Category Archives: Beginners RC

Posts about RC cars and trucks for beginners

Buy a $10 ticket – Win an R/C Car

So we last posted about the poor financial situation of Halifax R/C Park, and this is how you can help us keep the track open for 2018. Just buy a $10 ticket, or two, three… for our fundraising raffle.

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With the support of Mighty Small Cars (MSC) in Dartmouth, we’re able to offer the following limited-ticket raffle. Starting today, if you buy a $10 ticket, you receive 1 of only 200 available tickets to win a radio controlled car – some ready to run, and some in kit form. Just send an etransfer to halifaxrcpark@gmail.com, or cash payments can be arranged by sending an email to the same address. We will need your contact details (email, phone, address) to accompany your payment. In return we’ll send you an email/text with a photo of your physical ticket with your unique ticket number and personal details written on it. We need to keep the original tickets for the draw which we’ll be doing live at MSC once we’ve sold all the tickets. We’ll also Facebook broadcast the draw for those that can’t make it in person. We’ll keep you updated here on http://www.halifaxrcpark.com to let you know how the ticket sales are going and when the draw will take place.  The raffle will run until all 200 tickets are sold but our hope is that we can sell all the tickets before mid December so that the winner can get their prize before Christmas. If we haven’t sold enough tickets by May 1st 2018, then we will be refunding your payments, and Halifax RC Park will be closing down 😦

We’ve tried hard to give a good selection of prizes to choose from, and the vehicles below fit with many of the local active RC groups:

Choice 1. Traxxas Slash 1/10 Short Course Truck (SCT) – The ever popular, and foundation of the modern Short Course Truck craze, the Slash is where most recent hobbyists began in RC. This current version has Traxxas stability management, and runs brushless power which means you can slot straight into the local and regional SCT groups and races. Take a look at this link to this model for what you can win: TRA68086. There’s a choice of 4 body colours, but you’ll require a battery and charger to get running.

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Choice 1 – Traxxas Slash 4×4 Brushless RTR (ex. battery and charger)

Choice 2. Axial SCX10-2 Trail Truck kit – This is the current version of the truck which launched the Trail Truck scene. And Trail Trucks are ever popular in Nova Scotia throughout the year – its a great RC activity for winters, and through the wet shoulder seasons. The SCX10-2 is well supported with aftermarket parts of all varieties and it really can be made to go anywhere. This is a kit version which requires assembly and the separate purchase of all the electronics (transmitter, receiver, servos), motor, battery, charger, paint etc. Check out Axial’s page for full details: AX90046

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Choice 2 – Axial SCX10-2 KIT

Choice 3. A pair of 1/10 ECX Torment 2WD trucks – This is the quick way for siblings, cousins, or families to start the RC hobby together. Not one, but two ready to run hobby-grade RC cars. The ECX Torment is great for beginners, and the large Short Course Bodies mean you can nudge each other ‘safely’ as you drive. These vehicles come with battery, charger and are completely ready to go right from the box. Two colours are available: ECX03333T1 and ECX03333T2

Choice 4. Tamiya TT02B 4WD buggy Ready to Build and Run – Those of you of advanced ages will likely remember Tamiya as the first mass-market hobby-grade RC vehicles. The Frog, Monster Beetle, Grasshopper and Boomerang are all memory worthy. Tamiya are still going strong with their excellent kits and unusual vehicle designs and there’s a local RC group devoted to Tamiya. Kit building is great fun and when you see something you’ve built turn its wheels for the first time, the sense of achievement is amazing. This prize is a ready-to-build 1/10 4WD TT02B off-road buggy which is a perfect match for the local play-racing Formula TT02B group and includes the buggy kit, speed controller, motor, a Spektrum DX2E radio and receiver, Kinexis KXSB2000EC lipo battery, Dynamite DYNC2005CA charger, and a suitable steering servo. Apart from a couple of screwdrivers, and some paint for the body, it’s everything you need to build and race an RC car.  There’s three body styles to choose from: Plasma Edge II #58630Neo Scorcher #58568 and Dual Ridge #58596.

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Choice 4 – Choice of Tamiya TT02B 4WD buggy kit and accessories to get it running

Choice 5. A $500 voucher to Mighty Small Cars, Dartmouth – if none of the above look interesting enough, then there’s always the option of a $500 voucher for MSC.

Good luck to everyone who enters, and as always feel free to email us at halifaxrcpark@gmail.com with questions.

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HRCP’s future rests in your hands

Although Halifax Radio Control Park in Beaverbank is free to use, it’s not actually free to operate. The small group of us making up the committee members of the Halifax RC Park Society (Reg Soc No: 3296396) have thanklessly donated their time, and often personal funds, in order to keep the park going. But finances are now exhausted.

