Archive for the ‘Julian’s RC Tips’ Category

Quick Tire Basics

Tires are always the first element in setting up a car. If you’ve got the right tires, you’re 90% there.

Here is a quick basics on tire and insert choice

Compound(Tire Material)


  • Less wear
  • Less grip
  • Less sidewall movement


  • More wear
  • More grip
  • More sidewall movement

Foam tires offer large amounts of grip, but also large amounts of wear. Any imperfections in the track will badly effect the life of a foam tire.



  • Less grip on harder surfaces
  • Less sidewall movement
  • More predictable tyre wear


  • More grip on harder surfaces
  • More sidewall movement
  • Less predictable tyre wear

Choosing the right combination of Compound and inserts is important, too harder compounds will reduce the effect of softer inserts, and harder inserts will reduce the effects of a soft compound.

Sidewall movement can help increase the cars grip at the start and end of turns, but will slightly effect the response of steering as the car moves around on the tyre.

Tread Pattern


  • Extremely high wear on hard surfaces
  • Low traction on hard surfaces
  • Gives even traction in all directions on the tyre
  • Traction greatly reduced by too much loose surface (such as sand)

X Pin

  • Medium-high wear on hard surfaces
  • Relatively low traction on hard surfaces
  • Gives even traction in all directions on the tyre
  • Traction less effected by loose suface material (such as sand)


  • High wear on hard surfaces (especially during accelleration)
  • Extremely good traction on loose surface material (such as sand)
  • Can drastically reduce steering on RWD vehicles


  • Medium-low wear on hard surfaces
  • high side-to-side traction
  • Low traction on acceleration on loose surfaces


  • High traction on hard surfaces
  • Gives even traction in all directions on the tyre
  • drastically reduces traction on loose surface material

V-Groove (onroad)

improved traction in wet conditions during accelleration

Z-Pattern (onroad)

can help improve traction in loose surface material (such as dirt on track)

slightly decrease overall traction

more tyre wear



  • Stiffer springs make the car feel more responsive, more direct.
  • They also help the car jump a little better and higher.
  • Stiff springs are suited for high-traction tracks, which aren’t too bumpy.


  • Softer springs are better for (mildly) bumpy tracks.
  • They can also make the car feel as if it has a little more traction in low-grip conditions.

Stiffer Front

  • The car has less front traction, and less steering. It’s harder to get the car to turn, the turn radius is bigger and the car has a lot less steering exiting corners.
  • The car will jump better, and maybe a little further.
  • On very high-grip tracks, it’s usually beneficial to stiffen the front, even more than the rear. It just makes the car easier to drive, and faster.

Softer Front

  • The car has more steering, especially in the middle part and the exit of the corner.
  • Front springs that are too soft can make the car hook and spin, and they can also make it react sluggishly.

Stiffer Rear

  • The car has more steering, in the middle and exit of the turn. This is especially apparent in long, high-speed corners.
  • But rear traction is reduced.

Softer Rear

The car has generally more rear traction, in turns as well as through bumps and while accellerating.



  • Thicker oil (heavier damping) makes the car more stable, and makes it handle more smoothly.
  • It also makes the car jump and land better.
  • If damping is too heavy, traction could be lost in bumpy sections.


  • Soft damping (and springing) is better for shallow, ripply bumps.
  • It also makes the car react quicker.
  • Damping should always be adapted to the spring ratio; the suspension should never feel too ‘springy’ or too slow.

Heavier Front

  • The turn radius is wider, but smoother. The car doesn’t ‘hook’ suddenly.
  • The car is easier to drive, and high-speed steering feels very nice.

Softer Front

  • The steering reacts quicker.
  • More and better low-speed steering.

Heavier Rear

Steering feels quick and responsive, while the rear stays relatively stable.

Softer Rear

  • Feels very easy to drive, the car can be ‘thrown’ into turns.
  • More rear traction while accellerating.
  • If one end of the car has slightly heavier damping than the other, then that end will feel as if it has the most consistent traction and the most stable when turning in and exiting corners.
  • A car with slightly heavier rear damping, or slightly lighter front damping will feel very stable turning into corners on bumps or whoops sections. It won’t feel ‘touchy’ at all.


  • More More caster aids stability, and handling in bumpy sections.
  • Less Less caster increases steering drastically.
  • Steering feels much more direct, the car turns tighter and faster.

Ride Height


  • The car feels better in bumps, and jumps better.
  • It can feel tippy, or even flip over in high-grip conditions.


  • The car feels more direct, and it can potentially corner a bit faster.
  • It’s also harder to flip the car over.
  • Lowering one end of the car, or putting the other end higher up, gives a little more grip at the lowest end, but try to avoid big differences in ride height between the front and the rear.



  • A short wheelbase makes the car feel very nimble, and good in tight turns.
  • This is a good idea for very small and tight tracks, without big jumps or bumps.


