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Radio Control Help and Advice HEADING_TITLE

Radio Control Help & Advice
If you do not see the answer to your query below, please contact us

Contribute: If you've a bit of useful information you think could help others, why not email it to us - if we like it, we'll add it!  Many of the queries below come from emailed conversations - we try to answer all emails so if you have a query, why not ask?

New tips are always added to the top of this list.

SETTING UP THE TAMIYA TEU101BK ESC

This seems to be so easy to get it right yet so easy for many to get it totally wrong.  Here's a help sheet which makes it nice and clear...  click here

CONNECTING TAMIYA AND MTRONIKS ESCS TO ACOMS, CARSON AND ETRONIX RADIOS

We have created a photographic guide, as it is easy to plug these in the wrong sockets. To view it click here

EASY GUIDE TO STARTING RELUCTANT FUEL CARS WITH PULL STARTS

Many fuel cars prove difficult to start, especially if they have not been run for a while.  This guide helps fuel reach the engine and makes starting easier.

1: Fill tank with fresh fuel.
2: Remove air cleaner and glow plug.
3: With radio switched off, manually push throttle to fully open position.
4: If fitted, pump fuel until it reaches carb.
5: Cover air intake with thumb and continually pull the pull start until fuel starts to spit out of glow plug hole.
6: Remove thumb, turn car upside down and give 4 or 5 pulls to clear excess fuel.
7: Replace plug.  Fit glow plug.  Fit air cleaner.  Power up all radio.  Attempt to start car.
Car should now start easily.  If the pull cord is excessively stiff, undo the glow plug by a quarter to half a turn and try to start again, car should fire and stall - then tighten plug and restart.

This procedure is necessary on many cars with narrow jets in the carb and narrow ports in the engine as they can become blocked with dry fuel deposits.

Keep your pull start good: Measure the length of the pull start.  Never pull it further than three quarters of this length out from the engine - then it shouldn't break!

RESTORING THE PULL START ONE WAY BEARING TO WORKING ORDER

The one way bearing behind the pull start will over time become contaminated with fuel and stop working - the pull start then wont turn the engine.  Often the bearing can't be restored, but we find the following can often get it working again:

Note this procedure is kill or cure.  If the bearing isn't fixed by this, you've not really lost much as you wouldn't try this unless it had failed!

1: Remove bearing from engine and from pull start (this procedure is not suitable for bearings which are attached to the pull start and cannot be separated).
2: Place in a small dish.
3: Soak bearing in a degreaser fluid.   You can choose - Gunk, brake cleaner, meths or even Petrol (regular, unleaded) will do but be very, very careful as all these fluids are both poisonous and flammable.  Kids - ask Dad to help. 
4: After around 15 minutes of soaking, agitate and where possible, turn the bearing on it's rollers (some you can, some you can't).
5: Remove from cleaner, allow to dry on paper.
6: Bearing then needs through lubrication.  WD40 is effective - the bearing really needs to soak in the fluid for again around 15 minutes and then be wiped completely clean.
7: If it works, you've saved £££.  If not, try the procedure again but as a final option do not lubricate - some bearings as they begin to fail will run OK when dry.

READER'S TIP - BAJA KING UPGRADES

Regular contributor Michael Gardiner has contributed this essay on his Baja King refinements.  Warning - it involves big wheels and metal plates!  To read his article, click here

READER'S TIP - BUILDING A SCALE LENGTH TAMIYA TRAILER

Regular contributor Michael Gardiner has contributed this excellent guide on how to up-scale the Tamiya flat bed trailer to "European" lengths!  To read his article, click here

TAMIYA XBG TGS - CURING THE KNOCKING NOISE

Some people find the pilot shaft comes loose on these cars, sometimes it's down to starting technique, some just come loose of their own accord, either way it's a minor fault but can seem like something major.  It may sound like the engine is knocking and on it's way out, power will be down and starting may be difficult.  All it really is caused by is effectively a loose nut!  We've made a step-by-step guide below on how to fix this common problem with nothing more than a few tools, a tube of threadlock solution and just a few "Gordon Ramsey"-isms.... click on Pilot Shaft Refixing for more details.

WHAT CLUTCH FITS SMARTECH/DURATRAX EVADER/COLT/DURATRAX STREETFORCE ETC ETC

Order the following:

M1017 2 Shoes Clutch W/Spring

This is a white teflon/ceramic clutch which doesn't turn to slush (at least not normally) unlike the black or grey clutches fitted as standard to some of these cars.

