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Where do I start?

Troubleshooting

What Brand?
What Type of Car?
Assembly Kit or Ready to Run?
What do I need?
Brushed or Brushless?
Electric or Nitro? 

How to wire a Tamiya car
Transmitter will not talk to Receiver
Steering Servo will not work
Car will not drive / Motor does not work
Steering Servo only turns a small amount
Car does not run straight
Car stops every couple seconds

 

Batteries & Chargers

Hop ups and spares

How long will my battery last?
Can I get a spare battery?
Can I get a faster charger?
How long will my charger take to charge?

How can I upgrade my car?
What upgrades do I do first?
What is the best upgrade for more speed?

What Brand?

We do not stock a huge amount of RC Brands, however what we do stock covers most areas of the hobby. Our most popular brand is Tamiya and I am sure you have heard of it. Its the classic brand that has been in the business since the 70's! Some will argue that newer modern brands make better cars for a better price, but year after year Tamiya have released exciting and reliable cars.

 

What Type of Car?

There are about 5 car types. Here is a quick overview so you can decide whats best for you. 


Road/Race/Touring/Rally
These are typically the fastest and sharpest handling cars and best on paved, flat surfaces. Rally variants are normally based on a Road car with a slightly higher ground clearance - although these still need to be used on flat surfaces. Most Road cars are 4WD and driven by a belt or shaft. 

Drfit Cars
Drift cars are very similar to on-road cars but with slick plastic tyres and different gear/diff set ups. Drifting when mastered is very fun, however its not something you will master within a couple hours! You can always purchase a standard Road/Touring car and add drifting wheels/tyres if you do not want to drift all the time.

Buggies
Buggies are a cross between offroad and onroad cars. They perform fairly well on road due to their low centre of gravity and ground clearance, but these traits can hinder offroad performance when the ground is too bumpy or rough. Buggies are best used on short flat grass, fine gravel and dirt. Buggies are good for those who cant decide what type of car they want, since it offers both on and off road use. Buggies can either be 2WD or 4WD. 


Truggy/Stadium Truck
Truggies are also a crossover like buggies, but they are more suited to offroad use. A truggy is basically a buggy chassis with larger wheels/tyres. Like buggies, truggies can be used on road but with a higher ground clearance their performance is often worse than a buggy on road. However this higher ground clearance does equate to better performance off road. Truggies are usually 2WD (RWD)

Monster Trucks
Trucks are designed for use offroad. They come with large grippy tyres which are best suited for use on grass, mud, gravel and pretty much any rough surface. Trucks can be used on road, but due to the high centre of gravity and ground clearance they are prone to rolling over at speed. Monster trucks are usually 4WD.

 

Assembly Kit or Ready to Run?

Most RC Brands offer cars as an assembly kit or Ready to Run. 

Assembly Kits
Assembly kits require fully assembly. The cars normally come in a couple hundred pieces with a detailed instruction manual. Assembly time depends on the model, but you can build a 1/10 Buggy in 5-10hours depending on your knowledge/experience. Building the car is an enjoyable process and gives you great knowledge on how the car works - this can be very helpful if you need to maintain or repair the car in the future.

Please note that assembly kits normally require a lot of extra pieces to get the car running, see the next question for the list of components required and what we offer.

Ready to Run (RTR)
This is fairly self explanatory and most RTR cars only require AA batteries for the transmitter. You can normally charge the battery and be running within a couple hours. Ready to Run cars are normally identical to the assembly kit and have been assembled in the factory. 

Please note that some brands do not include a battery and charger and the RTR, however we will try to make this as clear in the product description.

What do I need?

What you need to get the car running depends on whether you buy a Ready to Run Car or an assembly kit. Here is a list of all the bits you need for a car to operate. We sell several bundles of all the bits you require to get an assembly kit up and running, please see the packages/bundles in our RC category.

Rolling Chassis
Motor 
Speed Controller 
Steering Servo
Transmitter & Receiver 
Battery
Charger

Assembly Kits
Assembly kits normally come with a motor and Speed controller and thats all. To get the car running you will need to purchase a Radio set (Transmitter & Receiver), Steering Servo, Battery pack and a charger. 
The majority of Tamiya Kits come with a Speed Controller - we will try and make it clear where a car does not include a Speed controller. 

Ready to Run
Most Ready to Run cars come with everything you need apart from AA batteries for the transmitter. All the parts will be installed and ready to use. As above some brands offer their RTR cars without a battery and charger - in which case you only need a suitable battery pack and charger.

