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High Speed ECX 4WD Circuit
While we’ve had a fantastic time bashing the ECX 4WD Circuit at the local park, it does come with brushed power that isn’t very fast. Like most people, we are always longing for more speed, therefore we decided to do a few modifications to see what it would take to break the speed limit. Hit the READ MORE to see what we did to get some serious speed out of the 4wd Circuit, and watch the video.

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Build Title Pic[To start from the beginning, check out Part 1 and Part 2]

The frames are built and the motors and ESCs are installed, and all that remains is one major piece: The Multirotor Control Board.

The Multirotor Control Board is the heart and soul of the multirotor vehicle. It maintains level flight, helps equalize motor speeds, and also is the gyroscope for the aircraft. Now these boards use a number of programming means: some use computer code to get set up,  others just a basic computer setup program, and some can be completely standalone. The only disadvantage? The price varies just as much as the capabilities of the control board. I picked up a little bit of everything for these quads, so I left no stone unturned.

Multirotor Control Boards:

Armattan CNC 258 VTail: This quad actually was designed with hardware to support the installation of a specific control board, the KK Multiboard. Available from various sources, though originating from HobbyKing the KK board is the go-to control board for most DIY multirotor builders. Priced around $39 shipped, this control board has an onboard LCD display and menu system to fine tune the settings. With its simple setup and reliable performance, I can understand why it is always on backorder. The disadvantage? Backordering, and the fact is ships from China. I can be quite impatient, so sometimes waiting is not worth the value. [Note 5/22/14: For those of you looking for a more 'Made in USA' KK board, ReadyToFlyQuads now has one available for purchase here.)

Lynxmotion Hunter 400: For this quadcopter I really got adventurous and went to my new source for multicontroller boards: ReadyToFlyQuads. Featured on a post from a while ago (found here), the guys there in Florida have made a great board called the MultiWii FLIP. With the gyro and accelerometer technology used originally for the Nintendo Wii controllers, the boards are programmed to handle multirotors using a programming language called Arduino. Yes, this does fall under the ‘Age of the Geek’ category, but all of the coding is premade and the FLIP board can also be purchased with all the programming pre-loaded. For a faster ship, you can order the board without programming and requiring the headers (ESC/Receiver Plugs) to be soldered, and get it to your door for around $20 shipped. I only recommend this board for the ‘tinkering’ kind of DIY builder, for you have a lot of tweaking available through the MultiWiiConf board utility program, shown below.

DJI Flamewheel 450: For this quadcopter I took the more traditional route by buying more DJI, more specifically the Naza-M Lite Controller with GPS unit. This is a basic multicontroller unit that was built with great instructions and support from the manufacturer. The GPS upgrade alone is the same as the GPS and controller bundled together, so I picked up the set for $169 from Empire RC. Granted it is much more expensive than the other two controllers, but the technology is backed but multiple sources of technical support as well as an ever changing firmware set that can be upgraded by connecting the whole thing to the computer. Overall, this was the only setup I had that was pretty straight forward without making me taking much risk in the ‘I hope this setup works or I will have a big crash to clean up.’

Now that the major ‘guts’ of the quadcopters present and accounted for, it’s time to update the scoreboard:

Quad Frame Motor/ESC/Wiring Controller TBA Total
Armattan $125 $129 $39 $0 $293
Lynxmotion $90 $157 $20 $0 $267
DJI $32 $122 $169 $0 $323

Looking back to Part 2 (link at beginning of article), the tables have turned when it comes to pricing, placing the DJI at the high end of the kits where it was at the lowest, thanks to the Naza-M Lite.

It’s time to assemble and pick up the last components, which will wrap up this build series with ‘Prop Up or Shut Up’. It will focus on the finished product, flight, and basic tricks to get your builds running smoothly.

I can’t wait to show you how these guys fly, but until then Stay Shiny and Keep Flyin’!

Build Title PicPart 1 of the Mega Multirotor build can be found Right Here.

The frames are built, and now it is time to get the right motors and speed controllers for each of our three multirotor setups. Don’t be afraid, with every kit/frame there is available for purchase there are always suggested motor and speed controller combos that go well with that particular frame. Even easier, theses combos can be purchased with the frame company to take out the legwork in finding the perfect match, but normally that adds a leg (or at least an arm) to the price.