  • The car becomes a lot more stable, adn better in wide, high-speed turns.
  • This is good on wide-open tracks.


This refers to the angle of caster on the rear wheels. Raising the front of the hinge pins of the rear arms gives a caster (anti-squat) angle and helps to transfer the power more evenly, keeping the front of the vehicle from lifting under heavy acceleration.


  • More anti-squat generally makes the rear of the car more sensitive to throttle input.
  • The car has more steering while braking, and also a little more powering out of corners.
  • On high-traction tracks, it may feel as if the car momentarily has more rear traction accellerating out of corners.
  • A car with more anti-squat can also jump a little higher and further, and it will soak up bumps a little better, off-power.
  • A lot of anti-squat (4° or more) can make the car spin out in turns, and make the rear end break loose when accellerating.


  • Less anti-squat gives more rear traction while accellerating on a slippery or dusty track.
  • It also gives more side-bite.
  • Less anti-squat will make the car accellerate better and faster through bumpy sections.
  • Very little anti-squat (0° or 1°) makes the rear end feel very stable. It also makes power sliding a lot easier.
  • Note that anti-squat only works when you’re accellerating or braking, it does absolutely nothing when you’re coasting through turns.
  • The harder you brake or accellerate, the bigger the effect of anti-squat is.

Shock Pistons

The assumption is made that if pistons are changed, the viscosity of the oil is also adapted, to give the same static feel. (Same low-speed damping)

Smaller Holes

  • Smaller holes mean more ‘pack’. Pack means the damping gets very stiff, or almost locks up, over sharp bumps, ruts, or landing off jumps.
  • Small holes are good for smooth tracks, with big jumps or crummy jumps with harsh landings.

Bigger Holes

  • Bigger holes mean less pack. The point at which the damping gets stiff (where the shock ‘packs up’) occurs a lot later, at higher shock shaft speeds.
  • Big holes are very good for bumpy tracks. The car is more stable and has more traction in the bumpy sections. It won’t be thrown up over sharp bumps, the suspension will soak them up a lot better.

Smaller holes in front

  • The car jumps very nicely, a little more nose-up.
  • It feels easy to drive.

Bigger holes in front

  • Can give a subtle feel of more steering and more consistent front end grip if the track isn’t perfectly smooth.
  • Always use the same, or about the same shock pistons front and rear. Big differences in pistons make the car feel inconsistent, and not very smooth.

Lower Shock Mounting Location

Bear in mind that changing the lower shock mounting location changes the lever arm of the shocks on the wheels.

So mounting the shocks more inward makes the suspension softer at the wheel, and mounting the shocks more towards the outside makes the suspension stiffer.

Front more inward

  • More low-speed steering.
  • Usually makes the car very hard to drive.
  • Front more outward
  • Makes the car very stable, but it has a lot less low-speed steering.

Rear more inward

  • Makes the car soak up bumps a little better, and can make the car corner a bit faster.
  • Can be good for bumpy, low-grip tracks, but general stability is greatly reduced.
  • Rear more outward
  • Feels very stable.The way to go for high-grip tracks.

Upper Shock Mounting Location

More Inclined

  • Has a more progressive, smoother feel.
  • More lateral grip.
  • Less Inclined (More Vertical)
  • More direct feel;
  • Less lateral grip. (side-bite)
  • generally a bit better for jumps and harsh landings.

Front more inclined than rear

  • Steering feels very smooth.
  • A little more mid-corner steering.
  • Mounting the rear shocks very upright can result in the rear end sliding in the middle of the turn, especially in high-speed turns.

Rear more inclined than front

  • Feels agressive turning in.
  • The car has a lot of side traction in the rear, and the turn radius isn’t very tight.

Roll Center / Camber links

Long Link

  • A long link gives a lot of body roll in turns.
  • It feels as is the body is willing to keep on rolling, until in the end, the springs prevent it from rolling any further.
  • The car has more grip in corners, especially the middle part.

Short Link

  • A short link makes that the body doesn’t roll as far, its tendency to roll drops off as it rolls.
  • This can stabilize a car in bumps and curved sections.
  • It feels as is the car generates a little less grip.

Parallel Link (Parallel to lower arm)

  • A parallel link gives a little more roll than an angled one.
  • It feels very smooth, and consistent as the body rolls in turns.

Angled Link(Distance between arm and link is smaller on the inside)

  • An angled link makes it feel as if the car has a tendency to center itself (level, no roll), other than through the springs or anti-roll bar.
  • It gives a little more initial grip, steering into corners. It makes it very easy to ‘throw’ the car.
  • The body rolls a little less than with parallel links.
  • On bumpy tracks, it could be possible to use softer settings for damping and spring rate than with parallel links, without destabilising the car.
  • Beware that you should always keep an eye on the balance of your car; large differences in roll center front vs. rear will make the car feel less consistent and less confidence-inspiring.

