Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuning with your transmitter: Steering

Have you ever been to a race and thought if I could just get that little bit more “this” or a little more “that” from your car but didn't want to change anything either because you,  A: Might screw up how good your car is now. B: The changes you make might be too much or not enough or C: Not know what to change to make the car do what you want it to do to improve it?

   I learned many years ago that we could manipulate the settings on our transmitters to make the car work better or simply just drive better and / or easier. On today’s TX’s there are so many settings that most drivers don’t know what they do or what they are for, let alone utilize what they are capable of to help you tune and dial in your car for better performance.

    In this post I will touch on the basis of helping you tune your car by explaining what some of the adjustments are for, what they do and how you can use them to gain more performance to get your R/C to do what you want it to without picking up a wrench. (OK you might need a wrench to start with)

Let’s start with the basics for steering and assume that you have everything straight. This means that your servo arm is straight up and down (or in the factory specified position) that your links are equal length side to side for camber and tie rods and that the sub trim/ trim settings are not too far from center. The basics are EPA (End Point Adjustment) , Sub Trim and Trim and D/R (Dual Rate).  Others include EXP/EXPO/Curve (Exponential), Speed and Punch. (Punch can be found on KO Propo Radios)

Sub-Trim/Trim:  These settings allow you to set the servo exactly in a neutral (or otherwise) position to allow the car to drive straight. Sub-Trim allows you to make adjustments within your Trim setting to allow the trim to be set as close to “0” as possible. This makes a difference with some Transmitters where the Sub trim moves the servo in larger movements per click than compared to the Trim which is the finer setting. Some radios allow you to adjust the movement or rate per click within the Trim setting.

EPA/Highpoint: This setting allows you to independently set the maximum throw of the servo from left to right. This eliminates the binding of the servo once it reaches full throw and to give you maximum operating range for your model’s steering.

Dual Rate: Dual rate is simply a means to control your end point adjustments together to either gain or lessen the throw of your servo. Even if your EPA is off from one side to the other the Dual Rate will add or subtract the same amount of EPA from both sides at the same time. Tuning Tip: Some Transmitters will allow you to go to 120% or more with Dual Rate. For beginning drivers I will set their Dual Rate this high before setting the EPA and then back down the D/R until it’s back to 100%. This decreases the steering which makes the car a little easier to drive as well as makes the new driver slow down more to complete a corner. Once the new driver becomes more skilled a simple click of the D/R switch gives them more throw. Once you explain to them that they can turn up the D/R a click here and there even if they go Max their servo is safe.

EXPO/Curve/Exponential: Exponential is one of those settings that was created to compensate for the arch of the servo arm to allow the driver/pilot to get back the feel of linearity for a particular control. For many years we have used EXPO to help in getting that feel that we are looking for both with Linearity of the steering and with Control. Without a graph I will try to explain. You can manipulate Expo to give you a slower or faster reaction off of the neutral point of your steering. Minus EXPO numbs the initial output of the servo versus your input on the steering wheel. It does not slow down the entire throw. Gain or Plus EXPO will do the opposite. It will make the steering react quicker in terms of feel but not speed up the servo. Your transit time stays the same from 0 to your end point. (Example: You have a Mustang and a Turbo Honda that both run 11.0. They will both get to the end at the same time however the Mustang (Plus EXPO) will leave the line quicker where the Honda (Minus EXPO) will make up it’s time later in that 11 seconds.) So, Plus EXPO will feel faster or twitchy from center and Minus Expo will feel slower or lag off from center but both will reach the End Point at the same time. Tech Tip: You can use EXPO to help tune the reaction of your car. In example if it feels like it needs a little more steering going into or initiating a corner add more “Plus” Expo to your transmitter or If your car feels twitchy and hard to drive straight dial in some “Minus” Expo.

Speed:  On some transmitters you can lower the speed of your servo. However you cannot add to the speed. Your servo will only perform to its specifications reliant on the voltage that is being input. Why would you turn down speed? One instance would be for a beginner or when changing from a NiMH to a Lipo battery on a gas car or buggy. Other examples would be for a sweeping layout where no tight or quick corners require fast steering which makes for an easier drive especially in a long main event.

Punch:  (KO Propo term) This setting allows you bypass a portion of the initial input of the curve (whether linear, EXPO + or EXPO-) all the way up to 100%. In example of you where to dial in as much as 50% Punch as soon as you input steering up to 50% of your throw the servo will bypass any EXPO setting you have until 51% where it will then resume the EXPO setting. Tech Tip: If you are familiar with the Motorcycle Road Racing term “Flick” you will understand what Punch does. Flick is the term used when a rider moves the handlebars extremely rapid to get a bike to turn in very hard in some cases I have seen black marks on the pavement from the front tire! Punch can be used for this reason but I have never effectively used anything past 5% and that is on the radical side in my opinion.