HOW TO RECLAIM HEX ENDED DRIVE SHAFTS ON FROG/BLACKFOOT ETC

Good/bad news on this one. These shafts have been unavailable new for a long time (the hexes suffer from high wear rates unless they are run in grease with rubber covers on them). However, they can be reclaimed quite easily provided you know someone with welding equipment (classic car enthusiasts etc). What needs to be done is a lip of weld run around the end of the drive shaft to build up the flanges, then simply (?) grind it back to shape with an angle grinder. Not something I've tried myself, but I've come across many cars where this has been done.  Look for the owner of the rustiest car in your street - chances are the guy will have welding gear in his garage and may do the job for a drink!

MAKING BAJA KING HANDLE BETTER ON AND OFF ROAD
Contributed by Michael Gardiner

I've experienced very high (to me at least!) wear rates with the pin spike tyres for the Baja King, though I do run it on hard ground (gravel and dusty concrete and tarmac). I've now tried a set of tyres from the Blazing Star (9805561 for a pair of tyres, and they fit on 'standard' 1/10 car rims, eg Celica, Focus etc) and they are superb! They seem to last for ever, well, maybe not that long, but far longer than the pin spikes. They actually offer a bit less grip on a loose surface than the pin spikes, but cornering is a blast as the skid characteristics of the car are now extremely controllable. The pin spikes were just too grippy, making the car too jumpy and not allowing the back, especially, to slide out and pivot around the front for a sharp turn. Suddenly really huge amounts of fun, being able to turn using the 'throttle'! Last thing about the tyres is that they appear to be accurate scale models of the real eg BF Goodrich, Mud Terrain tyres, which is awfully 'trendy' if you're into full-size off-road racing (which I am). I'd recommend these tyres to: anyone experiencing too high a wear rate with the original pin spikes, anyone who races on tarmac (excellent grip here) and anyone who wants very controllable skid/slide characteristics for a Baja King or similar buggy.

Manager's note: For the cheapest wheels these tyres fit, look at the end of our 50000-52999 listing for either Focus 2003 or Enzo Ferrari wheels as these are packed in 4's.  Alternatively, you could buy a complete Blazing Star kit which is an offroad buggy with ESC and these tyres/wheels as standard.

READER'S TIP ON CHARGING BATTERIES IN TAMIYA TANK SERIES
Contributed by Michael Gardiner

Battery charging on the Pershing is a pain because you either have to remove the turret or the entire top of the hull to get at the battery. Tamiya reckon you can just lift the front of the hull and slide out the battery - you can, but I never managed to get the thing back in again without taking the whole top off anyway! Whatever you do, you end up messing up all the 'carefully arranged'(!) wiring and then the turret won't turn properly etc. To get around this problem, I added a pair of charging contacts on the rear of the tank's hull. I disguised them as extra towing eyes, making them out of drilled and shaped brass plates soldered into the slots of a couple of pan headed brass bolts. I added a double pole double throw switch so that you can either run the tank or charge the battery. In this way, it doesn't matter if, for example, you're running the tank in wet grass, because the charging contacts will not short the battery as they are electrically disconnected. The run/charge switch is under the other front hatch, nicely hidden away. It seems to work fine and charging the battery, even fast charging it, while it is in the tank doesn't cause a problem with heat build up. 
Click the pictures below for bigger views of the conversion.

FAST CHARGE / DISCHARGE - IS IT GOOD FOR BATTERIES?

Ideally, all Nicads should be slow charged, but realistically they should also be slow discharged too... which isn't possible in these cars. The cells in our own packs are fast charge/fast discharge spec and should be fine for a long while on a fast charger (they have a 2 yr warranty on some of them). It may be wise (if you have the time) to occasionally trickle charge the battery until it is fully charged (usually you trickle for 1 hour per 100ma battery capacity, i.e. 1900 battery = 19 hrs etc).

The only really bad thing you can do to a Nicad race pack is overcharge it (battery so hot you can barely touch it) or lamp-discharge it (by putting it on a lamp pack to discharge every bit of power out of the cells) - there is a school of thought that this is good for the pack, but in reality it just drains the individual cells so far that the cells go out of balance, so is only really worth trying on the very expensive "matched cells" racing packs, and even then only if you're using them for top-flight racing.

