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Advice for first RC car

Old 03-24-2016, 12:52 PM
  #1  
jack880
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Default Advice for first RC car

Hi.

I am completely new to this. I'm after some advice please.

I want to get an RC dirt buggy but don't know where to start.

I don't want to get into RC as a serious hobby, I just want something I can drive around for fun. My priority is durability - I don't want to spend more time than I have to fixing it. I don't need the best performance or handling.

Pretty sure I want electric as I don't want the hassle of messing about with petrol. I've got a young child and want something I can easily chuck in a rucksack and take to the park with her.

I was in the park a few days ago and saw someone driving a Himoto 1:18 scale buggy with a brushless motor (I don't know what the advantages/dsadvantages are with brushed/brushless). It looked like the sort of thing that would be perfect for what I want, but since then I've seen a bad review of Himoto on Youtube. He said it cost about 120 ready to go (about $170).

Then I watched a video on Youtube of a Redcat Twister which looked really good.

Other than the Himoto I saw in the park and the videos I watched in Youtube, I have no idea about what car to go for.

Any advice would be much appreciated. I don't want to spend more than about 140 ($200) ideally.

Many thanks
Old 03-24-2016, 06:18 PM
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67Stingrayj
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stay away from Redcat. When I first got into this in January, I too wanted a buggy. There are some really nice 4wd ones that come with LEDs for night time drives. It not costly and would be perfect for you. Check out the ECX Roost.
Old 03-24-2016, 06:39 PM
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Stay away from redcat! Lol just spend the chedder and go traxxas, stampede 2wd sounds right up your alley
Old 03-25-2016, 12:32 AM
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xlDooM
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I recently bought the ECX Amp as first rc and I'm very happy with it. It's a 1/10 scale though, and it won't fit in all rucksacks as a result. But it's excellent on short grass, I imagine a 1/18 scale would do quite poorly in the local park here.

The Amp is very sturdy, I've gone full speed into a pole, hitting it with a front wheel, and it didn't break. That's probably the worst case accident (unless you find a jump that will get you 6 feet of air...).
Old 03-25-2016, 04:07 AM
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flyinwalenda
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Stay away from the redcats and other internet-only types. You won't see redcats or those others in any reputable hobby shop. If you have a local hobby shop get something from them as they will have the parts and knowledge to support it. If not , get something from Horizon Hobby or Tower Hobbies , like an ECX or Traxxas.
ECX is a good entry-level vehicle and you will get excellent support.
Old 03-25-2016, 06:57 AM
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I agree, my first (and still have it) rc was an exc boost. They aren't as fast out of the box, but fairly cheap to upgrade and about as durable as you can find. Go for the monster truck version though, more ground clearance!
Old 03-26-2016, 12:48 AM
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jack880
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Thanks a lot for all the advice, much appreciated.

Now I've got some suggestions, I'll find a local shop. I'd prefer to buy one in person than on the internet anyway.

I've read that brushless motors are faster and require less maintenance, but generally only come in higher spec cars. Should I be thinking about brushed or brushless for my first car?

Thanks again
Old 03-26-2016, 01:40 AM
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flyinwalenda
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It depends on how much you want to spend. Brushed motors have been around for decades and work fine but they will wear out and need to be replaced. There are some replacement motors out now where you can replace the brushes when they fail.
Brushless motors don't have brushes to wear out, are more efficient with the use of battery power, and make more power and torque than brushed motors......but they cost more.
Some will buy a brushed powered vehicle and then upgrade the motor&esc to brushless in the future.
Old 03-26-2016, 02:19 AM
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xlDooM
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You said you were looking to spend no more than $200, that does not put you in brushless territory. A brushless motor/esc combo starts around $60, and typically a brushless version of the same buggy/truck will be about $100 more, so you might as well start out with the brushed motor, see if this is a hobby you want to spend another $100 on and go brushless.

If you buy the ECX Amp (buy the MT bodied version, it looks kickass), which I can recommend as a beginner myself, you will also need a new radio and receiver if you upgrade to brushless (the stock esc and receiver are a combo unit), but that's only another $40 or so. If you buy the Ruckus, the receiver and esc are separate, but it's also the price of the radio+receiver more expensive, so... In the end it doesn't matter. I'd buy the Amp, safe in the knowledge that you bought a sturdy platform, which you can upgrade later. Only if you plan to drive mostly on VERY rough terrain I'd buy the ruckus for the extra ground clearance.

I jumped my Amp on some grassy knolls yesterday until it was completely covered in mud and it did just fine, and it is very stable on landing. The monster trucks (especially the traxxaz stampede 2WD) are way less stable and will tip much easier upon landing.

Check this out, then go buy it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ7gzDsF8-A
Old 03-26-2016, 03:44 AM
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jack880
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Excellent, thanks again for the replies. You're right, I did say my limit was $200 but I wasn't aware at the time of the difference between brushed and brushless. It's something I'll have a think about.

