Sideways-King

My First Nights Racing......

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Hi Guys,

I hope by posting this others will follow and go and enjoy their cars if you have otherwise been shy about going to a club night.

At the tender age of 33 I have been thrashing about with RC Cars for over 20 years in the street, on the beach, down the woods, anywhere really. As nobody else I know is into them I've always been shy at going to a club no knowing what to expect. Last week I did a recce. Got there early whilst they were setting up so I could talk in a less pressurised environment, got to know the basics, lingo etc., etc. then decided this week I would go....... What a baptism of fire!

I prepped the best car I could out of various cars and built a new TT01 with hop-ups galore, all by Yeah Racing which is the biggest pile of pants I have ever bought (see below). I know it isn't the best chassis even before I went there, confirmed later!, but I'd rather smack that car around to see if I enjoy it before I start spending.

So how did it go?

Firstly on setting up I was welcomed by the previous weeks nice approachable gents who were my age ranging to mid 40's and promptly they set a table up next to them to help me through the night - a real welcoming touch which made all the difference. By the end of the night everyone had spoken and laughed along with me at some point. The younger lads opposite me duly began to unload what looked like a million pounds worth of gear and set up tyre warmers!!! 'What the heck'!! This was serious.

I duly went with my new comrade to sign in as a newbie when my first laugh of the night came. My biggest worry was frequencies and over this last week bought a budget lot of 27mhz crystals. Rather pleased with myself I asked "what frequency will I be racing on?" to which I got a raised eyebrow "Frequency...What have you got?" said the guy signing drivers on. 'huh' I thought, now sporting a rather smug face "I have them all". "Use whatever mate, nobody uses them anymore".... Through my slowly filling red face I felt a laugh brewing inside me as it turns out you all use some flash piece of kit that scans for unused frequencies now. As kids we all got our heads together and bought different crystals as they seemed like gold dust back in 1987! Learning curve number 1.

Heat 1 - After mounting the transponder I was set for my first race. To say the car sounded like an angle grinder was an understatement, as I saw everyone's head pop up from behind their cars they were eagerly preparing for their heats. A tyre flew past a marshall at a 100mph when I realised I hadn't glued them! - learning curve number 2. After 2 minutes, the time taken for the marshall to kindly put it's shoes back on, I then realised the use of this tyre carpet gripper solution I saw everyone using at the start of the night. I thought again this was a gimmick for the serious RC boys. NO - my car was now acting like a drift car - learning curve number 3. With me gaining some sort of control I eventually and inevitably hammered it into the track edging a bent every piece of alloy upgrade on it. Being a relatively low impact I now think that Yeah Racing parts are rubbish as it was nothing more than a glance in the same direction, hardly a frontal or sideways impact. They seem as useless as cardboard and quickly finished my opening race.

Heat 2 - Following the first outing and the rather large screaming noise of the TT01 fighting for grip I eagerly began doing my first bit of pit work by changing the pinion, thinking I had mounted the motor to the wrong mount for the gearing making it all too tight. A quick check and everything seemed to move OK and sounded much quieter. My next turn comes around. I place my car down, turned it all on and give it full throttle. 'Yeah that sounds much quieter' I think looking ahead of me expecting to see my Mondeo BTCC rep shell scooting up the floor in front of me? 'Mmmmm' ... I look down and see she's still sat there with the motor merrily buzzing away at top pelt!. The pinon was now not touching the spur at all and going anywhere - LOL! Head now sinking well and truly into my shoulders I sheepishly walked past race control, now looking around me to see if anyone has spotted me, telling them I'd sit this one out. Learning curve number 4.

