I've had the Small Bolt saved in my bookmarks for years but just now finally got around to buying one. Thanks to the advice on this forum I also ordered an Octura x432 prop, sharpened & balanced
, two Turnigy 1800mAh 20C lipo packs
, a Turnigy Marine 30A watercooled ESC
and a Corona 929MG metal gear servo.
I have a nice digital 4CH pistol transmitter but it has too many bells and whistles for a 2CH boat and I thought the foam wheel might get watersoaked messing around with it by the lake so I bought a FlySky FS-GT2B
with the rubber wheel and analog trim controls. It uses a USB rechargeable battery and is so cheap that I figure if it falls in the lake I'm only out $25.
The unmachined Octura x432 prop
is inexpensive but as has been noted it needs to be sharpened and balanced. I would like to say I didn't want to mess around with sanding the beryllium copper since it is a carcinogenic but the truth is I don't have a boat prop balancer and have no experience sharpening them so I thought I would save myself the headache and bite the bullet ($$$) and order it already sharpened and balanced
I also ordered hatch seal tape from Kintec Racing
. It's just hockey tape but it's a 100 foot roll for only $3 plus shipping so it's a good deal. It's an inch wide and thought it would too wide for the Bolt but it is rubbery and molds to the curves around the hatch perfectly.
The first thing I did was remove the stock servo and replace it with the Corona 929MG metal gear servo. I didn't have to remove the stock servo mount but I did have to shave down the little balsa strip on the left, excuse me, port side of the mount to accomodate the Corona's few extra millimeters. The Corona's mounting tabs fit right inside the notches for the stock servo so I only needed to use the extra cable tie that came with the Bolt to secure the Corona.
After running through a couple of packs I discovered I couldn't get the Bolt trimmed straight anymore. I got it back on the bench and discovered that whenever I turned and let go of the wheel the servo/rudder would always return to a few degrees off center in the opposite direction. I hooked up another transmitter and receiver to make sure it wasn't the radio and turns out it was the Corona 929MG servo. It would chatter and creep. It may have gotten wet; I'm not sure. After much online research I finally found these EMAX ES08MAII metal gear servos
on Amazon and one of the reviewers said that they center very well and were about the same size as a Hextronik HXT900 which I know have about the same dimensions as the Corona. The EMAX's are awesome! They are almost a drop-in replacement for the stock servo. I say almost because when I was pushing the EMAX servo down the back balsa support popped off so I glued it back in place with some CA. These EMAX servos are so much quieter than the Corona and center perfectly. They also came as a 4-pack so I have plenty of spares if they get wet and die.
The next thing was figuring out placement of all the components inside the hull. The Small Bolt comes with plenty of extra tubing but I didn't want to cut it in case I need to rearrange later. Turns out that was a good decision since I wound up using all of it. I used stick-on velcro squares to mount the ESC on the port side next to the motor so that extra long length helped avoiding sharp bends and kinks. I also used a little velcro to stick the ESC's on/off switch to the side of the motor to keep it out of any water that collects in the bottom of the boat.
The radio is probably the most water-sensitive component so I used a stick-on velcro square to mount it upside down underneath the decking on the starboard side so if, excuse me, when water gets into the boat the radio it will stay dry(er).
Most of the pictures I have seen show vertical battery placement but I found that even the 1800mAh was a little too long as the battery leads pushed against the motor too much for my liking. I also wanted the CG as far forward as possible so I turned the battery sideways and wedged it underneath the decking. I couldn't use velcro on the bottom since it is impossible to remove velcro sideways so instead I stuck a stick-on velcro square underneath the front lip of the decking and another one on top of the battery and then stuck one end of double-sided velcro one-wrap underneath the decking and the other end on top of the battery. A little under/over action. You just lift the velcro strip and the battery slides out.
One thing that surprised me is that the lasercut plywood stand that comes with the Small Bolt doesn't fit. It is too wide to fit between the sponsons so the Bolt just sort of teeters on the stand and is too easy to knock over when on display. I was going to trim it down but it was so cheap and fragile to begin with that I just threw it away. The width between the sponsons is 3 inches so after much online research I found this plastic stand made for the AquaCraft Mini Rio
. It is meant for a V-hull but the edge of the foam cushioning strips are just high enough to catch the flat bottom of the Bolt.
After I got it all together it worked great! Very fast, quick to plane and there were only a few drops of water inside afterwards. I did learn that if I taped the ends of the hatch first and then taped the sides last then I seemed to get less water in the boat. If I had to do it all over again I wouldn't change a thing. I will try to take some video later and post it.