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Old 04-07-2008, 05:57 PM   #1
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Default Building my first real competitive car.

I know this question probably gets asked a million times a day but I need some help from all you guys(and gals) that are up to date with industry.

I just purchased a XXX-4 G+ Buggy kit. My plan is to keep it a indoor track car only since I already have a XXX-NT for outdoor and back yard stuff. I am probably gonna start out just going to the local tracks and practicing until I feel I can put in a bunch of solid laps before I start racing. I am not completely new to R/C cars, I currently own a XXX-NT and a XXX-S sedan and spent a bunch of time a few years ago with a couple associated B3's.

What I am looking for is what kind of equipment I should get to make a competitive indoor 4wd buggy. I don't need the best equipment money can buy, but also don't want to buy the cheap "sport" equipment. I have been out of the sport for about 6 or so years and I know times have certainly changed.

The only thing I have bought for the car is a radio, a JR XS3 system. I was gonna just buy another receiver for one of my XR2i's but I heard AM radios are not the best choice for racing or track in regard to interference. Is the XS-3 a good solid unit?

Next is Motor and Speed Control. I am leaning towards brushless cause it seems like thats where everyone is headed but is it really worth it? If so what's a good system to get? If a brushed system is the way to go then what's a good set-up? The tracks around here are really tight for the most part. One of the tracks looks more like a 1/18 scale track but they race 1/10's on them from what I'm told.

Now for the batteries. Do I go LiPo or just stick with NiMh? I already have a NiMh charger.

I thank you for taking the time and reading my short novel here. I'm really looking forward to getting this car built and on the track!

-Jeremy
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:13 PM   #2
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Check to see if you local track will allow you to run mambas(sensorless bl systems). If they will then go & pick up a mamba sidewinder 5700 system(about like a 10-13 turn motor depending on gearing). Then for a battery lipos will be much cheaper then nimh cells since you only need one of them. Then for a servo pick up anything w/ less then .15 transit time & 90oz. + of torque @ 4.8 volts.
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:42 PM   #3
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If you really plan on sticking to racing and going to the track, get the fastest (with torque) servo you can afford--ESPECIALLY for a car that is tough to steer on a tight indoor track like the XXX4. Can't go wrong with JR 9000s or 9100s. Steering servo is SO important--going from a slow servo to a 9000s changes the whole car. Can't stress how important this is.

Get the best radio you can afford--M11, 3pk (or new 4pk) Helios, maybe dx3r. Makes a difference regardless of what people say.

Brushless is worth it. Period. Myself, I would just stick to an LRP Sphere comp 07 with a 6.5 or 7.5 Novak if on an indoor track. Super smooth very reliable setup. Maybe 8.5 if very small track. I have had 3 LRP motors go bad, never had a problem with Novak and they run great.

A one-way is nice to have on the xxx4--if its a tight track. Does make it a little tougher to drive so maybe run a diff up front until you are comforable with the car. Stock setup on the XXX4 doesn't steer at all IMO--so find someone who is fast with the car and see how they are setup.

Get spares--the xxx4 is not the most durable car in the world. Get the alloy front brace in 7.5 and 5 (if you can find the 7.5). The alloy inner braces transmit too much to the chassis--which might break. Better off keeping the graphite/plastic inner braces and replace them instead of a $50 chassis.

Get the alloy hinge pin brace for the rear.

Stock titanium tie rods are junk. Get some Lunsford when they break. which they will.

Spare arms, shock towers, diff balls, thrust bearings, and alloy cvds--or better yet get the Losi bones--they free up the suspension and give more side bite in the rear. also, the stock alloy cvds while nice and light only last about 15 batt. packs before the pin holes elongate too much.

Tires. Get the tires the fast guys are using, get the foams they are using and find out what tire sauce if any they are using. Use what they use until you get a feel for what works/doesn't work. Tires are 85% of how the car handles and drives. If you are using the wrong tires the rest of the car setup won't matter as it will never be as fast as it could be.

