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Author Topic: RC cars as a hobby.  (Read 1705 times)
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Jeff
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« on: November 22, 2004, 02:03:08 PM »

Anyone into RC cars as a hobby?

a) where does one begin?

b) is it very expensive (lots of replacing of parts, fuel costs, etc)

c) where do you run yours?
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Zekester
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2004, 02:46:07 PM »

I dabbled.

a) magazines, websites, shops

b) Yes, it can be very expensive with approx. $300 being the minimum. Especially if you go gas-powered.

c) yard, indoor/outdoor racetracks

If you can find an outdoor racetrack for them, definately go and watch.
Ask about one at a shop.
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ericb
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2004, 05:08:18 PM »

I would love to get into them but they are expensive.  And they get even more expensive after going into bigger and better models.  

A good start would be going to a large newsstand (B&N, Borders, your local newsstand, etc) and picking up 3-4 of the RC magazines out there.  Read the reviews, look for a local track, drool over the cars and controllers you will want.  From the last time I looked I would say a true RC starter kit is going to run you $300 or so for a nice controller and gas powered car.   You could get a much nicer one for another $100-200 and they just keep going up.

Sidenote: a true gas powered (or electric) RC model is going to blow the doors off any RC car you buy in a large store (Wal-mart, Radio Shack, KB Toys).  It's like comparing a model railroad to a real railroad...unbelievable in speed, parts, upgrade ability and noise Tongue
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Jeff
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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2004, 07:27:36 PM »

Thanks for the feedback. Interesting. Yeah, that sounds expensive (especially since I'm saving for an HDTV Tongue) but I bet it's fun as hell if you get into the higher class cars, and have tracks to go to.

I'd definitely be more interested in dirt tracks, and gettin' my ride all muddy.

I wonder how durable are the $300 - $500 cars, and do the tracks generally cost money to use? $400 doesn't sound that bad, when you consider it's just a video card, heh. I wouldn't think twice about dropping 4 bills on a vid card.
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« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2004, 09:09:37 PM »

Quote from: "Jeff Jones"
Thanks for the feedback. Interesting. Yeah, that sounds expensive (especially since I'm saving for an HDTV Tongue) but I bet it's fun as hell if you get into the higher class cars, and have tracks to go to.

I'd definitely be more interested in dirt tracks, and gettin' my ride all muddy.

I wonder how durable are the $300 - $500 cars, and do the tracks generally cost money to use? $400 doesn't sound that bad, when you consider it's just a video card, heh. I wouldn't think twice about dropping 4 bills on a vid card.


2 Video Cards, (6600, all ya need)!
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Sparhawk
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« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2004, 09:34:18 PM »

http://mtracerz.com/movies/bathgate_long.wmv

Hehehe... Some lady on this RC dirt track gets pwned by an RC car. It's great. Neat the end they pause it right before it nails her.
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SpaceLord
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« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2004, 09:43:10 PM »

That was a cute video. I want one.  :?
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« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2004, 09:53:59 PM »

I was in to RC cars about 5 years ago, spent lots of money and had a great time. My preference was on off road buggy, What I own and gas powered. Electric is ok, but not as fast and battery charge does not hold that well. As mentioned the best place to start is magazines, internet and talking to people at your local hobby store.
Starting out I would say expect to pay about $600 for a decent setup with a controller. From that point it is all accessories and fuel. You will want the accessories to make your car cooler and faster to impress the rc car chicks.  
It is a fun hobby to get in to and nice people to meet that run rc.
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disarm
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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2004, 11:46:14 PM »

i got a 1/10-scale electric car years ago and got somewhat heavily into the R/C hobby for a little while.  while it does require an initial investment of at least a couple hundred dollars, the long-term costs aren't terrible as long as you don't abuse your car too much and find yourself needing to replace parts all the time.  i would say that gas-powered cars are more popular right now, but they do have disadvantages...more expensive, more complex, and they make a fair amount of noise.  i never got into gas, but i'd love to get try it out sometime when i have a little more disposable income again.  

