Venom Smart Temp/Fail Safe

March 30th, 2005 - Neil
Direct Link: Venom Smart Temp (VST)

For the life of me, I can't understand people that drop $500 or more on a brand new RC car and don't install a fail safe. I saw an all-aluminum, tricked out beauty launch itself directly into a brick pillar at 40mph because some joker turned on his radio when he wasn't supposed to. It was enough for me to make sure that all of the cars (that I cared about) had a fail safe on board.

The people at Venom Racing understand the importance of a good fail safe and their latest entry, the Venom Smart Temp (VST), is raising the bar for what a fail safe should be. While the VST handles the basic signal loss and interference problems that other fail safes handle, it also protects against low voltage problems and engine overheating.

The biggest difficulty we had with the Venom Smart Temp was deciding where to install it. The unit itself is around twice the size of a basic fail safe. We wanted to mount it somewhere that is easy to read the LCD display. (A body with a window to see the LCD would be slick) To install it, we first needed to attach the temperature probe loop over the head of the engine. At the opposite end of the unit we needed to connect the throttle servo and send a cable back to the receiver. Cables on the VST seemed plenty long to accommodate most vehicles. Our test vehicle however had a closed electronics case. After a few modifications with our favorite rotary tool we managed to get everything hooked up with the VST sitting comfortably on top of the receiver case.

The engine temperature for the VST is determined by a wire that loops around your engine's head. According to the instructions, the temperature loop should be installed on the bottom slot of the engine head. We compared the readings of the VST with two different temperature guns. Understanding that every engine is different, we noticed that all of the readings from the VST were significantly higher than our temp guns. While the temperature the Venom Smart Temp was very likely to be closer to the actual temperature of the engine, these are not the readings that we normally use to tune our cars. We moved the loop up one notch up the head and maintained readings within 5 degrees Fahrenheit with our other readings. If you normally use a specific temp gun to tune all of your cars, I'd recommend adjusting the placement of the temperature probe loop to be in line with what you expect. The VST stayed more in line with our high end temp gun rather than our $20 special, so keep that in mind when trying to get similar results.

The options for the Venom Smart Temp are easy to navigate and set. The specific temperature and voltage limits that trigger the fail safe can be set to fit the needs of your setup. The action for activating the temperature/voltage fail safe can be set to limit maximum power to 60%, 80% or 99% (off). There is also an option to test the fail safe conditions. The temperature units for the VST default to Celsius each time you start the unit. This is a bit annoying to change each time we start up if you prefer to use Fahrenheit. During normal operation, the display will switch between temperature and battery voltage every 5 seconds.

In the end, the Venom Smart Temp sells itself. The VST is an all in one unit that monitors engine temperature, receiver battery voltage and still manages to keep your car from running off or overheating. Anyone that cares about their nitro car should install a VST.

 Time to Bash  8/10 Finding exactly the right place to install the unit presents an interesting challenge.
 Workability  9/10 Most of the menus are easy to navigate and settings are easy to adjust. I would like the option to set the default temperature unit to Fahrenheit.
 Car Show Rating  N/A Looks like most of Venom's other fail safes (only bigger). The LCD display will draw some attention though.
 Bash-A-Bility  9/10 As long as it is mounted well, the VST shouldn't have any durability problems.
Big Squid Rating  9.6/10 Tentacles. If you value your vehicle, you should be running the VST.