In my next installment we will cover the uses of these terms and others for the throttle and brake tuning from your transmitter.


Relief from the heat!

Splashdown,  it's Summer time. Young and old get relief from the heat by heading to the water. Tamiya has some products that will keep you entertained while soaking. Click on the images below to find out more about each product.

Item #71126 Mechanical Swimmer
The Mechanical Swimmer. has a Submarine Motor Mini and Underwater Gearbox move the legs via crankarms. In addition, gearbox movement is also delivered to the arms using rubber bands for the robot to swim. By replacing the positions of legs, arms, and head...
Item #71125 Mechanical Fish
New to the popular Robocraft Series is the Mechanical Fish. The movement of the crank arm is translated into the tail's left and right movement allowing it to swim. As opposed to the previously released blowfish (Item 71114), which had its body above the water...
Mechanical Blowfish (Item #71114)
Item #71114 Mechanical Blowfish
The Mechanical Blowfish. Using a crank and linkage rod system this robo-fish propels itself through the water by its swinging tail fin. White under-belly holds the motor, gearbox, battery box and switch and is sealed water-proof tight. Parts are easily put together...
Rowboat (Item #70114)
Item #70114 Rowboat
The Rowboat kit's crank-arm gear box and link rod produce an oar movement similar to those on full-size rowboats, propelling it across solid or liquid surfaces. The gear box is easy to assemble and precise design of the part...
Amphibious Vehicle Kit (Item #70119)
Item #70119 Amphibious Vehicle Kit
The Amphibious Vehicle utilizes a combination of wheel and propeller power to move itself both on land and while floating on water. The FA-130 Underwater Motor powers both the rear wheels and the propeller. Styrofoam floats keep the vehicle stable on top...
Submarine Motor w/Boat (Item #70154)
Item #70154 Submarine Motor w/Boat
Submarine motor comes with boat hull. Suction cup is supplied for easy attachment to boat. Polystyrene boat can be easily modified and painted.
Submarine Motor Mini w/Float (Item #70179)
Item #70159
With the Submarine Motor Mini you are able to attach it to any Waterline Series models and enjoy watching your model take on the high seas. Also due to its light-weight, by attaching the Submarine Mini Motor to a resized 50mm styrofoam board, it will float.
Submarine Motor (Item #70153)
Item #70153 Submarine Motor
Educational Construction in the summer is all about fun with submarine motors! Ever since Mabuchi stopped the production of their underwater motor years ago there have been many disappointed watercraft fans who have take the time to construct...
Submarine Motor Mini (Item #70178)
Item #70178 Submarine Motor Mini
Loaded inside the blue casing is a small motor which will allow you to enjoy the fun of sailing. At the rear there is a screw and a rudder that allows you to set the direction of movement. By completely closing the body, the motor will switch on...
Item #70185 Submarine Motor Mini - High Speed
In comparison with Item 70178 Submarine Motor Mini (AAA Batteries), this new Submarine Motor Mini is approximately 40% faster. It can be used with a variety of aquatic items and offers plenty of speed and fun. It has excellent waterproof qualities...
Item #70186 Underwater Gearbox
This Underwater Gearbox enables to transmit the motor power of the Submarine Motor Mini (High-Speed Type) to drive on the bottom of the water. The motor has a pinion gear instead of a propeller to move gears and hex shaft which can be...

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Well, having 9 days off in early July felt great.  That meant being able to find time to do some outdoor racing at Leisure Hours Raceway in Joliet, IL.  
I had not run 2wd mod buggy outdoors for 4 years and it felt great to be out making fast laps with the TRF201.  I headed to LHR on a Wed. July 3, got some practice before racing started and had a great time throughout the night.  Lap times for mod buggy were in the 30-33 second range.  I qualified 4th of 9 behind young racers Will Cushing (TQ) and Mason Perillo (3rd) and veteran LHR racer Mike Kochanski (2nd).  Grip was very good with green JC DDs (rear) and green Rips up front.  
After 6 minutes, the top 4 would finish in the starting order... Will 12/6:12, Mike 11/6:02, Mason 11/6:06, myself 11/6:08 and 5th place Mike Frazier with a 11/6:09.  Super fun racing with strong competition! 

Last night at Trackside Hobbies, we had a very competitive night with the top 5 qualifiers within less than 5 seconds of each other!  Qual order was as follows...
Corey Liebherr 16/5:08.793
Aaron Reichow 16/5:10.274
Andy Krivitz 16/5:12.180
Dave Bengston 16/5:12.288
Chris Nelson 16/5:13.108
After a frieght train start, I held onto 2nd for the first couple minutes, then falling back to 3rd and 4th finally securing 2nd place after the full 5 minutes.  