Longer Front

  • The front rolls and dives more in turns.
  • Lots of steering in mid-corner.
  • Could make the car hook.

Shorter Front

  • The front feels very stable.
  • A little more turn-in, but less steering in mid-corner.

Longer Rear

  • More rear traction in turns, and coming out of them.
  • Rear end slide is very progressive, not unpredictable at all.
  • Make sure that there’s enough rear camber though, or you could lose rear traction in turns.

Shorter Rear

  • The rear feels very stable. It breaks out later and more suddenly, but if it does, the slide is more controllable.
  • It makes the front dive a little more, which results in more steering, especially when braking.

More Angled Front

  • Turn-in is very agressive.
  • The front feels as if it wants to roll less than the rear.

More Angled Rear

  • The rear end is rock-solid while turning in. It feels very confident.


  • Camber is best set so the tires’ contact patch is as big as possible at all times. So with a stiff suspension you’ll need less camber than with a soft one.
  • If the tires wear evenly across their contact patches, camber is about right.
  • On really bumpy tracks, adding a little more negative camber (2 to 3 degrees) can help traction and reduce the chances of catching a rut and flipping over.


Front Toe-in

  • Stabilizes the car in the straights, adn coming out of turns.
  • It smoothes out the steering response, making the car very easy to drive;

Front Toe-out

  • Increases turn-in steering a lot.
  • But can make the car wandery on the straights;
  • Never use more than 2 degrees of front toe-out!

Rear Toe-in

Stabilizes the car greatly. It makes the rear end ‘stick’, but more toe-in makes the difference between sticking and breaking loose bigger.

Rear Toe-out

Rear toe-out is never used. It makes the rear of the car very, very unstable.

Anti-Roll bar

  • Anti-roll bars are best used on smooth, and high-traction tracks only.
  • If you must use one on a bumpy track, try to use a very thin one.
  • Adding an anti-roll bar, or stiffening it, reduces traction at that end of the car. So it feels like the opposite end has more grip.
  • If the track is smooth enough, it also makes the grip level feel more consistent.
  • Anti-roll bars reduce body roll in turns, so they make the car feel more direct, and make it change direction quicker.

Stiffer Front

  • An anti-roll bar at the front of the car reduces low-speed steering. The turning radius will be larger, but very consistent.
  • It reduces ‘hooking’ by preventing front end roll.
  • The car will have more rear traction in turns.

Stiffer Rear

  • Adding an anti-roll bar to the rear of the car gives more steering. the car steers tighter, also at low speeds.
  • On a very smooth track, it can make powersliding easier. It can also make powering out of turns and lining up for jumps a little easier.


More(Bigger difference in steering angle between the two font wheels)

  • More Ackermann makes the steering more consistent, and smoother.
  • It just feels right, also at low speeds and in tight turns.

Less (Smaller, or no difference in steering angle between the two font wheels)

  • Less Ackermann makes the steering more agressive at high speeds.
  • The car turns in more agressively.
  • It doesn’t work well when either traction or cornering speeds are low.

Internal Travel Limiters / Droop / Downtravel

More (less droop/downtravel)

  • The car changes direction faster, and corners flatter. It feels generally more responsive.
  • Adding a lot of travel limiters is only advisable on smooth tracks.

Less (more droop/downtravel)

  • Less internal shock spacers give better handling on bumpy tracks, and more and more consistent traction on difficult tracks.
  • The car also land better after jumps.
  • The end with the least downtravel will feel the most stable, and the most direct. But try to keep a balance (front and rear end droop about the same), especially on low-grip tracks.
  • Adding more internal travel limiters is a very effective way of reducing traction rolls, if not the most effective way.



Adding a front wing, or increasing front downforce increases steering at speed, which almost always makes the car feel very, very agressive and difficult to drive.


  • Adding rear downforce by changing to a bigger wing, or mounting he wing higher or at more of an angle increases rear traction at speed.
  • This can be very useful on slick tracks with fast, sweeping corners.


Smaller Gear Ratio (bigger number means smaller ratio)

  • More punch and accelleration.
  • More runtime.
  • Lower top speed.

Bigger Gear Ratio (smaller number means bigger ratio)

  • Less punch, but more top speed.
  • Less runtime.

How Gear size (tooth count) effects gear ratio

  • Smaller Pinion Gear = Smaller gear ratio
  • Bigger pinion Gear = Bigger gear ratio
  • Smaller Spur Gear = Bigger gear ratio
  • Bigger Spur Gear = Smaller gear ratio

Overall Ratio

Overall Ratio = (Spur/Pinion)*Internal Gearbox Ratio

Rollout (mm/rev)

Rollout = (Pi*Tire Diameter)/Overall Ratio


More Turns(e.g. 13×2 or 14×3)

  • More runtime.
  • Less power, and smoother response.
  • Easy to drive.

