silver lining is that the LaFerrari almost feels like a hybrid drift car, because it is easy to transition right into an aggressive drift after building a little speed. If you are looking to improve high-speed handling, upgrade the tires, but even if you don't, you will still have a blast.

Aggressive cornering is a bit of a challenge for the LaFerrari, as the included friction-type shocks (compared to the oil-filled shocks included with most other kits) are a bit bouncy and don't provide much damping. That said, the shocks are definitely adequate, especially for beginners who don't have any experience with oil-filled shocks. And as drivers gain experience, they can easily upgrade to oil-filled shocks — giving themselves something to grow into. The LaFerrari's fixed steering assembly has a surprising amount of potential, but the included fixed linkages are more user friendly and incredibly easy to install. The LaFerrari turns sharp at low speeds, and at higher velocity will oversteer entertainingly through turns as you adjust your line with the throttle.

FINAL WORD

With the LaFerrari, Tamiya successfully hits multiple marks. To start, it is rare to find fully licensed Ferrari items in RC. And Tamiya doesn't disappoint with the LaFerrari; its scale appearance and body details are amazing, which is sure to make it popular with existing hobbyists and even draw newcomers to the scene. More than anything, though, Tamiya succeeded in releasing an unassembled touring car kit that someone with little or no experience can enjoy. And with a slew of attractive upgrades from Tamiya, drivers can add parts whenever they see fit, transforming this stock kit into something competitive on the track. When it's built up with aftermarket goodies, or simply driven as-is, the LaFerrari is something that any RC enthusiast can enjoy.

SOURCES

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PROTEK R/C PRODIGY 612 DUO AC/DC CHARGER http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/06/27/protek-rc-prodigy-612-duo-acdc-charger/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=protek-rc-prodigy-612-duo-acdc-charger http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/06/27/protek-rc-prodigy-612-duo-acdc-charger/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 15:00:00 +0000 The RC Car Action Team http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/06/27/protek-rc-prodigy-612-duo-acdc-charger/ TRIED · TESTED · TORTURED

The Prodigy goes full-option

The ProTek R/C Prodigy 612 Duo AC/DC, like many other dual chargers on the market, shares multi-chemistry, dual-channel charging and discharging among other things on its list of pluses. But its additional features such as the Precharge function, that claims to be able to revive over-discharged LiPos, and the Digital Power Program, which can power other DC devices from 3 to 24 volts, make it stand out from the crowd. An all-metal case, bright back-lit screen, and high output charge and discharge finish it off in top-shelf fashion. Let's check it out.

SPECS

  • Input voltage: AC 110 or 220 volts, DC 11-18 volts

  • Battery type: Ni-Cd/NiMh/ Li-ion/LiPo/LiFe/Pb

  • Cell count: NiCd/NiMh: 1-16 cells; Lithium: 1-6 cells

  • Charge current: 0.1-12.0A

  • Discharge current: 0.1-5.0A

  • Digital power output: 3-24 volts

  • Size: 8.2 × 6.7 × 2.5 in. (208 × 170 × 63mm)

  • Weight: 2lb. 4 oz. (1250g)

  • Price: $170

PLUS

  • ⊕ Cutting-edge features

  • ⊕ Easy-to-use, familiar menu system

MINUS

  • ⊝ Does not include a charge lead for Traxxas plugs

FEATURES

The 612 Duo comes with everything you'll need to get charging; an AC power cord, DC power supply lead, charge leads, alligator clips, and balance boards for each channel are all included.

The Duo features a Precharge mode that allows you to revive LiPo packs that have been discharged too far. Simply plug your pack into the balancer and start this mode, and it will bring your packs back from the dead.

The 612 Duo is a dual-channel charger, so it can charge two packs at one time. Like many other chargers on the market, it can handle multiple battery chemistries and charges up to 12 amps per channel and discharges up to 5 amps. The body of the Duo is aluminum, so it acts like a huge heat sink to keep the internals running cool. The charger also features a bright backlit LED that displays all pertinent information. Each side of the unit has outputs for the battery leads for its associated channel, a balance board plug, and an input for an optional temperature sensor. The left side also has the AC power input while the right gets the DC input. The menu system is your standard issue, but has some additions that make the 612 Duo unique:

  • Charge: Charging is pretty straightforward. You can choose from LiPo, LiFe, Li-Ion, Pb, NiMH, or Ni-Cd batteries. Pressing “Start/Enter” allows you to scroll through the settings to adjust current rate, capacity, and cell counts, and holding the same button initiates the process. Once charging, the screen displays current rate, pack voltage, charge time, and capacity charged. While the process is running, you can use the right arrow key to view individual cell voltage (when using the included balance board) and the left arrow key to view and even modify all presets such as end voltage, capacity cutoff, safety timer, battery temperature cutoff, charger temperatures, and input voltage.

