My good friend Joe has an old E-Maxx – not wanting to miss out on any bashing and crashing fun, I had him dig it out. It’s an oldie but a goodie. A 1st Generation E-Maxx with dual motors, dual batteries and a 2-speed transmission. It’s the one with the chassis that looks like this: […]
My good friend Joe has an old E-Maxx – not wanting to miss out on any bashing and crashing fun, I had him dig it out. It’s an oldie but a goodie. A 1st Generation E-Maxx with dual motors, dual batteries and a 2-speed transmission. It’s the one with the chassis that looks like this:
It’s also a bit of a relic. NiMH batteries, brushed motors, and AM radio aren’t exactly state-of-the-art. But I don’t want to upgrade everything, I just wanted to get it back on the road – so where do we start?
I know the old NiMH batteries were going to suck and what really impressed me when I came back to RC was how awesome Lithium batteries were. But do we need to get everything that goes along with it – like the newer EVX-2 electronic speed control that has low voltage cut-off? Heck no, we’re just trying to get it running. A simple low voltage alarm will do just fine.
So we’re going to get only batteries, but the 3906 chassis is sort of particular about fitment. Each battery sits (snugly) in a tray, and there’s battery strap that goes directly across the center of the battery. I found these 2S lipos that have the power and balance leads coming off of opposite corners, so they can sit in the tray nicely and have the strap close them in without crimping any wires.
But when it came time to put them in, we needed to trim one more piece. The old NiMH battery packs have rounded edges, where LiPos are square and about 2mm taller. The edges of the battery were getting hung up on part of the gear cover. The solution was to remove the gear cover and cut off the wire routing slots using a side-cutter:
Re-install the gear cover and the batteries will now snap into place. They’ll be snug, but they’ll fit. You’ll need to loosen the metal battery clip screw & post a couple turns to accommodate the LiPos thicker profile. Then you can use the original battery strap to hold everything in.
Here they are installed. The low voltage alarm is just zip-tied to the rear shock tower:
That’s it! Now go have fun
I will warn you that the 1st Generation 3906 E-Maxx is capable of doing a backflip with some backwards/forwards throttle – but the old drivetrain is not up to the task. Next time we’ll tackle CVD upgrades to the newer E-Maxx units for better durability.
Flite Fest Ohio 2018 is on the books – we went, we flew, we crashed. Here’s a little brain-dump of lessons learned from our second year. More Stick Time My first year I spent a lot of time building a project that ultimately didn’t fly. For me it was a disappointment. So this year I […]
Flite Fest Ohio 2018 is on the books – we went, we flew, we crashed. Here’s a little brain-dump of lessons learned from our second year.
More Stick Time
My first year I spent a lot of time building a project that ultimately didn’t fly. For me it was a disappointment. So this year I did a build ahead of time and planned to do much more flying. It turned out to be much more crashing because I didn’t have all of the bugs worked out of my plane. But it did fly, and it helped me achieve my goal of more stick time at the event. But the stick time paled in comparison to the time I spend in the bean field looking for my plane after a crash. You haven’t fully experienced Flite Fest until you’ve gone looking for a downed plane in the bean field. Continue reading “Flite Fest Ohio 2018”
Tips for recovery after a crash
My son, now age 9, is an excellent spotter. The only problem is getting him motivated to come with me to the flight line. He probably knows that a crash and a long “walk of shame” are inevitable when I’m the pilot. So he’s content to make friends his age and help locate the YouTube stars for selfies – more on that later.
This means without my expert spotter by my side, I recruited some random passersby to help. They weren’t as adept at helping with crash location, but luckily I had a trick up my sleeve.
Even if your plane is bright pink, it’s easy to get lost in the bean field at Flite Fest in Malvern. The beans aren’t as thick as you’d think from the photographs. Planes tend to slip past the top cover of leaves and find their way to the ground. Now they’re covered by a canopy of bean leaves AND if you have a plane made of water-resistant foam board like this:
It’s likely sitting on the dirt that is approximately the same color
You could buy a beeper for your model, but I suggest a simpler solution: add a streamer. The streamers are more likely to stay above the leaves. If you choose a color that is not green, it will make spotting your downed plane much easier:
Spot the purple in a sea of green.
So while Jules didn’t accompany me often to the flight line, he was keen at finding several of our favorite YouTube personalities so we could snap a pic.
Drew “Le Drib” – awesome freestyle FPV pilot and vlogger.
