Category Archives: Remote Control

That didn’t take long.

I broke it!

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I slammed into a hard pile of snow while attempting to turn on wet concrete and it didn’t end well. The lower control arm mount broke causing the arm to separate from the body. Luckily it costs $6 to buy all of the lower control arm mounts.

In related news, switching to a LiPo battery makes a huge difference in power. One might assume the extra speed played a part in the crash but I choose not to comment.

Wondering about weight

I was curious how a nickel-metal hydride battery and a LiPo of roughly the same dimensions might match up in the weight department. Luckily I have a postal scale and all sorts of spare time.

First up, the Losi 1100 mAh NiMH that ships with the Losi Mini 8ight.

m8_nimh_weight

I’m comparing it to the Turnigy 1700mAh Lithium Polymer battery from HobbyKing. The Turnigy is slightly smaller in all dimensions while providing 600mAh more power and a savings of $22 over the Losi battery.

m8_lipo_weight

As you can see, the Turnigy saves a full ounce of weight and delivers more power. I haven’t run the LiPo since I’m waiting on my charger but I’m fairly certain I won’t use the NiMH battery once I’ve tasted LiPo power.

The new toy and some upgrades

Recently I picked up a Losi Mini 8ight with some gift money left over from the holidays. I had promised myself I wouldn’t expand beyond the RC helicopter hobby but that’s not how things worked out. Now in hindsight I see that ignoring the RC car genre would have been a mistake, this little thing is a blast!

Losi Mini 8ight
Losi Mini 8ight

As these things go, this car was relatively inexpensive while still having bells and whistles that weren’t available when I was a kid. Stuff like electronic speed controllers, brushless motors, and 2.4ghz radios are pretty much standard today on just about every RC car on the market. If you don’t know what I just said, it adds up to a little car that’s too fast for an old man like me to handle.

When you throw a lot of speed at a bad driver, crashes are the norm. When you crash, you break things so I took some steps to preempt larger costs by upgrading a couple problem areas. I don’t know how it was 15 years ago but these days almost every part can be upgraded if you can stomach the cost. As with anything, the parts range from appearance to protection and I need all the protection I can buy.

Mini 8ight front end
Mini 8ight with RPM front bumper and Driven Productions delrin shock tower.

What you see here is an RPM front bumper and a Driven Productions delrin shock tower. Both of these address problems I saw in my first few driving sessions.

The Mini 8ight ships with almost no bumper to speak of so any upgrade is a good one and that’s where the RPM bumper comes in. It’s big enough to protect from running into things while still looking like it belongs. When you consider the cost of the parts behind the bumper, the ~$9 price tag makes it well worth it.

After you’ve piloted this buggy for a few minutes, you quickly see a glaring problem with the design. When you flip upside down, the car rests on the front shock caps which are made of plastic. Land upside down enough and the caps will break which, at the rate I was going, wouldn’t take long. The Driven Productions shock tower covers the caps so when I’m upside down, they’re not taking the damage. There’s no data on how long this tower will last but I’m confident it will save me from having to rebuild my shocks over and over.

That’s the end of the upgrades so far. I’ve challenged myself to only upgrade things I identify as weak areas, this means I’m going to try to keep the car as stock as possible. Based on the amount of crashes I’m experiencing, it won’t take long to drain a few more bucks from my wallet.

The new work area

workbench

We purchased this house a little over 2 years ago, ecstatic to pay less than our rental home and very happy to have a second bathroom. As excited as that extra toilet and shower made us, I can count on my fingers and toes the number of times that tiny basement bathroom has been used.

But what’s this? Someone from decades prior has set up a work bench of sorts. Sure it’s just a bunch of 1950’s era kitchen cabinets relocated to the basement but who can argue with this location? There’s the aforementioned bathroom to the left and a refrigerator to the right. What else could a man possibly need?

As I dive further into the hobby of remote controlled vehicles, I need a place to work. I’ve been doing everything at the desk in my office, a task made near impossible by the amount of clutter I tend to live in. As the wife and I performed our pre-spring cleaning of the basement, I saw this area as a new frontier, a place I could claim as my own, a place that might provide a sanctuary for my remote controlled hobbies.

This is where I will build my future helicopter (an Align 450 T-rex clone), it’s where my existing helicopters live, where my Losi Mini 8ight is stored when it’s not outside flipping upside-down because the driver isn’t all that great. It’s where I’ll store the tools I designate as the “indoor tools”, separate from the tools in the garage. None of this makes much sense but that’s how I tend to work. Perhaps this area will end up dusty and unused, or maybe this time around I’ll find a hobby that captivates me longer than anything else.