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Old 03-17-2009, 11:47 PM   #1
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Default After 20 plus years, getting back in the game... great forum!

Back in my teenage years, '85-'89, I used to run 1/10 electric offroad. I started with the Kyosho Turbo Optima and ran 4wd modified, then switched to 2wd, first with a Turbo Ultima which I modded quite a bit (I believe the name of the company was Hot Tricks) with alloy suspension, fiberglass pan, etc. Eventually I went with a Losi JRX2 (not much I needed to do to that!), and ran a few races with it back in the day. Wish I had those cars now...

Anyhow, I'm getting the bug again, and am taking a look at running 4wd modified. It seems the popularity has gone to nitro over the years, but I still want to run electric.

Even though my biggest issue will be learning to drive again after 20 years, I don't like buying junk, the JRX2 taught me to buy the car right the first time, less wasted money in the long run that way!

My criteria for picking a car is versatility in conditions, handling, durability, ease of finding parts (although I can always stock up on spares if I get something off the beaten path) and I do tend to be a sucker for innovative design at points.

Lipo and sensored ESC kits are certainly pretty exciting, considering I remember starting off with a POS kyosho manual speed control that never stayed together. I would say right off the bat, I will probably look first at Futaba for the radio, Tekin RS for the ESC, and run lipo. I'm open to suggestions about this, which packs, how many packs to get, motors, other radios to look at, etc.

I've done a bit of research on the cars out there, and have a few questions, although this forum certainly answers a lot of them.

My first choice at this point is the Schumacher CAT SX. Yes, I know it's not common, it'll be difficult to find spares, etc. But I like how the car is built out of the box, and I always liked Schumacher's philosophy. Back in the day, the XLS was the bomb, totally different from anything else on the market. I ran against a couple guys with them with the Turbo Optima, the only way I could touch them is by managing to completely outdrive them, getting lucky, or if they broke. Period.

The CAT's were always finicky and somewhat fragile beasts. I would bet they've gotten better, it seems like everything has gotten better, I'm just looking for opinions on this.

Honestly, it's crazy for me to see how prevalent shaft drive has gotten. My goodness, I think pretty much only Tamiya was running that back in the 80's, and Tamiya was (and kinda still is, it appears) a beginner car. So I'm a bit hesitant up front at looking at a shaft car, and am trying to pick up the pluses and minuses from the forum here, although both camps will always have their advocates, most likely. I bet shaft is easier to keep up, so again, any opinions on this will be helpful.

I will obviously have to take a hard look at Losi xxx4 and the Associated B44, also the Hot Bodies D4. I'm kind of ruling out Kyosho ZX5 for the time being, because at a glance, it seems that the car still needs a few things out of the box, and considering the closeness in price, compared to 3 of the previous 4 cars I mentioned, the Kyosho has a lot of plastic, which turns me off. The plastic they used was VERY good back in the day, but I would like to see more carbon fiber, and forgive me, a little more bling in the car. I could be wrong, though, feel free to chime in, I'm a born-again noob in this sport.

Well, thanks for reading my book, let me know what you folks in the know think. If somebody says a Grasshopper or something (anybody remember the Turbo Hopper?), I do know better. I don't mind spending a little bit of loot, and I want something I'll be able to race.
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:00 AM   #2
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Hi there! Welcome back to the hobby! I used to run a Turbo Optima Mid SE. That thing was faster than a bat out of hell!

Also, I beg to differ, that you did need to do one thing to the JRX2, out of the box, and that was to replace the rear trailing arms with some standard A-Arms. Other than that, that car shook up the RC10!!

That aside, I'm back after a 15 year break. The biggest difference, which you are aware of are:

Brushless motors
LiPo batteries
2.4ghz radios

It's soooo much better now, than it used to be!

I would have to say that the number one rule to getting back into this should be to pick a car that has good local support. It's one thing being able to carry your own parts, but it's another to share set-up ideas, and get help from others at your local track who have the same cars. You could be left frustrated, with a killer car, just not being able to tune it to the track that day...