 

Brushed or Brushless?

Most entry level RC cars come with a Brushed Electric motor, where more expensive models come with more efficient and powerful brushless motors. 

As a rule of thumb you can normally assume a Brushless car will offer a higher level of performance than a car with a Brushed set up. 


Electric or Nitro? 

We do not stock Nitro cars as they can be notoriously diffilcult to use and set up. They offer great performance and for years were the go to for people looking for speed and power. However in recent years, developments in battery power (specifically Brushless LiPO set ups) has put Electric back infront in the power/performance game. 

 

Can I get a spare battery?

We always recommend to have at least 2 batteries for your RC car. 2 Batteries gives you flexibility so that you can:

- Be using the car whilst a battery charges
- Extend use by using 2 batteries on after another
- Have a spare incase you have an issue with one

In the perfect world we'd suggest you have 3/4 batteries so you can always ensure you have enough charge to enjoy the car. There is nothing worse than having to cut your fun short because your batteries die!

We buy our NiMH in very large quantities and thus can offer great prices on 2000mah and 3300mah variants - so dont skimp on batteries!

How long will my battery last?

Its hard to put a number on battery life as its affected by many factors: Car weight, how fast you drive, the terrain, battery capacity etc. 

However we will try to give you an idea. 

3300mah 7.2V NiMH in a 1/10 Buggy - Approx 25mins with normal use. 
2000mah 7.2V NiMH in a 1/10 Buggy - Approx 15mins with normal use. 

 

Can I get a faster charger?

We sell many types of chargers, slow wall chargers right up to digital chargers with detailed battery information. We recommend purchasing the fastest charger you can, so you can get back outside again! We sell various packages of chargers with batteries.

Slow Charger (£7) = 0.2a. Or approx 15-18hrs for a 3300mah battery.
Middle Charger (£15) = 1a. Or approx 3hrs for a 3300mah battery.
Fast Charger (£20) = 4a. Or approx 1hr for a 3300mah battery. 
Top of the range (£40) = upto 7a. Or approx 30mins for a 3300mah charger.

 

How can I upgrade my car?

After a couple weeks use most owners of an RC car will start to think about how they can make the car faster! Whilst this is natural, sometimes its not as simple as sticking a new motor into the car. 
Inevitably upgrading the motor and increasing the cars performance is pretty simple, however there are several things that you need to consider:

- Ballrace / Bearings. Many entry level RC cars do not have bearings installed, they use plastic bushes in the hubs. "Ballracing" a car means that you replace all of the plastic bushes with a proper bearing - this makes the car more efficient and free-running as there is less rolling resistance. 

- Gearing. Often the motor in the car has plenty of power in reserve to propel the car faster, however the gearing of the car is the limiting factor. So often the cheapest way to unlock extra top speed or acceleration is to research the gearing. Often changing the pinion gear in the car makes a noticeable difference to the cars performance. As a rule of thumb changing the pinion to a gear with more teeth increases the cars top speed, however this slows acceleration. Whilst slower acceleration might not be very noticeable in a road going car, the loss of acceleration can have a big impact with an offroad vehicle. 

There are also other things to consider. If you use a combination of gears that is too tall for the installed motor you will place extra stress on the motor and ESC, therefore shortening the life of both components. 

- Motors. Just sticking a more powerful motor in the car doesnt necessarily make a car quicker, as above the gearing plays a very important role in the cars performance. Motors are not always tuned to give the highest RPM (i.e best top speed). Some motors are tuned for low down torque, this is especially handy in offroad applications where the car needs a constant steady power delivery.

- Brushless Conversion. Most of our assembly kits come as standard with a Brushed Motor and ESC set up, this is the standard for entry level models because its reliable and cost effective. Installing a Brushless Motor is normally a sure way of dramatically increasing the performance of the car, however please be aware that many of the components in a standard assembly kit are not designed to take the extra power. The extra power will place extra stress and in some circumstances break many components including:

- Gear Box Internals
- Drive Shafts
- Wheels and Tyres
- Bushes / Bearings

We would always advise that you upgrade all of the above before converting the car. 

- Suspension. Many entry level RC Cars come with a basic spring action suspension damper. Whilst OK for basic use, better performance can be had from a Oil filled damper - with better damping and more adjustability its possible to fine tune your cars suspension traits for varying scenarios both on and off road.

