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Mad Ax

Hillwalking with an RC Truck

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Epic journey! Thanks a lot for the write-up, very enjoyable. I love the film Stalker, by the way.  :)

Next episode: "Axial SCX24 - three week walk"? :D

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Thanks for taking the time to document your adventure and sharing it :)

How many batteries did you get through over the 4 hours?

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27 minutes ago, wintersdawn said:

How many batteries did you get through over the 4 hours?

3x 2200mAh 3S LiPos.  The last one dumped a 3rd of a mile from the finish line!  If I hadn't got stuck so much on the wet grass I'd probably have made it on 3 packs.  But, to not get stuck on the grass, I'd have needed bigger wheels - so, maybe the taller gearing would have offset the lower throttle needed to get over the grass.  Or maybe the gearing is way too low with those little wheels and I'd go farther with a big-wheel rig.

I might take the SCX10 next time and see how far that runs on some 4250mAh 3S LiPos.

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8 minutes ago, Mad Ax said:

3x 2200mAh 3S LiPos.  The last one dumped a 3rd of a mile from the finish line!  If I hadn't got stuck so much on the wet grass I'd probably have made it on 3 packs.  But, to not get stuck on the grass, I'd have needed bigger wheels - so, maybe the taller gearing would have offset the lower throttle needed to get over the grass.  Or maybe the gearing is way too low with those little wheels and I'd go farther with a big-wheel rig.

I might take the SCX10 next time and see how far that runs on some 4250mAh 3S LiPos.

That was close!  Yeah, probably getting stuck in the wet grass drained extra power. 

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Just awesome! Thanks for posting, documenting and writing up all details! The path looks really nice with a lot of ground change.  I wanted to do something similar with my friends this year, but it didn’t happen, because of the different time schedules everybody has… Maybe doing it alone, like you did, is the way to do.

Thanks for this report! It was a good read :)

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1 hour ago, wtcc5 said:

Maybe doing it alone, like you did, is the way to do.

I've been putting it off for a couple of years, if I'm honest.  Some other (non-local) friends say they take trucks out on the dog walks etc, but I always thought it would be a distraction.  Actually, taking a truck added something else, and although there was no really fun challenging terrain like there would be on a proper event course, just the challenge of getting to the end without recovery forced me to think about lines and routes.  One clumsy rollover would have ruined it.

I take a lot of photos when I walk, but nobody ever sees them.  Taking a truck forced me to rethink how I shoot the scenery - and having to get right down on the ground to get the scale photos definitely gave me more exercise than I usually get.

Going out with friends is good fun, and if you can find a time when you're all free then go for it - you can tackle harder terrain when you have others to help you recover if you get stuck - but going out alone turned out to be way more fun than I ever expected.

I'm still thinking about which rig to take next...

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I always like going hiking/walking with a car. Never had any negative comments, several positive and several don't really know how to react. Not really laughing at me but more of a pitying look generally  mostly from women. The men have more of a nostalgic thing going on. You sometimes see (and some even say it out loud) they would like to do the same but for whatever reason (peer pression?) they don't.

I enjoy it, it's calming, a bit as if the car is taking me on an adventure and not the other way around. If people find me a weirdo for this that's the way they choose to live their life. (And miss out on a great hobby IMO)

Was going to ask you how you kept your transmitter dry but apparently you didn't :wacko:

Most of my cars are "waterproof" but none of my transmitters are... maybe some sort of small "transmitter umbrella" becomes the next big thing in RC'ing :D

 

Thanks for the report, nice way to start my "ahem-cough-cough" working day:D   

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Fantastic read, thank you @Mad Ax

My crawler has only had one trip off-site so a local park with gravel paths reminiscent of parts of your walk. My son piloted and we had some nice smiles from people coming the other way.  

Reading this makes we want to get back to the little Jeep and make it works coz walks like that are so much fun and a real chance to get out in the open.

I hope your back recovers swiftly - lots of stress on your shoulders without realising it.

I have considered the 'Rugged' Spektrum tx for going out in less than perfect weather. Four times the price of the Flysky though?!

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Those are some awesome pictures you took there @Mad Ax!!    I got bit worried where there were water everywhere.  :D   Like I wasn't too worried about the truck, but worried if you had your super deep water boots on ya.  Haha.

