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Old Mar 28, 2008, 08:46 PM
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gatorgarfish's Avatar
north Texas
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My new Aquacrafts won't go in reverse !

I am brand new to R/C boats--R/C anything. I have two right out of the box RTR boats: the Atlantic Tug and the Bristol Bay. Neither of them, in normal prop rotation direction setting on the radio, will operate in reverse ! The two work well, counterclockwise (naturally), but when I push forward the trigger on my transmitter they both stop and then begin a slow, noisy, and intermitted sputtering in the other direction; that's all. The Bristol Bay sometimes won't even do that. It stops, period. FWIW, the BB also runs alot louder and furiously than the tug does, in *forward.

I've monkeyed for two days with the throttle trim control, and everything else there is to look into (that I can think of), until by this point I am about to lose my mind. I'm very discouraged. Have I got $ 400+ of garbage or am I, ignorantly, to blame ? What am I missing, that has to be so obvious, that only a total noob would not get ?! To make matters worse, I have a third: the King's Ransom, in a corner, yet untried. So, I am in a bit of a panic. I don't want to rebox and send them back to Hobbico for warranty servicing. I can't (now) return them to Tower and Wholesaletrains. Surely both aren't having an ESC problem; what are the odds ? I am using 6 cell, 7.2 volt, 3000 NiMH batteries.
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Old Mar 28, 2008, 08:51 PM
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patmat2350's Avatar
Motor City
Joined Dec 2004
12,355 Posts
I'm afraid it's typical. Many of us have tossed the stock ESC and radio and used "normal" hardware instead.
The Aquacrap (sorry, but what a deal they offer us...) radio and ESC seem to be biased "off center", perhaps in an attempt to limit reverse speed... but many/all seem to be so severely limited in reverse as to be unusable.

Pat M
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Old Mar 28, 2008, 08:52 PM
If it's R/C, it's all good.
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USA, WI, Wausau
Joined Jul 2005
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Call Hobby Services and ask them to tell you how to reprogram the ESCs.

They may have to warranty the speed controls or you may have missed a step setting the trims in the transmitters.

They may have a bad batch of ESCs out there. You would not have to send entire boats back, just the ESCs.
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Old Mar 28, 2008, 09:19 PM
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north Texas
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A Wal-Mart toy would switch fully into reverse without hesitation. Forward; reverse. Forward; reverse. What could be more SIMPLE, electronically and mechanically ? I know, because I prepared myself for this day, learning to steer on a large pond using a $ 20 Wal-Mart toy !

So, do you think I should send them back for servicing ? Could they both simply have defective ESCs ? ...and/or both have bad radios ? ...one an ESC and the other [it's] radio ?! The radios have a fair market value of $ 50 each. Maybe I was wrong and should have gone with the Hobby Engine tug and their "St. Tropez." I haven't dry run tested the King's Ransom yet. It is still sitting there in it's plastic bagging.

Is there anything else you can think of ? I have been lurking here for a month, and I know that you (patmat2350) are an experienced hobbyist. I would buy a better quality ESC in a heartbeat; only problem is I don't know how to take out the old and put in the new. I hadn't the skills to build a kit, and so I picked these three ready-to-runs. What fun !!
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Old Mar 28, 2008, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hpiguy
Call Hobby Services and ask them to tell you how to reprogram the ESCs.

They may have to warranty the speed controls or you may have missed a step setting the trims in the transmitters.

They may have a bad batch of ESCs out there. You would not have to send entire boats back, just the ESCs.
Call Hobbico, you mean ? They have a 90 day warranty, all three boats, on defective parts. But they require that the boat and radio both be reboxed and mailed back to them. They have as their options to repair or replace individual parts, or send a new product/s entirely. The instructions on the radios do not include info. on setting the trim knobs, other than that you turn them around to get a desired effect. For the throttle trim that only means that when the radio and receiver are turned on (and the trigger is in neutral) that the prop is made to be motionless/directionless by just turning the knob around, back and forth.

