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May 2013

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RC Car Action - May 2013

Letters Email your

Letters Email your letters to RCCA@airage.com Mail to: Letters Air Age Media 88 Danbury Road Wilton, CT 06897 We love hearing your thoughts about the magazine and answering your questions. Please know that even though we can’t reply to every letter and email, we do read them all! FIND US ON WHICH FUEL? I need to know what type of fuel I should use for my RC car. Now that I have one nitro vehicle, I’m not sure which type of fuel to buy for it. Any advice? —Hasib Without knowing what kind of car or truck you have, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what kind of fuel you should use. The most important consideration when it comes to choosing fuel are the percentages of nitromethane and oil in the fuel. Many companies that sell nitro-powered RC cars also sell their own fuel, such as Losi’s “Nitrotane” and Traxxas’ “Top Fuel Power Plus,” that they recommend for use in their engines. There are also many other reputable brands that produce fuel suitable for use in RC cars: Byron Fuels, Sidewinder, and VP/PowerMaster are a few. Your best bet is to check the instruction manual that came with your vehicle, as it will likely describe the exact fuel you should use. Keep in mind that the fuel made for RC cars is different than what’s used for planes, helicopters, and boats, so make sure that you get fuel that is specifically labeled for car use. Typically, you’ll be looking for something between 20-33% nitromethane and 12-18% oil. —Aaron WELCOME TO THE FUTURE Over my years in RC, I have been more heavily into the nitro world, although I do enjoy the electric world now and then. For the past few years, I have been very busy with starting a family and a career and the electric world completely changed on me! I was going through some boxes that got packed away a few years ago when we moved into our new home and found my Losi BK2 and Losi XXX4 and some of the “old” electronics I was going to install back then. Now, I want to get them built right and have no idea where to start with all the new brushless technology and LiPo batteries. Can you help explain some of the benefits and new technology in these newer systems? —Spencer A strange thing happened while you were away – the Jetsons actually came through on their promise and now we’re driving space-going rocket cars (just kidding). Electronic components have improved by leaps and bounds in power, efficiency, and durability. Brushless motors of the same class as their brushed equivalents typically run cooler and more consistently, with longer run times and virtually no maintenance (no brushes to replace or comms to cut). The ESCs have become more robust, with a small footprint that rivals the last-generation brushed units, but with infinitely more tuning options. LiPo batteries for RC are closely related to the batteries used in laptops and other common electronic devices that we take for granted. Rather than using round nickel-based cells (with a nominal voltage of 1.2V), like those found in Ni-Cd and NiMH packs, lithium-based cells are flat and have a nominal voltage of 3.7V. Their lower internal resistance and higher discharge rates offer much more overall power and run time and are much lighter. Because they don’t have a memory like nickel-based cells, you don’t need to discharge them after each use; in fact, LiPo cells should never be completely drained—modern ESCs have a programmable cutoff that stops its operation once the battery reaches its low-voltage threshold. I could spend pages delving further into the technology used in both instances, but I hope this provides a good place to start. —Aaron If you could make any full-size vehicle into an RC car, what would you choose? NASA’s crawlertransporter –Brian Davis NASCAR Sprint Cup Replica with sponsor livery and roll cage interior –Wayne Nagata Oscar Mayer Wienermobile –William Stodgel An ice cream truck. Then I would drive it in as many neighborhoods as I could find. –Harold Coleman Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe with a scaleddown, working 289 engine –Jared Rodriguez Like us on Facebook and weigh in now! LETTER OF THE MONTH KEEP YOUR FEET ON THE GROUND When will we see less jumps on off-road tracks? They’re a great way to give the driving a touch of variety, but for me they take away from the speed of the car. I’d like to see “driving” tracks with not more than two or three bumps. I don’t care for flying off-road races, but I like the idea of buggies and short course vehicles with the rubber mostly in contact with the floor, where drivers are challenged to prove their skills and do less jumping. —Ettore Fewer jumps put more control in the hands of the driver, but is that really all there is to driving? Less jumps on off-road tracks? You might be alone on this one, Ettore, but at the same time, I’m picking up what you’re putting down. I’ve raced off-road since the late 1980s, and looking back, I can say that jumps have become larger and more challenging over the years. I see a lot of races lost merely because the leader crashed off a jump. While I can see that many tracks load every section of a layout up with some sort of obstacle, I think jumping is as important of an off-road driving technique as rhythm and carrying speed through corners. To me, a great track is made up of a variety of different-sized jumps, as well as changes in rhythm, speed, and elevation. If it’s less jumps you want, I’m sorry to say it, my friend, but I’m not with you on this one. —Erich 18 MORE FROM THIS ISSUE AT RCCARACTION.COM

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