Category Archives: On-Road Racing

Posts about local On-Road RC events

Mark your calendars – R/C’s at TheYouthExpo on Saturday Apr 21st

The Halifax R/C Park Society were asked to provide a stand demonstrating and promoting R/C cars at a great kids event called TheYouthExpo. So we’ll be there with an indoor foam track to try your hand at racing some Micro touring cars outdoor throwdown track, jumps and will have a selection of R/C cars to display, demonstrate, and discuss with visitors. The event is on April 21st from 9am-4pm at the Don Henderson Memorial Sportsplex, Brookfield, NS and is free for under-18s but the accompanying adults gotta pay! Come and learn about how great the hobby of R/C cars is.

Lots more information on TheYouthExpo website and on their Facebook page.

UPDATE: We know where we are going to be located inside the hall. Top right of image below.

YouthExpo2018

 

And remember, our Fundraising Raffle is still going on. We’ve sold just over 140 tickets of 200 and the draw will happen at one of the the Halifax R/C Park maintenance events in Beaver Bank sometime in April or May (even if we don’t sell all the tickets!)

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We all had a great time this weekend promoting radio controlled cars and trucks to everyone who visited the Shearwater Spring Hobby Show. Sunday was particularly fun as we had a large demonstration area and a few of our visitors were lucky enough to get the opportunity to drive a few cars on our throwdown track. Or even build a coil-over shock and spring from a kit r/c car. Sometimes there were ten different cars on track at a time. I didn’t have the chance to take a lot of photos as I was too busy letting everyone know how amazing and wholesome the hobby of R/C cars is, but what I do have is shown below.

Although we might not get the big area for next year’s hobby show, we’ve already got a few ideas about how best to demonstrate how R/C crawlers work!

 

But you don’t have to wait long to see us again as we will have an outdoor demonstration area at the Youth Expo in Brookfield on April 21st. Keep checking here for more information in the coming days.

And remember, our Fundraising Raffle is still going on. We’ve sold just over 140 tickets of 200 and the draw will happen at one of the the Halifax R/C Park maintenance events in Beaver Bank sometime in April or May (even if we don’t sell all the tickets!)

R/C Promotion event this weekend (7th and 8th of April 2018)

There’s no guarantee of a good weather weekend coming up, but there is guarantee of a fun, interesting and exciting time at the Shearwater Hobby Show. This post is just a reminder that we’ll be at the show promoting R/C cars of all types from 10am-4pm at the SeaKing Club on Shearwater Base. If you can choose a day, then aim for Sunday 8th April as we’ll have a bigger display, with some hands on R/C parts construction for you to try. More details in our original post here.

 

 

See some R/C cars moving at Shearwater Spring Hobby Show – April 7th and 8th 2018

This will be the 4th year we’ve been part of the Shearwater Spring Hobby Show and new this year is a stand location upgrade for us as the show that allows us to demonstrate R/C cars, and to show the more detailed technical aspects of the hobby (for the Sunday anyway).

On Saturday 7th, you’ll see our usual show stand where you can talk to us about the hobby of R/C cars, but on Sunday 8th we’ll have a carpet track setup to demonstrate some cars, plus an area where you can try your hand at building a component of a car, and watch and talk with members of the R/C community who are maintaining their vehicles in-front of your eyes. Our advice, if R/C cars is a big reason for you to come to the show, then make sure you come on Sunday 8th April!

Event Details

  • When: Saturday 7th April and Sunday 8th April 2018, 10am- 4pm both days
  • How Much: $5 per person or $12 for a family. Tickets also give you access to the Aviation Museum which is a great walk around for kids of all ages.
  • Where: The show is located at the SeaKing Club (15 Squadron Crescent) within Shearwater Forces Base just down the road from the Aviation Museum. You’ll need ID to get through the main security gates on Bonaventure Street.  Exact Google maps location of the SeaKing club is here (click) and shown in the image below. Be warned that the Google Navigation directions don’t take you though the gate on Bonaventure St and you have to come in that way.

Full event details from the Aviation Museum here.

(Almost) The end of the road

During the last HRCP committee meeting we all had a bit of an inward look at whether we’re suceeding in our joint aims to provide (1) a free-to-use Radio Control Car Track at the city owned site in Beaver-Bank, and (2) to promote the hobby of R/C to the public. Funding, rebuilding and more importantly, maintaining the Halifax Radio Control Park has been a big challenge over the last few years. Our small committee has been run ragged trying to keep ontop of the weeds, the puddles, the rocks and the track-marking repair, and that doesn’t consider how hard we’ve been working to get enough money to pay for the annual costs. Keeping the Beaverbank R/C park running is like a three legged stool – without adequate finances, ongoing maintenance, or the annual rebuild, the stool just falls over. It means we need all three just to be able to provide the sort of facility that the local R/C community deserves.

STOOL

We have just enough money in the coffers to cover the $700 of annual insurance we need for 2018, thanks mainly to the people who bought raffle tickets (we’re going to do that draw at the end of April with however many tickets we’ve sold – you can still buy more and currently your odds of winning are 110:1 – not bad at all). But right now 2018 looks like it’s the end of the road for this version of a public free-to-use R/C park. Our hope is that a few of you are willing and energetic enough to join our small committee and take on the responsibility to design, build and maintain the park. Whatever happens, the BeaverBank track will get a spring refresh in 2018 where the track layout will be changed, and some patches filled in but we don’t have enough help on a continuous basis to get it back to the great dirt track we had throughout 2015. It’s a huge site, and there’s certainly scope to make it a great off-road R/C venue with the right sort of resources and support, but from where we sit, the demand locally just doesn’t appear to be there at the moment. If anyone thinks they can revolutionise the site, then please get in touch with us at halifaxrcpark@gmail.com and we can discuss your ideas and how you can come on board and implement them.

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Halifax Radio Control Park in Beaver Bank during 2015

But the track is only part of our aims for the Halifax R/C Park Society. The hobby of radio controlled cars is, as most of you know, a great one. However, it flies under the radar of public knowledge. We want to change that and get more and more people into this wholesome, active and technical hobby. And since there are no big costs associated with having a stand at a public show or event, then we will certainly continue to be present where we can to shout and scream about this amazing hobby. First up is the National Engineering Month Public Display at the Halifax Central Library on March 24th, then a couple of weeks later we’ll have a new display at the Shearwater Spring Hobby Show on April the 7th and 8th. And then hopefully some more shows as the summer goes on. Keep checking here for more details of those events.

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Promotion of R/C to the public is important

This website too is a valuable resource. It has lots of great unbiased information for people thinking of getting into the hobby, or those that have just picked up their first hobby-grade car. And if you’re looking for a local R/C event, then check out our local events calendar. If you’re organizing an R/C event that is open to the public, then we’d like to post about it.  Email us at halifaxrcpark@gmail.com with the details of your event, and we’ll do what we can to get more people to it. On-road, Off-road, Trail, Bashing, etc. there’s nothing R/C related that we won’t get behind.

So while it seems like we might be on the verge of losing a public free-to-use R/C facility in HRM, there’s still a lot of promotion and information you’ll see from the Halifax R/C Park Society to help grow this amazing hobby!

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.

balance charge

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.

 

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!