You can reprogram an ESC ? These are identical shrink-wrapped boxes with wires going into a hard setting of (clear) rubber on top. I am a total noob, so ESCs are a mystery to me. This must be a toy model kind (Aquacraft's). It is unadjustable in any way, as far as I know.
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Old Mar 28, 2008, 09:52 PM
Grumpa Tom
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United States, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Sep 2003
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A very weak reverse is a typical trait of the esc that comes in the Atlantic and Bristol Bay. Live with it. You don't really need reverse 99% of the time anyway. It's a minor issue. All they will do is send you another esc that operates exactly the same way. It's not defective. It's just the way it is.
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Old Mar 28, 2008, 09:59 PM
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lowdive's Avatar
anaheim, ca
Joined Apr 2005
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reverse on most boats is very weak anyway. without flanking rudders you have little to no directional control in reverse. i'd look at it more as a brake on those models.
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Old Mar 29, 2008, 02:40 AM
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north Texas
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I appreciate y'all's help; I really do. But I haven't explained this well, it seems. Neither boat functions in reverse. It's not weak; it's not there. If this is the ESC, then it is not working on either of these brand new Aquacraft RTR boats. It, or something else, that gives commands to the motor to reverse it's direction is failing completely. Because, if I 'throw' the throttle reverse on the radio, then the two boats would run backwards in the water (at full speed) and, instead, not go forward ! So, I have my choice: operate in forward with no reverse, or operate in reverse with no forward. I did run the tug in water once--it's maiden voyage. It's occasionally moving, slowly jerking, rear prop movement doesn't move the boat an inch. No surprise; I had already witnessed it's pitiful spasms while I ran it an hour before, sitting on it's stand.

I knew a few weeks before I ordered the Atlantic Tug that it got compliants for being slow in reverse. I read about it here on this board, and another too, and even on YouTube. I expected an inadequate reverse in terms of strength/speed. Slow is OK, but I have no *functional reversing ability at all. I didn't make that clear (my fault).

The Bristol Bay may sporadically, and very slowly, turn, making strange noises as it does. And it might not even turn one time the next try. It is the worse of the two. But it doesn't matter; the inability to go in reverse is something I cannot let go. They have to go back for new ESCs, or whatevers, because I have to have something in the way of a clockwise turning of the prop. The Atlantic tug does better, but nevertheless will not sustain a clockwise prop motion unless I flip the switch on the radio transmitter. Then, if in throttle reverse, it will run very well in "reverse." But then that radio setting change means it now does the same mess in forward, counterclockwise ! So, I can go in one direction, but only one.

When I said "sputtering," I should have added more strongly that the Atlantic starts and stops. It never gets up to *any speed, at all, ever. It rotates 4 or 5 times and stops dead, and then after a moment or two or three of total inaction it does this sputter again. And so it goes. They both do nothing more or better than this, no matter what, and must be considered truly defective, as is.

Without any more advice (troubleshooting) I have to conclude that I haven't overlooked anything, although I am totally new to hobby class boats. I suppose that I have no choice now but to return them to Hobbico for servicing. Two bad boats and who knows about the third: I am afraid to dry run the [also] brand new King's Ransom. It came with some minor damage to the body, but not worth the trouble to exchange it through the supplier, Wholesaletrains. A very bad start in this hobby--not relaxed by scale r/c boating ! How can they both be broken ?? $ 500 dollars gone out and nothing to show for it; my wife is going to kill me.
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Old Mar 29, 2008, 05:43 AM
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I have now tested the King's Ransom and it is working properly: goes in forward and reverse. Super. One usable brand new Aquacraft boat out of three brand new Aquacraft boats. Two RTRs that aren't at all ready-to-run.
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Old Mar 29, 2008, 07:20 AM
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Well, one of the neat things about these boats is that they're easy to learn on... even if it requires dropping at least $100 on a new radio and ESC (and more if you like!).

