So you want a mini....A guide to choosing a mini by -Inverted-
Ready To Run Mini's:
-Team Associated RC18T/B/MT
-Team Losi Mini-T
-Team Losi Mini-LST
-Hot Bodies Mini-Zilla
-Duratrax Mini Quake
-Kyosho Mini Inferno
-Kyosho Mini Inferno ST
-HPI Micro RS4
-Team XRAY M18 RTR
-CEN Mini Madness
What Mini Is Right For Me
This is a very important question you need to ask yourself when shopping for a mini.
They are many different kinds of mini's, so.....which one is right for you.
Mini monster trucks, small but pack a punch. These traverse the terrain far greater then any other class of mini's.
-Big and Bad to the Bone (for their size)
-High ground clearence
-Great all around vehicles
-The most durable
-High center of gravity
-Dont corner as well compared to other mini's
Team Losi Mini-LST
Hot Bodies Mini-Zilla
Duratrax Mini Quake
Team Associated RC18MT
CEN Mini Madness
Stadium Trucks, they can take the corners, they can take the speed, and they can go off-road! What more could you ask for! Mini stadium trucks are clearly the most popular mini.
-Are made to hit insane speeds
-The best all around mini, period
-Not as good of ground clearence as mini monster trucks
-Not as agile as buggy's
-Team Losi Mini-T
-Team Associated RC18T
-Kyosho Mini Inferno ST
Buggy's, mean machines; buggy's are agile,they feature great handling, acceleration, and they can take the heat! The ultimate race vehicle.
-Dominator on the track
-Outhandle Stadium Trucks
-Cant take the abuse monster trucks can
-Very little ground clearence
- Can only run on fairly smooth surfaces
-Kyosho Mini Inferno
Touring cars, the best performing vehicles in the mini scene. Absolute speed demons, another great track contender.
-Very competitive racing for on-roads
-Tons of tuning options
-Very low ground clearence, limited to flat paved surfaces
-HPI Micro RS4
-Team XRAY M18 RTR
So Your Up For A Challenge
While there is an array of RTR mini's, some may want a challenge, or earn some building experience. This leads to the next selection of Mini's; kits.
There are a few kits out there for the more advanced hobbiest.
-Team XRAY M18
-Team XRAY M18T
-Team XRAY M18MT
I Already Have That Stuff
So your not down for a kit but you already have all your electronics or are going to change all the electronics as soon as you get the vehicle, if this is you an ARR or Almost Ready to Run would be perfect for you.
Some ARR's include:
-Duratrax Mini Quake SE
-Anderson MB-4 (AKA Vendetta)
Team Losi Mini-T Pro
-Kyosho Mini Inferno Plus
-Kyosho Mini Inferno ST Plus
So your digging the mini scene but are more of a fuel burning kind of person, check out the nitro mini's.
Some nitro mini's include:
-ACME Racing NB16
-Internet RC Vulcan
-Internet RC Vulcan SE
-Team XRAY NT18
-Team XRAY NT18T
What's That Thing Powered By
The electric mini's run on motors similar to their bigger brothers. The most common sized can in mini's is 280/300, but 370/380 is getting much popular. A few of the mini's have been known to work well with size 400 motors. Another important factor is batteries. Batteries are very important, and is one of the most critical items in an electric. When shopping for batteries dont skimp on cost, while you may think your getting a deal your losing out on alot of performance which would be gained with higher quality batteries. When shopping for batteries, there are a few things to look for to make sure your making a quality purchase.
For Ni-Mh Batteries:
-Make sure the shrinkwrap is clear, you want to see what your getting and make sure they didnt throw in a cheaper cell then what you ordered
-Buy batteries only assembled with GP or IB cells, anything else just wont cut it
-Shop around, many companies assemble battery packs, feel free to try and get yourself a better deal
Some good places for batteries are www.jaksrcbats.com and www.boomboombatteries.com
Custom Packs: Many battery pack makers offer to do custom packs. Custom packs are great for custom chassis', more power, or just to try something new. If your battery tray is configured in a different way then whats common on the market, or you want a pack with more cells a custom pack is for you. You dont have to have a battery pack assembler to make custom packs, anybody with a bit of soldering experience can. Many places offer all the items required to make your own packs. Some places for custom packs, and other battery pack items include www.boomboombatteries.com , www.jaksrcbats.com and www.cheapbatterypacks.com
A common question I hear is, what's so great about these Deans plugs. If you dont have your ESC's and batteries on Deans plugs why not convert! The Deans Ultra Plug actually has less resistance, including the solder joints, than an equivalent length piece of 12 gauge wire. This will improve performance, and also eliminate any hazards due to the cheapo connectors fusing together.