Heat 3 - After many laughs between heat 2 & 3, some guys had now donated a set of wheels and tyres they no longer needed, exchanged light hearted banter and gave me invaluable tips. Still sounding like a bag of nails the car managed to finish a race! Yes I finished! The other racers in my heat were all driving like pro's and were inch perfect having a cracking race but laughing uncontrollably. This I don't know if it was because of me being a moving obstacle, or that they were bumpin' and grindin' with each other all the way round. They apologized every time they hit me but as I thought it made my car go twice as fast, as their super fandango'd brushless systems walloped the car from behind, I began laughing madly with them. 'It was 50points to those who clipped the Touring Car Replica now!' Although the race was much better and I can at least steer the car correctly it still struggled for grip! I finished that was the main thing.

Heat 4 - During the pit session that preceded this race I was offered some of this tyre gripper stuff and WOW what a difference. It now steered everywhere I wanted it to go and went like the clappers... for about minute. In my excitement of finishing and making new friends I'd not changed the battery over - Learning curve number 5. After another clip of the barrier, and it was a clip as it was going practically 5mph, it now broke the lower wishbone! Yeah Racing - Yeah Right! Then came the biggest laugh of the night for me. As it was now going 3mph with a wheel tucked up well and truly in the arch the bodyshell was catching the carpet making the car judder and shake it's way round. For those that have seen Disney Pixars 'Cars' when Mack the truck keeps falling asleep then waking himself up - that's exactly what it looked like. I had visions of me and my son at home laughing out loud to it.

That summed the night up really. A massive learning curve and a massive laugh. OK there were serious guys with expensive kit who were brilliant yet all made me welcome with my box of bits. Nobody laughed AT me but plenty laughed WITH me and it was great. Free parts, free advice and now I'm able to go and enjoy this with like minded individuals, something I've never shared any of my hobbies of Cars, Motorbikes, Mountain Bikes and RC's with.

Don't be shy go and have some fun you'll love it!

Chris B)

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Thanks for such a great post, made me laugh out loud!

I'm 35 and have been just thrashing cars about for the last 20 or so years too - got back into the hobby about 3 years ago and still haven't found the courage to go to a race meeting yet - despite there being a track a stone's throw from my office.

I always imagine the sniggers when I turn up with my "pit box" full of Wild Willy parts and other non-racing paraphernalia.... You've conviced me to give it a try!

Don't suppose you're in Hampshire are you?!

Cheers,

Tim.

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Thanks for such a great post, made me laugh out loud!

I'm 35 and have been just thrashing cars about for the last 20 or so years too - got back into the hobby about 3 years ago and still haven't found the courage to go to a race meeting yet - despite there being a track a stone's throw from my office.

I always imagine the sniggers when I turn up with my "pit box" full of Wild Willy parts and other non-racing paraphernalia.... You've conviced me to give it a try!

Don't suppose you're in Hampshire are you?!

Cheers,

Tim.

Hi Tim,

If I was I'd gladly meet up. Trust me you will have a laugh. Judging by most of the conversations the majority started up when they were over 30 coming from our era of pre-playstation 'get out there and have some RC fun'. The younger ones seemed to have relatives there also who were enjoying it and I can't belive that I've left it so long.

No need to worry about what you have as there were guys with every part imaginable, then there were guys with carrier bags and a biscuit tins full of parts.

I hoped that by putting this up showing my nerves and sharing the fun would get others into it so I hope you do. My wife's had her ear bent this last two days about it.... though I haven't told her about my Ebay purchases ready for next week!! Yahoo, it feels like the summer of '87 all over again.

All the best

Chris

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Great story! I am almost tempted to have a go myself - a guy here I vaguely know races and its all brushless and 2.4Ghz with Team Corally (what are they?!) type cars!

Keep us posted B)

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Great story! I am almost tempted to have a go myself - a guy here I vaguely know races and its all brushless and 2.4Ghz with Team Corally (what are they?!) type cars!

Keep us posted B)

There were parts i'd never seen or heard before. One which was getting alot of attention were Lipo Batteries? The only Lipo I new of was Lipo-Suction!! I learned loads in 4 hours and what really became apparent was people WILL come over and help and chat. I think overall I initiated 2 maybe 3 conversations but the rest were people approaching me.

