How to: Ruin Your Electronics

What? You don’t want to ruin your electronics? The level of electronics technology available in RC is simply amazing and the quality of the components is just as amazing. That said, if misused and abused, failure will still result. Read on and see the top five ways people are ruining their electronics–so you can avoid making the same mistakes!

OVER GEARED
Heat kills and one of the fastest ways to kill your electronics is to over gear when trying to go fast. This is almost always done by installing too large of a pinion. Proper gearing is simple: get a temp gun. Make sure the motor and speed control temps do not exceed 160 F when running. If you change your speed control settings, motor timing and/or gearing, check the temps. If your vehicle–such as many Traxxas vehicles–includes optional high speed gearing, use it sparingly and only for straight line speed runs–not for all-around bashing.

MaxAmps.com's LVA (Low Voltage Alarm) will warn you when the voltage in your pack gets too low.

NO VOLTAGE CUTOFF
Over discharging a LiPo battery can cause irreparable damage, and many people have ruined expensive LiPo packs by using older speed controls that don’t have a built-in voltage cutoff. If you’re using a speed control that does not have a voltage cutoff, you can get a plug-in low voltage cutoff device. These devices usually have an audible alarm that indicates when voltage reaches a typical setting of 3.3V. If your speed control does have a low-voltage cutoff, make certain it’s in the right setting for your battery type.

HIGH KV
Want to suck the life out of your battery and make your speed control scream for mercy? The easy way is to use a motor with too high of a Kv rating. Since Kv equals more speed, many people think more Kv must be better. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to go faster, but there are good ways and bad ways to feed your need for speed. Adding a high Kv motor is a bad way–unless you want to upgrade all of your equipment. Even then, a high Kv setup is simply hard on equipment. The best way to go faster is to increase voltage and decrease Kv. Going with 4,600Kv motor with a 2S LiPo setup will be fast, but it will also be hard on the speed control and battery if your gearing isn’t absolutely right. A better choice would be to go with a 2,400Kv motor and a 4S LiPo battery. The latter setup will actually be faster and the motor, battery and speed control will be under less strain.

TOO MUCH VOLTAGE
I hope I have convinced ¬†you that higher volts and lower Kv is the way to go, but it’s not as simple as just adding a big battery. Using a higher voltage battery than your electronics are rated for will do quick work electronics. First, make sure your speed control is rated for more than 2S. Next, make sure the motor you’re using is also recommended for more than 2S.

Traxxas uses blue for all of it new electronics to indicate they are waterproof.

WATER
Water and electronics don’t mix. I doubt you haven’t heard that before, but it seems that sage advice escapes many users out there, or it’s simply ignored. Unless you have waterproof electronics, the wet stuff is off limits. Many manufacturers report that water damage is the number one reason for product failure. This has led many companies to pursue using waterproof electronics.

 

EXTRA TIPS

  • Always unplug the battery when not in use. Many speed controls will drain a battery when when off.
  • Set your end points. Improperly set endpoints will burn out a servo.
  • Store your LiPo 50- to 60% charged.
  • Do not store your packs in a hot car. The heat will cause the voltage to rise.
  • Buy the best batteries you can afford. You get what you pay for.
  • Also use the highest rated capacity and discharge rating batteries you can afford.

 

See other mistakes to avoid here.

 

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Filed Under: General RCTech

Matt Higgins About the Author: Matt has over 30 years of experience in RC and has worked professionally in media for two decades. Matt enjoys everything from racing to rock crawling to bashing, and he believes RC should be all about having fun. Matt is as at home covering a world championship in an exotic country as he is showing a new hobbyist how to set gear mesh. His desire to share the hobby with as many people as possible inspired him to create RC Truck Stop and RCTruckStop.com.

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  1. Jason Ballard says:

    I’ve been trying to get the most out of my 17.5 setup (Novak Havoc 3s/Ballistic). I notice others at the track getting much more speed out of their 17.5 setups. My initial inclination was to up the gearing. I did that and started getting temps above 160 (15 minutes or so of driving). I also noticed a little less “pop” during acceleration or off the top of jumps. Should I gear down and adjust the motors timing? I don’t really know a ton about it, but I’m sure screwing with the timing can be just as dangerous as the items you mentioned…

    • Matt Higgins Matt Higgins says:

      You’re on the right track, Jason. Drop a few teeth on the pinion–even try some big changes to see how the truck reacts. And, like you guessed, crank up the timing. Is it a fixed timing class?

  2. Andy says:

    As the great JRH of Holmes Hobbies states…….”Volt Up, Gear Down”. Wise advice when it comes to RC Electronics.

    A product that has been proven to help with waterproofing electronics is Corrosion X……

  3. don says:

    good advice.

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