Less Turns (e.g. 9×2 or 8×3)

  • Less runtime.
  • More power.
  • Harder to drive.

More Winds (e.g. 11×4 or 12×5)

  • Slightly more runtime.
  • Feels very smooth, has a nice powerband. Very useful on slippery tracks.
  • More top-end.

Less Winds (e.g. 12×1 or 11×2)

  • Slightly less runtime.
  • Feels very punchy, but has less top-end.

More Timing Advance (e.g. 6 to 8mm)

  • Less runtime.
  • More punch, and more top speed.
  • More wear on the comm and brushes.
  • Motor gets hotter.

Less Timing Advance (e.g. 4 to 6mm)

  • More runtime.
  • Easy on the comm and the brushes.
  • Less punch and top speed.

Stiffer Brush Springs

  • More power at low revs.
  • Slightly lower top speed because of increased friction.
  • Better for high currents and bumpy tracks.

Softer Brush Springs

  • More power at hight revs, but less punchy.
  • Higher top speed.
  • Good for low current draw.

TIP: You get slightly more punch and a slightly more efficient motor if you use a slightly stiffer brush spring on the + side.

The easiest way to do this is to hold one leg of the spring with pliers and gently bend the leg 5 to 10 degrees more.

*I copied this from a public domain forum a long time ago. Can’t remember where from. Not original work.

via RC SETUP GUIDE – BASICS TO EXPERT – TheToyz Forums. Hey everyone, here’s a simple tutorial and orientation for all those new to using a Starter Box for Nitro Cars. In the making of this video, I used the Twin-775 Motor Lipo-Ready Starter Box for 1/8 and 1/10 cars by BSD Racing – but all those starter boxes out there are more or less the same.

In this video, I’ll be showing you how to configure your battery setups and wiring, some tips I have in holding Lipo Packs in place, and briefly on adjusting the mounting for various car sizes.

I hope you find this video helpful, and if so, do check out my blog for more RC tips and reviews.

Charging NiCd Batteries for your RC hobby sure is finicky business! Thankfully I chanced upon this article “Demystifying NiCds Part 3” which helped bring some understanding to this tricky subject.

Thanks to the folks at, we can now have a better understanding of:
– What’s the maximum current a NiCd battery can be charged at?
– How long a NiCd battery should be charged for?
– What does this NiCd pack never ever seem to store a charge?
– What’s the difference between normal charging and fast charging?

Folks can also refer to the original article at:

Best regards,

Julian Wong


Demystifying NiCd’s Part 3


Copyright, ElectroDynamics, Inc. This page may be printed and distributed freely, only if it includes the ElectroDynamics Logo, this copyright notice, Website link and an acknowledement of its source.

Hi! This is the third part of our “put-it-in-layman’s terms” articles on NiCd batteries.


Charging NiCd Batteries

Of all things in the modeling world, nearly nothing generates more controversy than the care and feeding of NiCd batteries! Let’s try to clear the air up…

As we discussed in our last installment, our NiCd battery is an energy store, containing a “tank” of electrons (“fuel”), and an “electron pump”.


In order to use our battery, it is necessary to first fill up the fuel tank. Simply put, “charging the battery” is really “fueling up the tank”. But, there are a number of restrictions with regard to how we can fill up this tank.

Restriction 1 Not Too Quick: The “filling lines” and “internal plumbing” of the tank are not as big as we would like, so we can’t pump in electrons at any rate, it’ll only take so much. If we try connecting our “electron tank” to a high pressure fueling source, in an attempt to force electrons in faster, in all likelihood, we will either overheat or rupture the “internal plumbing”.

Restriction 2 The Perils of Overcharging: (Obviously!) if we keep trying to force-fill the tank after it is full, it may burst!

Restriction 3 Not Enough Oomph: If we fuel the tank too slowly, insufficient fuel inflow will fail to properly fill all the “internal spaces”, and the tank won’t fully fill up.


What’s this stuff mean in practice?Restriction 1 says we cannot charge the battery faster than a set limit, or it will overheat and possibly be damaged. Most modern NiCd’s may be charged up to the maximum of the 4C rate, i.e., with a charging current up to 4x the “rated capacity” number…


For example, a 1200mAH cell may be charged with up to 4800mA, or 4.8Amps.


And a B-I-G BUT … due to Restriction 2: The Perils of Overcharging, charging at a high currents (aka fast or rapid charging) must be carefully controlled and monitored to avoid catastrophic and possibly dangerous consequences! (Read: EXPLOSION RISK!)

We have learned in Part 1 of this series, sealed NiCd cells have a built-in mechanism to handle overcharging at a moderate (C/10) rate. But, when fast charging, the NiCd’s overcharge tolerance mechanism does not work fast enough to keep up with heat and gas generation, so overcharging must be carefully avoided when fast charging.