HOW TO CHANGE A TAMIYA TL01 FOCUS INTO A MONSTER TRUCK

The Stadium Raider is the same car as you have, only with different wheels - there are no chassis changes. Fitting the bigger wheels will give a higher top speed and it will run very well on grass, you will need:

2 x 0445744 Wheel (2) For 58246 - Stadium Raider

2 x 53092 4wd Spire Spike F. Tyre

(Each code is a pair). These will just about fit under the rear of the focus, but at the front you'll either need to raise the body up on the mounts to create a Monster Truck effect or cut the wheelarches larger.

I WANT TO MAKE MY TT01 GO FASTER ON THE CHEAP

Virtually any motor will fit the TT01. If you want to race at club level you need to check the regulations of that club as some are quite strict on what you can and cannot use, but for thrashing around the streets go for something like a 19x2 or a 17x2, these start at £12.99. You'll need to ball race the car whatever upgrade you choose (£12.99 for unofficial bearing pack).

I WANT TO SELL MY RC CAR - HOW WILL I GET THE BEST PRICE?

You would get the best price by advertising the car in the free ads in the back of a magazine such as Radio Race Car, but this would take a while as there is usually a couple of months lead time. For a quick sale, e-bay is often useful if you're prepared to use it, but there is a risk that you won't get the sort of money you're looking for, as most people view e-bay as a place to buy things "on the cheap".

A dealer is unlikely to buy second hand models, unless at *very low* prices as he will have to make a profit when the car is sold on, and cover any repair work that's needed.

HOW LONG SHOULD I TRICKLE CHARGE MY BATTERY?

If you don't use the fast charge part of the charger you should charge any battery for 1 hour for every 100 ma, assuming you are using an AC30 or AC14 charger. So 1400 battery = 14 hrs, 1700 battery = 17hrs, 2100 = 21hrs, 5000 = 50hrs (5000 doesn't exist, just making the point!).

ANY TIPS ON CUTTING OUT CLEAR BODY SHELLS?

I find it works best to cut all the long straight cuts first with sharp scissors then do all the curves with a good pair of curved toenail scissors (or Tamiya Curved Scissors, see our tools section). When cut, give the wheel arches a very light sand to smooth in any nicks, but avoid using a knife as if you slip and score the body it will split at the score the first time the car touches anything. For drilling holes, either drill very carefully using a low speed electric/battery drill or use a "Reamer" tool.

DO YOU SHIP SPARES TO THE USA / AUSTRALIA / HONG KONG (ETC)?

Yes, shipping is calculated by the checkout on our basket site, or we will calculate it manually on our The Catalogue site when we charge your order.

CAN I CHANGE THE BODY ON MY TAMIYA MINI?

No you can't change the body on a Mini, except for fitting a Classic Mini onto a BMW Mini by removing the extension piece in the chassis. It is a MINI after all - look at the real thing, very little else of the same size that you'd actually want on a car (no street cred in having a RC car with a Toyota Yaris body shell or something!)

ANY TIPS ON STARTING TG10/TGX/TGS GLOW ENGINES SINGLE HANDED?

You'll find it much easier to start with the rechargeable glow unit - the main problem with the battery-in clips is that the battery in the glow starter is not holding up long enough and goes partially flat whilst you're trying to start.

The key to starting these is to fill the tank virtually to overflowing with Duraglow 16 or Quickfire 16 (anything else doesn't really work that well in the engine), pump the primer until the fuel reaches the carb then pump once more, fit the glow clip, push the throttle forward slightly and keep it slightly open (either with an assistant on the controller or the way I tend to do it is to open the throttle slightly then switch off the transmitter which leaves the throttle open, then place the car face on to a wall as when it starts it will then try to drive away) then it should start on two or three pulls. Immediately then switch on the transmitter so that the revs drop away. It's rather like starting an old car with manual choke - if you don't touch the throttle you'll be there for hours!

I HAVE A DEAD CHANNEL ON MY ACOMS RADIO EQUIPMENT

These is a possibility that it is faulty, HOWEVER, there is an issue with the molding on the top plate of the new designs of Acoms receivers which allow the servo/esc leads to be plugged in "upside-down" - it is worth therefore unplugging the lead on the dead channel and rotating it 180 degrees before plugging it back in. This may solve the problem.