Stefan & Alex of Flite Test – keeping the crowd entertained.
FT STEM build
I did manage to get Jules to do the FT STEM build. It was a free-form challenge to build and test a plane design using a pizza delivery box.
Our guys decided to go with a tried-and-true Nutball design they dubbed “The Pepperoni Plane.” As a coincidence I had built a Nutball just weeks before so the build details were fresh in my brain. I was able to give them tips – at least how the Flite Test guys do it – and let them do all of the labor.
Out of the entire class only two planes actually flew and this was one of them. Here’s Jules (blue hat) buddy boxed with an expert pilot/volunteer during the maiden flight:
Take a break from flying
Also, Flite Fest doesn’t have just flying enthusiasts. We brought our Slash trucks to drive if the flying (or crashing) was getting frustrating. These kids made the best of a giant Nutball carcass by turning it into a jump:
I think Flite Fest fully embraces the RC mantra: JUST SEND IT!
Marshalling To ceremoniously guide, conduct or usher. In R/C club racing, similar to 1:1 scale club racing, the drivers must also help as a corner marshal after they race. This means helping out cars that get stuck, crash, or flip so they can continue their race. It’s a dance as you help crashed cars while […]
In R/C club racing, similar to 1:1 scale club racing, the drivers must also help as a corner marshal after they race. This means helping out cars that get stuck, crash, or flip so they can continue their race. It’s a dance as you help crashed cars while other cars are still racing on the track. I’ve picked up a couple of tricks here and that help me – and maybe they can help you be more adept at marshalling. And since every driver is also a track marshal – there’s a section for drivers too. You should read both.
When I’m marshalling, I follow a few of safety precautions:
Watch for traffic – be aware of what is heading in your direction, especially when you’re about to jump out onto the track. Some of the more spry marshals will literally jump over cars to help someone. If you’re feeling your oats, go for it. But if you have to wait for some traffic to pass, wait. Better to have helped one driver recover than to have caused an additional 6-car pile-up. Watch for traffic as you return to your corner position – there’s zero need to do any athletic moves at this time.
Be careful of hot motors – many R/C cars have their motors exposed to keep them cool from the passing air. You don’t want to touch these parts. I find it best to grab the cars with two hands somewhere around the body. Be careful of stuff you can’t see – there might be something hot waiting to burn your fingers underneath. Try to just grab what you can see that’s safe.
Don’t grab moving parts – wheels, avoid them. There are way too many overzealous drivers (see below) out there willing to pull the trigger before you get their car fully righted. You don’t want your hands to be a fresh recipients of road rash.
Marshal with your ears and eyes
When I’m marshalling, I play zone defense. Keep an eye on the parts of the track that you can get to quickly. Don’t pay attention to the race, it will be dizzying from where you’re at.
You want to be paying attention to what’s going on in your zone – the area you’re responsible for. If you’d like, you can study the cars lines through your area and learn something. How are the fastest drivers getting through the corners?
But you don’t necessarily need to watch every car come through your area…
I allow myself to unfocus my eyes without checking out mentally. I don’t watch every car come through, but I’m looking generally at my area. This is where using your ears helps a lot. Especially in electric on-road, any driving drama is going to be accompanied by some noise. A car hitting the boards or crashing into another car. The sound of a brand new lexan body sliding across the asphalt. Off-road gets a little noisier with all the jumps, but you’ll come to recognise the sound of a buggy wing hitting the ground first when the wheels should have. Nitro adds even more noise, but once you do it a few times you’ll begin to recognize the sounds that are clear signs of trouble. This is when your marshalling duty calls. Once you’ve got your ears tuned to the right sounds, you can use them to locate their position (which might be behind you) for your nest assist.
At the ready
Sometimes tracks will provide a chair or a bucket to sit on at the marshalling points. You’re welcome to use them and sometimes sitting is compulsory to provide a better view for the drivers.
But you should always be ready. Some marshalls on the outside of the track will opt to stand – especially for the mains. If you’re in the infield, you can sit but should be ready at any time. You can even play shortstop by almost sitting if the action is particularly hot that day.
Marshalling tips for Drivers
The single worst thing you can do as a driver is yell at a corner marshal from the driver’s stand.
The only thing you should be yelling about is if there’s a hazardous situation like a car stuck in a straightaway. If that’s the case you should be generally yelling to inform your fellow drivers on the stand. Something like “Back straight!” should be good enough. If you want, even add “Outside on the back straight!” to instruct them to take the outside line if the hazard is on the inside of the back straight.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT yell at a corner marshal for doing what you might think is an unsatisfactory job. To illustrate this point here’s an anecdote.