I did all my shopping a la carte, so ideally this should cut down on costs, which we will sum up at the end of each part of the series. Let’s start with motors and finish with ESCs.


Motors:

As I stated, motors are usually suggested by the manufacturer of the frame. Now these are only suggestions; you can install any size motor you want, but going smaller risks labored performance of the multirotor aircraft, and bigger motors may have large power or ESC requirements.

Lynxmotion 400: In this case a 2830 (28mm stator diameter, 30mm length respectively), was suggested so I was able to acquire 4 11-turn, 1000kv motors from Turnigy (via eBay), with a maximum draw of 22amps (more on why that matters in a minute). All four motors shipped cost $84.

Armattan 258 V-Tail: This quadcopter was by far the smallest of the 3 frames, so this frame required the small 2208 motor (22mm diameter, 8mm length). I picked up Suppo 2208 14-turn, 1450 kv motors from RCPlaneBuilder. These motors have a maximum draw of 14amps, and cost $62 after shipping

DJI Flamewheel 450: This frame was a little more open for interpretation for required motors, so I picked a midrange size: 2212 (22mm diameter, 12mm length). I also relied on RCPlaneBuilder and acquired more Suppo motors, this time 2212 10-turn, 1400kv. These have a maximum draw of 14.5 amps, and only cost a little more than the 2208 with $66 after shipping.

Speed Controllers (ESCs):

The ESC is the barrier between battery and motor, giving us the power to control all that is the multirotor. Most important is that there must be a fast response between Transmitter and/or Multicontrol board (gyro). With that in mind, we need a more responsive ESC, which is found in flashed ESCs. Like updating a program or hardware on the computer, an ESC is flashed to update to a faster data transfer rate as well as modify various settings. The most common firmware programming set is called SimonK. This is the common programming in all the ESCs I acquired.

When it comes to choosing the amperage of your ESC, we refer back to our motors. The standard rule I’ve come to live by is round the maximum amperage of the motor to the nearest 10, and that’s a good ESC for your purposes without frying/overheating anything. So if the max amperage of a motor is 14amps, then a 20amp or higher ESC is sufficient.

Lynxmotion 400: With the maximum draw of 22amps for the Turnigy motors, I needed 30amp ESC which I found from BuddyRC. The DYS SimonK Multirotor 30A ESC was a perfect fit and reached me for about $66 shipped.

Armattan 258 V-Tail: The current draw of the 2208 motors only requires a 20amp ESC, but I decided to get adventurous (READ: shipping error). I picked up Afro 30A ESCs from -Redacted- for $62.

DJI Flamewheel 450: 14.5amps would required 20amp ESCs like the Armattan, and this time I did pick up the right ESCs. For this quad I also purchased Afro 20A ESCs from -Redacted- for $56.

At this point, it’s all just assembly for these electronics (soldering may or may not be required depending on the motor/ESC). Don’t forget your power distribution for each quad. The DJI Flamewheel has an integrated distribution board, so all I needed was a whip with a battery plug (Eflite EC3 Device Whip, $4). For the Lynxmotion 400 I soldered up a power distribution wire set with 3.5mm and a battery plug I had laying around (about $7). The Armattan was a perfect setup for a Turnigy Power Distribution Board w/ XT-60 plug I bought for $5. Below you will find pictures of the motors, ESCs, and some snippets of their install for some of the quadcopters.

 

 

Running Totals:

Quad Frame Motor/ESC/Wiring TBA TBA Total
Armattan $125 $129 $0 $0 $254
Lynxmotion $90 $157 $0 $0 $247
DJI $32 $122 $0 $0 $154

 

 

 

And with that, we are one major component away from having the electronics complete, which leads us to the title of the next installment: ‘If I Only Had a Brain

Until then, Stay Shiny and Keep Flyin’!

 

Build Title PicNow these past few weeks I’ve been promising a build here on Raging Rotors, and yes I may be a bit overdue. Yet I will not give you one, not two, but THREE build projects in one series. I have gone so crazy to the point where I picked up enough gear to discuss three builds at the same time! Madness you say? I think not! For these builds I did decide on working with two V-Tail quadcopter frames, after all the buzz I generated with an earlier article, and the third frame will be a quadcopter. Later in the series we will discuss electronics, gyros, and more.