Thanks for tuning into the Team TRF blog site!  Looking forward to acquiring and testing out our new big bore shock package soon!  Thanks again to my sponsors:  Tamiya America, TrakPower/Hobbico, 92Zero Designs and Venom Designs.  
Have a great summer and see you soon at the track!  :)




I'm running the following bodies in the following classes:

  • Pro-Line Flo-Tek SC (3355-00) in Pro-2 Short Course (Pro-Line Pro 2)
  • Pro-Line Bulldog for the RB6 (3351-00) in 2wd Modified (201x)
  • Pro-Line 2012 Bulldog for the 502x (3381-00) in 4wd Modified (502x)
  • Pro-Line 2012 Bulldog for the D8 (3370-00) in 1/8th Buggy (801x)
  • Protoform LTC-R Rubber 190MM TC Body (1505-25) in Rubber Carpet Touring Car (417x V5)
  • Protoform Mazdaspeed 190MM TC Body (1487-11) in Rubber Asphalt Touring Car (417x V5)
  • Protoform AMR-12 (1611-21) in Foam Carpet 1/12th Scale (RM01x)
  • Protoform TR-12 (1612-21) in Foam Carpet 1/12th Scale (RM01x)

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This past weekend I was able to get out to the Tamiya track to do some more testing. Was going to be primarily a F1 practice day, as UF1 series is next weekend but was having so much fun running mod I could not resist shifting my focus.
I ended up trying several things out from changing from gear diff putty in the front to 2.5 million weight diff oil, tire inserts, tire prep and some chassis flex options. Early on in the day I was doing low 13s but by the end of the day I was doing sub 13s on 8 run + tires. I ended up finding that the biggest difference in performance really came from raising my top deck 2mm and then using flat head screws with shims to hold the spur gear shaft in place. 
This mod overall made the have more traction and more stability. Over a 5 minute run I was able to comfortably push the car and able to get consistent lap times in. I look forward to trying this setup again on some new tires with my choice of inserts.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Last week I received a care package from our fearless leader (Fred Medel) over at Tamiya USA. That care package included the new big bore shock sets front (Part# 54504) and rear (Part# 54505) along with nine pair of springs (Part#'s 54506, 54507 & 54508) along with a set of blank pistons (Part# 54509) to test with. Having only 2 days to prepare for the Top Gun Shootout I elected to put them on my 201 set up for the stock 17.5 class.
I started by unpacking the front shocks and building them first. 
As you can see they are a straight forward build just like the kit shocks are. In both the front and rear kits you will find two pair of pistons to chose from. From previously testing various BB shocks on my TRF buggies I chose the 1.7mm x 2 hole pistons for the front and using 375cst shock fluid. I built them with no spacers leaving them full length. While building them the first thing I noticed was that the seal package seemed tight on the shock shaft. Once lubed with a little bit of shock fluid in the seal pack they slid together smooth! I also noticed while installing the piston onto the shaft that the spacer for the piston made getting the upper e-clip on  a little tight. However that is chalked up to the incredibly precise fit that we expect from Tamiya/TRF shocks! (Make sure you use the spacer)
  Once together, as mentioned, I used 375cst fluid in the front with the 1.7mm x 2 hole pistons. For the rear I used 300cst fluid with the 1.6mm x 2 hole pistons. My spring choice from the 2wd front pack of springs was the white pair and for the rear I chose the yellow pair. For the rear I unscrewed the shock bottom eyelets 2 full turns from fully tight. This is something I have done for my 201's to gain more droop.
As you see in the picture above Tamiya provides some spacers to allow you to tailor the clearance you need. One thing I noticed that I didn't favor was that I have been using the aluminum upper shock mounts which fit the plastic shock tops of the kit shocks like a glove. They fit the Big Bores as well but I prefer the aluminum tops of these beauties to rest on the kit plastic shock mounts. (Tamiya is also releasing an aluminum lower ball set to fit in the bottom eyelet! Part# 54503)
Well.... here they are all mounted up and ready for some serious track conditions!
The very first time out with these shocks on my 17.5 buggy I TQ'd and Won a club race event followed by the same weekend finishing second at the Top Gun Shootout! 
As always if you have any questions about set ups or just need help with your Tamiya/TRF cars please feel free to contact me at racecrafter@gmail.com

Posted by: JIMMY WRIGHT  7/10

Big Bore Shock Set Up 201

I started off with this set up on my Stock 17.5 201 and transferred it to my Mod 201. The only difference are the springs.