To avoid overcharging when faswt charging, we can either time the charge (assuming we know how “empty” the cell is beforehand, so we can calculate how much time to charge the cell), or we will have to find some method to signal when the cell has reached full charge.

Fortunately, NiCd’s have a nifty characteristic when charging…

As the cell reaches full charge, the terminal voltage rises slowly, then peaks in a “hump” when 100% charge is reached. If charging is continued, the terminal voltage then falls off.

A properly designed fast charger can monitor the charge voltage and stop charging when it detects this peak. These types of chargers are known as “delta-peak” or “peak detecting” chargers.

Timed chargers are simple and cheap, but they may abuse your batteries. To help with this, NiCd manufacturers make special “fast charge” cells, designed to have a larger physical size than absolutely necessary, to help tolerate and dissipate the heat generated when overcharging. Sanyo, for instance, have their “R” series cells, e.g., the N-1300SCR and KR-2000CR cells. Timed chargers are usually easy to recognize by their prominent timer dial on the front face, and are usually designed for use with electric motor power packs, since in most cases these are nearly exhausted before the user desires to recharge them. so their intial charge state is somewhat “known”.

Delta-peak chargers are more sophisticated, and obviously, cost a bit more. But, they offer the advantage of automatic charge management, and a properly-designed unit will protect the battery from abuse from overcharge. They can be used with a battery in any state of charge, since they automatically detect when the battery is fully charged. Many of them are have, in addition to the delta-peak detection circuit, a backup maximum timeout circuit to shut off the charging current in the event that the 100% charge peak was missed.

When choosing and using a fast charger, two important factors must be borne in mind:

  • What type of batteries are you planning to charge – electric motor power packs or receiver (Rx) and Transmitter (Tx) batteries? This will determine the maximum charge current and output voltage specification for the charger. Match these with the specifications of your battery.
  • Although the maximum charge current of the NiCd is 4C, in the case of Tx and Rx batteries, the battery cables and connectors are rarely capable of supporting more than 2 Amps continuous current. There is no point investing in a 20 Amp charger for charging Tx and Rx batteries, you will have to turn the output w-a-a-a-y down to avoid melting the wires and connectors!

Having talked about fast charging (and everybody in in a hurry these days), it must be repeated that the best way to charge NiCd’s is the overnight, C/10, rate, for 14 to 16 hours! Not c-o-o-o-l, not snazzy, but your batteries would really appreciate it very much! If you like to fast charge, at least treat your batteries to a full 16 hour overnighter at the C/10 rate every 4 fast charges or so.


Remember the nifty NiCd charging curve? A battery pack is composed of a number of these NiCd cells in series…

…and these cells are likely at different levels of charge. There will always be at least one cell lagging behind the other ones. Since the batteries are in series, the charger can only “see” the average characteristics of the sum of all the cells, so it “sees” the “fuller” cells peak close to each other, and interprets this as the end-of-fast charge signal. The lagging cell doesn’t get a full charge, and, when the battery is fast charged again, it’s going to fall further behind …
For example:
First charge, cell #4 is 90% charged when charging ends.
Next charge, cell #4 gets 90% of that, i.e., 81% (0.9 x 0.9 = 0.81)
Next charge, cell #4 gets 90% again, and now’s only at 73%…
You get the idea…

But, when we put the whole pack on a C/10 overnight charge, the “fuller” cells will get all filled up, and go into C/10 overcharge (not harmful, see Part 1 of this series) and the “emptier” cell gets to catch up to at leat 100%. This procedure is called “equalizing”.

Restriction 3 is not so obvious – if we try to charge the battery with too low a current, we will not be able to fully charge it! A NiCd needs a minimum charge current to fully saturate the internal plates and fully charge it… charging for longer periods at less than the minimum current achieves nothing! The higher the capacity of the cell, the higher this minimum current is. The minimum recommended charging current to fully charge a NiCd is the C/10 rate, +/-10%.


Yeah, bubba, charging a 1200mAH battery at 60mA for 48 hours just won’t cut it!One of the most common “non-problems” we get here at ElectroDynamics is customers returning batteries ‘cos “they didn’t test out to the specified mAH rating”. We only supply premium SANYO cells, which we think are the best NiCd’s available on the market. These “faulty” units almost invariably turn out to be high capacity batteries charged “for a couple days” on the standard 50mA wall charger that came with the radio system!


If you charge with 50mA, you can’t expect to get more than 800mAH out of the battery no matter how long you left it on charge!What about trickle charging? As mentioned in Part 1, trickling is not really necessary for NiCd’s, since the C/10 rate is OK for virtually indefinite charging without fear of overcharging. However, some chargers on the market do offer an automatic switch-over to trickle charging after completing the fast or overnight charge. A trickle charge is technically the C/20 rate or lower, i.e., the current number obtained by halving the C/10 overnight rate.