SHOULD I GLUE MY TYRES ON A MONSTER TRUCK, AS THEY ARE SLIPPING

I'd glue the tyres on, but just put four drops around each rim on each side so that there are sections which remain unglued otherwise you'll trap all the air inside and it won't absorb bumps as well.

MY PINION IS WEARING TO SHARP POINTS - IS THERE A HARDER METAL VERSION?

We tried steel and brass pinions but haven't been happy with them. We found the pinions lasted but the main gears kept breaking up - the alloy ones tend to last quite well and less harsh on the plastic gears but just need regular greasing - as they are at the end of the gearbox run and spinning faster than everything else all the grease is thrown off - if you pull the motor out after (say) every 10 batteries and put a big glob of grease on the pinion it'll last a lot longer.

DO YOU SELL BALLRACES INDIVIDUALLY?

Yes, they are £1 each, when we have stock, for most sizes. However, for most cars you only need 1150 size and the cheapest way to get these is to just buy a BEA1 TL01 set - the bearing in it are universal and you get 24 for under £20.

BODY FOR A MANTA RAY?

The Manta Ray body and sticker is discontinued, but the following are basically the same car so both will fit (more or less, you may have to redrill the body to suit the rear body mount depending on which version of the Manta Ray you have):

9495223 Sticker For 58160 £6.50
9805529 Body W/Wing For 58160 £14.99
9805560 Body W/Wing For 58204 £12.50
9495280 Sticker Bag For 58204 £6.50
58160 is the Dirt Thrasher, 58204 is the Blazing Star.

QUICK UPGRADES FOR A TT01?

Suggest ballrace set then fit the upgrade spur gear, then perhaps go for the Alloy prop shaft to reduce vibration and oil shocks set to smooth out cornering - these should all be listed at the back of your kit manual under "Option Parts" and can be found on our 53000 listing on the parts site.

TGS CARS - I WANT A STICK RADIO, YOUR PICS SHOW WHEEL AND TRIGGER

The ones we sell have the stick controls as they are made especially for the UK. Grey imports sold elsewhere have the wheel controls. Unfortunately, the pics on the site show the wheel controls as these are the official Tamiya pics. "Grey" Cars sold elsewhere with Wheel and Trigger controllers may not be tuned for UK spec fuel and will definitely not be covered by any UK warranty.

I HAVE A QUICKDRIVE AND WANT TO UPGRADE IT

Sorry to disappoint, but the QD series is non-upgradeable. The only option part is a high capacity battery pack (our code TT96L14) which gives double the running time. In particular the electrics in these cars are a soldered-fit integrated circuit board rather than the plug together components in the kit cars, so changing the motor would likely blow the board up (even assuming you can find a motor which will fit).

MY TL01 HANDLES LIKE A DOG

Have you got the adjustable tie rods, upper arms and anti-roll bars fitted? Make a lot of difference to handling on these cars *provided* you suspension is set correctly - which can easily be checked by dropping the car from a height of approx 8 inches (20 cm) onto a flat surface - the car should settle with the suspension partially compressed (if it's fully up, then it's set too hard and it won't handle correctly - compare to a real car being jacked up, body rises before tyres leave ground if correctly set up).

LOTS OF QUESTIONS RELATING TO PURCHASING MAD BULL AND UPGRADES

How much running time does the 7.2V, 1700 Mah battery offer?
On a mad bull, approx 12 to 15 minutes. More on tarmac, less on grass.
What is the top speed on tarmac?
At a guess around 35Kph. It's actually the fastest out of the box car in the tamiya range, as they've geared it down to their usual speed in it's original form (Fighter Buggy) but with the big wheels it really shifts!
Would I be able to respray the shell on the inside as it is a white shell?
No, it's a white shell. You paint it on the outside using regular car spray (e.g. Halfords touch up etc).
Is there a choice of what band/Channel I could have my ACOMS Radio? (Blue Green etc)
Just specify when you order. There are 6 - Brown/Red/Orange/Yellow/Green/Blue.
What is the range of the ACOMS radio?
Same as used for gliders. In free air up to 1500 metres but bounceback on ground means approx width of an average park is the control distance (i.e. if you can see the car it should work). However, range shrinks noticably when metal objects around so range is far shorter where there are parked cars or concrete posts etc.
What batteries will the Extra Fast Charger Charge?
Up to 1700 capacity.
Will the Delta Peak Charger charge any battery?
Within reason. The Fast charger is a time limited charger which gives out a burst of power just right for a 1500 battery to be charged in 30 minutes. We've found it tends to slightly overcharge the 1500's so a 1700 is just about right on it. The Delta charger senses when the battery is charged so can charge anything 1300 to 3500 in capacity.
How long does the delta peak charger take to charge the 7.2V, 1700 Mah battery?
Varies dependant on how flat it is. Should be around 22 minutes, but may take longer the first few times until the cells balance out.

