Category Archives: Remote Control

Spring Upgrades For The Mini 8ight

Spring is here (or so the calendar says) and it’s time for me to slip back into my RC hobby. What? You thought that was over? I guess it’s not.

Last year I had problems with the Losi Mini 8ight losing contact with the radio and smashing into things. I called Losi but the best they could offer was to have me ship the car and radio back to them. With today’s shipping prices? No thanks.

I decided to buy a new Spektrum radio with multi-model support in case I end up with a 2nd car but the DX3C has iffy reviews and the new DX4 with AVC isn’t out yet. I’m impatient so I went the cheap route: I ordered a Turnigy GTX3. For $40 I wasn’t expecting much but it couldn’t be worse than the radio included in the RTR kit. I’d have to swap out the receiver since the Turnigy isn’t DSM but luckily it includes one in the box.

The radio arrived on Wednesday and I was pleasantly surprised with the build quality. It’s not going to win any awards but it’s no more flimsy than the Losi radio and it has a lot more features like a backlit screen. Even my Spektrum DX6i which cost 3 times as much doesn’t have that and neither would the DX3C if I had bought it.

Here’s the radio fresh out of the box. I’ll write up my thoughts once I have more time with it.

Turnigy GTX3

As I mentioned, it included a receiver which was easy enough to swap in place of the SR300. It’s quite a bit smaller.

Turnigy GTX3 Receiver

Here it is installed in the chassis.

GTX3 Installed

I’ve only had time to run up and down my driveway a few times but it seems to work well. I won’t know if this solved my problem until I put in some serious wheel time, unfortunately the weather isn’t making that easy right now.

During my many crashes of 2013, I managed to bend the front and rear shock towers. I found these beautiful machined aluminum towers on The Toyz website and ordered both. I also swapped the shock tops out for Ofna bits. I’m not sure if the shock towers or the shock tops are the issue, but the rear shocks rub against the tower too much to work. For now, I’ve pulled the rear tower and put the stock one back in after straightening it a bit in a vice. I also installed plastic shock guards on the front and rear.

Front Shock Tower

This should be enough to get 2014 started, we’ll see how long it lasts before I’m rebuilding the whole thing again.

Everyone wants more carnage.

Detroit got a taste of spring today with temperatures in the low 60’s so I took the Losi Mini 8ight out for a spin at a local park. I had a lot of fun but then it got messy.

8ight_carnage

About 15 minutes into the first battery, I noticed the radio was randomly losing range. In hindsight, I should have stopped driving but being an RC newb, I swapped the LiPo for a fresh one and kept bashing. Shortly after the battery change, I lost steering input and drove full throttle into a parking block. The impact destroyed the front suspension mount, ripped the shock out of the Driven Productions shock tower, and bent one of the front turnbuckle rods.

Summer isn’t here yet, I’m sure I can top this.

Budget 450 build update

In typical fashion, I’ve picked up yet another project I probably don’t need, I’m attempting to build a 450 class RC helicopter. I went the cheap route and while I’m starting to regret it (as I always do), I’m pushing through to the finished product.

The helicopter kit is a Hobby King 450 CCPM 3D Ver. 2 which costs just under $30. If I could start over, I’d buy the HK 450GT-PRO V2 but for now, I’ll deal with what I have.

I also went cheap with the components picking up a Detrum 450 brushless combo from Hobby Partz. I’m sure the servos won’t last and there’s no high speed servo for the tail but I already have the parts so I might as well continue.

I’d describe my progress thus far as “fumbly”. Just a few minutes ago I realized I had assembled the tail upside down which meant I had to tear it all back apart. Chalk it all up to the learning process right?

Here’s the progress thus far, the servos are mounted (correctly I hope) and the tail is mostly assembled. I have a 3 day weekend coming up and I hope to get close to completion.

450_servos

A new heli in the stable

This is a Kyosho Concept 30 DX, a nitro powered helicopter from the late 80’s. As you might have guessed, they don’t make these any more and there aren’t any new parts available either.

Kyosho Concept 30 DX
Kyosho Concept 30 DX

This heli belongs to my wife’s uncle who received it as a gift from a friend. It’s in very nice shape but it’s going to need some TLC if we want to get it off the ground. If I manage to return it to flight, this old bird will only see leisurely hovering sessions to minimize the chance of a bad crash.

Here’s my Blade MSR next to the Concept 30 to give you an idea of the size, it’s a big one.

Kyosho Concept 30 DX next to a Blade MSR
Kyosho Concept 30 DX next to a Blade MSR

This is a nitro heli which is new territory for me. Based on how long it has been sitting, I’ll need to disassemble the engine and most likely replace the seals and bearings. The Concept World website has the DX manuals but sadly they have very little information on the engine itself. Hopefully I’ll still be able to locate all the parts necessary for a rebuild.

So that’s the new project. It’s a rather daunting one but with any luck, it will see air time again.