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Micro Outboard Upgrade

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Micro Outboard Upgrade

Old 03-03-2010, 09:12 AM
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Chynewalker
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Default Micro Outboard Upgrade

With my 1/4 scale hydro back-burnered for the moment while I re-stock the wallet, I turned my attention to something a little different. I've been a collector of small toy outboard motors for years, eveything from the 1950s K&O outboards to the 1970s/1980s model Mitsuwas, etc. The one thing they all had in common is that they were cheaply made (even if the motors themselves are no longer cheap to buy!!). As such, they really didn't go very well on a boat. Fine for the bath tub, but not much more. Pump up the voltage and the cheap copper brushes would curl up or burn right off.

Which brings me to this Saturday morning. I have a couple of the 1990s era Nylint plastic outboard motors. Again - cheaply made. They use the RE-260 Mabuchi can motors with the copper brushes and the prop, propshaft and prop gear are molded as one piece. As such there's a LOT of slop in the drive train, particularly between the pinion and propshaft gears. One of my motors was brand new and the pinion would not stay in contact with the propshaft gear!

So, I took one of the "played with" motors apart to see what was going on and to assess whether it could be made better. I started with the gears. I made a shim, approx. .022" thick out of a nylon washer. Getting it on the propshaft was the next step, so I cut a slit on one side of the washer to allow it to slide over the propshaft. I then CA glued the washer to the rear face of the propshaft gear to act as a spacer bushing. This tightened things up nicely with only the slightest hint of gear play now.

I then moved onto the motor. I had an RC-280 can motor with the carbon brushes in my junk box, so I removed the end bell from that and installed it on the RE-260 can. This should give the motor a bit more life and allow it to handle some extra voltage.

I put it all back together and test ran it in a cup of water on 6V and it ran beautifully! Pushed a lot of water! I ran it briefly on a 7.2V pack and it just about emptied the cup!
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Old 03-03-2010, 09:13 AM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade

Here's a video of it running on 6V:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xcf...board-mod_tech
Old 03-03-2010, 09:15 AM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade

Now that I had the motor beefed up, I moved on to a boat. I had this catamaran hull in a box of "project boats". It is a Fleet Line plastic hull from the 1960s and is modeled after the old Power Cats. It originally had a pair of cheap, plastic Johnson 40hp motors on it. It also had a cabin portion that didn't come with it when I bought it off eBay over 10 years ago. It measures a hair under 12-inches long.

I tested in the tub with the 6V pack and it went pretty good, but not quite planing speed. It's actually pretty close, though! I will see if I can get a small 7.4 LiPo which will take a bunch of weight out of the boat and give more juice. If that works, then I'll see about adding some lightweight electronics to make it fully R/C. There's also room to mess around with motor angle and height, too.

Will keep y'all updated on how it works out!

- Scott
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:30 AM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade

My son would love this!
Old 03-09-2010, 09:33 AM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade

Okay, the River was calm this morning and I found a small snip of access at a dock down the road from my house. I tied fishing line to the bow to allow retrieval as the boat is free-running at the moment. The dock was about 2 feet from the water so I had to get on my hands and knees to launch the boat. I flicked the switch and the boat promptly flipped over backwards! BUT, this was after it had PLANED OFF and run about 5 feet before the fishing line snapped taught and pulled the bow up and over. I pulled the boat in and nothing seemed to be too wet - the outboard was all that really went under water - briefly at that.

It still ran, so I tried it again - this time playing out a bit more line. Flicked the switch and away it went! I scambled to my knees and followed it along the length of the dock - it performed beautifully! Planed off and really scooted quite well! It ran maybe 60 feet or so before the motor slowed quickly and died. I don't think the battery ran flat as the slow down was abrupt. Pending an autopsy, my hunch is that the motor burned out.

Anyway, here's what we learned...
• The power is there to plane off a small, lightweight boat.
• The gears will hold up.
• The motor worked well enough to warrant further development and addition of an ESC and servo.

I am really jazzed with this thing. I've had the vintage toy outboard boats for years but they always just putted along, never even coming close to planing speed. Seeing this one scoot along was really impressive! I will take the motor apart later this week to see if I can find out what let go.

Sorry, no pictures or video yet. I was flying solo this morning and didn't have enough hands to run the camera, launch the boat and keep after it once going... I will make sure I have a helper next time...

- Scott
Old 03-09-2010, 10:47 AM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade

That's awesome that you're trying to wring one of those lil guys out! Motors are amazing now with the new magnets. I just seen a brushless outrunner that can fit on the tip of the finger. Amazing stuff!

When I read the post I worried about the gears holding up. Good to hear that they are!
Old 03-09-2010, 11:53 AM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade

Thanks! After my test run I had to clean up and rejoin the human race as I did it before I left for work this morning. As such, I won't be able to tear into it 'til this evening.

Part of me wonders if my homemade motor might be the issue - the RE-260 plus the RC-280 endbell, essentially making - I thought - an RC-260. I just ordered a couple of RC-260RA motors from a guy on eBay - not sure if they'll be any better than my homemade version. I found myself Googling for small electric motors. Graupner has a Speed 260 version, too, rated at 3V. Not sure if it would hold up any better. Graupner also has a small brushless that might work - but at a price. My whole basis for this project was for a cheap, easily acquired and viable outboard for small models, so spending $100 for a motor would kinda kill that idea. To date, I've only spent money on the battery pack and charger. Everything else was in the junk drawer.

If the RC-260s don't hold up I might go back to the RC-280, which would mean cutting out the top of the outboard shell. Not a huge deal - I could fab a faux top to mask it. Just adds another level of complexity to what I wanted to be a simple conversion...