What makes a good multirotor frame? Honestly it depends on your overall purpose, whether it is for casual flying, FPV or other photography, or aerobatic stunt flying (though Multicontroller helps with that, too…but that’s for later). Here are a few things to consider:

Check out your options after the ‘Read More’…

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70 mph ARRMA Raider BLX Buggy
When we read that ARRMA RC was putting on a Beat The Speed Video Contest we decided to give our own ARRMA Raider BLX test buggy a go. We wanted to see if we could go fast enough to beat their speed.

The first thing we did was hand the Raider BLX to our resident high speed specialist, DWayne Buchannon from RC Custom Lab Workz. We only gave him two instructions- go faster than 67 mph and leave it as stock as possible.

The first thing DWayne did was add a wheelie bar. A stock Raider likes to wheelie when running big power, so DWayne grabbed a 12″ long piece of plate steel and attached a pivot wheel, creating a wheelie bar that would keep the buggy from flipping over. Next, DWayne had to trim some plastic in the battery box to make room for a slightly larger 3S LiPo battery pack. That was it for the custom mods.

DWayne didn’t have to change out many parts either, he only changed two. DWayne added a larger 19 tooth pinion and installed larger diameter rear tires. Everything else on the buggy was 100% bone stock, including the shocks, radio and power system.

Once the buggy was prepped, it was time to try and “Beat that Speed”. On the day we ran it was only 40 degrees outside which made it hard to find grip on the high powered ARRMA. We quickly learned to roll very softly into the throttle at lower speeds. Our first couple of passes were in the 60 mph range but we kept spinning out. We came back into the pits, recharged the battery pack, and changed tires to find a little more grip.

We found the buggy much easier to drive on the new tires and promptly busted out a solid 70 mph run, but we never got above 3/4 throttle, so we decided to run again for an even higher number. On the next pass we ended up losing traction and flying off the road, hitting a fire hydrant in the process and tearing off a wheel and the wheelie bar. Our day may have been over, but it had been successful. We had indeed “Beat The Speed”, and it didn’t take many mods from a bone stock Raider BLX to do so.

Check the video here:

70 MPH ARRMA Raider-

* 19 tooth pinion
* Traxxas 2.8″ Alias rear tires
* Custom wheelie bar
* Turnigy 3S 65C 5000mAh LiPo

Click Right Here for more ARRMA news on BigSquidRC.

axial_barbarian_rc_megamudtruck

To see Part 1 of this build CLICK HERE , to see Part 2 CLICK HERE

It’s ALIVE! I recently received the final and most important piece of my build; the tractor tires and wheels. After a quick shot of flat black paint it was time to mount em’ up and see what this thing could do. Click the “Read More” below to see Part 3 of this Axial Deadbolt to Mega Truck build series.

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Axial-SCX10-JK

So you’re the proud owner of a brand new ready to run Axial SCX10. Congrats, the truck is a lot of fun right outta the box! If you are like most people I know though, the first thing you’ll do (after giving it a test drive, of course) is hop on the internet, go to your favorite r/c forum/facebook page, and start a “I have a brand new SCX10 what should I upgrade first PLEASE HELP ME!” thread. It’s ok, we’ve all been there. I remember my first foray into scale 4×4′s and how overwhelming it was. Fret not, dear reader, for I am here to start a recurring feature on the upgrade path you should take. While this is obviously just one Joe Schmoe’s opinion, I’ve owned 5 SCX10′s (2 currently) and have gone through the rigamarole plenty of times myself.

For “Stage 1″ I’m going to limit the upgrade budget to just $20 because you most likely just dropped 300-400 dollars on that shiny new SCX10 and may not have much dough left over. Click read more to check it out.