NiCd’s do have one bad characteristic, they are electrically “leaky”. Not that they leak actual “stuff”, but they do lose charge over time due to self-discharge. Most manufacturers quote their cells’ self discharge rate to be 30% of the remaining charge per month. Trickle charging is used to make up for that small self-discharge, to keep the cell topped up and ready for use in short notice.

Note that while the trickle charge rate is OK for long term keeping of the battery topped-off, it is not enough to fully charge it. To charge a NiCd, you MUST charge at the minimum of the C/10 rate.

In a nutshell…

  • Charge your NiCd’s at the C/10 rate whenever possible
  • If you fast charge, do an overnight C/10 charge at least once every 4 fast charges
  • When fast charging, remember to consider the maximum current that your system cables and connectors can handle.
  • Trickle charge only to keep batteries topped up AFTER overnighting or fast charging. Charging at lower than the C/10 rate won’t fully charge the batteries.


On that note, we’ll adjourn to the next part in this series…

May all your landings be soft ones…

Original Article at:

Via: How to Shut Down Your Nitro Engine – RC Car Action.

Apr 25, 2011 by Kevin Hetmanski

Nitro-powered RC vehicles attract a lot of people because of the sound of the engine and smell of the exhaust. Everyone who owns a nitro vehicle knows how to start it. There are a few ways to start an engine, but each vehicle only has one or two ways to make that happen and you can’t screw it up. There are a few ways to shut an engine down and some methods are better than others. Let’s take a look at these options so you can determine which will work best for you.

Plug the pipe

This isn’t the best way to shut your engine down, but it works and should only be used as a last resort. Plugging the exhaust pipe will shut your engine down, but you end up pressurizing the fuel tank in the process, which will then flood your engine. When your engine is flooded, it’s much harder to start. If you do decide to plug your exhaust, use a rubber or plastic-type stopper to do the job—not your finger. You can burn your finger on the exhaust pipe when doing so.

Pinch the fuel line

Another way to shut down your engine is by pinching the fuel line to starve the engine of fuel. Once there’s no fuel left in the line, the engine will no longer run. Although this is a better way to shut your engine down, it can still cause damage to your engine by having a lean condition occur. As long as you have a good tune on your low-speed needle, the leaning out of your engine shouldn’t be a problem because the engine will lean out and shut off quickly. If you’re running a rich low-speed needle setting then you’ll find that when you pinch the fuel line the engine will lean out and stay that way for a while before shutting down. When pinching the fuel line, use your fingers if you can get to the fuel line without being burned by the exhaust or engine. If you can’t, you’ll have to grab a pair of needle-nose pliers to do the job. Just make sure that you are careful not to damage the fuel line in the process. The pliers may have sharp edges that can poke a hole in or rip your fuel line.

Bump the flywheel

This is the best way to shut your engine down. Unfortunately, depending on what vehicle you have, it’s not always an option. Some monster trucks and RTR vehicles don’t have very good access to the flywheel and the other two methods for shutting an engine down must be used. If you do have access to the flywheel, the best way to shut off the engine is to bump the flywheel with a rubber stopper or a piece of plastic on a toothbrush or tool. Just keep in mind that the rough surface of the flywheel will damage whatever is rubbing against it to shut it off. Wait until the engine is at idle and creating the least amount of power before bumping the flywheel. Just a quick bump is all it takes to shut your engine off.

And there you have it!

Now you can safely shut your engine down after bashing or racing. Just remember that no matter what method you use to shut your engine down, wait for your engine rpm to come down before doing so.

About the author

Senior Editor About Kevin: Simply put, I’m all about nitro. Well, almost. I’m down with electric for crawlers and some indoor racing, but if you really want to get my attention, it better make some smoke and noise. I’m a regular racer and I usually go with 1/8-scale buggy and truggy. When I’m not racing, I am usually fabricating custom parts and even entire vehicles. Kevin’s 5 Hot Topics: Nitro, 1/8-scale, Racing, Custom Builds and Large Scale

If I said anything good about this fuel before, I take it back.


Robert Raphael's Hong Nor Buggy on Morgan SideWinder Fuel

Robert Raphael's Hong Nor Buggy on Morgan SideWinder Fuel - I bet the fuel was doctored. It's so crap. He might have done even better with a different brand of fuel.

Overheating, bubbles in fuel line, vapor-lock… and I don’t think I need a fourth reason on why not to use Morgan Racing’s Sidewinder Car Fuel.

“Take Morgan Racing for their helicopter fuel – but look elsewhere if you’re serious on RC cars. We’ve had much bad feedback from customers on this brand. They’re no good for your engines,” said Winnie who owns a popular local hobby shop.

Perhaps that’s why my HPI Savage X 4.6 has been running rather crappy as of late.

On the other hand, Byron’s Nitro RC car fuel was awesome! Easy starting, no bubbles in fuel line, engine runs cooler, so less vapor lock, and I get to tune the engine mixture leaner – more fuel economy!