- Scott
Old 03-13-2010, 08:49 AM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade


A brushless motor weighs about 1/2 of a BRUSHED motor. Same with a LIPO pack to others.

You know the gears are probably being eaten alive ? No grease & soft metals ?

Tiny bevel gears are hard to find. Lube them perfectly. Same for all the shafts bearings. RTV on the lower unit mating surfaces will help to keep lubrication in & the water out.

I cheated on a plastic aircraft carrier . I put ALL the battery, ESC & motor system in a sealed torpedo under it. Looked & ran great. Brought up into the hull only the battery & antenna wires.
After the gears go.
Old 03-13-2010, 09:10 PM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade

Cyclops,
  I fully expect the gears to have a limited lifespan.  I'm not expecting this toy (originally sold for $3.00 apiece about 10 years ago!) to have much longevity, especially when pushed.  I really just want to get a few good runs out of it and then I will likely get back to focusing on my other projects.  As it is, I have shimmed the gears to mesh better - no chatter now and the gear lash is just a few thousandths.  I have also installed a better version of the 260 motor and am awaiting a break in the weather to try  it again.  A brushless motor, although lighter, etc., would be overkill for what I want the boat to do - plane off and look decent doing it.  I am not looking for a speedster, just scale speeds - maybe a bit more.  It was just something to mess with while I await Spring!
- Scott
Old 03-13-2010, 09:19 PM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade

Not as popular as they used to be, but slot cars used to have brass bevel gears. I know usually only pinion size but two might work together??? Not sure how big the foot housing is on your motor but maybe something to think about or even how easy the gears are to get.

Just an idea is all, Part of the fun is the scavenger hunt that it takes for me to get things working.

90 deg power transfers this small are hard to find
Old 03-18-2010, 09:45 AM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade

Okay, had a few false starts - snapped a couple of the thin tubing couplers that held the motor output shaft to the driveshaft. Got serious about that and added a piece of 1mm I.D. automotive bleeder hose.

So, this morning I headed back to the water's edge and it worked - and I got video this time! Only limitation was my fishing line retrieval system as she's a free running mini-beast to this point. The boat took on water any time I tried to steer it (less than gracefully). Had a couple of fairly good loops in the protected part of our harbor.
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xcmhoz_micromerc_tech

Next step - haven't decided whether to add R/C to this particular boat or build a super light 10 or 11 inch outboard hydro for this motor. Probably ought to finish my 1/4 scale version first, eh?

- Scott
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:15 PM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade

Check model train parts too for bevel gears. Just remembered that but but thats all for later.

Quite a bit of brush powder inside the cases if thats what I'm seeing. Does it get hot? I'm downloading the video next.

I am wondering how often those Nylints come up on eBay and for how much because I would like to buy one to make a glass copy of the Merc shells for my own .049 Drag N Fly inspired inboard hydro I am planning to make it look like an outboard. I can hide the .049 with a driver figure, in fact just the small part of the cylinder makes it past the top of the cockpit.

I wonder if there's any current toys out that have scale like outboards to copy to do that with?

That 1/4 scale will be a blast to check out and that's almost finished??? I never seen the decks on it yet. If you haven't decked it yet let me know I got something for you to try if you like. If your leaving the decks clear on it you might want to veneer it with some ribbon striped Sepele I have. Its about .025" thick if your considering it. I know your keeping light with it but maybe just start with a lighter sheet.
Old 03-18-2010, 02:38 PM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade

Jetpack -
That residue you're seeing in the motor area is from this motor's previous life as a child's toy. It had been sunk at some point and the original motor was a rusted mass. I never fully cleaned out the rust that was stuck to the side of the housing. The other stuff you're seeing is the grease I'm using. It's fairly sticky stuff - I didn't want it to get flung off the parts while running and that seems to be working so far.

These Nylints come up one eBay frequently, usually for under $40.00. Often see NOS ones with a Buy It Now of $30.00. They come in Mercury and Johnson flavors, but are no longer made with Nylint now defunct. Of the recent toy outboards, they're the largest - maybe 1/9 or 1/10 scale or so. The Mitsuwa motors that came out in the 1970s and 1980s are also fairly common and show up frequently. For a dummy motor application, they would work, too. Slightly smaller scale than the Mercs, they come in several flavors, including three different Yamahas, a Mercury and a Johnson. Watch eBay for awhile and you'll see them all come up...

- Scott
Old 04-01-2011, 11:41 AM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade

I revisited this project and finally got it all assembled. Using an Electrifly C-7 ESC, Tactic 2.4 GHZ radio, and a HiTec HS-50 servo. Scoots right along!

www.youtube.com/watch
Old 04-01-2011, 02:33 PM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade

cool little project
Old 04-01-2011, 03:24 PM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade

You accomplished something I've often wondered about doing myself because of my interest in wanting to build a scale stock outboard hydro ever since I had Nylints as a kid model builder growing up around stock outboard racing. It wouldnt be any fun if the boat wasnt fast.
Old 04-01-2011, 03:32 PM
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Default RE: Micro Outboard Upgrade

Hi Jetpack,
That may be my next step. I have plans drawn up for a 1970s era B-stock hydro, as well as my 1990s era C-stock runabout. I've built some of both in different scales - never anything this small. I think there's still more to be gotten from this little motor as a 280 size motor would fit (currently a 260) inside the casing and it could also benefit from a lighter hull - the plastic one I've got is light, but not ultra-light... But the proof of concept is there! This is a viable, workable, doable motor of sufficient power to plane a small hull easily and (so far) reliably!! To say I am jazzed would be an understatement!
- Scott


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