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An exhausted RC

There are a series of ongoing expenses that have for the last 4 years been covered by the initial donations of discretionary funds from Councillors from the Sackville and BeaverBank areas. In the 4 years since we first opened in 2014, we’ve spent just over $5000 getting the park built, insured annually and maintained. However, without additional funds, the park will not be able to open for the 2018 season. The main condition placed upon us comes from the city, and although they allow us to use their land, they also require that we hold public liability insurance which costs us around $700 per year. This is the absolute minimum requirement of finance for 2018, but excludes any supplies for maintenance such as dirt, drainage pipe, stakes, zip ties, fuel, signage etc. The financial breakdown of a typical year maintaining and improving the Halifax RC Park is approximately $1500 made up of the following:

  • Insurance $700
  • Dirt – 1 or 2 loads at $300 a load
  • Track marking – pipe, stakes, zippers $200
  • Fuel for machinery used for maintenance $50

Were also planning on some much improved permanent signage as for some reason our “Rules” sign gets torn down within a couple of days of us putting it up.

To offset the financial needs required for us to open 2018, rather than just pleading for cash donations from you, over the next couple of weeks you’ll see the launch of a couple of fundraising schemes:

  1. A limited-ticket-raffle to win a choice of RC vehicles from Mighty Small Cars. $10 a ticket. 200 tickets maximum.
  2. Custom Halifax RC Park clothing for which we’ll receive a small commission.

Naturally, we’re investigating all funding options available to us, but we hope that the RC community will find it in their wallets to support the Halifax RC Park if you want to see it remain. Without the required funds, we’ll be forced to return the site back to the city.

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There’s work required to keep an RC park going

 

LiPo Battery Safety PSA

This is a bit of a Public Service Announcement regarding Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries. Over the past year I’ve purchased a couple of used RC cars that came with LiPo batteries. I didn’t need the batteries per-se, but the condition of the batteries when they arrived has made me wonder whether people really know how to properly care for them.

On the beginners page of this very website we have a section on batteries, including LiPos. It gives some basic information but I thought it’d be worth highlighting some of the critical aspects, as LiPo fires are certainly possible without the correct care.

LiPo_Fire

Aftermath of a LiPo fire in a pit area

And since the detail below is a bit wordy, here’s a quick summary:

  • DISCHARGING ANY INDIVIDUAL CELL BELOW 3v WILL DAMAGE IT
  • CHARGING ANY INDIVIDUAL CELL ABOVE 4.2v WILL DAMAGE IT.
  • ALWAYS BALANCE CHARGE
  • CHARGE AT 1C (the capacity of the battery in Amp)
  • CHARGE IN A LIPO SACK/BAG AND NEVER LEAVE CHARGING BATTERIES UNATTENDED 
  • SET YOUR ESCs LOW VOLTAGE CUTOFF (LVC) >3v/cell
  • (Optionally use a Low Voltage Alarm (LVA) plugged into the balance port set to >3v/cell)
  • RECHARGE TO 3.85v/CELL FOR STORAGE or
  • DISCHARGE A CHARGED PACK DOWN TO 3.85v/CELL FOR STORAGE
  • IF A BATTERY PUFFS UP, STOP USING IT

Overview of a LiPo

A LiPo pack is one built from ‘cells’. A single cell is nominally rated at 3.7v (volts) but operates between 3v and 4.2v depending upon state-of-charge. A LiPo pack made of a single cell is referred to as 1S. Therefore a 2S pack, is a battery, made of two 1S 3.7v cells totaling a battery pack of 7.4v. Likewise a 3S pack is made of three cells giving a total voltage of 11.1v.

The cables coming from the battery will include the main Positive (+ve) and negative (-ve) wires, but also a balance lead that links to the +ve and -ve  terminals of each individual cell inside. For a 2S pack, that balance lead has 3 wires allowing you (or your charger) to measure the voltage of each cell.

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Charging you LiPo

There’s is one mantra here – ALWAYS ALWAYS BALANCE CHARGE. That is when the voltage of each cell within a pack is monitored while charging. You’ll need to set your charger to the number of cells (1S-6S is typical) and to connect both the main connections, and the balance connector to your charger. The majority of the ‘juice’ is fed back into the battery via the main cables, but nearing the end of the charge, the charger carefully tops up each cell separately. A LiPo is fully charged when each of the cells within it reach 4.2v. CHARGING ANY INDIVIDUAL LIPO CELL ABOVE 4.2v WILL DAMAGE IT.

