Friday, June 28, 2013

A Bunch of Updates!

Oh geez!  A lot of happenings around here since the last update. 

Let's see...

We transformed the Redcat Sumo into an open wheeled raleigh racer.

It didn't really take much to do it, and it was worth the effort to see the Pizzmeister's face light up when it was finished and the under glow lit up.

Other than the under glow we installed a bigger motor, lowered the ride height, installed metal out shafts from the differentials, replaced the stock axles with metal ones, replaced all the bushings with bearings, and, of course, we had to adjust the body mounts to fit the new body and installed led's with a separate power source for the under glow, a nine volt battery.  
The boy is happy with it, so I am too.

The Mad Gear hasn't been toyed with too  much lately.

We recently had to replace the steering servo, the receiver, and the electronic speed control.  Sounds expensive, it probably is, but more problematic is finding the parts for it.

Luckily for us, the people over at Nitrorcx really helped us out on this one!  

Those three parts all came in a single unit, which made it so hard to find, and, of course, Mad Gear doesn't have replacement parts on the market for that toy yet.  So, I emailed Nitrorcx, asking them if they had replacement parts or could order them for me at least, and they could and did.  Plus, they replaced the unit for free under the 90 day warranty even though I didn't buy the truck from them!  This saved me tons of money since I was prepared to replace all the electronics with readily available parts.  Phew!


Now, I know where to get parts in the future.

Let's see...What else is new?

Oh yeah, project Love Bug is moving at a snails pace.  Still looks pretty much exactly as it did except for the fact that now the body isn't just dirty like in this photo it is also cracked!


Oh well, I will do something with it to fix it up a bit and then paint it at some point.  

Other than that, Herbie has had his shocks over hauled with new oil and heavier springs, and his motor has been replaced with a 20 turn brushed motor that is really close to stock, but for some reason doesn't get as hot as the original motor and is noticeably quicker.

Project monster truck is officially canned.

We did fix it with all new electronics, and the Pizzmeister still adores it, but, as of right now, we can't think of anything else we can do to it with so many other projects in the works.

So, unfortunately, Project Monster truck is no longer on going, but  he is still being played with, and is an awesome example of what a $30 dollar rc can become with a little imagination.

Stay Tuned for more updates, and the Pizzmeister's unveiling a new special Project!

Here's a hint as to what the new project is.  He's holding it in a photo on Just a Dizzy Dad's facebook page!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Mad Gear 1/16 Mini Electric Short Course RC Truck 2.4ghz Ready to Run Review

We bought this for my son, and he loves it! 

I, on the other hand, am uncertain how I feel about it yet as it is different than our other RCs and will take some getting used to. 

How is it different? 

Well, the three in one servo, receiver, and esc mainly. I am not sure if I like that concept, but what I do like about the truck is the aluminum drive shaft, the non beefy chassis has a lot of flex to it, making it thrilling to drive because you constantly think you're going to break it, but always surprised at how much punishment it takes, and the little motor has plenty of power in it. 

Now for the pro's and cons.


-nice little motor (gets wicked hot though)
-comes with a battery and transmitter
-some really nice sturdy parts in it (i.e. aluminum drive shaft, a pretty sturdy tub with flex to it, bearings etc...)
-The body feels nice and strong
-wheels are pretty decent
-tires are nice and pliable
-nice torque for acceleration
-adequate top speed for some real fun on a smooth surface
-adjustable suspension to an extent
-fairly inexpensive at around $80 


-pinion gear started showing signs of wear after ten minutes of run time (probably due to bad mesh so maybe not a fault of the car)
-plastic gears
-stock battery lasts about 10 minutes (I have been looking for another battery and having a hard time finding one that fits the dimensions)
-no manual comes with the truck only a parts diagram with part numbers (no names)
-shocks don't perform as expected (do not decompress fully after compressed but truck still fun regardless of this)
-haven't found replacement parts or upgrades designed for it yet 
-body extends past bumpers and therefore unprotected
-servo makes a lot of noise and doesn't seem to be proportional or consistent 
-not water proofed (but to keep things in perspective a lot of RC vehicles aren't)

overall impression:

I think this is a pretty solid little truck. Sure there are somethings I would change, but there are also a lot of things I like about it, and it is fun and my kids love it the way it is. Some quick advice for you. When the truck arrives start charging the battery right away as it will take around 4 hours to fully charge, and the only way to know when it is charged is by feeling for warmth. I assume that when the wall plug is hot or the battery starts getting warm the battery is fully charged since there is no manual to explain it better, and while the battery is charging thoroughly go over the truck to make sure everything is tight enough and not too tight, and check to make sure all the parts are seated properly and ready to go.

Update after driving the truck a few times: 

Well, after having gone through a few battery packs in this, I have determined that it isn't as good as I originally thought. 

We've had to replace a pinion gear that blew apart after a half hour of run time. We replaced it with a traxxas steel pinion, but shortly after replacing the pinion the servo has taken a nose dive on us. I can't find a replacement anywhere. I tried getting parts from a Mad Gear internet seller, but it seems like nobody keeps parts for this car in stock. 

Sure, they can order the parts for you, but the shipping is a little steep. If I was to order the pinion from them the shipping cost more than the gear, which is no good. 

We also had to replace the battery leads because the spur gear is exposed and ripped through the battery leads. I admit that it is part user error on this, but I still think that the design is crappy. Open gears just aren't any good outside, even when only running on pavement. Not only do the gears catch the battery leads, but the pan chassis just catches everything and directs it right to the pinion and spur gear and jams them up.  Not a lot of fun.

Anyway, I have spent hours searching for a replacement servo or even the entire 3-1 unit. So far no luck, and I am fairly unimpressed. The truck was a fun little toy when it was running, but I am not a fan of it due to the fact that even finding parts online is difficult and the truck is not well constructed or designed. I wouldn't buy another one or suggest it if you aren't prepared to do some modifications to keep it up and running.

As of now, I am drawing up designs to fit all new electronics in it and a gear shield.