Shaft vs. Belt drive - Running mod isn't as big of a deal, but belts tend to have more friction than a shaft drive. In stock, that could be an issue.

Now, as far as politics go, in the RC industry... Gil Losi Jr. sold Team Losi to Horizon Hobbies... so theyve gone from a strictly race car company, to somewhat of a toy manufacturer. They still have competetive cars, which are great, but I don't prefer them. Now, Gil Losi Jr. works for Kyosho. He's responsible for the bad ass new cars coming from them. I'm in the market for a Kyosho Lazer ZX5 FS (Whose ancestor is the Optima!).

Team Associated is still on top of their game, and you can't go wrong with one of their cars. I'm not a fan of their shocks, but the cars are otherwise sweet. The B44 is great!

Yokomo is at it again with their B-Max, and there's Tamiya, and Hot Bodies, who also make great 4 wheelers.

I don't know what the current Losi 4WD is called, but I heard that it breaks just be looking at it. I may be wrong, it's what I've heard.

Good luck, let us know what you go with!
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:25 AM   #3
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Ah yes, the Optima Mid, nice car, I remember that one. I had a buddy who had one, we would share info to try to keep up with the Schumachers at that time, it was ridiculous, futile, but challenging and fun. Another friend had a Supershot, and he ending up breaking just about every ABS plastic part that you could, including the chassis, on that car. His dad would never let us practice together, because it seems like every time we locked up, he'd be losing another dogbone. Good times.

Sucks to hear about Losi. Honestly, I still harbor resentment after 20 plus years towards Associated, purely because I was a kid running a pretty stock JRX2 against some people who had spent a good deal of money modifying their RC10's. They were pretty arrogant and elitist about it, come to think of it now. But that's pretty dumb, I'm sure I'll get over it, and the B44 does look very nice.

Honestly, I ran the JRX2 for a summer, trailering arms and all, never had a problem with them, but over time, I'm sure I would have changed them (I sold everything when I joined the army out of high school). Actually, TBH, I don't remember breaking that car, period, and it absolutely flew. Once I got it dialed in, if I did my job, it did it's thing very well-- and I did not have the budget some of the adults had (some of which were buying expensive motors that they were burning through at alarming rates).

That reminds me, PLEASE tell me motor life has gotten much better, it appears it has, but please tell me yes, it has.
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Old 03-18-2009, 01:51 AM   #4
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Brushless motors are alot nicer and last far longer. I been running mod offroad for almost 2 years now on the same 4600kv motor from Castle so I'm very fond of brushless thats for sure. Oh back in the good old 80's racing is back when I started as well and sometimes think back about how much fun it was back then.

If your running mod 4wd you will find most guys run a 6.5 or 7.5 when running sensored setups. That should give you more than enough power thats for sure.

I would suggest 2 lipo packs for your car. You can get away with one but two would be better.

I ran touring cars for Schumacher for many years and also like their cars. Those guys are easy to order from and have great customer service. I wouldn't worry about parts other than you will need to order to get what you need since most places don't carry parts for the car but I never found that to be a problem.
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Old 03-18-2009, 03:27 AM   #5
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Welcome back!

Out of all the current 4wd cars out there, the Losi XXX-4 is the oldest... I run one and still love it! They are not as fragile as everybody says.. I don't know why the net parrots keep squawking that?! If you run modified, you will break.. simple as that.. at our local track they run just about every 4wd out there!

The Associated B44 probably has the most parts availability. Its a nice car, but a little too squirlely in the air in my opinion. It likes to dive in the air, so you need to input a lot of attitude to get it to jump and land smooth. The Kyosho ZX-5 (SP & FS) handle very nice out of the box, but parts are probably one of the harder to get ahold of, even from Kyosho directly. One of my buddies has the Cat SX... its nice.. very pretty (lots of bling), but not sure about how sturdy.. he breaks a lot.. but that might just be him.. lol. As for the XXX-4, I find it to be very stable in the air when jumping.. it does take a little more effort to set it up, the out of the box was before LiPo and brushless. We are putting a whole lot of power in these little cars. The most common brushless motor I see is a 6.5 which in my opinion feels a lot like a 9x1 brushed!

