bill_delong's blog View Details
Posted by bill_delong | Oct 08, 2018 @ 02:23 PM | 1,403 Views
In preparation to review some vehicles (subjectively), I feel that I need to first explain what my "Evaluation Index" is and how I have come up with these numbers, also allowing those to use my index as an example to prioritize custom rankings based on personal preference. The key point here is that nobody can definitively say brand "x" is better than brand "y" without first giving examples for how they have based their opinion and that's my goal here in explaining how my rankings are adjusted.

To me, there are 4 key areas that I like to score for my evaluations, feel free to add more to suit your personal preference but this is how I roll up my evaluations to keep things as relatively simple as possible:

1) Value - This is a combination of overall price and quality of components that you get for a given price. Generally, the lower the cost the higher the score, however there is an exception to this rule if upgrades are included which would offset the price where bundled upgrades will typically cost far less than if you bought them separately which in turn can increase the score.

2) Durability - This is really hard and almost impossible to measure with any definitive precision. In most cases, I have either owned or seen these cars crash/break first hand at various tracks in my area. I have taken into account the various conditions such as speed, ambient temperature etc with estimating on what I perceive to be a realistic score. In some...Continue Reading
Posted by bill_delong | Oct 04, 2018 @ 01:55 PM | 1,419 Views
Having a battery discharger can be very useful in creating battery discharge graphs if you have a charger that exports discharge data. You can also use a discharger to quickly get your packs into storage mode.

I will be discussing how I made a 30A discharger using mostly random materials around my house.

*** CAUTION ***
There are no safety features with this discharger, you must monitor the voltage yourself, preferably by connecting your charger in parallel and manually disconnect the bulb discharger when you hit your target voltage reading.

First I ordered some "12v 10w halogen bulbs" off eBay, I think I paid around $15 to get about 40 bulbs shipped:

Then used some scrap plastic and drilled some holes to get all the bulbs lined up in a grid pattern:

Then I used some scrap lamp wiring to route all my connections:
...Continue Reading
Posted by bill_delong | Aug 21, 2018 @ 07:31 AM | 1,164 Views
I have had internal solder tabs break on me in the past, I simply splice soldered a new bridge of wire across the tabs to fix it. You can see the broken tab across the blue wire here:

I used some electrical tape to prevent any shorted circuits while soldering:

Fresh bridge of tinned braided wire:

...Continue Reading
Posted by bill_delong | Aug 12, 2018 @ 12:41 PM | 1,539 Views
As a club racer, I try to find ways to be efficient with the tools in my collection and ways to tote my gear from home to the track with the least hassle and ease of use.

One of my favorite items is the Bucket Boss Tool Roll

Here is my current inventory of tools:
  • Mini Channel Locks
  • Tekno Multi Tool
  • Ball Link Pliers
  • 17mm tire wrench
  • Assorted pliers
  • Black/Silver Sharpies
  • Pencil
  • Hobby Knife
  • Curved Lexan Scissors
  • Needle Pick
  • Micro scew driver set
  • Liquid/Gel Thread Lock
  • Metric ball end hex wrenches
  • Metric socket wrenches
  • Toothbrush
  • Standard and Phillips screw drivers

Posted by bill_delong | Aug 10, 2018 @ 07:48 AM | 1,585 Views
Be sure your wiring to the servo is such that only the +8.4v positive lead is the only wire coming from your LiPo into the servo... you want the signal lead and true negative to come from the ESC like this:

I sell these wiring harnesses for $5 each + $3 shipping for folks who don't want to mess with soldering.

Here's an example of what happens if you use both the negative and positive lead from the LiPo to servo:

Demo HV Servo off 2x2S LiPo in Series (2 min 49 sec)

Here's an example of the wiring which is wrong, do not use this method which is what I used the video example above that was prone to glitching at full throttle:

Posted by bill_delong | May 12, 2018 @ 07:49 AM | 1,573 Views
I like to use CF printed vinyl like this:
eBay-Carbon Fiber Wrap

I will clean the chassis with alcohol swabs to degrease it before applying the film and then cut the holes with a fresh blade on my hobby knife to get something like this:

...Continue Reading

Boycott Traxxas

Posted by bill_delong | Apr 18, 2018 @ 01:29 PM | 3,785 Views
wait... what... why on earth would anyone ever want to boycott one of the largest most influential R/C companies on the planet???

Let's take a step back in time to see where Traxxas was founded back in 1986 by Jim Jenkins and David Katz. Traxxas is credited for introducing the concept of a RTR and bringing the Short Course class into R/C among many other cool concepts.

In contrast of amazing contributions that Traxxas has made in growing the industry, they have grown into a completely different company from what they once were and have morphed into a "Patent Troll" who is focused on destroying their competition which is now killing the industry as we know it. So what is the definition of a patent troll and what sorts of things has Traxxas done to categorize them this way, I've highlighted key actions that Traxxas is guilty of doing here:

1) Baseless Claims - I need to do more research because Traxxas has filed too many baseless claims to keep track of them all, but I will point out 2 key events that have dramatically impacted the industry. First was around 2014 when Traxxas sued HPI for patent infringement by using a rubber seal to copy their idea for a "waterproof Rx box". Keep in mind that HPI legally reverse engineered the design and came up with a new shape/geometry with no direct copy molds. In theory this case should've been thrown...Continue Reading
Posted by bill_delong | Jan 13, 2018 @ 08:53 AM | 3,508 Views
If your car comes with cheap plastic bushings, some have asked if it's worth it to upgrade to bearings, and if so, which ones?