Why So Serious?
At my first official off-road race as an adult, I found myself marshalling a section of that track that was rather quiet. In a 5-minute qualifier I didn’t have to help one car, but I noticed there was a section of the track that saw more action.
Not wanting to be a slouch, I chose the busy part of the track on my next stint, which was a qualifier for A-main stock buggy drivers. Stock buggy drivers are serious – perhaps too serious.
One driver flipped over a jump and when I went to turn his car over I wound up flipping his car too much so that it landed on the roof again. I could hear from the driver’s stand “Awwwww, COME ON!!!”
Did I do a bad job? It wasn’t my best, but I felt the feedback was unwarranted. So I confronted the driver after the heat. I told him
If you don’t like my marshalling, then you should work on your driving because you were all alone on that jump – and the only one responsible for the crash was you.
Tough stuff, but I’m glad I said something. He said that his comment was merely expressing disappointment in himself. So we were cool and went on with our races. If I had not said anything, I would have perceived it as a dig on me personally as a marshal.
At a big race there’s probably some sort of law regarding racing leaders getting marshal preference first if they’re caught in a tussle. But during club racing, I give everyone the same treatment. If you as a driver feel you’ve been treated unfairly, it would be better to talk to the driver that took you out, not the track marshal who is on your side trying to help you out.
Introduced as the Traxxas Slash in 2008, 10 years later many racers are asking, “Is it dead yet?” Check out this recent episode of Radio Impound Podcast. The chatter about Team Associated’s new releases start at the 19:30 mark and you’ll hear them ask about the Associated SC6.1, “Isn’t it that class obsolete yet?” Short […]
Introduced as the Traxxas Slash in 2008, 10 years later many racers are asking, “Is it dead yet?” Check out this recent episode of Radio Impound Podcast. The chatter about Team Associated’s new releases start at the 19:30 mark and you’ll hear them ask about the Associated SC6.1, “Isn’t it that class obsolete yet?”
Short Course Truck
Also known as SCT, Short Course Truck is going to be a mainstay class. I’m talking about the staying power of something like 1/10 scale buggy, which has been around for multiple decades. SCT has already stood one decade, and it will continue the trend. Let me explain… In a sea of increasing costs to get into the hobby, anyone can get into off-road racing for around $200. When others are spending $1000 to get into racing, I was looking at getting into on-road for half of the cost. But how does getting into off-road at 1/4 of the cost sound?
The Traxxas Slash undoubtedly started a short course revolution, and it’s far from over. While box-stock racing is the most important aspect that the Slash has brought to the table, there’s much more to Short Course than meets the eye…
Short Course Buggy
This is probably the deadest thing with the words “Short Course” attached to it, so let’s address it first. I don’t know if it never caught on or quickly flamed out. The Pro-Line conversions kits are hard to find nowadays, but it seemed like such a cool idea! I can only presume everyone that started with a Slash decided that the next graduation would be into the “real” 1/10 scale buggy class.
But is it dead? This recently popped up in my facebook feed:
Chuckworks RC has couple great buggyconversions. Also, there is the “Backslash” phenomenon – 4WD short course trucks converted to a 1/8 scale E-Buggy. It may not be a thriving racing class in your area, but if you’re wanting a new look, you’ve still got options.
Not really for racing, but definitely for having fun. I would suggest this to anyone who is “in a rut” with their Slash and just need to smile when they pull the trigger.
If you’ve ever been to a local dirt track for stock car racing, you’ll recognize some of these racers from their 1:1 scale classes.
All of these are based on the venerable short course chassis, and some specify stock parts to keep the playing field competitive. Click on the images under the headings to learn more about those specific oval classes. You might have an oval track near you!
Slash Spec/Street Stock
This is a street stock style class. Stock Slash underneath, with a standard car (or dirt oval truck) body on top.
SCT Late Model
Want to go fast? Fastest to 132ft (a quarter mile at 1/10 scale) wins. There is a quick guide at the Traxxas site, but I prefer this sleek JConcepts design:
How about just all-out speed? Top speed. Insane speed. Check out this video of a speed run Slash that did 147 mph on 6S power.