The feeling I got was that everyone wanted to be a mentor. Everyone has to start somewhere so when a newbie walks in the last person before me is now no longer a newbie and all of a sudden they have knowledge I haven't so they relish the chance to come and tell you a few tips. They get a boost and a sense of pride for passing on info your morale goes up and you get the much needed advice - it's a win, win.

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One think in noticed in your post was about tires,your used some tires from the other racers and some traction compound. Other than that did you make any changes to the car?

And post a picture of the car when you get a chance. :lol:

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One think in noticed in your post was about tires,your used some tires from the other racers and some traction compound. Other than that did you make any changes to the car?

And post a picture of the car when you get a chance. :)

I made no other changes other than a tyre change, but it made all the difference. After the pinion fiasco I set it back to how it was in the begining. A number of guys there had said theres not much point in having a fast car if it's off on every bend. It's like the 1:1 car world, if it handles good to start with then theres something to build on - Trouble was mine did neither to start :lol: !

I will get some photos up over the weekend.

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Glad you enjoyed it, I think more people should have a go at racing.

One word of caution, don't get carried away with all the stuff they have got. The best thing to do is to get a set of tyres that grip and just enjoy your car for now. Use it to learn the basic of racing, if you can do a 5 min race without hitting the sides more than say 5 times (assuming it indoors) then treat yourself to a new car. Tyre warmers only help you for the first 1-2 laps max. If you consistently loose the race in the first lap and cannot catch back up go treat yourself to some tyre warmers.

I would also buy second hand racers kit. Racers tend to sell everything including lots of spares bashers hoard and just sell the rolling chassis. Last years model maybe old school for your top racers but is so far advanced from where you are today it will take a couple of years just to get to grips with it all. After that start spending 400 each year on the latest XRAYTAMIYAHOTBODIESYOKOMOSERPENT thingy...

Go for it

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Glad you enjoyed it, I think more people should have a go at racing.

One word of caution, don't get carried away with all the stuff they have got. The best thing to do is to get a set of tyres that grip and just enjoy your car for now. Use it to learn the basic of racing, if you can do a 5 min race without hitting the sides more than say 5 times (assuming it indoors) then treat yourself to a new car. Tyre warmers only help you for the first 1-2 laps max. If you consistently loose the race in the first lap and cannot catch back up go treat yourself to some tyre warmers.

I would also buy second hand racers kit. Racers tend to sell everything including lots of spares bashers hoard and just sell the rolling chassis. Last years model maybe old school for your top racers but is so far advanced from where you are today it will take a couple of years just to get to grips with it all. After that start spending 400 each year on the latest XRAYTAMIYAHOTBODIESYOKOMOSERPENT thingy...

Go for it

Thanks for that hedge. I can see it will get addictive and I've already got a 2nd hand Schumacher Mission with spare parts for cheap off Ebay. I'll smack the TT01 around a bit first before letting rip with anything else.

bakaguyjean to view the offending item please look in my TC Photos album here - http://www.tcphotos.com/showroom_model.asp...cid=1091&t=

Cheers

Chris :P

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Glad you enjoyed racing, it can be addictive so I'd echo what Hedge said and try and not get carried away or your wallet will regret it!!

I would recommend to everyone to go along to your local club if you've never raced before, I'm sure that you'll have as much fun as Sideways.

Your TT01 looks tidy, shame the alloy didn't perform that well for you.

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Glad you enjoyed racing, it can be addictive so I'd echo what Hedge said and try and not get carried away or your wallet will regret it!!

I would recommend to everyone to go along to your local club if you've never raced before, I'm sure that you'll have as much fun as Sideways.

Your TT01 looks tidy, shame the alloy didn't perform that well for you.

Thanks peetbee. I'm going again tomorrow night and will take another TT01 with more standard plastic parts on, hopefully with more flex in it so I can bounce of the sides better!

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Amusing read.

What class was it? What were the rules?

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Amusing read.

What class was it? What were the rules?