If you can afford Lipos go for it. Any of the Orions are good--3600 and 4800 especially. Also, I have been running the new SMC 28c 5000 mah and they are awesome. Punchier than the Orions. Lipo is totally worth it but can get expensive--even just buying two packs up front could be $250 for some nice packs. Its a definite plus but you can pick up really good matched ni-mh for $45-$50 a pack--get 4 of those to start if no lipo.
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:24 PM   #4
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I should preface this by first saying that I'm also a newbie, so I don't know it all. However, I also just recently built my first competitive car and did a lot of reading through the same crap that you're probably going to, so I'm about a month ahead of you and might be able to offer some insight.

Brushless: definitely worth it unless you're the kind of guy that loves wrenching and maintaining. The novak 13.5 is a fantastic motor and is raced as "stock" class even though seems to be a little faster than the brushed equivalent. Absolutely no maintenance, just plug and play.

Lipo: Also definitely worth it. I've used Nimh and NIcd batteries before, lipo is a whole new level. I've got 2 trakpower 4900s (not cheap, $120 apiece), and I can run all day or until my car breaks. You never have to discharge, and they never seem to run out. I haven't really tested one yet from start to stop, but I think I could probably run 35-40 minutes straight.

For radio, I got the Futaba 3pm 2.4ghz FASST system. My friend got the Spektrum DX2.0 2.4ghz. (both between $150-$190) The 2.4ghz radios are pretty kickass because there's no crystals, no frequency conflicts. No worries about some kid in the pits turning on his radio and crashing your car. d16dcoe45 suggested getting the most expensive radio that you can afford, I don't really understand that. Maybe I'll realize somewhere down the road that I need all the extra settings or whatever, but for now I really like my radio.

Speed control: I bought the Novak GTB, and it seems pretty good, but my friend got the SpeedPassion and I'm jealous. If you decide on brushless, these are both good choices, but with the novak, you set it up by using flashing LEDs, the Speedpassion comes with a "tuning box" that you plug right into the speed control and you can adjust all the settings with a digital display.

For tires and setup info, I agree with d16dcoe45, just see what the fast guys are running, but just buy good gear first and start running the stock setup. Just keep in mind (and in your budget) that you're going to end up buying new tires, wheels, springs, tire "sauce", and various other things that add up quite a bit.

steering servo: I got an airtronics 357, it's not top of the line, but it's good. I don't think I'd run much less. I think list price is around $75, I got it slightly used from somebody I trusted for $50. Which brings up another point... keep an eye out for used gear. Lots of people sell perfectly good gear because they want something different or something newer or they just have extra stuff.

Good luck.
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Old 04-07-2008, 11:35 PM   #5
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If you get heavy into racing or rc in general I can almost guarentee you will want one of the top radios--3pk, m11, dx3r Ko Propo Helios --or the new Ko Propo. I bought 2 cheaper radios before I finally got a 3pk. If I did it over I would have bought the 3pk (or m11) from the jump. if you get a DX3.0 or Futaba 3pm which are both fine radios, at some point down teh line I can guarentee (if you get heavy into racing) you will want a radio that gives you the best interface you can have with your car. The radio is the only link between you and your car--its probably the most important item in your RC hobby.

Pro radios don't just have more features they really do feel better. Ask anyone who runs one. Most guys I race with who started with a mid-grade radio has eventually upgraded to an M11 or 3pk--I am faster with my 3pk than I am with the DX 3.0. It fits my hand better, there is less deadband for my fingers on teh throttle, the response is quicker-the steering and throttle are alot smoother, its built a hell of alot better, it has more memory, it shows you graphically what each change is doing, you can run FM or 2.4 on the same system. One of the best purchases I have made.

For the m11 its the same thing--the throttle tension is adjustable. So is the 3pk but you have to open up the radio to change it. Its a lot of little things that add up to better response.

also if you race nitro the top of the line radios have features that mid grade units do not have. With electric you don't use many of those features but to me the m11 and 3pk (and the dx3r) just have a better "feel" than the cheaper radios.
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Old 04-08-2008, 09:38 AM   #6
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Thanks guys for your input so far! With your help, I'm thinking things will be a lot less stressful down the road.

-Jeremy
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:51 AM   #7
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Dcoe is right, If your commited go with his advice. Thats the bases and the best response you gnna get in terms of info about the car you bought and how the story always goes if you get serious.

I wouldnt get the mamba max cause it has 5v bec and is not allowed in spec classes which is where beginners usually race.

lrp sphere comp 07 or gtb.

Get a great servo. It will make you better.
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