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Balance charge with balance plug into charger

As far as the charging rate goes, unless you’re totally running out of time (i.e. between heats at an important event) then it’s always best to CHARGE YOUR LIPOs AT 1C. C is a measure of capacity so if your pack is a 5000mAh (milli Amp Hour) then you charge at 5000mA = 5A. The charger begins charging at that rate until the cell voltages get nearer 4.2v and then the charging rate slows to a crawl when the charger smartly charges only the cell that needs the power. Charging is completed when each cell in the battery pack has a voltage of 4.2v. CHARGING ANY INDIVIDUAL LIPO CELL ABOVE 4.2v WILL DAMAGE IT.

Pit Tip: Charge on a non-combustible/non-meltable surface. I use an old porcelain floor tile I had lying around. Saves your workbench/window-sill if something goes wrong.

Using your LiPo

DISCHARGING ANY INDIVIDUAL LIPO CELL BELOW 3v WILL DAMAGE IT.

You should always check that your Electronic Speed Control (ESC) has it’s LiPo Low Voltage Cutoff (LVC) enabled, and that it is set to some reasonable value exceeding 3v/cell if user-switchable. Although the ESC manufacturers are trying to be helpful by letting you set it to a value of a particular voltage/cell, the LVC is actually fairly dumb since it can only MEASURE VOLTAGE ACROSS THE WHOLE BATTERY (the balance leads aren’t connected to the ESC). So even though you set the LVC to 3.0v/cell, the ESC actually decides whether you’ve plugged a 2S, 3S or whatever pack into it, and then determines the multiple of 3.0v that it’s going to cutoff at. So when you connect a 2S battery, the ESC thinks “this battery has a voltage somewhere between 6 and 8.4v so it must be a 2S and I’ll therefore cut-off when the voltage drops to 2*the user-selected value = 6v (in this case)”. It’s trying to be smart, but you can imagine that if one of the cells in this 2S pack is going bad, then the ESC won’t see a problem even if one cell was dangerously low at 2.6v and the other was totally fine at 3.5v. The ESC just sees 2.6+3.5 = 6.1v and thinks everything is fine. It’s much safer to set the LVC to something like 3.4v/cell, where a 2S pack would be cutoff at 6.8v.

LVA

Low Voltage Alarm (LVA)

There’s also a small circuit board available for around $5 called a Low Voltage Alarm (LVA). It’s connected only into the balance lead on a battery pack and is small enough to leave in your vehicle while running. Basically it’s a voltmeter with a bloody loud alarm on it, and it’s CONTINUOUSLY MEASURING THE VOLTAGE OF EACH CELL. The voltage at which the alarm sounds it user selectable, but since you’re measuring the voltage of each cell you can set it to just over 3v/cell. It’s a great fail-safe and one that could save your battery.

Storing your LiPo

If you need to leave your LiPo unused for a few days, weeks or months (you know, because it’s wet out!) then putting them safely in a storage condition will keep them lasting longer. This is something lots of people overlook – myself included when I first started using LiPo batteries. STORAGE is when each cell in the battery pack is at 3.85v. It’s just above mid-way between a full charge of 4.2v/cell, and a used battery at 3v/cell. If you’ve run your battery down to 3v/cell then you’ll need to STORAGE CHARGE TO 3.85v/cell. Most chargers have a STORAGE option, which is just like balance charging but it stops at 3.85v/cell not 4.2v/cell.

If for some reason, you didn’t fully use a charged battery, say because you smashed the front corner off your car on a rock. Then you’ll need to DISCHARGE TO THE STORAGE VOLTAGE OF 3.85v/cell. Most chargers had a discharge setting, but it takes a really long time. The single most useful piece of equipment I’ve added to my battery maintenance is a cheap ($30max) 150watt DISCHARGER/BALANCER that takes your battery pack down to 3.85v/cell, or balances mismatched cells if you forgot to balance charge. There’s lots of similar looking devices out there on eBay/Amazon, but make sure you get the one with the light-bulbs on as that’s what gives you a reasonably quick discharge rate.

Discharger

150w LiPo discharger balancer (also available in blue!)

Store your LiPos disconnected from your vehicles, and in a sturdy container, so they can’t get damaged or punctured.

Pit Tip: I store my LiPos inside an ammo can, with some foam washing-up sponges cut to stop the batteries moving around and banging into one another. However, do take the rubber seal out of the lid to avoid creating a pressurized bomb if one of the batteries leaks/explodes inside the can.

Taking care of your LiPos will make them last longer and keep you safe

If you have any questions, or corrections then feel free to get in touch.

 

Work Party Saturday May 13th 2017

It looks like we made the correct call about the rained-out work party on Saturday 6th, but that all means the race season is closer, and we still haven’t yet got a track to race on. As per the original post, we’re having a work party at Halifax RC Park on Saturday 13th May, from 10am-6pm. The weather between now and then looks ok, with only a little more rain. See you all on the 13th. Any questions then please shoot us an email at halifaxrcpark@gmail.com.