For casual bashing where performance isn't important then upgrading to shielded bearings isn't really important, but if you would like slightly faster acceleration, smoother/quiet operation and increased efficiency with slightly longer run times, the consider upgrading to bearings.

There are tons of cheap bearings available on eBay and they will do fine, I agree that rubber sealed bearings are nice and also a huge fan of AVID bearings. They have tons of kits available for most cars on the market, if you don't see your car listed, simply send them an email and chances are they will make a kit available very shortly:

If you want to take performance to the next level, then consider the Revolution series through AVID, they have a non removable metal shield on one side and rubber seal on the opposite side. Metal shields offer less drag/weight which improve performance but are more difficult to clean. If you don't plan to clean your bearings then I would just buy double metal shielded bearings and toss them out when they get crunchy for the best performance. If longevity is more important, then go with Revolution bearings for a good balance. You can also leave the rubber shield permanently removed leaving one side exposed to help reduce drag, simply place the exposed side of the bearing toward the inside of...Continue Reading
Posted by bill_delong | Dec 14, 2017 @ 03:11 PM | 3,622 Views

Tekno EB410.1 Kit
RCTech Thread


  • Shaft drive (tapered AL for light weight and straightness)
  • Gear differentials (all 3)
  • Low Angle CVAs (with captured pins so no ejecting them!)
  • Durable stub axles with 12mm hexes and optional offset adjustments
  • Reverse bellcrank steering system
  • Quick access bulkheads (for easy diff maintenance and tuning)
  • Split center diff holder (for easy diff maintenance and tuning)
  • 8th scale style motor mount (for easy mesh adjustment)
  • 13mm big bore shocks
  • 3.5mm shock shafts
  • Droop screws
  • Tekno RC is the only company in the industry that will give 50% off of parts if returned to them using the General Warranty return policy found on their website. The parts can be lightly used or completely abused, as long as the part is still being produced it's covered!
  • Plastic shock caps are difficult to install, highly recommend upgrading to aluminum caps
  • No front sway bars included, optional upgrade recommended
  • Turnbuckles and shock standoffs should be upgraded with Lunsford aftermarket parts (Lifetime Warranty)
This car has spent 5 years in development with completely new geometry concepts using forward weight bias to take extreme advantage of modern high traction surface conditions. Tekno has set a new standard in terms of performance matched with durability and gobs of support with a sea of team drivers and unparalleled following of aftermarket support. This car does not disappoint, for a competitive racer in either mod or stock, I
...Continue Reading
Posted by bill_delong | Jan 21, 2016 @ 09:01 AM | 10,061 Views
This is arguably the car that made the SCT class popular when it was first introduced in 2008:

Although the 2WD SCT Class has evolved significantly with far superior designs using modern technology from dozens of manufactures across the globe, there is still a relatively strong cultural following for those dedicated specifically to the "Spec Slash Class" and that's what this thread will be dedicated to supporting in regards to the rules observed by my local race track:!specslash/c16to

Here we are, nearly 8 years later (at the time of this writing) and there is still a strong interest in offering a "gateway class" to merge novice in with intermediate (sportsman) drivers. I will expand on the information shared in the following link which I feel is an excellent starting point in preparing a Slash for the race track:*** I'm far from the best driver in my area, but every now and then I have a particularly good race day and have had really good results with this setup

Additional Tuning Tips:
  • Apply comm drops on motor break in and when needed to keep comm clean, this will help keep your commutator clean and soften your brushes to help keep them properly formed, more motor tuning info here:
...Continue Reading
Posted by bill_delong | Jan 12, 2016 @ 07:59 AM | 9,569 Views
All quoted prices below include free shipping from China, most of my orders from Banggood typically arrive in 1-2 weeks, there are other distributors for SkyRC products but this is the least expensive distributor that I am currently aware of as I write this post:

$80 - 150A ESC (2-6S) + TurboTiming - USER MANUAL
$68 - 120A ESC (2-3S) + TurboTiming/Boost) - USER MANUAL
$35 - 50A ESC (2S) + Blinky Only - USER MANUAL
$29 - Wifi Programming Module - Replaces Blue Tooth Programmer
$17 - Programming Box
$9 - USB Programming Adapter (PC Required)

Normally I would review a single product, but in this case, I feel that it makes more sense for folks to see all the different options available which is why I posted so many links above so that folks can pick and choose what makes the most sense for their needs.

For example, if someone wanted to race a 1/10 class which requires a Blinky ESC, then they should consider the 50A ESC, and take special note that ESC has no advanced programming features available because it is permanently locked in "Blinky Mode". The Bluetooth module doesn't appear to be compatible, but the Programming Box and USB Link are listed in the manual.

If someone wanted to run in an open modified 1/10 class, then they should consider the 120A ESC which offers Timing and Boost, but you will be required to purchase one of the 3 different programming tools. There is no way to get the ESC to enter into "programming mode&...Continue Reading
Posted by bill_delong | Mar 19, 2015 @ 09:08 AM | 14,387 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 | Dec 15, 2014 @ 03:44 PM | 34,537 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 @ 12:31 PM | 10,012 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 @ 10:24 PM | 10,844 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 @ 10:58 AM | 11,094 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)

Posted by bill_delong | Dec 04, 2014 @ 05:35 PM | 12,619 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
Posted by bill_delong | Nov 25, 2014 @ 03:19 PM | 11,986 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!