There are numerous Aquacraft threads here if you haven't already found them... mine on the BB is at:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=413023

Pat M

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Old Mar 29, 2008, 08:47 AM
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Bradenton, Florida
Joined Sep 2006
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Sounds like a bad batch of ESC's. My Atlantic ran fine out of the box, with the "normal" slow reverse. Tower sells replacement parts for these boats, it may be worth while to see if the ESC from the King's ransom will work in the other boats, get a couple more from Tower and just swap them out. Or the best bet is to upgrade your ESC's anyway. As Patmat said, there is a LOT of ideas on these boats in the threads.
Good luck and don't get discouraged too fast. RC boating is REALLY fun.

Large Mike
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Old Mar 29, 2008, 10:18 AM
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north Texas
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Thanks, you two. I want to avoid sending the BB and AT back to Hobbico. How can I upgrade the ESCs ? The ESC's wiring--much of it, is bundled (wired to) another red rubber "box" from which the antenna and other wires emerge. The receiver on/off switch box is hard mounted down too (just epoxy ?) Even if I decided to bypass warranty sevicing and replace the three components myself, which are all interrelated and attached, how is it done ? --how to dislodge the old and afix the new ?! I haven't the hand skills, tools, techniques...nothing. Rats ! What equipment would you guys opt for ? I have a Tower catalog, and a dizzying array of possibilities. I need a hobbyist's learned advice. I feel sure this is the ideal place to get it ! The ESCs that come on the Aqucraft RTRs are $ 30 dollars.
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Old Mar 29, 2008, 11:23 AM
Grumpa Tom
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United States, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Sep 2003
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The "red rubber box" is actually a balloon wrapped around the radio receiver for 'water avoidance'. The esc usually has some sort of plug that can be pulled apart. Don't be afraid to dig in and see what makes it tick.

Remove the tie wrap or wire that closes off the balloon and pull the ballon off. Now you can see the plugs. One of the plugs goes to the steering servo. One of the plugs goes to the esc. The esc will be plugged into Channel 2. Channel 1 is steering.

To remove the on/off switch unscrew the tiny Phillips screws holding the switch into the plywood plate.

The esc has 4 wires to deal with. Two of them are for the motor. Two are for the battery. The battery wires have a Tamiya style connector. The motor wires have 'bullet' connectors. Can't mix them up.

Contact Hobby Services and explain the problem and tell them you want to send in just the esc's. If you have to [b]purchase[/i] a replacement esc, do not buy the Aquacraft brand. Instead make your boat better and buy an Mtroniks from Hobby People:

http://www.hobbypeople.net/gallery/159230.asp

Or a Quantum esc:

http://www.hobbypeople.net/gallery/158162.asp

Or a Proboat from Horizon:

http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products...ProdID=PRB2314
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Old Mar 29, 2008, 12:06 PM
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Millbrook, Alabama
Joined Jun 2004
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I think those stock pistol grip transmitters are what Aquacraft include with everything they offer. They may be good for the go fast boats, but ain't woth much if you want reverse. I don't know if you've been through my thread about the tug yet, but I have basically replaced everything but the galley sink. The biggest help with reverse was going to another radio. I have both the tug and Bristol...I replaced both radios and they both worked much beter. The bristol still has all stock internal parts, just a new transmitter and receiver. Here is the link to the tug refit.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=699683

Do NOT give up...these are not perfect products, but are not bad for the price as RTRs and can be upgraded as a newbie project.... I know because I was just there. We are all here to help ya. Here are two pics of what the tug can look like.

Capt. Crash
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Last edited by Capt.Crash; Mar 29, 2008 at 12:19 PM.
Old Mar 29, 2008, 12:28 PM
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anaheim, ca
Joined Apr 2005
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i'd switch a nice spectrum radio so you have just one controller for all your boats (unless you intend to run more than one at a time). good control and programming... plus the antenna doesn't need to exit the boat so that's one more hole you can seal up.

sorry about your luck, it does seem like bad escs. you shouldn't have much trouble swapping them out. boats are relatively easy to work with. i upgraded my dickie tug with the mtronics esc and it's perfect. easy to program and no issues.

dang it guys! i'm just getting back into flying and now you're pulling me toward the water. i really need a seaplane!
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