There were some rules but as my car was well within these guidelines I didn't take too much notice of them. I think they went down to 10 turned motors and equivalent brushless systems but I can't fully remember. I was in class 1, this being the lowest of the low but had there been a -10 I think I would of happily ticked the box! It was actually club finals night and it was a bigger turnout than normal apparently so in my particular heats there were some of the fast drivers - which explains why they did 3 laps to my 1!

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WOW that was a great read. Thanks for sharing. I am 32 now and have been racing just over a year. I bought my first touring car (second-hand TA05-R) about a week earlier and had barely prepped the chassis when I showed up for my first race. Luckily the car came with some decent tires (Take OFF RP30GL), so I didn't have too much trouble with grip. I did have to cut & fit a clear body just before the first race since I didn't have one. I must say running a clear body at night DOES make things more difficult...

In my time racing I can say there are several big things that make more of a difference than anything...

- Good tires - Find out whats most popular on your track & buy some premounted ones.

- Traction Compound - Tips below...

- Body Shell - Use Protoform Mazda-6 190mm for more stability or Protoform MazdaSPEED-6 for more steering.

- Ride height - Borrow a gauge & ask for help to set ~5mm front & rear.

- Camber - Borrow a guage & ask for help to set 1.5* front & rear.

- Toe - Some toe-out in front & 3* toe-in in back (rears may not be adjustable on your car).

These things WILL make your car easier to drive...

Oh, and don't forget to have fun... :)

*edit - For adding traction compound to tires:

- Clean tires with simple green & water

- Apply compound to tires surface & let sit for 5-10 minutes

- Scrub tire compound off with towel

- Clean tires again with simple gree & water

The first step is important because you don't want to fill your traction compound with grime. The last step is important because the compound is greasy and only meant to chemicaly soften the rubber...

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great read, i jus wanna get mine rebuilt now and up and runnin, who nows i might take the plunge myself at some point and arrive wi my shoe box of spares and tools lol

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WOW that was a great read. Thanks for sharing. I am 32 now and have been racing just over a year. I bought my first touring car (second-hand TA05-R) about a week earlier and had barely prepped the chassis when I showed up for my first race. Luckily the car came with some decent tires (Take OFF RP30GL), so I didn't have too much trouble with grip. I did have to cut & fit a clear body just before the first race since I didn't have one. I must say running a clear body at night DOES make things more difficult...

In my time racing I can say there are several big things that make more of a difference than anything...

- Good tires - Find out whats most popular on your track & buy some premounted ones.

- Traction Compound - Tips below...

- Body Shell - Use Protoform Mazda-6 190mm for more stability or Protoform MazdaSPEED-6 for more steering.

- Ride height - Borrow a gauge & ask for help to set ~5mm front & rear.

- Camber - Borrow a guage & ask for help to set 1.5* front & rear.

- Toe - Some toe-out in front & 3* toe-in in back (rears may not be adjustable on your car).

These things WILL make your car easier to drive...

Oh, and don't forget to have fun... :lol:

*edit - For adding traction compound to tires:

- Clean tires with simple green & water

- Apply compound to tires surface & let sit for 5-10 minutes

- Scrub tire compound off with towel

- Clean tires again with simple gree & water

The first step is important because you don't want to fill your traction compound with grime. The last step is important because the compound is greasy and only meant to chemicaly soften the rubber...

Thanks for the tips 94eg! keep them coming! I've noticed alot of the guys had Mazda 6 bodyshells and I thought it would be a good excuse to have one as I've got a new Sport version in 1:1 anyway - I still love painting bodyshells! Also with the traction compound I was told about applying and scrubbing off, some of the guys simply put it on the carpet (not the track carpet) and held the spoilers whilst they span up the tyres.

Can't wait to go back again, I missed what would have been my second night last night as it was my father-in-laws birthday. Still it has given me more time to buy some bits :blink:

great read, i jus wanna get mine rebuilt now and up and runnin, who nows i might take the plunge myself at some point and arrive wi my shoe box of spares and tools lol

You'll love it, do a quick recce if your unsure then go the following week. It's a corker!

