Short Hiatus

By the time you’re reading this post, there is a chance my computer will have been dismantled and shipped home. I was supposed to finish my stint in Japan at the end of August, but was screwed over and made to stay for longer because some people wanted special treatment is all I can say in a remotely professional capacity.

In any case, I’m biding my time until I can go back home for good, and until I can get my stuff sorted out back home I’ll have to go on a brief unspecified hiatus. At the very least, expect to see me get back into some modeling madness once I reunite with my beloved airbrush after 3 years.

In the meantime I might think of some things about my stint to write, though a lot of stuff is probably already covered by people out there.

Mini 4WD Madness! Part 4: Drivetrain

The drivetrain is probably the most important part of a machine and there are uncountable ways to try and get the most speed out of it. The primary source of speed is of course the motor, and most users perform break ins to try and get peak performance out of it. With countless methods and no one true way, it becomes natural that break in methods are sort of a trade secret.

I am not an expert on choosing the right motor, so I will not go into too much detail. Besides, there is a lot of existing information on the internet. Nowadays, it is much easier to break in motors thanks to the appearance of smartphone apps that can measure the speed of a motor (examples: Giri, Try to measure RPM?, Mini4WD Lap Timer etc.), so you can gauge whether your methods are making a difference. According to Japanese bloggers, the type of brush can affect the effectiveness of a particular break in method, and in general the old generation of Tuned class motors and the Light Dash motor still retain metal brushes, while the faster motors use carbon brushes. Metal brushes conduct electricity better and gain more benefit from breaking in but have a shorter lifetime compared to carbon brushes.

Variables like break in voltage and duration also affect the outcome. Currently, I use 4 AA non-rechargeable batteries for 6V based on the results recorded on this Japanese page and break in as follows:

  1. Forward for 1 minute
  2. At least 3 minutes’ rest (motors that run hotter will take longer to cool down)
  3. Reverse for 1 minute
  4. At least 3 minutes’ rest
  5. 5 sets for a total of 10 reps, taking at least 37 minutes total

Depending on luck of the draw as well, breaking in may provide a larger effect than usual. The most demanding users buy in bulk and pick the fastest motors, just like GPU binning.

Here I have briefly listed the results of this break in method on several motors, powered using a pair of rechargeable batteries.

Atomic Tuned Pro Hyper Dash Pro Hyper Dash 3 Tamiya Handy Router motor
Before break in 15k 20k 20k 26k
After break in 16k 19k 19k 25k
After using electrical contact cleaner 18k 21k 21k 28k

The motors listed in the above table use carbon brushes as far as I can tell. The router motor appears to be a hidden gem, though it would probably be banned from official races. I also made a second attempt, using motors equipped with metal brushes.

Torque Tuned 2 Torque Tuned 2 Pro Light Dash Light Dash Pro
Before break in 14.3k 13.8k 14.9k 15.1k
After break in 17.0k 16.6k 17.1k 17.1k
After using electrical contact cleaner 16.8k 17.2k 17.7k 18.0k

Since the measurement fluctuates I omitted some precision with the carbon brush-equipped motors as they had vastly different specs. With the metal brush-equipped motors, they were similar so I put in a bit more precision. As far as carbon brush-equipped motors are concerned, this method does not seem to provide any significant benefit. On the other hand, the metal brush-equipped motors see a noticeable boost.

I am also playing devil’s advocate and including the bottom row of data. Regulations forbid opening the motor to modify its internals, or using any sort of additive that leaks onto the tracks. This means that things like parts cleaner sprays straddle the line. If you wipe things down properly, I believe leaks can be prevented. While it doesn’t seem to have an effect on the metal brushes, the carbon brushes get a boost.

You can see that my Atomic Tuned Pro is on par with my Light Dash Pro in terms of performance. My Torque Tuned motors seem to be on the top end of their spec, while my Light Dash motors are on the bottom end, thus confirming the rumour that it is possible for an Atomic Tuned Pro to beat a Light Dash Pro.

Perfect Choro Q Mach Dragon

I saw this up on Yahoo Auctions and got into a bidding war, paying probably 5 times the original retail price from back in 2000 just so I could tear this thing open and build it. Even if it was harder to come across than the other toys in the range, I probably shouldn’t have spent so much on it anyway.

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Continue reading Perfect Choro Q Mach Dragon

V B-Da Armor Devil Trident

A brief post to cover the combiner mode of Devil Blighster, Devil Hornet and Devil Poseidon.

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Starting with a size comparison of the three in Armor Mode. Devil Poseidon is slightly stretched taller than the other two.

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Ride Mode.

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To prepare Devil Blighster for combination you start with Ride Mode, remove the arms and transform the figure into the Armor Mode head.

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Devil Hornet transforms from Armor Mode with the legs and lower half separated. The head is not needed.

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Devil Poseidon requires the most tiresome transformation as you partially disassemble the toy from Armor Mode.

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You then have to re-assemble it for to form the lower half of the combiner mode.

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Finally, the Arms of Devil Blighster are combined with the leg parts from Devil Hornet and the upper and lower halves of the combiner mode are joined. The upper section of Devil Hornet simply hangs from the back.

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Rear view.

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Size comparison with B-Da Caliber. It’s no surprise that Devil Trident is shortchanged in terms of size as it comprises of three robots while B-Da Caliber not only has four, but has the massive Chris Blacker which makes up pretty much the entire combiner body.

stories of a toy-obsessed novice modeler

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