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Old 01-11-2018, 09:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Getting back in to R/C after 25 years

TL : DR - Looking at buying a crawler but have some old trucks/buggies I want to get working for the kids. RCCrawler is the Pirate of R/C crawling, what is the Pirate of old Tamiya buggies and trucks?

Been thinking about getting a crawler for a while now, a buddy bought a used Wraith a while back and I am now looking at which Axial model to get. If I buy new it will be RTR and will likely be a Spawn or Bomber, unless somebody can tell me why one of the other models are better than either of those. Most likely I will buy used as I am finding the cost of an "upgraded" used Wraith (once you weed out the "full custom" worth their weight in gold idiots) is about half to two-thirds of a new in box RTR.

I know the kit has upgrades that I will eventually "need" and the RTR electronics are "shit" but it is only ever going to be for backyard bashing and it is easier to justify, to the wife, the incremental upgrade costs over time then one big lump sum "on a toy" at the beginning. I don't care about scale looks or any of that shit, I just want to crawl over the abundance of rock piles in our area.

Probably looking to buy around April/May as everything around here is covered in snow for at least a few more months, in the mean-time I decided it was time to break out my old R/C shit that has been in storage for a while and get them running so the kids have something to keep them away from the crawler.

So far I have dug out my old Losi Jr-T that I put an LX-T upgrade kit in a number of years back and a Rubbermaid bin a buddy gave me "full of RC stuff" that I never opened. That bin contained a Tamiya Grasshopper 2 and a Tamiya Blackfoot, both have had various modifications/repairs done to them and the Blackfoot is missing the body and has some oddball F150 body with it that doesn't seem to fit and likely came from a Toys R Us special. Both Tamiya need some minor repairs/tweeks to get them rolling.

Along with those three vehicles is a pile of electronics with some seeming to matchup and others seeming oddball. I am just sorting through all the electronics to see what is working and what needs to be replaced. The plan is to have 4 running vehicles for the kids to bash around plus a crawler for me, I can probably get 1 or 2 of them running with what I have laying around.

I am still looking for another Rubbermaid bin that my memory tells me is somewhere around here that would contain a Futaba FX-10 (my first hobby grade R/C), a boat, and from the looks of the pile of electronics I already have - the missing transmitter I used with the Losi/FX-10/boat.

I know RCCrawler is the Pirate of R/C Crawlers, what forum(s) would be best for the Tamiya? I don't want to hear "You should restore it and put it on a shelf never to be run again" kind of shit, these were not high end in their day, were used for bashing and took a beating, and will continue to be used for bashing and take a beating.

I should be okay getting the Losi running again as it was mine, I took decent care of it, and it is still pretty much in one piece...the Grasshopper 2 and Blackfoot on the other hand were not mine, not as well cared for by the previous owner, and need some attention.

Last edited by igotafrigginjeep; 01-11-2018 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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In regards to the tamyia stuff, ditch the stock transmitter/receivers as if they're as old as you say then I doubt they're 2.4ghz which means faffing with crystals to get more than one to run together. Throw in a couple of cheap brushed ESC's (assuming that they're mechanical speed controllers). You should be able to pick up a cheap 2.4ghz tx/rx and a brushed ESC for under $40 and then see where your at.
The tamyia stuff is pretty simple mechanically. Given your intended use I'd only replace what's broken, clean, lube and if you're feeling really keen pick up a bearing kit to replace all the stock bushes with roller bearings.
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by OllieNZ View Post
In regards to the tamyia stuff, ditch the stock transmitter/receivers as if they're as old as you say then I doubt they're 2.4ghz which means faffing with crystals to get more than one to run together. Throw in a couple of cheap brushed ESC's (assuming that they're mechanical speed controllers). You should be able to pick up a cheap 2.4ghz tx/rx and a brushed ESC for under $40 and then see where your at.
The tamyia stuff is pretty simple mechanically. Given your intended use I'd only replace what's broken, clean, lube and if you're feeling really keen pick up a bearing kit to replace all the stock bushes with roller bearings.
Thanks for the direction.

With the Losi, FX-10, and boat I used to swap all my electronics back and forth as I could only ever use one of them at a time anyway. I had an old JR transmitter/receiver that was AM 27 MHz (can't find the transmitter at the moment) and ran a Novak 410-M5 ESC (at the time it was one of the few decent ESC with reverse and seeing as it was for bashing I wanted reverse).