What to bring:

  • Tools – rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, tampers/rollers
  • Lunch
  • Workboots, gloves etc. (it still might be muddy!)
  • Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses (hoping!)
  • Rain jacket (possible!)
  • Your name so you have a chance to win a free battery

Weather.ca forecast for BeaverBank as on Monday 8th. Weekend looks good.

Work Party Update: Chance to win a LiPo battery if you come and help out!

Tim at Crossroad RC Supply has kindly donated a Zippy 5000mAh 2S (7.4v) LiPo battery to us. As an incentive to get as many of you as possible out to help on May 6th or 13th, one of you will be taking it home for free. Make sure you give your name to me (Rhodri) when you arrive for either work party, and we’ll do the draw after the session on the 13th.

 

Bring your shovels – Track Rebuild Work Party Sat M̶a̶y̶ ̶6̶t̶h̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ May 13th

UPDATE: The weather may have turned, but not for the better. The forecast for the weekend looks very wet so we’ve decided to cancel the Work Party for May 6th. We plan to go ahead on the 13th so keep checking back for details.

ORIGINAL POST: The weather has look like it’s turned, so it’s time to get the track reinstated at Halifax Radio Control Park. We’re working behind the scenes on a brand new layout that will give beginners a great short layout to race on, along with an optional longer layout that will stretch the quicker vehicles. It should mean more people can have fun with their RC cars however small or fast they are! Stay tuned for details of the layout in the next week or so.

But we need your help to make it happen. Anyone is welcome to come and help out with a bit of digging, jump building, smoothing and marking, either on S̶a̶t̶u̶r̶d̶a̶y̶ ̶M̶a̶y̶ ̶6̶t̶h̶ ̶(̶1̶0̶a̶m̶-̶6̶p̶m̶)̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ Saturday May 13th (10am-6pm) . I̶f̶ ̶e̶n̶o̶u̶g̶h̶ ̶p̶e̶o̶p̶l̶e̶ ̶h̶e̶l̶p̶ ̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶w̶e̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶k̶ ̶r̶e̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶h̶a̶r̶d̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶6̶t̶h̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶r̶e̶ ̶m̶i̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶e̶v̶e̶n̶ ̶n̶e̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶k̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶1̶3̶t̶h̶ ̶-̶ ̶s̶o̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶c̶o̶u̶l̶d̶ ̶a̶l̶r̶e̶a̶d̶y̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶r̶a̶c̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶v̶e̶h̶i̶c̶l̶e̶s̶.̶ If you can only make the 13th then keep your eyes on www.halifaxrcpark.com for more information. The weather might also play it’s part so keep checking here for updates. Whenever you come out you’ll need to bring sturdy footwear, some tools if you have them (shovels, picks, rakes, tampers) and hopefully some sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses!

We need to get back to this sort of quality – But with more jumps!

Remember that HRCP is a free-to-use public track and as a non-profit society we’re entirely reliant on donations  to keep the track going. We have significant annual insurance costs, and expenses for the park maintenance materials. We’re lucky to have free land from the city, but without continued donations from the users then the RC park won’t be allowed to continue. We’ll be making more concerted efforts to raise funds in the coming weeks, but this it just a friendly reminder that no donation will ever be turned down. You can interac us directly at halifaxrcpark@gmail.com.

Lets get racing

If donations of funds is out of the question then we’re always looking for donation of supplies of clay-dirt, BigO drainage hose, Zip ties and Track stakes (or something like it – threaded bar, or rebar, or even welding expertise!)

UPDATE: Tim at Crossroad RC Supply has kindly donated a Zippy 5000mAh 2S (7.4v) LiPo battery to us. As an incentive to get as many of you as possible out to help on May 6̶t̶h̶ ̶o̶r̶ ̶13th, one of you will be taking it home for free. Make sure you give your name to me (Rhodri) when you arrive for either work party, and we’ll do the draw after the session on the 13th.

Thank you for visiting us at the Hobby Show

We had a great time at the Shearwater Hobby Show over the weekend. Thanks to those of you that came out to say Hi and for those of you who are only seeing this because you took one of our information cards, “welcome to our website, and welcome to the hobby of R/C cars”. Unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to put on a full demonstration on Sunday morning, but we’ve been promised that nice carpeted area for 2018. Look out for details of our plans for that area sometime in March 2018.

We’re getting near to the time when track maintenance can start in earnest out at Halifax RC Park in Beaverbank, so keep checking here for more details. Many hands make light work!