What in The World is Li-Po is another common question I hear. Li-po, or lithium polymer is a fairly new battery chemistry. The cells in li-po packs are much different then the ones in ni-mh packs. There are many advantages in li-po, but there is also a few disadvantages.
-Much lighter then a ni-mh or ni-cd pack
-More punch per cell
-Longer runtime then whats currently offered in ni-mh packs
-Very dangerous if not handled properly
-Li-Po capable charger needed
Li-Po is not for everybody, it is very dangerous if not handled properly. The most important factor is to make sure you dont overcharge them. They can explode, so be sure to keep a watch on your li-po packs while charging. Another thing to consider before you go buying li-po's is to make sure your charger is capable of li-po. If your li-po pack vents, soak it in saltwater and put a knife through it. The pack is done once it vents, so be sure to properly discard it.
Motors & ESC's
Car a little slow? Perhaps a motor upgrade is in store. There are quite a few motors for mini's out there, and as with anything in this hobby you get what you pay for. If your looking for insane high performance motors, look into the United RC Krystal. This motor is amazing and is great for racing. The only motor that can compete is the Beast Raptor series. Mike @ One18th mods these great motors. I have been notified that Mike has stopped producing them, so they may be a little hard to get ahold of. Last, but certainly not least is the Trinity Cobalt 18. This motor is a true champ on the track. You may have noticed I said track, theres a reason behind that. These motors are pretty high performance which means they will require reconditioning every 10-15 runs. If you dont want to deal with that kind of matienence I suggest you consider a different motor. However, if you know how to replace brushes and own a commutator lathe any of the above would certainly make an impression.
If you are looking for a great all around motor that provides a good mix of power and runtime your in luck. There are quite a few, but I will go over the most popular. Clearly the best bang for your buck right now is the Orion Baja. It works with all the stock 1/18 ESC's, and delivers a good 50/50 mix of speed and runtime. Another great micro brushed motor is the Peak Performance Raider.
Maybe you don't want to deal with matienence at all, if you want insane speed, no matienence, and outstanding efficiency you may want to have a look at brushless systems. A common misconception is that brushless is a new technology. That is incorrect, it has been used in planes for quite some time, however until recently were the brushless systems being used in cars. The advantages of brushless are great, however one thing to consider is brushless systems require the use of an ESC different then what will come in your RTR mini. It's not for everybody, but when it becomes a little cheaper more people will most likely catch on. One of the disadvantages to brushless is that many tracks don't allow it, if this is true for you check out the high performance micro modified section a little ways up. Since they have not yet developed a sensored system for mini's, all the current systems are sensorless. The downside to sensorless is that it cogs. Cogging is where your car "stutters" during low band acceleration. Sometimes switching to a better radio fixes this problem, but not everybody can afford a nice radio system. if your having cogging problems the first thing you will want to try are better batteries. See my bit about batteries a ways up. Luckily, companies are developing cog-free ESC's. The first company to do so is Sky & Technology, the maker of the Quark. I won't get too deep into certain brushless systems because it all depends on your particular setup, however if you have a question or need help concerning a brushless system feel free to shoot me a PM or post in the forums.
Lets face it, not all tracks allow brushless. If your interested in racing you may want to consider an ESC upgrade. Unfortunately there aren't too many micro ESC's out, however the ones that are out are pretty darn good. The most popular micro ESC's include the Novak SPY, Novak Micro GT, and Quantum Micro Reverse A.I. and Quantum COMPETITION 2 Micro.
If you see something you want added I will try my best to do so, it will be much faster since my computer is now fixed. Have fun and go RC'ing! [8D]