Whatever you get, good luck! They are all pretty competitive!

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Old 03-18-2009, 04:12 AM   #6
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I'm going to have to agree about the XXX-4, mine is tough as nails. I used to run it with my friends that all have 1/8 truggies (kind of like a racey monster truck)

It is the oldest of the bunch, and there isn't to much aftermarket support for them anymore, but you can still get everything from Losi and other sites that sell Losi products. Also the XXX-4 is more for smoother tracks, it gets tossed around a bit more in the rough stuff. As for the belt... I've broken one and that was after 1 1/2 years of abuse.

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Old 03-18-2009, 04:59 AM   #7
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i would check out castles line of esc's. IMO they are they best and most powerful esc out there. total adjustablility right from your computer!
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:06 AM   #8
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Wlecome back! As you I just got back into it after 20 years absence and am having a blast. Don't be affraid of shaft drives! They are great, robust and with todays Lipos and brushless motors, you can easily push them and make 5 minute mains! Remember grearing just to make it past 4 minutes? That's a thing of the past... I went for a B44 and no regrets here. For the price, it can't be beat and is very tough. As someone said, these 4wd are so fast you will break it! So make sure parts are easily available (for the B44 it is). But in general, costs are low (A-arms, shock shafts, etc... from front impacts). Buy 2 lipos, that way you can alternate while one charges.

I still have a JRX2, a JRX-pro and a Yokomo C4 from back then... Great memories...

Cheers!

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Old 03-18-2009, 07:47 AM   #9
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I had an Optima Mid and a JRX2 in middle school. Good cars. I hung on to my childhood recollection of good cars and decided I must have a Mugen. Well after building a new MBX6 I'm selling it in favor of running a Losi 8 and 8T, although Losi isn't the company they used to be they still do build nice cars that are easy to get parts for.

In the 1/10 arena honestly I don't think it gets better than AE, the T4 and B44 are amazing cars (truck) and easy/cheap to get parts for.
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:50 AM   #10
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Another plug for the B44 here. I've been racing since the '89 or so starting with an RC10 then going over to Losi when the LXT came out. Here in the midwest, AE is dominant and that really helps out at the track when you are searching for setup or a that obscure part you never thought you would break. I love my B44 and totally recommend it. Run the kit setup and add a little weight (1.5 ounce) in the back if you are going to run Lipo and I'm sure you'll be happy. You'll also need the diggity or AE lipo tray that replaces the NiMh tray in the car. Other than that, it's a rocket straight out of the box. Some are suggesting two batteries. That's great and all, but I never take mine out and just charge it in the car. With a minute or two plus a six minute heat, you'll only used about 2000 MAH of battery and that only takes about 30 minutes to charge at 1C (I run an IP 4200 30C pack). In lieu of another battery, come to the track with extra front arms and shock caps. They're cheap, but you'll break them and that's the cost of going fast when you are on my level (not perfect).

As far as motors/speed controllers go, I'd stick with the names you probably recognize(Novak, LRP-Reedy, Tekin) and then a new one called Speed Passion. I've tried speed controllers from Novak (GTB), LRP (Sphere), Speed Passion (GT) and my favorite is actually the Speed Passion unit. It has more tuning options than the GTB or Sphere but doesn't require a computer. That being said, the Sphere seems to be the most durable of the three and what I have in my B44 now. The GTB doesn't have as many tuning options, you have a lot of control over timing with speed passion, and the Sphere is in the middle as far as tuning goes. You don't need much tuning for 4wd because you can normally just motor up. I don't much care for the Castle Creations Mamba series in tenth scale. Their current gen motors/controllers are sensorless and don't give the best control at startup or lower speeds. Some will argue, but this is my experience. Tekin has great systems too; very flexible like the speed passion, but both the Tekin and Castle systems tune best with a computer.

Like you, I raced in High School, and then went to the Army where I couldn't always race. Getting back in can be confusing...

RC Market from Korea (google it) has the best deal going on batts and chargers. The IP 4200 30C saddle pack is around $60 and the X-Charger B6 is only $36. The charger and battery totally rock.

