Spoke too soon!
After the stripped hex and the first (!) smoking electronics incident I had hoped we’d have a period of trouble free use. Sadly this was not to be. After replacing the hex I drove the car slowly across the living room and all seemed well.
The following weekend the lad and I went out to the woods to have a bash, but as he drove away the car stuttered and then stopped, within seconds of stopping smoke was again pouring out of the bodywork 🙁. I managed to rip open the top of the body and get the LiPo disconnected to prevent any more damage, but that was clearly the end of that.
Now I’m normally a fan of Hobby King, I almost exclusively use their batteries and servos in my Aircraft however this was one failure too far. I can forgive the stripped hex (although I’ve never seen that before) but two sets of electronics going up in smoke (literally!) with the second being a much higher spec than the first is too much for me to want to pour more good money after bad.
It was decided to chuck it up in the loft and move onto something else. But what next I wonder?
For reference, both times the car was running on a 2s LiPo, we never ran it on anything else.
While we were on holiday the lad took the ‘Fox out onto the nearby beach and had a good bash around, sadly after a little while it seemed to be lacking punch when you pull the throttle which stopped play.
When I got it back to the cottage and had a look into what might have caused this, I noticed the hex in one of the rear wheels had completely rounded off! I’ve never seen this before, but I guess given the price of the thing it is to be expected that things will fail. Thankfully, the spare wheel which I had assumed was just for decoration on the rear of the body, was in fact a full spare. I ordered a new set of drive hex’s, aluminium this time and swapped the damaged wheel for the spare. We were back on the road again!
In the last few weeks before I was due to go back to work we had a little family break, first we popped down to devon for 4 days, then another few in Wiltshire on the way back. The weather throughout the holiday was perfect with lots of clear sunny days. Whilst in Wiltshire I couldn’t resist having a little fly of the Dynamic-S, which I don’t think I’ve flown since 2015! It flew, as ever, brilliantly. There wasn’t enough wind to venture onto the slope, but on the flat field at the top of the White Horse hill I had a lot of fun while my daughter looked on.
After waiting to patiently while I put a few packs through the Dynamic, we couldn’t resist putting a pack through our new RC car on the way back home. The Dominus worked well on the gravel track, with the Daughter slowly getting to grips with the steering!
So this turned out to be a bit of a saga.
Ever since I finished my daughters boat, my son was a little verbal about how her boat was quicker than his. So I promised at some point when I had some time I’d refit it to make it quicker.
Initially I built it with a 380 brushed motor, the plan being to make it slow enough for him to get used to the steering. Making it quicker wouldn’t be hard then, bung in a brushless motor!
This was until he dropped it off its bloody stand onto a concrete path leading to a nice leak. Sigh.
After finding the leak, epoxying it back together so it was watertight the hull looked a little sorry for itself so I decided to paint it, he chose blue this time, few coats of Halfords Acrylic and its looking good.
I took the lazy way out with the motor, figuring if I could find a 380 sized brushless in-runner I could mount it in the existing mount, the only one I could find which fitted was the mount was a little one from Overlander.
The new ESC, motor and gear went back in quite quickly, and a test run in the bath proved the max current at WOT was well below what the motor and ESC are rated at. One problem did manifest itself however, I have overpowered the thing so much that it practically emptied the bath and tried to make a break for orbit. I’ve wound the throttle travel down on the TX, and will try to find a prop with less pitch to slow it down a bit!
While having some time off work one of the unfinished, long term projects I wanted to crack on with was painting the Sand Scorcher. I had filled, sanded and primed it a while back so I gave it a few coats of white before leaving it for a week.
I pondered over masking the blue for quite some time, the curves had me worried. Initially I thought I could cut out some masks, in-fact that was the plan until quite by chance I stumbled across some Tamiya flexible masking tape while browsing in my local HobbyCraft. It turns out this is wonderful stuff, making short work of all the curves on the ‘box art’ scheme.
Now its sitting on a shelf waiting for me to polish it up with some finishing compound and then apply the decals.
- The fittings for the servo arms to take the control rods were a mess, the threads where all out of kilter and none of the supplied screws fitted. I replaced these with Multiplex items.
- The holes in the top of the fuselage for the wing dowels were too small and too low, I managed to ease these with a file and it all now fits securely and easily.
- The motor mounting holes are, as ever with Eflite, imperial. So my metric X mount needed easing to fit. Not a tough job, but I do so wish the entire world used metric!
It wasn’t long before I had the wings and the tail feathers sorted. All that is left to do is mount the ESC, the cowl and the spats and she is ready.
We had a bit spare time recently, so we popped over to Northala Fields to have some fun with my daughters Sea Rover, it worked as faultlessly as ever. She is becoming ever more confident with the steering, although still not quite getting the hang of the steering and throttle at the same time, so dad manages the throttle while she steers.
We’ve been having a lot of fun with the Desert Fox, it is so much more powerful than the brushed/NiMH powered Tamiya buggies we were used to, capably handling pretty much any terrain we throw at it.
There is a great RCGroups thread about it here, in there several people have warned that the supplied 40A ESC isn’t really up to it. Well on our fourth trip out the poor thing had smoke pouring from the ESC, I quickly removed the battery and thankfully avoided any fire.
Seeing as we were soon to go on holiday to visit grand dad I considered my options:
- Go through the famous Hobby King RMA process, only to get another 40A ESC which is just as likely to blow up.
- Take it on the chin and accept the cheap car was cheap and upgrade the motor/ESC.
Figuring option 2 would mean the buggy was usable for the vacation and also probably better off in the long run I took the plunge and bought a 3250KV motor and 80A ESC combo. It was pretty quick to fit, just requiring a battery connector to e added.
Happily this plugged right in and the car spent a happy week tearing up the beach in Teignmouth.
So a good while back I renovated the Sea Rover for my daughter I fancied adding lights, at the time I bought a RC switch and a couple of LEDs but never bought the little fittings for them. At Wings and Wheels last year (2015) I found some little white metal fittings which looks to be about the right size. Well this week I have finally got round to filing them into shape, glueing them up and painting them. They are now installed and working nicely from the spare third channel on the transmitter.
Below is a little video of them turning on and off, exciting!
After what feels like years, I’ve finished the Fournier! She is unflown, but all done and setup waiting for me to be well enough to take her up the field. I’ve no idea why I took so long over her, she isn’t a complex build - I’m kicking myself really!