Watched the video of the AMP - looks amazing! Was good to see it drive away from all those crashes! I see there's a monster truck version and a desert buggy version of the MT (according to a google image search). Is the only difference the shape of the shell?

Many thanks again!

I will do to a local shop and see if I can get an AMP, then decide on the body shape and probably go for brushed initially, then decide later if I want to upgrade to brushless.

It's a birthday present from the wife so I'll have to wait a month or so before I get it...
Old 03-26-2016, 03:56 AM
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Hi jack880 ,
I have the 2wd Twister Buggy .
They are not perfect but will get you driving . Usually a bit sloppy in the front end , they are not as refined as a Traxxas .
The advertising might say FAST but they're really not . If your daughter wants to drive it , it should not get too out of control .
Spares are something to think about . Make sure your hobby shop has spares just in case you break something . If you buy it , also buy the metal diff gears , sooner or later ( only thing I broke in stock form ) the plastic gears are going to break . This is also a must have if you plan on any motor upgrades .
A lot of parts can be interchanged with other models/brands to improve things . Its a matter of finding what fits .
Old 03-26-2016, 05:16 AM
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xlDooM
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Oh yea one more thing about the amp which is perhaps of interest to you: there's a knob on the radio transmitter which sets the throttle rate. It's awesome when you want to hand it over to a kid. My son is 7 but the full speed intimidates him (e.g. when he needs to aim for a ramp), so I dial it back to a more suitable point for him (as low as 30% for narrow paths). Traxxas has a training mode on the esc which will limit to half power as well, but I don't know how easy it is to switch between the modes. I don't know if any other brands have that. Anyway it was a big plus for me and my son to be able to switch instantly to whatever speed is suitable for the area.

Also the amp remote is kinda tiny for an adult, but that means a 7 year old can actually use the brake. On a normal sized remote that's kinda difficult with short fingers.
Old 03-26-2016, 09:25 AM
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Dcuda69
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A Traxxas xl-5 Rustler may be worth a look. Under $200, tough as nails, pretty fast,training mode on the esc, easily upgraded, parts/support available virtually everywhere, etc. I have one that I upgraded to brushless power that I run on 2s lipo....I literally beat the tar out of this thing and it keeps coming back for more. Just a thought...have fun!!
Old 03-26-2016, 10:48 PM
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⤴ agreed, the rustler handles well and great for a beginner. Cheap and easy to upgrade and learn on
Old 03-29-2016, 01:24 PM
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jack880
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I've been doing some more research and thinking, based on the replies in this thread.

I had decided to go for the ECX AMP based on suggestions here, but then I also started looking at the Rustler after reading the other suggestions.

Contrary to my original post, I would be prepared to spend a bit more if it's worth it, and I am now thinking of possible future upgrades.

My local shop has the AMP for about 90 (http://www.modelsport.co.uk/ecx-amp-...roducts/395133), and the Rustler for about 160 (http://www.modelsport.co.uk/traxxas-...roducts/387920). They have many more spares listed for the Rustler than they do for the AMP. If I'm prepared to spend the money, is the Rustler the better buy? I'm thinking I'll go for 2s lipo batteries straight away. I think with these, a brushed motor will be enough for me for now.

Based on what Dcuda69 said, I can upgrade the motor on the XL-5 to brushless in the future if I want to. Is this any worse than buying the brushless version (VXL) in the first place?

xlDooM - I was really impressed by that video you posted of the AMP, but I presume your recommendation was based on my budget. Would the Rustler be even better?

Sorry, one more question - my friend is going to get one at the same time as me but he prefers the buggy style. From what I've read, the Traxxas Bandit isn't as good as the Rustler for general all-round use. Is it possible to get shell to make a Rustler look like a buggy?

Many thanks again!
Old 03-30-2016, 12:17 AM
  #16  
xlDooM
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I've never driven a rustler so this is based on internet opinions, but
- the rustler xl-5 should be slightly faster stock (5mph or so),
- the rustler vxl can be very fast if you get it a 3S lipo (twice is fast as the amp),
- neither is as accident-proof as the amp (they break kingpins and caster blocks),
- both steer much better than the amp,
- the 550 can 12t motors are hit or miss.

The vxl has expensive electronics from the looks of it, so you can upgrade the xl5 to brushless for much cheaper, but it does not have the same speed potential. The xl5 won't take a 3s lipo, and will burn up if you run low turn motors. The vxl takes 3s lipo and pretty much any motor you like.

You can modify the rustler to look like a buggy. It's not as simple as just replacing the body though. You may be spending $50 just for looks.

Basically, the rustler is overall a better car, I'm just not sure if it's better value. It is a higher entry point on the ladder though, the amp is basically the bottom rung. If you want to upgrade to medium performance eventually, you will need:
A. For the rustler xl-5:
- a $30 2s lipo
- a $30 3000-3500ish kV brushless motor
- the $20 DC adapter for the traxxas charger I guess
B. For the amp:
- a $30 2s lipo
- a $60 brushless ESC-motor combo
- the $40 gtx3 rx/tx
- a $40 charger
- probably a $20 servo and $10 worth of linkage

You can make do with a cheaper charger, but for $40 you have one that charges everything you'll ever buy, so it would be reasonable buy even for the traxxas. The Amp has a 200mA NiMH charger included only, which is no good. 9 hours of charging for 15 mins of runtime? I think not.