- Tyres. Do not underestimate tyres on an RC Car. You can have all the power and torque you like, but if the chassis cannot put this power into the surface then you will not see any improvement in performance. For road cars tyres are usually available in different compounds (softer/harder), with softer tyres offering more grip on dry hard surfaces. 

 

What upgrades do I do first?

Ballrace / Bearings. Many entry level RC cars do not have bearings installed, they use plastic bushes in the hubs. "Ballracing" a car means that you replace all of the plastic bushes with a proper bearing - this makes the car more efficient and free-running as there is less rolling resistance. 

 

What is the best upgrade for more speed?

Gearing. Often the motor in the car has plenty of power in reserve to propel the car faster, however the gearing of the car is the limiting factor. So often the cheapest way to unlock extra top speed or acceleration is to research the gearing. Often changing the pinion gear in the car makes a noticeable difference to the cars performance. As a rule of thumb changing the pinion to a gear with more teeth increases the cars top speed, however this slows acceleration. Whilst slower acceleration might not be very noticeable in a road going car, the loss of acceleration can have a big impact with an offroad vehicle. 

There are also other things to consider. If you use a combination of gears that is too tall for the installed motor you will place extra stress on the motor and ESC, therefore shortening the life of both components. 

Motors. Just sticking a more powerful motor in the car doesnt necessarily make a car quicker, as above the gearing plays a very important role in the cars performance. Motors are not always tuned to give the highest RPM (i.e best top speed). Some motors are tuned for low down torque, this is especially handy in offroad applications where the car needs a constant steady power delivery.

Brushless Conversion. Most of our assembly kits come as standard with a Brushed Motor and ESC set up, this is the standard for entry level models because its reliable and cost effective. Installing a Brushless Motor is normally a sure way of dramatically increasing the performance of the car, however please be aware that many of the components in a standard assembly kit are not designed to take the extra power. The extra power will place extra stress and in some circumstances break many components including:

- Gear Box Internals
- Drive Shafts
- Wheels and Tyres
- Bushes / Bearings

We would always advise that you upgrade all of the above before even considering a Brushless conversion.

 

How to wire up a Brushed Motor car & ESC

There are a few components to consider when wiring your car:

- Brushed Motor which has 2 leads. 
- ESC (Speed Controller) Which has leads for the motor, battery, switch and receiver.
- Receiver

For Tamiya cars with the current TBLE-O2s ESC

Standard Motor has a GREEN & YELLOW Lead. 
ESC has BLUE, YELLOW, ORANGE, Red & Black with Battery connector & Red/white/black for connection to receiver.

Motor GREEN to ESC BLUE
Motor YELLOW to ESC YELLOW
ESC Orange is NOT used for Brushed Motors. 

Battery simply connects to the Black and Red leads with the plastic plug.

Small red/white/black lead connects to either CH1 or CH2 on the receiver. 

Steering Servo will connect or either CH1 or CH2 on the receiver. 

 

 

Transmitter will not talk to Receiver

All of the Radio sets we supply are 2.4ghz, so do not require crystals or matching frequencies to operate. However they do need to learn one another by "binding". Out of the box its unlikely that the Transmitter will talk to the receiver, please follow the instructions that came with the Radio set to Bind/pair them.

Steering Servo will not work

Its very rare that Servos are faulty, so we always advise that you follow this simple test. Most RC cars only operate on 2 channels, one for steering and the other for the motor. 

The first thing to check is whether you have paired the Transmitter with the Receiver correctly, please follow the binding/pairing instructions in the manual. If this process has not been completed correctly then the Transmitter will not be able to control the Servo.

If you are confident that the Radio set is correctly paired and the Servo still does not work we recommend that you try the servo in both channels (CH1 AND CH2) - this tests whether both ports on the receiver work correctly. 

IF the Servo operates on only one Channel we may be able to conclude that the receiver has an issue and only one channel is operational (please contact us)
IF the Servo does not operate at all, its possible that either the Servo OR Receiver is faulty. If you have another RC car please try plugging the Servo into the receiver on the new car and see if it operates, as this will indicate whether or not the receiver works.

If you do not have another Servo to test, please continue to connect the ESC/Motor to the receiver and test in both Receiver channels. If you can control the motor in both channels its safe to say the Servo is faulty and needs replacement. If you cannot control the motor please contact us. 

If you cannot diagnose the issue with this basic information please contact us. 


Car will not drive

There are a couple reasons why the car might not drive correctly, but first of all you need to break the issue down and isolate what the issue is. i.e Is there a problem with the motor and gears? Or is the problem to do with the Electronics talking to the motor. 