Last edited by richard.bratton; 03-18-2009 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:39 AM   #11
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I second the IP battery, and E-Bay Charger. Good stuff, for a great price.


I also second the "stick to the brands you know" for a speed controller. LRP, Tekin, Novak. You may also consider Orion/KO Propo, but they are expensive and hard to get a hold of.

What I like about the LRP Sphere is that I can tweak it at the track, no computer necessary (I'm a computer nerd, but I like to be able to adjust at the track though).

Without a doubt, stick to a sensored ESC. This is a brushless motor thing, but if you are racing, you should use a sensored motor. It will give you nice control at low throttle.
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:20 PM   #12
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Just for the record, I'm running a Mamba max 6900kv system and am 100% satisfied with it. No problems, no cogging, and great customer service when one of the LEDs went out (ESC still worked fine). I have no problem following or even passing the Novaks and LRPs where I race. Or being passed by them either when it's a better driver than me...

But the options that have been thrown at you are surely good choices as well...

Cheers!

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Old 03-18-2009, 12:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CODMAN View Post
Just for the record, I'm running a Mamba max 6900kv system and am 100% satisfied with it. No problems, no cogging, and great customer service when one of the LEDs went out (ESC still worked fine). CODMAN
I didn't want to start a war about sensorless vs sensored brushless motors. I know a lot of people have great luck with sensoreless motors. In fact, I run Mamba Monster system in my 1/8th scale buggy. It DOES cog a bit at low speeds, but it doesn't cause in ill effects in the performance or divability for such a heavy machine. The 1/10 brushless sensorless systems are, without a doubt, fast setups. Your 6900 KV system is similar to a 3.5 sensored motor and much faster than anything I run in 4wd, 2wd or truck for that matter. 5.5 is about as fast as I ever get in 4wd which is similar to the Castle 5700 system. Anyway, the sensorless motors just aren't as smooth as the sensored systems at low speeds. Therefore, I recommend sensored systems for 1/10th setups as they have better drivability for the extreme control you need in 1/10th scale racing.

Have you ever tried a sensored system? Give Novak, Tekin, Speed Passion a chance and I think you'll like it. In fact, I think Mamba is coming out with a sensored system...
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Old 03-18-2009, 01:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard.bratton View Post
I didn't want to start a war about sensorless vs sensored brushless motors. I know a lot of people have great luck with sensoreless motors. In fact, I run Mamba Monster system in my 1/8th scale buggy. It DOES cog a bit at low speeds, but it doesn't cause in ill effects in the performance or divability for such a heavy machine. The 1/10 brushless sensorless systems are, without a doubt, fast setups. Your 6900 KV system is similar to a 3.5 sensored motor and much faster than anything I run in 4wd, 2wd or truck for that matter. 5.5 is about as fast as I ever get in 4wd which is similar to the Castle 5700 system. Anyway, the sensorless motors just aren't as smooth as the sensored systems at low speeds. Therefore, I recommend sensored systems for 1/10th setups as they have better drivability for the extreme control you need in 1/10th scale racing.

Have you ever tried a sensored system? Give Novak, Tekin, Speed Passion a chance and I think you'll like it. In fact, I think Mamba is coming out with a sensored system...

..... ok, first off, I completely respect your comment about not wanting to make this a war on sensored vs sensorless. Which I don't want it to be either. But I actually disagree and thing my sensorless 5700 is smoother than any sensored I've used. I also know a lot of Crawler guys who use the sidewinder specifically for that reason. That's IT! I SWEAR! No war! truce!
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Old 03-18-2009, 01:34 PM   #15
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Hey there. Have you considered 1/8 scale? I'm a die hard Schumacher fan, ran a CAT 3000 and currently run an Mi2.

I'm going to 1/8 scale because they are more durable and, IMO more fun.

I've been doing heavy research on scale electric since december and I come from 1/10 scale. I'm definitely going for 1/8 electric. Let me know if you'd like to know more on that.

i just picked up a futaba 3pk fasst and i love it.
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