WHICH FUEL TANK FITS THE TGS-XBG?

The fuel tank for this car is the following:

41032 Tg10 65cc Fuel Tank £13.99

We have these in stock, they can be ordered either online or by telephone. A code translation for this car is at http://www.arwico.ch/Ersatzteile/Tamiya_Ersatzteile/43/43504PL.pdf

CAN I FIT AN ESC TO A TWIN MOTOR TRUCK (E.G. WILD DAGGER / CLODBUSTER)?

There is a special twin motor speed controller from Mtroniks which costs £49. It is designed for the standard silver Tamiya motors - if your motors are upgraded, there are higher power ESCs for twin motors from £72 to £125 - we need to know which motors, in which car before we can advise which you need.

I would advise though that fitting any make of ESC to a truck will alter it's running as you'll no longer be able to go from forwards to reverse without stopping first (i.e. skidding etc is curtailed as the ESCs have electronic braking built it and the car must stop before the brake circuit will release power to the reverse circuit).

STOP PRESS: There is a new Tamiya twin motor ESC due August 2007.  See our ESC section.

I'VE LOST THE ROD FROM MY SERVO TO MY MECHANICAL SPEEDO!

Problem with these parts is that they are a different length for each car, so Tamiya don't actually supply them separately (only as a speedo bag). However, it is just a bit of bent wire so the easy solution is to bend one for yourself using a straightened out paperclip. We often have complete bags for common cars @ £9.99 each - phone to check.

SPEED CONTROLLERS, TURNS? I'M LOST!

The turns is a (very) rough method of indicating power and current draw. Basically, it's the number of times a wire is passed around the magnetic core of the motor, and the lower the number (11 turns is pretty much as low as they get currently) the more current it draws, the higher the speed but conversely the lower the running time and the poorer the torque. A standard motor (at the reverse end of the scale) is a 27 turn - lower speed, low current draw, long run time, high torque.

Compatibility car wise, we don't recommend a motor lower than 17 turns in a shaft driven car (they tend to overheat the gears) but many get away with it. Belt driven cars are able to take a higher power motor with less risk of damage to the gearing.

When applied to speed controllers, please bear in mind that a worn standard motor (a notional 27 turn) or a standard motor used in extreme conditions (for example on an off road car negotiating a rough ground or long grass course) will draw more current. It it therefore wise to purchase a higher capacity Electronic Speed Controller (for example buy an ECO20 in place of an ECO27 if running an off-roader) so that the electronics within are not running at their limit. This will reduce the likelihood of cut-out or overheating.

QUICK DRIVE BATTERY AND CHARGER

QD9 is the official UK Quickdrive battery. We offer our own version of the QD9 - the TT96L @ £8.99 but can also offer the QD9 at the same price - both are in stock but the TT pack is a higher capacity (charge longer, runs longer).

The QD5 charger is available as a special order @ £5.99, but most people go for a Nikko Universal charger instead (£7.99) as it charges the battery quicker.

DO KING BLACKFOOT PARTS FIT THE ORIGINAL BLACKFOOT?

Realistically the only similarities between the original and King blackfoot (except for the name) is the main chassis part and some bits of the front suspension. You could probably fit the King Blackfoot body (2006 update: this is also now discontinued) but it comes as many different sprues rather than a body set as such, I can look these all up for you and get back to you but it's unlikely to be viable from a cash point of view if anything else on the truck is worn.

Ref ballraces, basically replacing all the white plastic and brass bearings with these will make the model a little quicker but much smoother to run. Main problem with the original blackfoot is that the back suspension design is dire and when the arms wear the shafts lose their corners then the diffs break up.

TANK OR TRUCK KITS - MULTI FUNCTION UNIT PLUGS DONT FIT ACOMS OR HITEC RECEIVERS?

The Tamiya plugs have a small lug on them which simply needs to be trimmed off to form a shaped corner as per the servos in order to fit the receiver.  This does not affect the guarantee on the units involved.

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