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19 hours ago, Mad Ax said:

Imber Range, which

Not to hijack the thread but if you get a chance read “a cold road to Imber” written by a mate of mine. It’s kinda spy novel but a good read. Available on Amazon.

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Sorry also meant to say great thread. I’ve done about an hour through my local woods which has some really good trails and steep banks but that’s about my lot!!

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This was a great read. I’m inspired to try something similar at my local hillwalk, however, I don’t have an appropriate truck. Yet! I’m in a dilema of what kit to get next but that might require a separate thread.

 

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Very nice! Love the pictures, looks like a fun place to drive! 

I usually do a trail run - between 2-4 miles every Sunday. 2-3 batteries in my backpack, a snack, drinks, and good hiking shoes. Radio is on a lanyard so I can rest my arms if need be. I do carry a plastic shopping bag in case it rains - I use it to cover my radio.  It's like 1/10 scale overlanding! 

It's funny the things you don't know you need. Traxxas TRX4's come with "cruise control," something I thought was a gimmick. But I do use it quite a bit on the long flat stretches - it comes in quite handy when my arms and fingers are starting to stiffen up. 

I run into all kinds on the trails, with dogs I usually pull over and let them go by - I've had quite a few dogs go after my little truck with the bright lights making weird noises. The people on horses usually scoff as if you are intruding on them. Most hikers give me a "cool truck" if they even acknowledge me at all. Since covid, most people don't even say hello anymore. It's odd.  

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Thoroughly enjoyable read and excellent photos as well , thank you 👍🏻 

Sounds like you could do with some SealSkinz socks, they were a game changer for MTBing in those kinds of conditions for me 😉

https://www.sealskinz.com/collections/socks?gclid=CjwKCAjw38SoBhB6EiwA8EQVLjqI-aD1R44othFn-3tAyZTCASGUV_32O4IgqPQzp2NJIksN4S-5CRoC2e4QAvD_BwE

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Great pics and write up! It looks like a blast and that’s a heckuva sweet area you live in. I have a few trails by a lake but we have so many people with dogs and out walking I’d have to wait for one of those cold overcast days when a football game is on to do something like this. I may have to try it. 

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23 hours ago, Tamiyastef said:

Was going to ask you how you kept your transmitter dry but apparently you didn't :wacko:

Yeah, I forgot (or didn't even think I'd need) my mitter-mitt.  Strange thing is, I bought that mitt way back around 2019 when I was heading off for the Scaler Nationals, because the forecast was for heavy rain, and we'd already had problems with this very FlySky transmitter getting waterlogged at a local event.  I remembered the joy of trying to use a plastic bag over my Spektrum transmitter at the 2019 Revival.  I bought 2 mitts - one for wheels, one for sticks, although I could probably have got away with the stick one for both.  Since then, I've probably used the stick one once and the wheel one never.  We often complain about how bad the British weather is but over the last 3 years the majority of my walks and outdoor race meets have been dry, or at least, not wet enough to need a mitt.

I really didn't think it was going to come down as hard as it did, or last as long, though - that's what killed the transmitter...

16 hours ago, OldSchoolRC1 said:

It's funny the things you don't know you need. Traxxas TRX4's come with "cruise control," something I thought was a gimmick

Oh, absolutely this!  I found myself wishing the FlySky was a little more programmable, so I could flip a switch and have cruise control on.  There probably is a way to do this, but I expect it'll use the same feature I use to disable the winch, so not really suitable.

Another option would be having steering and throttle on the same gymbal, so I can drive one-handed.  I know it's an easy thing to swap the leads over, but the receiver is stored away in a waterproof box on this rig so it's not trivial to get at it.

A final option is one I keep putting off - using an Arduino as a convertor between receiver and ESC/Servo/Winch/Lights.  A few years back I had a lot of success making an MFC for trucks, which included cruise control and adaptive steering as well as full light options.  I got stumped trying to add sound (the Arduino just doesn't seem powerful enough, but maybe I'm using it wrong) so I abandoned it, but the same code could be used to make a switchable driving system with optional one-stick driving and cruise control.

