The OpenRC F1 Car on a Wet Road with Stability Control

by Jason King on March 2, 2016

Flip Cam F1 CarIn my last OpenRC Formula 1 Car Blog Post I talked about how I was 3D printing some much softer NinjaFlex tyres and how/why I’d ordered a RC plane flight stabilizer for the car.

These were both to help provide more grip and stability to the car as it currently seemed over powered and was difficult to drive fast.

Well, the exciting news is that the flight stabilizer has arrived, a full set of softer NinjaFlex tyres have been 3D printed and I’ve been doing some more tweaking and wet road testing. Oh and as you’ll see, there’s also a few YouTube videos to show you how it all went…

Fitting the Flight Stabilizer

The flight stabilizer arriving was a big issue for me, as I have really been trying to hit full throttle with this car without losing control. Although dedicated 2WD RC car fans might consider stability control cheating, I consider it one step closer to seeing what this F1 car is really capable of.

Flight Stabilizer F1 CarThe stabilizer was very easy to fit and it’s also quite small so I has no trouble squeezing it into the car.

In the picture I’ve took it out of the car so you can see it, but it usually lives in the front nose cone near the steering servo, with the plugs facing down.

Although the gyroscope is reversible and so are the inputs/outputs it still fits best upside down as the plugs are then out of the way so the F1 car lid will shut properly.

I turned the sensitivity up a little from the default 50% and it worked just great. Also, if you fit this ensure that when you move the car as in my video the front wheels automatically adjust to point forwards.

The reason I mention this is that I initially had this the wrong way around, so a small skid turned into a bigger skid, rather than being eliminated, effectively making the handling much worse.

It’s also a good idea to ensure the stability controller doesn’t move around in the car, else your steering will adjust over bumps and send your car all over the place.

HD Flip Camera In-Car Footage

There’s nothing like a bit of in-car footage to demonstrate how fast these little RC cars are. I’ve used an HD Flip Cam for all of my YouTube videos so thought it might be a good (but risky) idea to attach it to my OpenRC F1 car.

F1 Flip Cam Mount DesignI opened up my favourite 3D design tool OpenSCAD and made a little bracket which I could use to attach the camera to the F1 car.

After a few design iterations it seemed to work quite well. I might upload the design to Thingiverse but I’m not sure how many OpenRC F1 car owners also have these cameras. If there’s much demand then I’ll upload it for everyone to use.

Anyway, here’s a little in-car footage I took using my new Flip Cam bracket. The footage is very shaky as you can imagine, but if you look carefully you’ll see the stability controller correcting the steering when I blip the throttle, preventing me from spinning and hitting the kerb in more than one instance.

As a quick confession, I inevitably did hit the kerb later on and as expected I destroyed the front spoiler yet again, so I had to 3D print myself another one 🙂

Final Tweaks Before Wet Road Testing

When I came to write this post, I realised I had no outside video footage of my F1 car to show the stability control in action. I had the in-car footage and the demonstration of the auto steering (see above videos) but none of the car from an external point of view.

Well, it has actually been snowing outside today, the roads are wet and the weather is cold and windy. So, I decided it was time for some more outside filming.

I took the car to the same place where I’d took previous (pre stabilizer) footage, but first I decided to make a couple of final handling adjustments.

During the last road test I thought that as well as the rear end needing to be a bit more controllable (hence the stabilizer), the front end needed to be a bit more responsive.

I did two things to help achieve this. I turned up the steering sensitivity and range of movement on the RC transmitter and added some 1 penny coins to the front nose cone to add weight. This involved removing the front spoiler, which I’ve done many times with broken ones, popping some coins in the front nose cone and replacing the spoiler.

Check out the resulting video footage and although the car seems a bit snaky, remember this is a very wet road with slick NinjaFlex tyres.

You should be able to see the steering adjust automatically to correct the small tail slides, especially when I blip the throttle. The bigger slides still spin the car because the stabilizer can only do so much, but with the new softer tyres, the stabilizer fitted and the weighted front end the handling is much sharper.

I even managed to blip the throttle to 100% on occasion without losing control and that’s definitely a first, made even more impressive by the fact that it was a wet road too.

When I test drive this on a dry road (which could be a while with the UK weather) I’m confident I’ll be able to hit full throttle properly and see what this car can really do.

Of course I’ll film it when I do this, as it’ll be good footage either way. By ‘Either way’ I mean the car going at full throttle for the first time, or just a massive crash!

To follow my progress, please feel free to join me in my 3D Printing Facebook Group and bookmark my dedicated OpenRC Formula 1 Car Page.

Also if you Like and Share this page that would be great and would really help me to spread the word.

Thanks for reading.

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