bill_delong's blog View Details
Posted by bill_delong | Mar 19, 2015 @ 09:08 AM | 22,884 Views
I see this question asked a lot, and figured I would share my thoughts here.

I feel that the best place to start is 1/8 Buggy. They are gonna be the most durable class which is important when first learning to race. You're gonna crash a lot and it would be much better to spend more of your time learning how to drive than learning how to make repairs which will be an issue with just about any other class... especially 2WD Buggy which is by far the weakest design that is prone to breaking easily. Many folks recommend 2WD racing as a first starter class and I couldn't disagree further. People say that racing 2WD makes you a better driver but I feel that it only adds more frustration because 2WD cars are more prone to spinning out of control. 4WD on the other hand is pretty much point a shoot, and that's what a beginner needs to get started with. Only exception I have for 2WD is if you're racing on a high traction indoor surface such as clay or carpet/turf.

I used to recommend the 4WD SCT class as they are equally durable with 1/8 Buggy, assuming you select a truck that is based on a corresponding 1/8 Buggy design. Only problem is that class typically uses 2S LiPo which places too much strain on the batteries so they typically need to be replaced every 6 months making it one of the most expensive classes to maintain. Clubs in my area are opening up battery restrictions and allowing folks to run 4S with the same electronics that are in 1/8 Buggies so that fixes the problem;...Continue Reading
Posted by bill_delong | Feb 09, 2015 @ 08:33 AM | 17,221 Views
Posted by bill_delong | Dec 15, 2014 @ 04:44 PM | 41,711 Views
This will be an evolving thread as I explore many surface radio systems on the current market. As new systems become available, I invite you to share your experiences and thoughts of those systems and I will gladly update this OP where appropriate.

Note that there is no single radio system that is going to be "The Best" for everyone, but I will do my best to break down the features of each system to help you decide which has the potential to be the best system "For You" based on your own requirements.

Before you even begin selecting a system, I feel that it's very important to understand the technologies/features that are available and then you can begin ruling on which points are the most important as you begin your search. I've ordered each option by level of personal importance to me:

Which Spread Spectrum Modulation?
If you will be driving all by yourself, then this consideration is probably irrelevant, however, if you will be using your system in a large group with other radio systems present then there is a risk of overlapping frequencies and/or limited range issues with your system which can cause severe delays in the input/response, this is called "Glitching". I have experienced varying levels of glitching with every single system that I have personally tested which use DSSS or "Direct Sequencing Spread Spectrum". Basically any system that has the letter "D" anywhere in the identification of the...Continue Reading
Posted by bill_delong | Dec 14, 2014 @ 01:31 PM | 14,268 Views
The day was Sat Nov-15-2014, I first started racing at the club level about 4 years ago and have finally established myself as a relatively consistent driver, certainly not the best driver in my area, but I usually find myself somewhere in the top 1/4 of drivers for any given class. I was just trying a new body on my Tekno SCT410; here is some video from the first qualifier in the day, you can see that I was learning a new track layout (for me) and also learning the limitations of the new body with really high wind gusts in the 20-30mph range:

Tekno SCT410 Race @ Temple,TX (6 min 51 sec)

I really wish I had someone video the main, but the best I can do is offer the following story of my experience, at least this is how I remember it:

I had qualified second for the main, and just that alone was a big accomplishment for me because there were some really good racers present and I was chasing the TQ all day long. At the start of the main I was taken out in the first turn by the #3 car, then one by one, each successive car would hit me, it was like my car was a freaking pinata out there. So I decided to jump the track lane divider and was going to wait for the lead car to come back around in the middle track section to regain my #2 position, but instead a turn marshal decided to pull my car (after I already waited) when the lead came up to me and then the marshal placed my car back into the first turn... at this point I was already 1/3 a lap down from the field...Continue Reading
Posted by bill_delong | Dec 09, 2014 @ 11:24 PM | 12,330 Views
I have been testing the Radio Shack DSL-050 (20-50W) Adjustable Soldering Iron for about 3+ years now with weekly use of about 15-30 minutes each use.

