The following is a list of additional equipment a driver may need to purchase to in order to race. Every brand and class of vehicle has it’s own requirements. Some more details on these can be found in the Vehicle Classes section.
Where to buy
There are many local hobby shops that can help with all of these choices and more. There are also many websites that also sell these items. Here are a few suggestions.
Hobbytown USA in St. Charles (offers discounts to club members).
A Main Hobbies www.amainhobbies.com
Tower Hobbies www.towerhobbies.com
Horizon Hobbies www.horizonhobbies.com
There’s a huge 2nd hand market for RC equipment. In addition to Ebay, RC-Tech forums are a great place to find things http://www.rctech.net/forum/r-c-items-sale-trade-16/
A radio is the controller a driver uses to operate their vehicle. A receiver is installed in the vehicle and receives signals from the radio and passes those signals to other components that steer and move the vehicle. Popular brands are Futaba, Airtronics and Spektrum.
Many radios have additional features you may want to consider. One popular feature is multiple model memory. This allows you to program the settings for multiple vehicles into the radio. This makes setting up multiple vehicles for racing very easy, especially since you can’t turn your radio on while you’re in the pits.
Editor’s recommendation: The Traxxas Slash comes with a 2.4GHz radio. You will not need to buy anything unless you plan on owning multiple vehicles
You should also consider rechargeable batteries or bringing extra set of batteries to the races.
|2.4 GHz, no memory, $40 receiver
2.4 GHz, no memory, $8 receivers
|2.4 GHz, 10 model memory, $40 receivers
2.4 GHz, 10 model memory, $60 receivers
2.4 GHz, 20 model memory, $45 receiver
2.4 GHz, 10 model memory, $8 receivers, may not be sturdy enough for kids
There are 3 battery technologies in use for RC vehicles: Ni-Cd, Ni-MH and Li-Po. Each racing class has different restrictions on the type, size and capacity of batteries that can be used. See the vehicle classes information for details. During practice (at home or at the race) any type/size of battery can be used.
If you’re only racing one vehicle, it’s probably possible to get away with a couple of batteries that you re-charge between heats. But there will be many times where there will not. For example if you practice before the race or if you win a heat and move to a main.
Charging “hot” batteries, or batteries that have just been used will reduce their capacity and life expectancy. It’s best to allow a battery to cool down to room temperature before recharging. It’s easy to tell if a battery has cooled down by just touching it.
The Tips section has more information on batteries.
Editor’s recommendation: Buy a number of batteries that you can manage during race days. If you’re racing in a class that allows NiMH and you purchase a large capacity, these batteries may last 2 or 3 races. But remember, the last thing you want to happen is to have a battery run out on you during a race!
Depending on the type of battery or batteries you purchase, you will need a compatible battery charger. Li-Po batteries require a special charger and should not be charged on a charger not specifically designed to do so. The results can be explosive! The most commonly used batteries in the club are Ni-HM which can be charged by a charger designed for this type of battery.
Again, there are many different features and price points. Expect to pay at a minimum $40 for a simple charger like the Dynamite Prophet to systems costing hundreds of dollars that can charge all types of batteries, multiple batteries, etc. For the starting RC driver, expect to pay between $40 and $60 for a charger.
Some things to consider when selecting a charger.
- Will the charger work with the battery you’re using.
- Does the charger work off standard AC power or do you need an DC power supply. The pit stations at Hadley have electrical outlets available.
- Can you adjust the charge Amperage to match the type/capacity battery you’re charging.
- A display on the charger can provide additional information regarding the condition and status of the battery
- If you’re going to use different types or capacities of batteries, memory settings on a charger can make it easy to select the correct parameters for each battery.
Editor’s recommendation: Each experienced racer has his own preference. There are a ton of brands and each brand has models from basic to pro. These are just some suggestions.
|Entry||Dynamite Prophet Sport
Duratrax Onyx 200
|Bare minimum charger, only couple different charging settings
Same as above.
Can charge Lipo batteries
|10 memory settings, LCD display, NiCD, NiMH & Lipo, 5A charge rate
5 Memory settings, LCD display, NiCD, NiMH & Lipo, 6A charge rate
No memory settings, LCD display, NiCD, NiMH & Lipo, 6A charge rate
The vehicles provided by the club come with pre-painted bodies. You are free to purchase your own body and paint it to your liking.
Most bodies come with an unpainted body. The body will be clear and need to be painted. They include materials to help mask areas of the body and some have decals that will complete the look. The color and design is up to the individual. It can be as simple as a single color for the whole body to elaborate airbrush designs.
If your body requires paint, your local hobby store can be an excellent source for materials and guidance. Two excellent guides can be found here:
Some other things to consider purchasing for your vehicle:
- Extra body clips – You will lose these. Also you need extras to attach the race transceiver. These comes in different sizes, colors and styles. Ones with large, bent loops make it easy to grab.
- Spare parts – It’s probably inevitable that your vehicle will break at some point. Having spare parts on hand for your particular model make the difference between being out of the races for the rest of the day or getting back in. Talk to experienced drivers of the same model to find out what things to look out for. There are also suggestions in the Car Classes section.
- Tools – Not only will you probably need tools to put your model together, but also fix it. Things like screwdrivers, needlenose pliers, multi-testers to check batteries and diagnose electrical problems.
- Tool boxes, part carriers, car stands, etc – Come to the races and see what other people are using. While you can carry everything around in a cardboard box, these things make life in the pits easier
- Shock Oil – varies per vehicle and can be changed to change handling.
- Electronic contact cleaner – get the junk out of your motor before it does too much damage
- Compressed Air Cans – The cars pick up a lot of fuzz from the carpets, this is a quick way to clean up.
If anyone has any other suggestions, please let us know.