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Also with the traction compound I was told about applying and scrubbing off, some of the guys simply put it on the carpet (not the track carpet) and held the spoilers whilst they span up the tyres.
That's both the laziest way and the worst way to dry your tyres. Firstly there's nothing to soak up the excess compound, so not all the additive is removed, secondly by spinning up the tyres the freshly treated softened rubber ends up on the carpet not the car. Use an old towel. I use old cotton T shirts or towel cut into smaller pieces, they get black very quickly but a quick spin in the washing machine when no one's looking will clean them up.

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That's both the laziest way and the worst way to dry your tyres. Firstly there's nothing to soak up the excess compound, so not all the additive is removed, secondly by spinning up the tyres the freshly treated softened rubber ends up on the carpet not the car. Use an old towel. I use old cotton T shirts or towel cut into smaller pieces, they get black very quickly but a quick spin in the washing machine when no one's looking will clean them up.

I hear what your saying, I've got boxes of old t-shirts in the garage I use as rags when working on bikes and cars so theres plenty to keep me going with that.

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I think holding the wing & scrubbing on the carpet is more a foam-tire thing where rubbing w/ a cloth can't remove all the chemical compound anyways (since it soaks in). For rubber tires throttle scrubbing is pointless, especially since there's no chance of it cleaning off the rounded shoulders of the tires.

Now you've already got a one-up on some of the competition... :P

As for batteries, go with Lipo as soon as you can afford to. Certainly before you go off buying expensive matched Nimh packs. Lipo are so easy and require no special treatment to get great performance (unlike Nimh). I would have gone lipo, but my TRF415 won't fit them without a hugely expensive stick-pack chassis upgrade, or some serious bulkhead modification... ;) Pretty much any car that fits normal stick packs, will fit most lipos.

Lipo is a bit different than Nimh, so learn all you can before you go buy. You need a special charger that does cell balancing (Hyperion EOS0606i is great), and you need a special low-voltage cutoff for your car. These batteries cannot go above or below certain voltages without becoming a severe chemical fire. You can get away without a low-voltage cutoff in the car if (AND ONLY IF) you still have plenty of juice left in the pack AFTER the race. BTW: Yeah Racing makes decent lipo packs for cheap (3200mah for around $40)...

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You can get away without a low-voltage cutoff in the car if (AND ONLY IF) you still have plenty of juice left in the pack AFTER the race. BTW: Yeah Racing makes decent lipo packs for cheap (3200mah for around $40)...

I know exactly where you are coming from 94eg! but the advice for all (especially novice) is always either fit a low voltage cut off or make sure your ESC has one built in - and activated!

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One thing that concerns me with Lipo's is that I've seen these little metallic bags for use when charging incase of fire or explosion?!?!?!?! Although I'd say 80% of the guys at the club had these Lipo's and we're happily charging them and going about there business this concerns me. Does anyone know of any cases of these batteries catching fire?

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Common misconception that Ni-MH are safe. Ni-MH are the battery type that explode when mistreated. If the vents are blocked when they decide to vent... BOOM! I've had it happen.

Li-Po like to melt and burn to a pile of molten plastic. They don't explode, just swell and catch fire. Usually only if they have been mistreated the same as Ni-MH.

Ni-Cd have cadmium that can be dangerous if a cell leaks.

They are all as dangerous as each other. Charge bag is the safe way to charge all 3. Next best thing is to charge where there are no items around the pack that can catch on fire. I charge all my packs in a metal container since the Ni-MH pack exploded.

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I charge all my packs in a metal container since the Ni-MH pack exploded.

I echo that, I too use a tin to charge in. The issue we found with LiPo sacks is you cant see the battery, with LiPo it is always a good idea to keep it on show so you can see if things are going wrong. That said a charge sack is better than nothing.

