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5 Must-Have Accessories Under $15

I think we’d all agree that going to the hobby shop and spending money on RC is fun. There is simply an amazing amount of accessories out there and if we could, we’d spend a small fortune. The good news is we don’t have to. In fact, we can get some awesome RC option parts and hop-ups for less than what many people spend on lunch. Check out our list of the top five accessories under $15.

ALUMINUM SERVO HORN
Most RC trucks come with plastic servo horns that eventually break. They either outright snap or strip out the splines. Luckily there are a number of aluminum servo horns available. They usually run from about $10 to $15. Make sure you buy one that made for RC car or truck use and has a large hole on the end of the horn to accept 2mm or 4-40 hardware. Axial, DuraTrax, Racers Edge and others all make good servo horns. We’re very fond of the clamping style that tightly wraps around the servo’s output shaft’s splines.

ALUMINUM SHOCK CAPS
Plastic shocks with plastic caps are notorious for coming apart. Word of warning: once a plastic cap has blown off, even if it threads back on, it will keep popping off. If a full upgrade to aluminum shocks isn’t in the budget, go with aluminum caps. Companies such as Traxxas, STRC and others offer aluminum shock caps. A set of four shock caps usually costs less than $15.

BATTERY CONNECTORS
Back in the day, serious racers directly soldered their batteries to their speed control. That meant every time they installed or removed a battery, the soldering iron got fired up. While this was a hassle, it was done in an effort to have the least amount of resistance possible. In the current era of LiPos, using connectors is now the norm for everyone–including racers. While there is a growing variety of battery connectors available, the two most popular among bashers and club racers these days seem to be the Deans Ultra Plug–which has been around for a long time) or Traxxas’ High-Current Connector. Many racers use bullet connectors. Regardless of what you decide to go with, you can usually get a pair of plugs for under $5.

HEAVY-DUTY BUMPER
We mention RPM RC Products and T-Bone Racing a lot around here and for good reason. We are firm believers that a little money spent on a quality bumper will save a lot of money in other parts. RPM and T-Bone make after-market bumpers that are inexpensive and easy to install. As we’ve also said before, aluminum bumpers may look cool, but they don’t offer the protection of a good nylon bumper.

NEW GEARS
New gears are great because nothing so quickly and noticeably changes performance for so little money quite like gears. There are a number of companies offering new pinions and spur gears, but one of the most popular after-market manufacturers is Robinson. Robinson takes a lot of pride in its products quality and it shows. You can get a new pinion and spur for under $10 and still have enough money left over for a soda or two. Just remember to stay within your equipment’s safe gearing range. Many people install too large of a pinion and overheat their electronics.

Learn more about proper gearing here.

 

Links
Axial
Deans
DuraTrax
Racers Edge
Robinson Racing
RPM RC Products
STRC
T-Bone Racing
Traxxas

 

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6 Comments

  1. I like the simple, but very effective list of upgrades you have here Matt. They are affordable and mostly can applied to all RC classifications. The only thing I would add in this case would be a better “servo saver” if applicable. Not everyone’s stock box servo saver is great, and upgrading it to better one such those made by Kimbrough (and others) can be very beneficial.

    I remember how many years I ran standard tamiya style type battery plugs until I upgraded. Let me say, over 20 years doing this…. I lever looked back. Now days it’s about max. current flow. Back when I first upgraded all my connections to a “power pole/duratarx” connector I was more worried about run time and not getting them melted together.

    Good times those runaway, melted battery connector, rotary speed control days were.

    1. Ugh, the dreaded “Tamiya connector” !! I cant believe rtr kits still come with these things! Last I checked, they were originally designed as low-voltage connector for communication sattelites in the late sixties! Not for today’s esc’s and (shudder) Lipo battery’s.
      Personally, everybody I know runs Dean’s, but the Traxxas connector looks pretty solid.
      A good project for a first timer is to make a couple of adapters– Dean’s to Traxxas & vice versa. Just in the odd chance you need a battery at the last second and your buddy has all his stuff wired up to a different connector, or you have to use somebody’s charger, etc. Parts are cheap, and it’s good practice the the old soldering iron.

      1. I remember back in the day, guys would scream that someone was on their channel when it was actually just a worn “Tamiya connector” cutting in and out. The design was okay when options were limited, but the design is simply flawed for RC use.

  2. Great article. I love good common sense writing in this hobby!
    I also have a tip, make a note of the number of teeth your servo (on the spline.) just to make sure your fancy new servo horn fits when you get home. Every brand can have a difference of just a couple of teeth, and nowadays seems like there are a couple of dozen mfg out there.
    Saves you a lot of frustration down the road, trust me, I speak from experience!

    1. Excellent point, Chris. Sometimes we take information like that for granted. Please do make note of your particular servo’s spline count before picking up a new servo horn.

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