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cpe_barbarian_axial_deadbolt_megatruck

Note – To see Part 1 of this build CLICK HERE

Last week I started converting our stock Axial Deadbolt to a full blown mega/monster truck with help from a CPE Barbarian chassis. In part 2 I’m detailing what parts I changed from the stock setup, offering initial testing impressions, and showing off what body I’m going to top the truck with. Let’s get to it. Click ‘Read More’

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axial_deadbolt_castle_motor

Being a scale/crawler dude can be tough when you are surrounded by speed demons like the majority of Big Squid staffers. Let’s be honest with ourselves here – scalers aren’t exactly known for high speed thrills. I think Cubby wanted to kill me when I built the Axial RECON G6 SCX10 for review and put in a slow 18.5 crawler system! I’ve never built a scale truck where speed (and jumpability) was the end goal. That needed to change. Building a scale mega truck is just what the doctor ordered! (If you are unfamiliar with what a “mega truck” is checkout my column here.)

I knew I wanted to base the truck off of the Axial Deadbolt platform due to the stout AR60 axles, rugged transmission, rabid aftermarket support, and my familiarity with the model. I’m getting to the point where I think I could build a truck just with all the spare Axial parts I’ve accumulated over the years. I also knew that for this truck to do everything I wanted I’d have to get pretty wild with the modifications. It would need a powerful brushless system, had to be waterproofed for deep mud, needed big tractor tires to navigate said mud, and required a suspension that could handle speed and air. A very tall order.

The crux of this build is a Crawford Performance Engineering (CPE) Barbarian chassis (pic below). It turns an Axial Wraith, Deadbolt, or Ridgecrest into a scale monster/mega truck by utilizing the stock axles, shocks, transmission, and other miscellaneous pieces. The all aluminum 1:1 inspired frame features heavy duty links and sway bars and adds about an inch of wheelbase to the stock Deadbolt. This has become the hot setup in scale monster truck racing and I’m pretty excited to build a mud truck out of it.

cpe_barbarian

With my plans now in place I ordered a slew of parts. I already had the motor on hand so I decided to throw that in the stock truck and see how the drivetrain would handle it without any modification.  I pulled out the RTR ESC and 20t motor to install a Castle Mamba Max Pro 6900 kv system. Go big or go home! The result was impressive. The big motor yanked the front wheels up with hardly any throttle (see the top pic). The change in power was akin to going from a V6 to a super-charged big block. I’m also happy to report that the stock Axial drivetrain held up to this big power with no breakage whatsoever. It also jumped surprisingly well considering this vehicle was presumably designed without hang time being a big priority.

After a little over a week, all my parts had finally arrived. It was time to start building. Part 2 of this series is coming up very soon, but here’s a teaser (see below) showing off the Barbarian chassis with the Deadbolt rear end partly installed.

axial_ax10_cpe_barbarian

Before we go, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the tires I’m planning on using. Can you say cut & shut Clodbuster wheels/tires narrowed to about 2 inches? That should nail the tractor look I’m going for. Look for Part 2 of this build series coming soon!

BigSquidRC Axial Exo TERROR Buggy
For a long time THE Cub Reporter and I have been wanting to buy some tanks, hop them up, and do some serious bashing. The tanks had to be durable, go at least 20 mph, and be able to huck big ramps. Needless to say, we didn’t find any that would work for our demands.

What do we do when we can’t find something that will work? We make our own, here is our BigSquidRC project vehicle – the Axial Exo TERROR Buggy.

Our project started life with our well worn review machine, an original Axial Exo Terra Buggy kit. Its life has seen lots of ugly, from our normal torture tests to 2 tours of duty as an iHobby demo vehicle. Thankfully it is up to full combat status with mods from ST Racing Concepts and RPM Products.

Next up was a call to the crew over at RC4WD for a set of their Predator Tracks. RC4WD does not make an adapter kit for the Exo, so we knew it was up to us to make them fit.

The Process -

With all parts in hand, it was time to spin some wrenches. Step 1 was a rough test fit. We found out the input hex on the Predator tracks was the same size as the wheel hex on the Exo, 12mm, but we needed wider/thicker hexes for clearance reasons. The fix was easy enough by simply bolting on some wider hexes from an RC4WD Predator adapter kit for an Axial Wraith.