Winnie shared that Byron Race Fuel has always specialized in fuel for Nitro cars and she’s since ditched Morgan Racing fuel from her product line-up.

While I haven’t ditched mine yet, I’m keeping my Byron and Blue Thunder fuel for actual car running, and the Morgan Racing Sidewinder just for cleaning the air filter element.


How to Read your Rc Glow Plug. Do you have your Nitro Engine Tuned Correctly?.

This is one of the best glow plug articles I’ve found online. Hope it serves you well!

How to Read your Rc Glow Plug.

Do you have your Nitro Engine Tuned Correctly?

What exactly is our glow plug telling us.

So you are wondering if you have rc nitro engine tuned correctly.

You check your temperature on a regular basis, but you are still not sure.

You can examine your glow plug to get a very good idea. Examining the glow plug is a peek inside the combustion chamber.

But let’s get the big picture and take the head button off, while leaving the glow plug installed in the head.

What we are going to see by looking at the head button and the glow plug is the entire combustion process.

This is going to show use just what is left after the burn process.

By looking at the entire combustion chamber we can analyze what was happening during the burn.

Let us explore a few different tuning examples below.
Rc glow plug picture

Pictured above is an example of a Rich Setting.

This is what your glow plug and head would look like after break-in.

The head and glow plug will be very wet with oil. Every thing still looks new.

No discoloring of the head, plug body or plug coil. If this is the look just after break-in that is great.

But, if this is post break-in then you are going to need to start leaning the engine out, to reach correct combustion.

If you run in a too rich state for a long period of time, oil will build up in the crank case and cause the front bearing seal to leak.

Rc glow plug picture

The previous example is of a Too Lean or Detonation Condition.

Upon examining your head and glow plug you find or feel little or no oil residue.

The glow plug body is blued. The coil wire has broken away from the plug body.

You see that the combustion chamber is silver to slightly tan. Plus the head and glow plug are extremely pitted.

Your nitro engine is running too lean.

The pitting is caused by detonation.

Detonation is when the fuel air mixture pre-ignites in many different areas of the combustion chamber at one time.

The top of the piston will show the same kind of damage. If you see this kind damage you need to richen up your engine.

You may need to also shim your head. Increasing your head clearance will lower compression and lessen the possibility of detonation.

Rc glow plug picture

In the above example you can see why it is important to look at the head and glow plug together.

This example shows a Borderline Lean with a Good Glow Plug.

By just looking at the glow plug you would think that your nitro engine tuning was correct.

But, looking at the head you see that there is some pitting occurring.

With seeing this damage you know that your rc nitro engine is tuned too lean and you need richen your carberator setting some.

Rc glow plug picture

If you are a serious racer, this is how your glow plug and head should look.

Above is an example of a Perfectly Tuned Race Engine.

As you can see on this head and glow plug there is an even coloring across the combustion chamber and glow plug.

If you do a lot of racing this is the coloring you are looking for, that light brown to deep golden color.

This shows you that you are getting the most out of your engine. Your nitro engine tuning is producing maximum power and you have the perfect tune on your engine.

The only thing that you will need to do is keep your eye on is atmospheric conditions, temperature and humidity.

As these conditions change, so is the tune on your engine. So, always be aware of the weather conditions to help with your nitro engine tuning.

Rc glow plug picture

The previous example is of a nitro engine that has a Safe Every Day Tune.

If your head and glow plug look likes this example and you are a novice racer or a basher, this is great.

You have done a great job of tuning your nitro engine.

The combustion chamber shows a little color, gold to tan.

Plus, the chamber and plug are still quite wet with oil residue.

The glow plug also shows some color on the body of the plug, grey to tan.

The coil wire will be shiny, silver and still have a new look to it.

The only place the coil wire should show some color is where it contacts the outer body of the plug.

At this point the coil wire should be slightly black.

This head and glow plug show an engine that is running great, a little on the rich side.

This type of tune on your nitro engine is very good to get the maximium life out of your engine.

Plus, this tune would be great for bashing and even for most of us weekend racers.

Taking the Mystery out of the Glow Plug

Rc glow plug picture

In this example we see a glow plug that has been run at a Lean Setting and has got very Hot.

On inspection we see that the outer body has turned black.

The coil wire has a white dusty appearance.

Plus, the coil wire has small breaks in the electrode wire.

All of this is due to the very extreme heat of running lean.

This glow plug is near failure, the coil wire is close to breaking free of the body.

If the tip of the coil wire was to break off it could travel down into the engine causing severe damage to piston, bearings and head button.

But, most times when the coil wire does break off it will just go out an exhaust port causing no damage.

This will not always happen, if the coils wire stays inside the engine it will destory many internal components.


I hope this has given you a little insight about nitro engine tuning. The glow plug what makes our nitro engines run.

Besides just looking at our glow plugs, it is important to remove the head button and look inside our engines on a regular basis.