electric cars, on the other hand, are mechanically pretty simple, typically cheaper, and they're quiet enough that you can play around your house without bothering the neighbors.  one downside to electric cars that i think anyone interested should be aware of is the short run-time for a fast car...the faster the car, the quicker it will drain your battery pack.  charging a battery usually takes anywhere from 15-30 minutes, then you get about 5-7 minutes of running time before you need another charge.  those few minutes are an absolute blast though.

my first real car, a Kyosho Ultima II, was relatively cheap...spent about $250 to get up and running (car, radio, battery, charger).  it's an addictive hobby though and wasn't long before i was upgrading every part i could to make it go just a little faster...i was determined to beat my brother's RC10 Team Car.  we had a great time racing both on the road and off, and even took the cars out to an empty parking lot and used my dad's police car to clock them one day.  after countless upgrades and tweaking, i managed to get 27mph out of my little car.  like i said before though, speed comes at a price with electric cars...my 49,000rpm motor drains a 30min charge in about 5 minutes.  i put that thing through hell and it still runs like new today.  i even took a few pics Cool

My Kyosho Ultima II - outside & inside

i think R/C cars are a great hobby.  you can get started relatively cheap and invest as you become more serious.  a good car can take quite a bit of abuse, and you can always repair them as long as you have the money for parts...unlike the cheap cars at wal-mart, a good car is built yourself and can be just as easily taken apart for repairs.  R/C cars are fun if you like to work with your hands and build/dismantle/tweak stuff...can even learn a little about electronics, engines, and transmissions/gearings while you're at it.  i even branched out a little and bought an electric speedboat eventually...those are a lot of fun as long as you don't let the battery run out in the middle of a pond (been there, done that).  my ultimate goal is to try a helicopted someday though Cool

i think the best thing to do starting out is head to a hobby shop that deals in a lot of R/C gear and see what's available...check out gas vs. electric, onroad vs. off, and see what you like.  if you want to check out R/C car magazines, i'd recommend picking up an issue of R/C Car Action.  i got that mag for years and it was always good...only cancelled because they started to focus almost entirely on gas cars and i was into electric.  i would also recommend Tower Hobbies as a good place to do some shopping.  they've been around for years and sell damn near anything you can imagine at a reasonable price...i guess you could say they were my "newegg of the R/C world" back in the day slywink
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Cota
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2004, 12:00:07 AM »

I used to race for a couple of years. It's a fun hobby, but can get really expensive if you don't know when to quit. My experience comes from battery RC. I never cared for gas much, too noisy and smelly. Electric cars are pretty damned fast on their own.

Quote
I wonder how durable are the $300 - $500 cars, and do the tracks generally cost money to use? $400 doesn't sound that bad, when you consider it's just a video card, heh. I wouldn't think twice about dropping 4 bills on a vid card.


They are pretty durable, but not indestructable. You can replace every single piece on them though, so it doesn't kill you to break one. I found that anything attached to a wheel is the first thing to break. So be sure to have a couple of spares if you go racing. I got into the hobby with about $300 I think. That got me a truck, AM radio, and some batteries. And I competed fairly well in the newbie class with that. You can spend way more than that though if you want.

Around here, it was the hobby shops that provided the racing circuits. We had outdoor and covered tracks. Costs a couple of bucks to enter and you can get a trophy if you're good. smile Often times the hobby shop would bring supplies to the track if it wasn't on their site in case you broke something you didn't have a spare for.

I'd hit your hobby store and see if they got anything going for RC racers and see what sort of kit you can get into for a start. It's a great hobby.

Edit: Haha. I had to go out in the garage and dig out my stuff after talking about it. Here is what I had when I quit.

-Cota
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crumsteel
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2004, 01:42:49 AM »

After looking at pictures and rustling through the attic, I got mine out to post pictures also. Nice cars disarm and cota.
pic 1 pic 2
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DonD
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2004, 04:09:50 AM »

I started out with the typical battery-powered monster truck (Blackfoot), back when I was in high school, and have continued to build and build so that now I have:
(mainly 1/10 scale) electric buggy, gas monster truck, electric monster truck, gas stadium truck, electric motorcycle, 2 electric touring cars, a Mini-Z F1 car, a gas snowmobile, a sailboat (wind-powered), a gas plane (trainer), and a gas heli.