Last edited by xlDooM; 03-30-2016 at 12:59 AM.
Old 03-30-2016, 12:51 PM
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Dcuda69
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Originally Posted by xlDooM
I've never driven a rustler so this is based on internet opinions, but
- the rustler xl-5 should be slightly faster stock (5mph or so),
- the rustler vxl can be very fast if you get it a 3S lipo (twice is fast as the amp),
- neither is as accident-proof as the amp (they break kingpins and caster blocks),
- both steer much better than the amp,
- the 550 can 12t motors are hit or miss.

The vxl has expensive electronics from the looks of it, so you can upgrade the xl5 to brushless for much cheaper, but it does not have the same speed potential. The xl5 won't take a 3s lipo, and will burn up if you run low turn motors. The vxl takes 3s lipo and pretty much any motor you like.

You can modify the rustler to look like a buggy. It's not as simple as just replacing the body though. You may be spending $50 just for looks.

Basically, the rustler is overall a better car, I'm just not sure if it's better value. It is a higher entry point on the ladder though, the amp is basically the bottom rung. If you want to upgrade to medium performance eventually, you will need:
A. For the rustler xl-5:
- a $30 2s lipo
- a $30 3000-3500ish kV brushless motor
- the $20 DC adapter for the traxxas charger I guess
B. For the amp:
- a $30 2s lipo
- a $60 brushless ESC-motor combo
- the $40 gtx3 rx/tx
- a $40 charger
- probably a $20 servo and $10 worth of linkage

You can make do with a cheaper charger, but for $40 you have one that charges everything you'll ever buy, so it would be reasonable buy even for the traxxas. The Amp has a 200mA NiMH charger included only, which is no good. 9 hours of charging for 15 mins of runtime? I think not.
Very well said!! The only thing I'll add is..to upgrade the xl-5 to brushless you'll need a brushless esc/motor combo(not just a motor) same as the Amp. The xl-5 esc will take 2s lipo but not a brushless motor. The good thing is there are a LOT of affordable brushless combos available to run either of these trucks....no need to spend big $$$$ for a decent combo to bash around with. I also agree with the charger.....the Rustler probably comes with one but you'll spend more time charging than bashing. $50 will buy a decent ac/dc multi-chemistry charger that will cut charge time and increase fun time.Have fun!! This is a great hobby!
Old 03-30-2016, 01:38 PM
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jack880
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Excellent, exactly what I needed to know. Many thanks again.

I think I'm leaning towards the xl-5 with a 2s lipo (something like this? http://www.modelsport.co.uk/duratrax...roducts/396783) and decent charger.

I think this should be plenty fast enough for me to play with for my first car. I just want it to be fast enough to drive around the park, do some powerslides and get some air etc - I'm not interested in straight speed runs and wheelies. I've watched plenty of videos of a standard xl-5 with 2s lipo on youtube (like this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wov14-t65BM) and it looks fine for what I want.

If in the future I decide I want more speed, I can look at a brushless esc/motor combo.

I want to get a few spares for things that are likely to break, but I can discuss that with the shop when I go to get the car.

I can't wait to get it!!

Many thanks again, really appreciate the help.
Old 03-30-2016, 02:14 PM
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Dcuda69
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Those guys found a great bashing spot in that youtube clip..pretty good indication of what a Rustler performs like. Some things to put on your radar as you go...Caster blocks and axle carriers are known to break, however mine are still intact,aluminum upgrades are pretty inexpensive and plastic RPM are cheaper and better than stock. The xl-5 comes with wheel bushings instead of bearings..another easy/cheap upgrade. Good tools are a must for maintenance and repairs...the xl-5 uses phillips head hardware. That Duratrax lipo should work just fine. SMC shows a retailer in the UK and they have quality packs as well

http://www.smc-racing.net/index.php?...ormation_id=15

Most of all have fun and welcome to your new addiction!! lol
Old 03-30-2016, 02:27 PM
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jack880
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Thanks again for the advice. I'll check out those things when I go to the shop. Unfortunately the SMC retailer in the UK seems to no longer exist but I've found a shop about 60 miles away that seems to have good stock (http://www.modelsport.co.uk).

I started off thinking I wanted a really basic car that I wouldn't be interested in upgrading, and before I've even got the car I'm upgrading it in my head! I think it may well be the start of a new addiction....
Old 03-30-2016, 02:51 PM
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Bummer about the SMC retailer..they have great packs at great prices. Oh well..that Duratrax is perfect size for a brushed Rustler and the price looks fair. Read up on lipo care, treat it right and it should last you a long time. Have fun!!

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