The Tamiya stuff came with an AM transmitter/receiver (79 MHz), it needs the battery case which I found on Amazon for under $10 (CDN) but it arrived rigged up with alligator clips on the battery terminals and a plug in transformer, so I can at least use that to get through testing. It also had a Tamiya ESC in one of them and a mechanical in the other. The mechanical shit will go in the trash.

Trying to get 4 running vehicles on the cheap as I would rather put the real money towards the crawler. If I can find the JR transmitter then I have two radio combos on differing frequencies to start with (if it all still works) and I will go for some cheap 2.4 GHz radios for the other vehicles. Range of AM will not be an issue as everything will be short line of sight and there is limited radio interference in the area (we live in a rural farming community).

As for $40 radios, not sure if I will find them that cheap being in Canada but the closest hobby shop to us has 2.4 GHz transmitter/receiver combos for under $80 (CDN) and it looks like I have enough servos to take care of steering, I would just need some cheap ESC and batteries.

For batteries the plan is to stick with Ni-MH. I have an old Astroflight charger that could do a 1500 mah Ni-Cd in under 15 minutes back in the day...I am going to give it a try (hopefully it still works) as I have read it can do Ni-MH but just takes more time (found a conversion chart to figure out the timing). I have a recently purchased Ni-MH 6 cell pack and the Tamiya came with what looks like a fairly recent Ni-MH 6 cell pack, hopefully one or both of those can get me through testing.

If the charger/batteries don't work I will buy an inexpensive charger/battery to get me through the testing stage and once I have 4 running vehicles I will spring for a multi charger to keep the kids from complaining. One thing I always hated back in the day was the disparity between charge time and run time, I understand that has changed a lot with a decent charger and Ni-MH (even more so with LiPo).
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I just got back into the RC scene with a Vaterra Ascender. I added a few things to mine though. I did the 2spd. Twin Hammers gear swap, added a RC4WD winch, Lights, new rims and tires, and a old Muscle Machine scoop (fake engine that makes it a little cartoonish, but I like it). Everything but the lights run off a Spectrum DX5C radio (5 channel). It was RTR when I got it through RPP (just charge the battery and go).pics....



My sons birthday is next month so I ordered him the new Axial scx10-2 (also from RPP.) It cost around 330.00 RTR.


As far as the old Tamiya stuff, I have a few models left. Wild Dagger, Super Blackfoot, My built up Clod Buster. I also have a few Kyoshos. A Optima buggy that Im going through, a Double Dare, and Big Boss trucks and the a couple of losi mini's. The crawlers have come a long way since they first started.

If you go with LiPo batteries be sure to get a LiPo bag (store/charge the Battery in these in case of the battery catches on fire/bursts a cell. the bag will stop the battery from burning your house down) and learn how to charge them correctly. I love these as I cant always go wheeling anymore, so these kinda give me my fix.
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I order a lot of stuff direct from China via eBay. AliExpress and Banngood are also reasonable too. I typically get things in 2-3 weeks, no good if you're in a hurry but soooo much cheaper. Once you know what product you want sometimes you can find it in country via eBay or Amazon with quicker shipping but usually at a higher price.

There's some excellent and cheap radio gear out there. For the tamyia's any of the cheap 2 channel stuff would be fine, it won't have any bells and whistles but that's not really something the kids need. For your stuff something like the flysky GT3C is a great cheap unit with loads of settings and can remember 10 different models, basically buy one transmitter and lots of receivers. The radiolink RC4GS is another good option.

I'd not bother with NiMH either, lipo ftw. They're smaller and lighter for the same or more mah and have the ability to deliver more current.
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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depending where you are in Ontario ive got a few 2.4 rx/tx combos id let go dirt cheap. I just sold a 10.2 kit this afternoon, got lots of crawler parts wheel/tire combos kickin around if you need anything.
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Old 01-12-2018, 02:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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depending where you are in Ontario ive got a few 2.4 rx/tx combos id let go dirt cheap. I just sold a 10.2 kit this afternoon, got lots of crawler parts wheel/tire combos kickin around if you need anything.
Interested, Hillsburgh is about an hour southeast of me, I could make a detour in my regular travels. I will keep this in mind and get in touch when the time comes, for now I want to work through what I have here and make a list of needs and see if it is worth getting the old stuff working for the kids or just buy some new RTR for the kids like some Traxxas Bandit/Rustler/Slash type stuff.