A quick and easy way to get into the hobby with some quality stuff would be the Traxxas brand.

You could get their T-Maxx, for example, which is a Gas-Powered Monster truck, Ready-to-Run.  That means that it comes built, including the electronics and remote controller.  All you have to do is pop some batteries into the transmitter, put some gas in (Nitro fuel -- I use Traxxas Top Fuel 10%), and follow the break-in instructions.

Break in generally consists of running the truck up and down in an oval shape, gradually building speed and then letting it off so the engine can get lubricated by the fuel, and ease the friction.  It usually doesn't take long.  After that, you can run it hard, and this thing will go about 35-40 mph.

The T-Maxx is one of the few gas-powered trucks that has forward and reverse, so even if you get a different one, you'll want to check for that feature (sounds simple, but it's annoying if you don't have it).  If you decide to race (there are usually local tracks you can race at), you'll need to disable reverse, as it's simply not allowed (to avoid accidents).  If you T-bone a wall, you'll need to wait for a race marshall to turn your truck around.

The truck is very sturdy, and I haven't had to replace much on mine in the couple of years I've had it.  I've upgraded various parts, but that's just because it was something I wanted to do.

If you don't want to deal with gas and want to stick with an electric truck, the E-maxx is the electric version, also highly recommended.

You have to be careful with the electrics that they don't get wet, or you could blow out your electronics (makes sense, yes?).  That includes snow, puddles, dew on grass, sprinklers..

There are ways around this, such as putting the electronics inside little balloons so they are protected, but that's a more advanced topic, and probably better for another thread if/when it comes to that.

As far as online stores, Tower Hobbies is the one I use most.

- Don
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DonD
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2004, 04:15:52 AM »

I should add:  if you're just looking for something fun to run inside the house, take a serious look at the Mini-Z Racers.

They are not the micro-racers that are 2" long.  They run 6-8" in length, come assembled, and include electronics and transmitter.  There are also tracks around (at least in NYC) where people race them against each other, but you could just race 'em in the house or on the street.

If you decide that you are more serious about it, you could upgrade the car, and tinker almost endlessly.  They run around $100 or so, and have very little maintenance aside from replacing batteries as needed (I use NiMH rechargeables to cut down on cost).

Mine looks like this:


- Don
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ericb
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« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2004, 03:57:24 PM »

Not to hijack the thread but if anyone has their old RC cars/parts laying around and wants to get rid of them then shoot me an email.  Possibly buy or trade (console, PC, DVDs, other electronics).
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« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2004, 04:00:12 PM »

I think you all would probably enjoy this video of an RC car owning a girl on a bike.

http://mtracerz.com/movies/bathgate_long.wmv


 :oops:  :oops:
Dope, what I get for not reading the whole thread.


Sorry,
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disarm
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« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2004, 06:35:50 PM »

Quote from: "ericb"
Not to hijack the thread but if anyone has their old RC cars/parts laying around and wants to get rid of them then shoot me an email.  Possibly buy or trade (console, PC, DVDs, other electronics).

this reminds of the only problem i have with my R/C car now...
my Ultima II is over ten years old now and parts are getting harder to come by all the time.  it makes me a little more reluctant to go crazy with it because i never know if i'll be able to find a replacement part next time something breaks.  one of these days, i need to have a look on eBay and see if i can find someone selling the same car cheap, or at least a lot of spare parts...or i could just use that as another reason to get a new car sometime Cool
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« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2004, 07:24:47 PM »



Yes, in my excitement to paint the body I forgot to leave the masking on the windows... oops.

I'm the king of not following through. I built this sweet car, I even scouted out some local tracks and hobby shops... then I put it in the closet.

It goes well with the 30 or so console and PC games I own and have never played... and the guitar that I can play, barely... and the snowboard in the closet, next to the roller blades, golf clubs, tennis racket, rock climbing gear... oy... shoot me before I do it again!
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« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2004, 05:43:38 AM »

I should get a picture of all my brothers RC stuff. Fills rooms at his house... He's there at the south side of Indianapolis.

You ever race your stuff anywhere like the World's Championship or at the Ft. Wayne Colliseum?
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