For Bashers, By Bashers!

ASK Cub Reporter, A Weekly Butchering Of The English Language, Version 05.12.2010

“Hey guys. I’ve had this idea for many years now. Why don’t you see if you can team up with the X games to get some e-monster trucks (no oil spills now) going off the mega ramp. You could mount cameras on them and trail the competitors off the jump or you could use them as entertainment between events. You would reach a huge number of young to middle aged men. Perfect exposure for our sport!
Keep up the great work with the website!
Regards
Billy”
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Well hello Billy, thanks for the kind words.

I like how you think. While some in our hobby prefer for it to stay small, I’d much rather see it go mainstream. Maybe it’s because I like to dream big, maybe it’s because I hate seeing my friends in the industry not getting paid jack for working their asses off. Maybe it’s because I just want to see more people enjoy the hobby I love.

X Games is as corporate/commercial as they come. It is, and has always been, nothing more than a great marketing tool for companies into “xtreme” sports. With that said, ESPN is very critical about what makes it on air. If you’ve watched it over the years, gone are many sports, while all the “big air” comps pretty much rule the evening prime time slots. Mommy and daddy mainstream are glued to their sets for one reason- they might be lucky enough to watch someone die tonight! The problem for us rc guys is- jumping a 6S HPI Savage Flux over an 80 foot gap isn’t going to result in any fatalities. No potential fatalities = bad ratings = no chance of rc making the big show.

In years past rc’ers have organized events in the parking lots at X Games. That was cool and all, and even exposed our hobby to thousands upon thousands of prime audience, but it’s nowhere near the exposure of being in the stadium and being broadcast into the mainstream living rooms. While X Games would be fantastic to be a part of, I think the ESPN people aren’t too keen on rc going prime time, at least not quite yet.

BigSquidRC has talked with the people from MTV, OLN, and ESPN about possible rc projects for their networks, and I’m certain we aren’t the only ones. HPI has been working with SPIKE TV for a while now, which is fantastic exposure for our hobby and they deserve huge props for that. As our hobby moves closer and closer to the mainstream I think you’ll start seeing unprecedented coverage of our hobby on tv, I think it’s just a matter of time. HPI, Traxxas, Associated, Losi, Axial and others are working their asses off to get tv coverage of our hobby, so it will happen, it’s just a matter of when and which channel. 🙂

(Click here to read the next question about ESC’s and batteries!)

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“Hi Brian. My name is Doug and I live in PA. You helped me out with some
battery questions back in October, just before we gave my 12 year old
nephew his 16.8v Emaxx for his birthday. Needless to say, he loves it and runs it all the time. He is using the stock NiMh Traxxas packs. You
recommended keeping him with NiMh packs for safety reasons back in October, good call brother! I did have a few questions if you get a moment, I know you guys keep pretty busy!

1. He melted one set of stock batt packs, while running, which Traxxas
kindly replaced. Any guesses as to what may have happened? I’ve told him
to wait ten minutes before and after charging to give the batts a break.
(remember , he is 12 and is high energy and may not have listened to that
tip, haha.)

2. He says his esc gets hot?
Maybe you could give me some info on what is normal since I’m a nitro guy.
For instance, should that esc get hot, and if so , too hot to touch? just
warm, etc. ( i have a temp gun if there is an actual range that the esc,
batts and motors should stay within). I know the packs will get hot , and
the motors also. I was just wondering how hot? Too hot to touch after a
hard 15 mins or too hot to touch for 10 seconds? Any general guidelines for
what ” normal hot” you could give me would be very appreciated sir. Also,
any tips as far as checking for bad connections, longer wait between
charges, etc would be appreciated as well. I’d like to get him a second
set of NiMh packs without going broke if you know what I mean. Any
recommendations for a different brand or should I jsut get him another set
of traxxas packs? Again, I know you are busy, and If I don’t hear from
you, no hard feelings. I just try you guys first because I trust what you
tell me! Thanks for your time Brian and have a great day. Doug.”

———————-
I love stealing Brian’s questions. 🙂

Here are some guidelines for temps on your gear…..

ESC- Nearly all speedos have built in thermal protection, meaning if they get too hot they’ll shut off to protect themselves from burning up. The cooler the speedo runs, the longer it will live, but in general if it’s not shutting off you are doing fine. FYI, most speedos are programmed to shut off between 160 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Motors- Regardless whether you run brushed or brushless motors, you really don’t want to see them any hotter than 160 degrees Fahrenheit (about 70 degrees Celsius for our readers from the rest of the world). Why no hotter than 160? Because roughly around 160 F is when you start overheating the magnets inside the motor, and if they are overheated, they lose their strength. Once they lose their strength all sorts of bad start to happen. You’d like to see the motors run as cool as possible (as the motors will live longer the cooler they are), but under a heavy load like a Traxxas E-Maxx, 140 Fahrenheit is to be expected, even if that feels very hot to the touch.

Batteries- On Lipos you don’t want to see above 140 Fahrenheit as that gives you a bit of a safety zone before they start the thermal runaway process (where they keep going higher in temp with no way of stopping it) at around 160 degrees Fahrenheit. A Lipo in thermal runaway will go from 200 F to 600 F in a few seconds, with lots of smoke and fire to go along with it. NiMH cells are also damaged when overheated. Some industry literature says max temp is 45 degrees Celsius (about 114 F), but from what I’ve encountered in the real world, I’d say 140 F should be the max temp. Ideally you would like to see the temps of your NiMH cells at 120 F or below.

About connectors- bad connectors will cause a voltage drop, causing the entire system to pull more current, and more current means everything runs hotter. The best high current connectors on the market right now are the ones from Traxxas. If you aren’t running these, they are a good investment and will help make the entire power system run as cool as possible. Btw, a good way of telling if you have a bad connector is also via heat. A good connector will be no hotter than the wires it’s connected to, a bad connector will be hotter than the wires.

About wait time on NiMH cells- back in the day we actually had NiCd packs we could only run once a day, they just weren’t designed to be run more than that. Modern NiMH cells are much more robust, giving decent performance on perhaps a dozen runs a day. But, the more “rest” time you can give them, the better they will perform, and the longer they will last. At the very least make sure your NiMH packs are ambient temp before you start to recharge them. And yes, it’s ok to use a fan to help them cool off a bit more quickly.

About the stock Traxxas batteries- I have not tested them, so I can not say first hand if they are great quality or not. But, the guys at Traxxas are no joke, and I highly doubt they would not include cells that were not up to the task. Just beware of extremely cheap NiMH packs, they typically are of low quality and performance, and a vehicle as heavy and large as the E-Maxx needs decent cells to work properly. As to why your first packs died an early death, that’s hard to say without having been there. There might have been a problem with the cells, or maybe the truck was covered head to toe in mud, which is lots of fun of course, but really hard on the electrical system due to excessive current draw. So it’s hard to give a cause of death, but it’s nice to hear the people at Traxxas made good on their product. Many of the batteries companies out there today have quit stocking as many NiMH cells due to the popularity of Lipos, but the guys at MaxAmps still stock good quality NiMH’s and that’s where I’d recommend you inquire about packs should you decide not to get another set of Traxxas.

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That’s it for this edition of ASK Cub Reporter. Send in your letters, questions, hate mail and death threats to cubby at BigSquidRC dot com. 🙂

YOUR Cub Reporter

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Posted by in Ask Cubby on Thursday, May 13th, 2010 at 7:55 am

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