Sourcing the Electronics for the OpenRC F1 Car Project

by Jason King on February 3, 2016

Trackstar ESC MotorA few days ago I completed the 3D Printing and Fitting of the Bodywork stage for the OpenRC F1 car project.

The car looks great and I’m really pleased with it so far, but at the moment it’s just a pretty ornament.

That’s until I fit the electronics and get some horsepower though those NinjaFlex rear tyres.

First things first though. As I spend most of my spare time 3D printing I’m pretty confident with that side of the build so had very few issues with the 3D printable parts of the F1 car and it fitted together well.

Choosing and sourcing the electronics to get this thing moving is a little more tricky for me, as a lot has changed since I used to race 1/10 RC buggies 25 years ago.

Turnigy LiPoThe designer of this car Daniel Noree has been really helpful by recommending the electronics to purchase with links to where you can buy this stuff from.

Check out Daniels Thingiverse F1 Car Page where you can find his list of recommended electronics.

I’d already purchased the nuts, bolts, screws and bearings for the F1 car based on his recommendations, but I had a few minor issues with the electronics. Let me elaborate.

Electronics Sourcing Issues

HobbyKing have a number of different warehouses in different countries, so not everything was available from the UK warehouse. The electronic speed controller (ESP), brushless motor and LiPo battery were available, so that was a good start.

Absima Radio GearHowever, the transmitter/receiver wasn’t available and Daniel said that he thought the micro servo he’d used wasn’t very good, so I should really try another one.

I found another servo, which appeared a little better and had metal gears, but I’ll only know whether this is ok when I take delivery, fit it to the car and try it. I hope it fits for a start.

Being out of the RC racing game for many years I was also unsure about compatibility of other manufacturers radio receivers with speed controllers and steering servos. Combine this with me not having a clue about what plugs I’d need and what connections just needed to be soldered I was having a little trouble.

With the help from a few people on Facebook I think I resolved these issues.

Turnigy ServoOh yeah, there’s also LiPo battery chargers which I also knew nothing about so a little research on how these worked and how brushless motors worked was also required.

Take note that brushless motors weren’t even invented in my day 🙂

But, I did some research and made my best guess on what to buy, which would hopefully work but not break the bank either. I chose to purchase the transmitter/receiver and LiPo charger from Modelsport UK, as I’d used them before when I bought my Kyosho Mini-Z 4WD Buggy a few years ago.

OpenRC F1 Electronics

Rightly or wrongly, this is what I chose and I have since ordered it all:

Hobby King

  • TrackStar ROAR approved 1/10th Stock Class Brushless ESC and Motor Combo (21.5T)
  • Turnigy nano-tech Shorty 4200mah 2S2P 65~130C Hardcase Lipo Pack (ROAR APPROVED)
  • Turnigy TGY-50090M Analog Servo MG 1.6kg / 0.08sec / 9g
  • Turnigy 4mm Heat Shrink Tube – YELLOW (1mtr)
  • 4mm Gold Connectors 10 pairs (20pc)
  • Receiver & General Purpose Protecting Sponge with Velcro Strap (2pcs)

Total: £94.36 including shipping.

Modelsport UK

  • Dynamite Prophet Sport LiPo 35watt AC Charger UK Version
  • Absima CR2S V2 2 Channel 2.4GHzRadio Control System

Total: £60.68 including shipping.

As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so I’ll try out all this stuff and report back how I get on with it. If you read this well after the publishing date (3rd February 2016) then no doubt you’ll be able to Read my Progress Reports on how it all went.

If you read this on or shortly afterwards, then hold off from purchasing this stuff yourself until I can confirm it’s all good to go. If it turns out it isn’t then I’ll update this article to avoid confusion.

Ok, so now you’re probably already confused, let me continue 🙂

Where the OpenRC F1 Car Project Goes Next

Yesterday I received a card though the door saying that Modelsport UK had attempted to deliver my parcel, so I’ll pick that up from the Post Office this afternoon. I’m a little excited, except that the stuff I ordered from them won’t be much use to me until I receive the rest from HobbyKing. I can have a good look at it though and put a few pics on Twitter and Instagram.

Dynamite ChargerWhen the HobbyKing parcel arrives I’ll be ‘full on’ putting it all together so be prepared.

I’ve already dug my soldering iron, solder (lead free of course) and flux out of the garage and had a little trial run.

Also, I found 14 issues of the Radio Race Car International magazine that I’d subscribed to in 2013/2014 so I’ve had a good look though some of those for inspiration.

Now a little note to my very patient and tolerant girlfriend, knowing that she’ll never read this…

I could easily get back into this RC car racing thing again. I’ve always loved it, but it would mean I’d be spending my summer weekends in fields and winter weekends in hired out sports halls, so I’m really trying not to. Anyway, if I did I wouldn’t be able to spend my weekends sat in the office writing stuff like this with the smell of melted PLA in the air… I mean erm, spend my weekends with you.

Maybe those PLA fumes are finally getting to me. So, enough of the rambling on, I’m off to fetch this parcel from the Post Office so I can start my journey into getting this 3D printed F1 car moving.

The best place to follow my Formula 1 car project progress is my OpenRC F1 Web Page where I post regular updates, including the this one. However, if you want to become more involved then my new 3D Printing Facebook Group allows much more interaction and discussion, so feel free to join us there.

As ever, thanks for reading and thanks to Daniel Noree for this amazing F1 car design. Please help spread the word about 3D printing and this project by Liking and Sharing this article.

Every bit of supports helps.

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