  • Precharge: This mode is meant to revive LiPo packs that have been discharged below 3 volts per cell. When the Precharge mode is used, the charger ignores the low voltage setting that is typically in place for Lithium batteries and applies a steady current to the pack until it is back up to voltage. This feature must be turned off when not in use but is a great way to revive packs that would otherwise be lost forever.

  • Balance Charge: The Duo's Balance Charge feature handles all the same info and process as the Charge feature, but monitors each cell in the pack and charges them individually to ensure they have the exact same voltage per cell. This keeps the pack healthy and improves run time and performance in the long run.

  • storage: Storage mode evaluates the battery and automatically determines whether it needs to be charged or discharged to reach its preset 40% voltage. This is ideal for long-term storage of your packs and keeps lithium chemistry packs from going bad when not used for extended periods of time.

  • Discharge: The 612 is capable of discharging all packs at up to 5 amps and can bring them down to a user-set voltage of between 3.0 and 4.0 volts per cell when using the balance board. Although discharging isn't recommended for LiPo batteries, it is a nice feature to have if you end up with a charged pack you didn't run.

  • User Settings: Within the User Settings menu you'll find all preset data and can make adjustments to the parameters as you choose. Things like precharge and wait timers are set here, as well as NiMH and Ni-Cd voltage sensitivity, temperature, time and capacity cutoffs, and even a cutff for input power. There's also a menu to turn all beeps and buzzers on or off.

  • Digital Power: This feature turns either of your 612 Duo's outputs into a power supply. If your actual power supply only has one set of outputs or if you don't own a power supply and are running the Duo on AC power, you can use it to power other chargers and DC devices with 3 to 24 volts of power.

TESTING

Without question, one of the most unique features of the Prodigy 612 Duo is the Pre-charge feature. I'm as guilty as any of leaving a battery plugged in after I'm done running, forgetting about it for weeks on end, and running the pack down to zero volts. With Precharge turned on and set up, I connected one of my “someday I'll throw this pack out” LiPo packs and began the charging process. Zero volts turned to one, one turned to two and a half, and in a few minutes, the battery's voltage was back from the dead and ready to be charged! Precharge will charge the pack to its proper peak detection, however, ProTek recommends that you monitor the charge carefully. After all, you are dealing with a pack that was otherwise irreparably damaged. With the pack charged, I decided that the best thing for this once-deceased battery would be to balance it to get things back on the right foot. I turned off Precharge from the User Setting menu, returned to the main set of menus, and selected Balance. As the pack balanced out, I pressed the right arrow key to view each cell's voltage. It topped off the pack when both cells settled on 4.2 volts/cell and signaled me with an audible buzzer. Next, I set up the Digital Power feature and set it to 10 amps and 14 volts. I plugged another charger into Channel 2, pressed “Start/Enter,” and the screen showed the power coming up. Then the charger turned on! Obviously the limit of this feature is whatever your source for power is to begin with. If you're using AC power, you will rely on the internal power supply, which can handle 12 amps to feed your other device, and if you're using another power supply, you're good up to its output rating. With Channel 1 charging a battery and a solid 5 amps, Channel 2 had another dual-charger fired up and charging two more packs at another 5 amps each. If it weren't for the Precharge feature, I would argue that this is the coolest feature of the 612 Duo.

THE VERDICT

The ProTek R/C Prodigy 612 Duo is a versatile charger that can adapt to any situation you have. With features like Precharge which can recover over discharged packs, it's worth its weight in gold. The Digital Power output is rock solid and is only limited by your imagination. Use it to power more chargers and expand your capability beyond just two packs. It can be used as a power supply if you don't own one for a number of other devices like motor testers, pit lamps and anything else that needs DC power on your workbench. It has all the same basic charge and discharge features that have become the norm, things like a Balance charge and an intuitive Storage feature but it's these other features that put the Prodigy 612 Duo a step ahead of the competition. —Erich Reichert

SOURCES

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