While more of a style thing and not really racing, these creations are . With the popularity of short course trucks, it’s no surprise that they’re part of the scene:
Then they all get in the ring and have at it! I certainly didn’t watch this entire video, but it’s worth a peek just to check out the “Family Truckster” complete with luggage on top:
So if you think the Slash (and others) should be discontinued, think again. Sure there are a bunch of them out there, but there are also a bunch of people that are discovering R/C racing for the first time. Wouldn’t you want them to get started in a family-friendly, cost-controlled way? Short Course is here to stay and serve as the gateway into the greater world of R/C racing.
I thought about posting this to streets.mn as part of their Bike To Work Week series. But I’m going to go beyond their editorial policy and name names. These terrible drivers need to be outed to their neighbors and peers. So here it is, my own Bike To Work Week Wall of Shame.
Normally my commute just consists of me walking down the stairs to my office.
But there were plenty of other trips to be taken during Bike to Work Week that I consider commutes – whether they were to school, the grocery store, or piano lessons. Here are some of the speed bumps I encountered on the way.
In early May I rode with my son to and from school. They were make-up days for the mid-April blizzard that interfered with our 30 days of biking plans. On the way to school I noticed a guy on our route taking the plow off of the front of his truck. He obviously plowed driveways with his vehicle in the winter.
On the way home from dropping Jules at school, I was traveling on Able Street southbound in Fridley. As I approached West Moore Lake Drive I noticed that the plow guy was now in his truck, waiting to turn right on Able Street. Here is my route in blue and his route in red:
He waited for me to pass – I had the right of way. But I could tell he was already impatient. He was one of those drivers that never fully stops on a right turn. His truck just kept rolling. I wondered had slowed down, if we would have simply crashed there in slow motion.
I kept on, and he pulled behind me. Sensing his impatience ahead of time, I took the lane (near the middle of the road) because in 200 feet I’d be turning left on Moore Lake Drive and then on to the shoulder where quick-tempered drivers like him could safely pass.
At one point I believe he actually tried to pass me on the left in the 200 feet from Carol Drive to Moore Lake Drive – I didn’t look back, I was busy pedaling hard so he wouldn’t run me over and kill me.
Once on Moore Lake Drive, I went to the shoulder and he shouted some unintelligible curse-laden something-or-other about “cars” (that’s all I could make out).
What could I do? It clearly was harassment. Remember how I saw him taking off his plow? With a little research I found his business, Greenmakers Lawn Care & Landscaping, which has a commercially driven vehicle – the very truck he was harassing me with. So I filed a complaint with MnDOT. Let me tell you how good it felt to hit submit on that form. If you’re ever harassed by a commercial driver you should use this tool.
To my surprise MnDOT actually called me on the phone to speak about the incident before they followed up with the driver. 💯
I frequently ride in the road on E. Moore Lake Drive. There is a bike trail on this stretch, but it is in such terrible shape that it will rattle your brain loose. I’ll take the ultra-smooth road, plus there’s an extra lane here that doesn’t get much use.
On this particular day I was riding with my son to piano lessons. Thank God I took the lead here. This woman who was going to the strip mall crossed right in front of us. I swear if I leaned over the handlebars I would have been able to touch her car.
I decided to take action and follow her for a chat. “Can you do that?” my son asked. “Watch me.”
I pulled up behind her car and snapped this photo just as she got out:
I told her that she pulled right in front of us almost causing a crash. I reminded her that we had the right of way and that she can’t turn in front of us from the left lane, cutting us off. Then I gave her a chance to reply by asking “What were you thinking?!?”
“I was navigating”
She replied as she gestured to the phone in her hand.
So this is what it’s come to. We’re all going to get run over by idiots who can’t take their face off of a screen for even the shortest of drives. Be safe out there everyone – stay vigilant and get home safe!
Help spread the word by sharing our event on Facebook. We’ve got a couple of route options, so we’ll decide what we’ll do day of. Here’s a preview:
This is if people feel like riding further:
Both feature Fridley’s scenic trails via the Rice Creek Trail (option A) or the Mississippi River Trail (option B). Both have serene moments where you’ll be wondering how the heck you’re only 9 miles from the center of downtown Minneapolis. Wildlife spotting is almost guaranteed – fun is mandatory 🙂
Today is my daughter’s 5th birthday and we got her a new bike. TL;DR? We settled on a ByK E-250. Want to know why? Read on…
As always, I did a bunch of research. One article I came across and revisited several times was Why You Should Never Buy a 12″ Bike! (with a few exceptions). Like everyone should be, I was skeptical of such a bold claim. Some might even call it clickbait. But I kept coming back to that article because of some valid points.