I am a club level racer and I often find that I will use a soldering iron at the track so I have limited pit space and feel that a complete "soldering station" is impractical for me to haul around so I need a compact setup. What I really like about the DSL-050 is that there are several different tips available and they are currently only $2.50 each. I can use the fine tip for low 20W power to solder thin servo wires. For my larger 10-12 gauge battery pack + ESC + motor wiring I find the chisel tip @ 40W - 50W to work quite well for me too.

The tips aren't the best quality (Nickel Plated Copper); I find that the chisel tip will start cupping after maybe 6-8 hours of combined use. I have been able to file the tip down to extend the life of the tip and probably got about another 20+ hours of use out of the first tip. I am now on my second chisel tip after 3 years of hobby grade use.

If you decide to buy this soldering iron, I would encourage you to stock up on a few extra tips because shipping charges can add up; they currently offer free shipping on orders over $25.

Here is a list of recommended parts that I would buy for my first order if I were to buy this setup again:

$24.99 DSL-050 (20W-50W) Adjustable Soldering Iron
$16.99 #6400079 3rd Hand + Holder + Cleaner
$9.49 #6400020 Tip Tinner and Cleaner
$3.60 #55047971 Silver Solder 0.020
$2.50 #6400116 Fine Tip
$2.50 #6400117 Chisel Tip
$2.49 MCM #21-10565 Chisel Tip

Radio Shack 50W Adjustable Soldering Iron Demo (3 min 57 sec)

Posted by bill_delong | Dec 05, 2014 @ 11:58 AM | 13,137 Views
I recently bought some bodies from DeltaPlastikUSA and they didn't come with any window masks. While working on the first body, I figured that I'd share with you guys on how I like to make window masks which I actually find to work better for me than what most bodies ship with on the market. With blue masking tape I don't have problems with the masking stretching on me and it's less likely to shrivel up or stick back onto itself which are common issues I've experienced with the cheap quality window masks that typically ship with most brands of bodies:

How To Make Window Masks for R/C Cars (0 min 45 sec)

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Posted by bill_delong | Dec 04, 2014 @ 06:35 PM | 14,227 Views
A temp gun is probably the single most important tool in helping you protect your investment. Let the temps tell you how to gear your car with the following general limits for most electronics on the market:

Battery < 120
ESC < 140
Motor < 160

***Be sure to check the manual for your electronics to see what their specific temp limits are, if none are listed then use the suggested limits listed above.

Anytime you change your battery cell counts (i.e. from 2S to 3S, or NiMh to LiPo) then you will likely need to re-gear appropriately as well.

Here are a couple temp guns to consider:

hot battery = replace with higher C rated pack
hot motor + cool ESC = under geared
hot ESC + cool motor = over geared
hot everything = WAY over geared

Start with your stock gearing and then go from there... also keep in mind that driving surface conditions, tires, worn bearings etc all effect your temps... always check your temps just like a 1:1 car has a temp gauge to tell you the overall health of your system.

Remember, a temp gun is the single most important tool to own in this hobby. If you have the money to upgrade your electronics, then you should also include the cost for a temp gun without a doubt

*** For stock racing, here are some tips for using a motor analyzer to get max potential out of a motor

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Posted by bill_delong | Nov 25, 2014 @ 04:19 PM | 12,689 Views
I haven't been an avid user with RC Groups, I joined a while back when I was researching a topic about getting into R/C Motorcycles, but didn't really see a lot of content pertaining to R/C Cars so I mostly remained active with URC.

Late last week something happened with the URC Website and it's not clear if/when URC will be coming back. I've been spending a fair amount of my free time checking out various forums to help me decide which one is the closest to URC in terms of a friendly environment to share my thoughts on R/C in general.

I was particularly turned off by RC Tech after being insulted several times by one of their moderators on this thread here:

Of the remaining Forums that I've browsed (probably about a dozen so far), I get the feeling that RC Groups rises to the top in terms of friendly users and staff.

There wasn't a "Blog" feature over at URC, and I may experiment some more with this feature over here at RC Groups and see where it takes me.

Stay tuned for more updates!