So first up, can you hear the motor operating when you move the throttle stick on the controller?

If you can hear the motor operating and the car is not moving, you can be confident that the issue is not to do with the ESC or Radio set up - the issue is likely to be in the drivetrain/gearing system. The first thing to check is whether the metal pinion gear is secured to the motor correctly - does the grub screw sit on the flat part of the shaft? If the pinion gear is correctly installed all we can really suggest is that you take the gearbox apart and re-assemble following the instructions carefully. 

If you cannot hear the motor moving and the car still does not move, the issue can be one of a couple things.

1 - ESC (Electronic Speed Controller) is not set up correctly.
2 - There is an issue between the receiver (Car) and transmitter (Controller) - basically they are not talking to one another.

1 ESC - The Standard ESC with most Tamiya Assembly kits is the TBLE-02S, this is a very capable ESC, however its well known that it can be tricky to set up on occasion. However in light of this, Tamiya have ensured that all ESC's leave the factory in the most common operating mode (Brushed - For the Standard motor included with the assembly kit.)  As we have just said the ESCs are supplied set to Brushed motor operation, however as this is a manual process in the factory its possible that the ESC was not configured correcetly. So in the first instance we recommend that you follow the instructions supplied with the ESC to re-configure the Motor mode set up for Brushed operation. Hopefully this fixes your issue, if it doesn't please read the next paragraph.

2 Radio - If you have wired the car correctly, ensured the ESC is set to Brushed operation, Charged the battery and the motor still wont drive the car, then its likely the issue is to do with the Radio set up.

The first thing you need to check is that you have paired the transmitter and receiver correctly, follow the instructions in the Radio box. IF you are able to control the steering you can be assured that the Radio set is correctly paired. If you cannot control the steering then please try pairing the Radio and Transmitter again. If you cannot get them to pair at all, please contact us.

If the steering Servo works, yet the controller will still not control the motor we need to check whether both Channels 1 and 2 on the Radio set are working correctly. We can check this very easily:

Depending on the model of receiver you have, you will have have the steering servo plugged into Channel 1 or 2 and the ESC will be plugged into the other. So, if the steering is working correctly in say Channel 1, swap the plugs around and see if the steering can be controlled by Channel 2 (which will be the other stick on the controller). If you can control the steering servo from both sticks on the Controller you can be confident that both the Receiver and the Transmitter are working correctly and that the issue lies with the ESC or Battery (Contact us!)

If the Steering Servo can only be controlled from one port in the receiver then its possible there is an issue with the Radio set (Contact us!)  

These steps might sound a little overwhelming to begin with, but please work through them step by step as its very likely you will get your car up and running! If you have no luck please pop an email through to us at support@jadlamracing.com letting us know what you have tried and we'll do our very best to help you. Thanks.


Steering Servo only turns a small amount

If your steering Servo only moves a very small amount, or makes a noise and doesnt move at all - this can be as simple as adjusting the sensitivity of the Servo. 

On the transmitter you will find several sliders/dials, look for one labelled DR (Dual Rates). On the Carson Reflex Radio this is located on the top right hand shoulder. This dial simply controls the sensitivity of the servo, if you adjust this and try again you will find the servo operates as expected. 


Car does not run straight

There are a couple reasons the car doesnt run straight, the most common being:

- Servo needs trimming. On the transmitter you will find a dial/slider which is labelled TR or Trim. This simply makes minor adjustments to the resting/neutral point of the servo when no steering lock is applied on the controller. Drive the car away from you in a straight line and adjust this until the car drives straight. 

- Servo was not centred when installed. If you have tried the above and you find that you do not have enough adjustment on the trim dial to make the car drive straight, its possible that the servo was turned off centre when you installed the steering arms etc. To ensure the Servo is set in its centre point, you need to:

- disconnect the Servo horn from the Servo shaft. 
- centre the trim dials on the transmitter.
- power the car up and move the servo around. When you let go of the steering control the servo should return to its central position.
- Put it all back together. 


Car stops every couple seconds

If your car has been operational but then comes to a halt and proceeds to move several feet every few seconds its very likely that your battery is flat. Most modern ESCs have a battery cut off function which slows the car to a halt when low voltage is detected. However if left for several seconds the voltage can recover slightly allowing the car to move again, only to stop a couple feet later when the ESC detects the low voltage. 

In this case you need to recharge your battery. Ensuring that you charge it for long enough, please see the charging answers above for further information.