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It's a myth that nimhs are safe and lipos are dangerous, it's also a myth that nimhs are dangerous and lipos are safe. These two myths are usually spread around by people who favour one type of battery or the other. If they are both treated properly then both types of battery are perfectly safe, they won't catch fire, they won't explode. If treated badly both types are dangerous.

If something does go wrong, then nimhs are inherently safer as the energy is ultimately released in one explosion, which will go from just popping the end off to firing shrapnel across the room. It's still pretty dangerous as the chemicals inside will blind you if it gets sprayed into your eyes, but once it's exploded that's it. When lipos go wrong they are more dangerous as the chemical reaction runs away, creating a fireball that will set fire to anything in it's vicinity and is very difficult to put out, the only reliable way is to drop it into a bucket of water, which obviously involves picking it up. This why the lipo sacks are used to contain any fire that could, in theory, possibly happen. It's a lot easier to carry a fire contained in a fireproof bag outside where it can do no harm.

Nimhs got a bad reputation thanks to Intellect. They produced the IB4200 cell which thanks to pushing the rules had a 0.1v-0.2v higher average voltage, so all the racers had to have them. These cells have a habit of self discharging much faster than anything previously, and all at different rates, so the packs very quickly go out of balance. This means unless you discharge all the cells individually before charging, there's a good possibility with IB4200s that one or two cells will be badly out of sync with the rest of the cells in the pack, so you can easily overcharge those cells, which leads to a heat build up and eventually an explosion. What also contributed to the explosion was Intellect cutting corners on the vent design to give them more space in the can. It's easy to damage this vent, soldering bars on when building packs or any accident damage can prevent the vent opening when the cell overheats, which means you end up with it exploding. The cells also didn't last too long before the performance dropped off a little, which meant the more serious racers buying new packs every 2-3months. They tightened up the rules for nimhs, banning the IB4200s from racing, leading to better, more reliable cells with much less chance of an accident.

After using these batteries a lot of racers went to lipos as lipos don't need discharging, then all cells individually discharging before charging, then topping up before putting away so they don't self discharge during the week and leave you with a dead cell or two in a pack. To avoid all this maintenance the racers moved to lipos and most of them are still of the opinion that nimhs need a lot of maintenance and regular replacement. As those of us who run pan cars know, the latest cells are just as well behaved as lipos, just needing topping up with no reduction in performance over time. This was proven at a demonstration, over 2 days one new Orion SHO nimh pack was left taped into a car and topped up, it raced 18 times over the two days with no loss of performance and the cells still in balance. One big advantage lipos have over nimhs, especially at club meets with motor limits, is that for a given motor the higher voltage gives you more speed, especially over the length of a race.

Lipos have and will continue to cause many fires, but not in cars. Usually in planes, where they use soft packs without a hard case, so the cell is easily damaged, and flyers seem to be more likely to modify the settings on an old charger rather than buy a dedicated lipo charger which is always recommended. The soft packs cause most problems, because in an accident the cells can get bashed, which can short it out inside. The hard cased packs we use in cars prevents a lot of the damage which causes the pack to swell and eventually catch fire. If you search youtube you can find many lipo fire videos, but think about it. To film them these have to be done deliberately, not just accidentally when in normal use, and having seen someone try it with a damaged pack it's a lot harder than you think to overcharge a lipo enough to get it to catch fire.

At least the decision is easier when you are starting out, whether to go lipo or brushless instead of nimh and brushed. In my case I'll likely stay with nimh and brushed for some time yet as I already have all the high end equipment. Moving to lipo involves a new charger (for me most likely the £100 Bantam BC6 to match the features of my current nimh one) and brushless means £120 on a motor/ESC combo compared to a £30 motor once a year. I also generally charge all my nimhs the night before a bash by putting them on charge and going off and doing something else, not something I would recommend doing with lipos just in case. If you don't have the equipment when upgrading whether old or new technology the high end stuff cost about the same.

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