   Pistons: 1.7mm X 2 hole
   Fluid:    375cst  PTRC
    Seals:  Stock
    Bleed: Full compression / No rebound
    Spring: White for 17.5 / Black for Mod
    Length: Full (no droop spacers)

    Pistons: 1.6mm X 2 hole
    Fluid:  300cst  PTRC
    Seals: Stock
    Bleed: Full compression / No rebound
    Spring: Red for 17.5 / Yellow for Mod
    Length: Full -2 turns out on bottom mount eyelet (no droop spacers)

Posted by: JIMMY WRIGHT  7/20
Big Bore Shock Set Up 201

Friday, July 19, 2013

Tamiya 1/32 Vought F4U-1Corsair "Birdcage" now shipping!

Tamiya's highly anticipated 1/32 1/32 Vought F4U-1 Corsair "Birdcage" is now shipping to hobby stores across the USA!

The USA edition has a clear engine cowling parts included for a limited time only!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Body parts for hard body R/C builds.

Tamiya hardbodies are know for their scale appearance, so what better to use to sculpt your own creation. You can use these base bodies to modify to whatever extent will fit your need.

Below is a basic list, your list may vary depending on usage/mounting. Please refer to the manual for exact parts needed for your build.

Jeep Wrangler
15.5" Length
7.5" Width
10" Wheelbase

Jeep Body 9335171-window 9335170
-sticker 9495565
-M parts 9115239
-L parts 9115238
-J parts 9005439
-K parts 9115062
-H parts 9005439
-body metal parts bag 9400864 (which has the screws and body clips and the bracket for fog lights)

Toyota Hilux
19.5" Length
7" Width
11.5" Wheelbase

9335487 Front body 
9335488 Rear body
9335489 Surf board 
9115194 k-parts (roll bar) 
9495521 Sticker a
9495521 Sticker b * 
9495521 Metal transfer * 
9495521 Rubber sheet * 
9225105 W-parts (front grill) 
9115196 P-parts (clear lenses) 
9225104 T-parts (front windscreen) 
9005869 D-parts (mirrors) 
9115198 N-parts (bumpers) 
9115195 M-parts (license plates) 
9115197 Q-parts (surf board fins) 
9400655 Metal parts bag B (screws metal parts) 
* included in sticker bag 9495221

Ford F-350
18" Length
6.75" Width
11.5" Wheelbase

0004449 F Parts (Silver parts)
9115167 K Parts (rollbar)
9005822 H Parts (Mech tray/Front body mount)
9115169 M Parts (Chrome parts)
9115170 N parts (Tailgate/mirrors)
9115171 P parts (light lenses)
9335455 Front Body
9335455 Rear Body
9335459 Window
9495491 Stickers
9400458 Metal Parts H bag
9400457 Metal Parts B bag

Toyota Tundra
18.25" Length
7" Width
11.5" Wheelbase

9005918 F Parts (Silver parts)
9115230 K Parts (rollbar)
9005822 H Parts (Mech tray/Front body mount)
9005921 D Parts (Snow Boards)
9115231 M Parts (Chrome parts)
9115232 N parts (Tailgate)
9115233 P parts (light lenses)
9115234 Q Parts (Mirrors)
9335535 Front Body
9335536 Rear Body
9335532 Window
9495558 Stickers
9400829 Metal Parts H bag
9400828 Metal Parts B bag

Super Clodbuster
18.5" Length
7" Width
11" Wheelbase

0005970 G Parts (tailgate)
9335041 Rollbar
0005971 H Parts (Grille/Rollbar)
0115059 K parts (light lenses)
9115021 J Parts (bumpers)
9335043 Body
9335040 Window
9495431 Stickers/masking
9465825 Screw B bag
9465627 Screw D bag

Subaru Brat
16.5" Length
6.75" Width
10" Wheelbase

9005291 D Parts (tailgate/grille/driver)
9005292 E parts (Windows)
0115071 L Parts (Rollbar)
9335476 Body
9335040 Window
9495507 Stickers
9465707 Screw B bag
9465703 Screw E bag

Blackfoot Xtreme
16.5" Length
6.5" Width
10" Wheelbase

9115142 J Parts (tailgate/grille)
0115220 E parts (Windows/light lenses)
50767 G Parts (Rollbar)
9335476 Body
9335040 Window
9495423 Stickers
9400078 Screw C bag

15" Length
7.25" Width
10.75" Wheelbase

9115068 K parts (Windows)
9005467 H Parts (Coupula/lights)
9335200 Body
0005576 D Parts (Hood Rings/Mirrors)
9415167 Screw Bag E
5365001 Antenna
9495217 Sticker

Mitsubishi Pajero
15" Length
5,9" Width
10" Wheelbase

9335500 Body 
9335159 Window
9005423 H Parts (Bumper/running boards)
0115175 J Parts (Spare/mirrors)
0115176 K parts (Light lenses)
9494118 Sticker
9465475 Screw bag A
50197 Snap pin set