Step 2 was to limit the articulation of the tracks. Without limiters the tracks would just spin around the axle like an extremely unbalanced tire. The fix for articulation was actually fairly simple. In the rear we threaded cap head screws into the pre-existing holes in the hubs, and longer grub type screws into the front. The screws, front and rear, went into the holes normally filled with grub screws to keep the hinge pins from falling out. A bit of grinding and bending was needed to tweak the articulation on these.

Next we had some binding issues. We installed some shims behind the axle cross pins of the wheel hexes, which helped in one aspect, but we also had to do some Dremel work on the inner supports of the Predator tracks. We also had to ditch the end caps on the tracks. All in all, the project wasn’t super hard, but there is a heavy dose of custom work involved.

Results -

We were told be multiple people that our project just would not work. In the end our 3S Dynamite Lipo, Castle 1410 powered TERROR buggy topped out at 26 mph and could indeed pound big wood ramps. It tore across grassy fields and threw huge rooster tails on dirt.

Turning was not nearly as bad as we expected it to be. The TERROR Buggy basically drove like an Exo with very hard tires. Because of the track system, our TERROR buggy got very little mechanical grip on dirt or pavement, drifting around corners. On soft surfaces it didn’t dig in and bury itself, it stayed on top and simply hauled butt.

One of our biggest concerns going into the project was being able to keep the tracks on. That turned out to be a non-issue, at least for us up to 26 mph. We did throw a track twice, but that was at lower speeds and caused by the loose mulch we were driving in, not by the tracks de-railing themselves or by them stretching at speed.

We did have one recurring problem, temperature of the power system. Even when rolling freely for a track system, the tracks present a lot more resistance than a normal set of wheels and tires. We were thermalling out in just over 5 minutes, a problem that could most likely be fixed by running 2S instead of 3, gearing down, and/or installing a Mamba Pro with a 1415 motor.

Overall -

Our “Exo on tracks” project massively exceeding our expectations. The TERROR is a total animal on pretty much any surface and it was shocking that it could make short work of the double jumps on the local racetrack. It took some time to get the bugs worked out, but once done it turned out fast and handled better than we expected. A normal Exo is faster and handles better, but it certainly isn’t the beast, or the head turner, that the TERROR is.

Click Here for more projects from BigSquidRC.

Check it out in action! Make sure to watch it HD!

Modding The Helion Dominus Part 5 – Installing Upgraded Off Road Tires

pro-line badlands

The Helion Dominus has proven itself an extremely poplar bash machine, so popular in fact that it won BigSquid’s March Bashness contest against some very stiff competition. Many of the people that have chosen the Dominus as their basher of choice use it strictly off road. While the stock Dominus tires do a sufficient job off road, they are far from offering the best traction possible. Over the last few months we have tried a multitude of different tires on our Dominus and have determined that we like the Pro-Line Badlands the best for all around off road bashing.

Here is what is needed to properly install a set of Pro-Line Badlands on your Dominus….

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Modding The Helion Dominus Part 4 – Installing A Brushless System

helion dominus

No other single modification will give your Dominus such a dramatic increase in shear power as the installation of a brushless power system. Today I’ll be walking you through what it takes to install a brushless motor and speed controller in your Helion Dominus. If you are an old pro you can do this in your sleep but if you are new to the hobby I hope these instructions help you out.

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Well to say that I was excited to see that Kyosho was bringing out a Mini-Z Motorcycle would be a major understatement. Then you toss on the layer of details that Mini-Z is known for and that it was going to be a replica of the Yamaha M1 and I pretty much had to buy a bib cuz I was non-stop drooling at every pic I could find. Being the type that can’t stand running the same rig as everyone else has I had to put my spin on it. For me there is no better rider than Valentino Rossi when it comes to on-road motorcycle racing so I had to pay homage to him on this one. Like most involved in this Hobby I love all things with wheels and details and some of what I collect are scale motorcycles. Maisto is a huge supplier of said bikes that can usually be had for under 5 bucks at you’re favorite toy stop. Doing a quick search I found they made a copy of his 06 ride with Camel being the lead sponsor. Oddly enough I didn’t have these in my stable yet so I ordered up a couple. The details and fit and finish are really good on these scale beauties right out of the box so the only problem was could I make them fit onto the Mini-Z Moto that is already too small to possibly have as much going on as it does. Keep reading to get the details of the build..
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