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I didn't hear of tx mittens before, they do look great on Google indeed 🙂

For cruise control I've seen people set neutral with the trim all the way back and use the trim full forward afterwards as a cheap cruise control. Depending on the settings/electronics/motors used they got decent walking speed like that.

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On 9/26/2023 at 11:29 AM, Tamiyastef said:

For cruise control I've seen people set neutral with the trim all the way back and use the trim full forward afterwards as a cheap cruise control.

I was playing with my new FS-i6X last night, I couldn't work out how to "disable" all the channels like I did on my old FS-i6 - I had it set so of SW-A was down, none of the inputs would work - useful for putting the radio down or hanging it from a lanyard while taking photos or recovering.  However, I did figure out how to use the Idle setting to set a fixed throttle value when the switch is down.  Changing the value is a bit of a pain as it requires going into the settings menu, but once I find a value that works on the trails I should be able to set it and leave it alone :) 

I did try setting the trim full-forward but it wasn't enough, it was only barely moving, and with how the trims work on the FS-i6, makes it hard to stop it quickly.

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6 minutes ago, Mad Ax said:

barely moving

It really depends on the radio gear and what motor/gearing/esc combination one is using. Good you found a way to get "cruise control" on your new radio.

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Finally had time to scroll through all these lovely pics, looks like a great day (and evening) out on the trails @Mad Ax! Even if it was a bit soggy! I often do the same thing with my old Sledgehammer, just go out for a nice walk in the woods and see how far we can get, with the ultimate goal of driving back to the parking lot under its own power. Usually it's about 2.5 miles per pack, but I'm only using 5000mAh NiMH still. I try to take pics occasionally but you've gone above and beyond!

Totally understand your back pain, seems it's my shoulders and neck that bother me the most after longer walks. Also great to hear that you've found the "cruise control" on the i6X ("throttle hold"). I wasn't thinking it through properly when I initially set mine to 15% and the car went backwards, works much better at 65% :rolleyes: although I don't use it much because it's fairly sensitive to slight inclines/terrain/etc.

I also think you're right about bigger tires making it an easier drive. The big soft Monster Beetle tires and fully independent suspension on my truck make up for a lot of its other shortcomings (RWD, open-ish diff, rear weight bias). It's definitely underpowered, but it can blast through or bounce over things that would flip or hang up other trucks, at the expense of not being able to truly "crawl" in the 4WD sense. Which is perfectly fine for this type of trail walking :)

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So this update was written last week, and applies to the evening of Fri 29th September, but I've not been up together on my updates recently, so it's hung around in a Notepad document waiting for me to get around to this bit.

Without further ado, the update:

Another quick update from me!  I hadn't planned on doing another RC walk so soon, but the weather forecast for Friday was good, and I'd enjoyed last week so much I thought, well, why not?  Why not try the same route with a different truck, and see if it's more or less fun?

I was ready to go a little earlier, so I got up onto the hills while the sun was still high.  With no rain forecast I was able to leave the waterproof jacket behind, although the wind was cold, so I decided it would be best to pack my lightest hoodie in my rucksack, alongside the spare batteries, tools, and trail snack.

I tried to get some good photos of the CFX-W on the tarmac road next to where I park, but the light was in the wrong place.

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The fields are bright and green after the recent rain (just a few weeks ago they were yellow after the dry summer).  Blue skies and Simpsons clouds make for good walking weather.

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The track enters the woods, and is very easy before the steep descent.  This is the warm-the-legs-up part of the trail before the killer drop.  CFX-W is fairly photogenic.

I'd set up the throttle hold switch on the FS-i6X to put 74% into the throttle when switched on.  That was about right for a fast walking pace, for me at least, and meant I could drive one handed, just nudging the steering as required to keep the truck on track.

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It doesn't look it, but this is so steep it's hard to stay upright

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But there are some nice ravines to get some proper crawling in

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Where the hill flattens off, the woods are popular with mountain bikers

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Out on the fields again

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Then back into more woods and past the Walled Garden

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And then into the younger woodland

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And out again, heading towards Wellhead Pond

sm_P9290444.jpeg

I tried to replicate some of the iconic shots from last week, including this one at Wellhead Pond

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Across the bridge and into more woods

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And then out onto fields

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This time last week, it had just started raining, and by the time I was over by those orange trees, I was soaked right through

sm_P9290454.jpeg

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