Doing so is going to give us the whole picture of what is going on, not just a little peek the glow plug gives.

Yes, checking our glow plugs often is very important and gives a good look at what is going on inside our engines.

But, just remember that this is not the big picture.

Take a few minutes to clean your engine thoroughly, remove the head button and take a close look at what is going on inside. As hardy as they are, sometimes nylon clutch shoes melt, or their springs bend or warp. Help is here! In this video I show you how to replace and install clutch shoes on your nitro engine with a clutch tool. I use the SH .28 P8 engine, and HPI aluminium clutch shoes- but it’s the same no matter what engine you’ve got. Thinking of putting your RC car away for a period of non-use? Be sure to expel any remnant fuel as un-combusted castor oil parts of fuel mixture can congeal and harden, and in some cases even “brick” your engine. If you’re wondering why your engine can be harder to start after a week or two of non-use, this is the reason why. While I do also have a video entitled “How to Save A Locked RC Buggy / Plane / Heli Engine?” which addresses how to fix that, you don’t want to get to that point unnecessarily.

In this video, I have a Kyosho Inferno running a Thunder Tiger Pro 21BR non-pull-start engine, BSD Racing glow-plug metered ignitor and using a Thunder Tiger hand-held starter.

Follow the instructions in the video, and also invest in some after-run engine oil, or “Marvel Mystery Oil”. Treat your nitro engine well, and it’ll serve you well for a long time to come.

Check out my blog for more tips and RC reviews.

– Julian Wong
for If you just got your first lipo-ready kit or upgraded to a brushless system that works well with lipo battery cells, great and congratulations! You’re in for a lot of fun! At present, no other power source compares to the lipo in giving that awesome initial punch possible only due to those high discharge rates. This tutorial teaches you how to use your lipo-compatible charger to charge and balance lipo batteries of multiple cells. I’m using a GT Power A6-10 from GT RC. The setup and interface is identical to the Turnigy chargers and possibly a few other asian makes. Subscribe to my videos for more..

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Where to Buy High Performance, High Quality Electric RC Cars at Lower Prices?. – by Julian Wong on

Selecting a good electric hobby-grade remote controlled car is not about picking the biggest brand names around, nor forking out hard-earned cash for the highest-priced rc car or truck around. These days, economies of scale, advancements in production technology, and the outsourcing of production to countries of low-cost labor has enabled us to enjoy high-performance, high-quality RC cars and trucks at much lower prices.

100% Ready to Run RC Buggies from JUST US$119.95 and up!

While some may squirm at the thought of a piece of Taiwan or China-branded and manufactured machinery, the fact of the matter is that many of the big names make their RC models wholly or in part in Taiwan or in China, either in company-opened manufacturing plants, or more oftenly, in leased production facilities. In recent years, with China and Taiwan-originated RC brands like Hobao (better known as Ofna, maker of the Hyper 7) and mega-brands like Thunder Tiger taking pole position at various ROAR, IFMAR and JMRCA rc car racing competitions, the “cheap and inferior products” stigma often associated with the two countries is fast-dissolving.

BSD Racing BS803T 1/8 "Land Ripper" Buggy

BSD Racing BS803T 1/8 "Land Ripper" Buggy

In fact, Thunder Tiger in recent years acquired the well-established race-oriented Associated Electric, a.k.a. Team Associated, and has since applied their technologies to their range of RC cars and trucks. The brand popularly known as “Ofna” on the other hand, exclusively distributes China and Taiwan-produced RC car makes like Hobao, Jammin, and Hong Nor. In the wake of their success, skills transferred to local engineers via leased production have spurred new RC market entrants like BSD Racing (already making a name for its 1/8 Land Ripper) and Exceed RC – which feature various models that directly rival the quality and performance of popular, hot-selling ones such as the HPI Savage X, Kyosho Inferno VE, RC10T. Even where motors and ESCs are concerned, China’s HobbyWing has rather successfully permeated the mid-range hobbyist with lower cost, yet high-performance alternatives to offerings by Novak, Tekin and Castle Creations.

What level of “savings” are we talking about? Well, a good 30-40%! Moreover, many of these “spin-offs” or “knock-offs” you may call, come fully hopped up with top end parts – like 16mm big bore oil-filled threaded shocks, polished high-flow exhausts, full-metal transmission, and high output motors or engines. If you are looking for high-performance, high-quality RC cars at low prices, the Asian RC revolution is here.

About the author: Julian Wong, aged 26, married and self-employed actively trades stocks and forex, and runs several internet marketing programs. His favorite outdoor past-time is off-road RC cars, and he is a proud owner of a Kyosho Inferno and a HPI Savage X 4.6 – both running on Nitro. If you are interested in RC modification, RC videos, and RC racing, or want to be informed of coupon promotions and RC special deals online, do check out his link RC blog at