Kids that don’t yet ride on two wheels should be learning to balance no matter what their age. It’s the single hardest thing to learn on a bike. Why muddle it up with pedals, gears, brakes, and bells?
Marlo got a Strider for her 4th birthday last year. Despite her constant nagging that it didn’t have pedals, she finally warmed up to it. At first she cursed the “wobbly bike” but would still give it the occasional college try because she saw her brother riding on two wheels.
5 months later and she had balancing down-pat. No training wheels, no parent running awkwardly behind hunched over. Just turn ’em loose with no pedals.
If your young/small child is just learning, go straight for the Strider. My daughter is small. At 5 years old she’s still only 30 pounds. But she could always lift and move the Strider with ease. Now with balance mastered, it’s time for pedals.
The other main point that article makes is that most 12″ bikes are heavy. I’m talking more than half the weight of your child heavy. Could you imagine trying to ride (let alone learn to ride) on a bike that weighs 100 pounds?
14″ wheels. It’s just a little bigger than her Strider and she can grow with it.
The seat height can be slammed to 15″ – great for shorter kids and amazing considering the 14″ wheels size.
Here’s a comparison shot of the seat height compared to the current seat height of her Strider:
Is it light? Yes – all the bikes recommended from that article are light. Also the crank arms are nicely shaped to stay out of the way when the pedals are removed. I recommend this to any parent with an older child that hasn’t yet learned to balance. Just leave the pedals off until they’re ready.
And about the push handle and training wheels that are included…
Do not, I repeat, do not install or use them. You’re doing yourself and your child a disservice. Take the damn pedals and training wheels off and let them learn to balance on their own! These items are included to placate parents who remember their first terrifying day with the training wheels off. Their parent hunched over with a backache. Forget about it. Those two things are still sitting in the box brand new.
OK, so why is this thing only 3 stars? It comes down to 2 things:
1. Delivered with a flat tire.
I get it. This is a bummer. Do yourself a favor and order some 14″ tubes right when you buy this bike. This is an odd size so there’s even a chance that your local bike shop won’t carry it unless you special order it.
2. Bad / No Instructions
Also a legitimate complaint. The bike comes with a manual that seemingly covers every type of bike that ByK makes. So you have to figure out, is this a single-speed or a mountain bike because there’s no specific section for the E-250. Yes it’s lame. I was able to quickly work through it because I’ve put together a couple of bikes myself. This bike is rather unique and it could use a model specific manual.
Hopefully ByK figures this out, but it shouldn’t stop you from putting this bike at the top of the list. Take my daughter’s word for it.
It works with Linux but it’s a bit finicky. In this post I’m addressing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. This might seem like moot point because 18.04 LTS is literally right around the corner. However, there a chance it’s meticulous connection procedure will still need to be followed. So here’s how to consistently get it to connect to your computer.
I’ve highlighted all the commands you’ll need to type in bold. The other text is the output you’ll be seeing. The device ID will be different for your 3600 mouse, and it will be different every time you try to pair it. Just be careful to copy and paste off of your screen and not mine 😉
Put your mouse into pairing mode by holding the bottom button down for more than 5 seconds. Then launch the bluetooth control tool from the terminal, and start a scan. Note the ID of BluetoothMouse3600, you’ll use it for the commands pair, trust, and connect.
Sweet we’re connected! But your mouse probably won’t (yet) work. We need to disconnect first (I’ll explain why in a bit).
[BluetoothMouse3600]# disconnect EF:E5:F1:8D:EA:24
Attempting to disconnect from EF:E5:F1:8D:EA:24
[CHG] Device EF:E5:F1:8D:EA:24 Connected: no
Why am I doing this again?!?
I’m not exactly sure why this needs to be done twice, but somewhere along the way I believe I saw some bluetooth debugging information show that the first device is for BLE (bluetooth low energy) and the second is the actual HID (human interface device). Comment if you can confirm or deny, but for now, let’s keep truckin’…
Put the mouse into pairing mode again. Then pair/trust/connect again . You may notice the number in the 4th section of the device ID is one number higher than it was when we first paired.
If you find it not reconnecting on occasion, turning the mouse off/on with a quick press of the bottom button sometimes does the trick. Otherwise, remove both of the bluetooth devices that are paired and start from the top. I’ve done this several times and this is the only consistent way I’ve been able to get it working again.