I have sorted through the Blackfoot and here is where I am at...

- appears to be an original '86-'93 Blackfoot
- broken lower shock mount holes on trailing arms (one missing completely, other is cracked)
- missing forward rear shock mounts (one is completely missing, other I removed and put in parts bin)
- odd ball rigged up upper rear shock mounts/body mounts that put rear shocks in more upright position (looks like pieces of original chassis mounts for body/shocks are broken/missing)
- missing front body mount
- weird trimming on bottom of chassis at front of battery compartment (doesn't look like it would affect anything just doesn't make sense why it was done)
- front suspension arm mounts look like machined aluminum, not sure if this was stock or a vintage aftermarket part, looks like proper part just made of aluminum
- wrong battery door clip, uses some kind of plastic bolt with a hole drilled through and a spring clip, it works but is excessively long for the application
- no electronics cover/upper chassis/shock tower brace
- no antenna mount on chassis, looks like it may have been part of the original body
- no original body, came with silver coloured F150 styrene body (10th gen 97-03 F150 stepside style), appears to be from a toy store RC, previous owner probably had an idea of mounting it to the Blackfoot but doesn't have a way of mounting

None of the above items will prevent it from running but some of them might get addressed prior to running for reliability/prevention of breaking more parts.



As for electronics, here is the plan so far...

- existing motor, looks to be stock silver can motor
- Tamiya TEU-101BK ESC
- Futaba FP-R112JE Receiver (75.790 MHz)
- Futaba S3003 servo
- Futaba Magnum Sport FP-T2PB-75 Pistol Grip AM Radio (needs battery tray but has been rigged to work enough for testing purposes)


Next steps...

- I need fuses for my old battery charger, not sure why they are blown as it has been years since it was used, should be easy to find they are simple glass cylinder 7amp and 1 amp fuses. I pulled the charger apart and it is pristine inside, no corrosion or anything obviously wrong (sticker inside said "Tested OK by Ken" with a 1991 date. I could just buy a new charger but I figure a few bucks for fuses is worth it before dropping any money that could go towards an RTR that would come with a charger if I find this to be a fruitless effort.

- I need to grab some battery/charger connectors or replace the connectors on the two batteries I have here as the charger was changed to Anderson PowerPole connectors back in the day. I have some Anderson PowerPole connector sets here and will probably just use them.

- See if the battery charger works, charge some batteries, do an electronics test



Grasshopper 2 - I haven't done a full once over on it yet but it looks to be in decent condition aside from a broken loop one of the front shocks.
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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They still sell the Blackfoot so you should be able to get parts but a whole new kit is around $150 from what I've seen.

On the charger front anything that comes in a RTR kit will be crap so don't rely on getting a good charger that way. Personally I have a couple of skymax b6 chargers, they're cheap for what they can do.
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I remember building an old team associated RC 10 gold pan when I was about 13. What a blast that was. I had fun with it for a couple years and haven't messed with RCs since. I'm sure everything has came a long way since then.
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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dammit, why did I come into this thread???

**opens wallet to prioritize funds....
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:54 AM   #11 (permalink)
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dammit, why did I come into this thread???

**opens wallet to prioritize funds....
Tell me about it lol
This is my current stable, the 2 smaller cars belong to my 2 sons and I've got my eye on an 1/8 buggy to add to the collection to sate my need for speed (the crawler is nice, just slow).
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Old 01-15-2018, 03:38 PM   #12 (permalink)
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as far as sites go, I use RC10Talk.com and tamiyabase for info.

You can pick up 2ch 2.4ghz radios for $20, ESC's for $11, chargers for $15 or less online at hobbyking.com. by the time you add in shipping, it should still be cheaper than buying at the LHS.
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Old 01-19-2018, 07:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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these look fun
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Old 01-19-2018, 07:41 PM   #14 (permalink)
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i have thought about getting an rc car, after i sell my bronco
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Im currently between rigs so i got this. Had it out for the first time today

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