Tips For Traveling With LiPo Batteries

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The Axial Blog has been loaded up as of recent with articles filled with tips and information you need to know to attend Axialfest and have the best experience possible. We know many of you are already prepping for the event and planning your trip. For many that trip will require lengthy travel and some will even pack up their gear and head out on planes to get to the event. This brings up one of the most frequently asked question in RC in regards to air travel. How do I get my LiPo batteries from home to the event? We’ve done the research for you and have a number of suggestions depending on your method of travel.

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Battery Transportation Prep

First things first is prepping your batteries for travel, no matter how you plan on getting to an event. The following steps would also serve as a good storage method for your packs even while you’re at home.

1. Take the time to cycle your battery into storage mode, just as it arrived when you first bought the pack. Do not transport fully charged or discharged packs. Many mid-level to high-end chargers have a storage program that will cycle your battery to the proper storage voltage. Consider leaving any damaged packs behind and only bring packs you know for certain to be in good standing condition.

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2. Cover the plug or battery input connectors. There is always the possibility of a short and covering the inputs can prevent that from happening. Some cover their plugs with rubber caps or plastic inserts. For batteries with bullet plug inserts, place tape over the holes. Placing electrical tape over the plugs works too if you don’t have caps, this will prevent metals form coming in contact with the leads. It’s also a good idea to check the connectors where the wires are soldered on, tape any exposed wire, solder or connector tabs.

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3. Tape loose wires against the pack. Many battery packs have wire leads or balance plugs on them. These wires should be taped up against the pack just in case the wires move in transport and may become pinched and short out which can result in a fire. With the wires secured against the pack, it lessens the chance of a rare incident.

4. Place the pack in a plastic bag. Ok, during our research we found several suggestions of placing individual batteries in plastic bags for transport. Some other reports eluded to leaving packs out of sealed bags as they may emit gasses or the battery needs to breathe. We would suggest if you do place it in a bag, not to seal it and move on to tip 4.

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5.Place batteries in a LiPo safe bag. Placing batteries in their own individual pouches would be the best option, but if you must, place multiple packs in a large LiPo sack when toting them around.

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6. Battery bag. Once tips 1-4 are completed, place your wrapped up batteries in a transport bag of their own so they are together in case you need to show the packs to a screening agent. This will make their life and your life easier.

Traveling in a vehicle

When traveling to an event by car, keep your batteries within sight and easy reach. Don’t pack your batteries at the bottom of the trunk and stack all of your RC gear on top of them. Although there haven’t been any reports of any incidents where a tucked away battery caused a problem, it’s always just a good practice to have a product such as a LiPo battery accessible.

Traveling on a plane

Some drivers will take a plane to reach Axialfest and this is where many of the questions come into play. Can I carry my LiPo’s on the plane, or should they be checked? From our research, this is the best practice.

1. First check with your specific airlines battery guidelines and regulations to see how they require you to transport your batteries. It is a good idea to follow and print these guidelines out and store a copy in the same bag as your battery packs. If it comes into question at screening if you are allowed to transport your packs, you’re now prepared to show the agent you’re following the airlines protocol.

2. LiPo batteries should be carried on to the plane and not placed in checked baggage. It is legal to bring your properly prepared (as discussed above) batteries through the airport and on the plane.

3. During screening, it is best to remove your bag that your batteries are stored in an place it in a bin separate and at the end of the line of from your other articles. Most likely your LiPo battery bag will be pulled and checked by a screening agent, but at least you’ll be able to gather up your other property while your battery bag is checked.

4. Cooperate with all questions by the screening agent as the battery bag as it’s checked. The screening agent is just doing his/her job and cooperation will get you to that overpriced, half-cooked airport food that much quicker. Once on the plane, keep your gear close to you.

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Ship your batteries

For those who are prepared well in advance, you may want to consider shipping your batteries via ground transportation to an end location. (Note: Make sure your shipping box is properly labeled with the hazardous battery label.) Perhaps you have a friend in California traveling to the event by car. Ask if you can ship your batteries to him/her while you travel by plane. If you are staying at a hotel nearby Cisco Grove, ship the batteries to the hotel address and make them aware there is a package arriving for your stay. As a last resort some have shipped their gear directly to the Cisco Grove management office to hold for their arrival. We ask that you leave this as an absolute last resort as the Cisco Grove crew is pretty swamped with tasks for the event.

Be Safe

It all comes down to using common sense to be safe with your LiPo batteries. We’ve all seen videos or heard stories of fires or released gases from a LiPo battery. There is a danger element to them so they should be handled with care at all times. Following the tips listed above should help you transport your packs safely from point A to B and even properly store them when not in use. Travel safe and we’ll see you at Axialfest!

DISCLAIMER: Axial Racing and the author are not responsible for any incidents in relation to the information given above. The information given is only a tool for assistance. Proper use and transport of any type of battery is the sole responsibility of the property owner.

Battlegrounds II

Battlegrounds II
By: Jeremy Fielder

After a one year absence, BattleGrounds returned to the competition circuit this past May, better than ever. The event was hosted by Tri-StateCrawlers, and held at Oakes Quarry Park which is located within the City of Fairborn, Ohio. The biggest news about BattleGrounds this year is not only was it back for more carnage, it also was in the form of being an Official USRCCA Sanctioned event qualifier. Event organizer Jeremy Fielder also enlisted the help of members from CentralKYCrawlers as well as members from SIRCC to help marshal and judge the event over the next 2 action packed days.

With the dedication of all 3 clubs, as well as Axial being an event sponsor, the event was a massive success. 90 registered drivers from 13 states jumped aboard to try their skills at shooting for that coveted top podium platform, as well as the Nationals invite. Mother Nature had other plans it seemed, dumping a very large amount of rain the Friday before the comp, and lasting well into the night. In light of this, the rain slightly affected attendance and did keep some drivers home for the weekend.

Saturday morning started off promptly at 7:00 am with everybody driving into the park and setting up their pit areas. People began charging batteries, tightening screws and coming up to the main tent for driver sign in and tech. After all the drivers had signed up, it was 8:00am and time for TwistedCreations to call for the drivers meeting. Once the meeting was over, all 4 courses for Saturday were opened and as Brian Parker says “It’s time to DO WORK Drivers!”

The event ran the free-crawl format, and it was the drivers’ responsibility to run all 4 courses in the allotted timeframe. The judges tried to keep things moving as fast as possible, but the courses were tougher than the BG staff had expected, due to the rain the night before. As the day went on though, the courses began to dry out and drivers were continuing to battle for those top 20 spots that transferred over to Sunday’s courses. The courses had closed with all drivers finished running by 5:00pm, then, the scores were tallied up. Going into Sunday’s event, Mike “rockshow” Rosenthal had a healthy, yet not unreachable, point lead over the competitors.

The top 5 going into Sunday were:

Mike Rosenthal “rockshow” – 26 points
Andy Zuber “CRSmacgyver” – 56 points
Nick Justice “BTF” – 57 points
Joe DuRard “joesbruiser” – 60 points
Doug Johnson “djohn” – 73 points

Bright and early Sunday morning, the top 20 drivers came back with their game faces on and ready to battle the last 3 courses. Since the weather had really cooperated and dried things up, it was time to kick the difficulty up on the courses. The rocks were bigger and the holes were deeper, so tire placement really mattered, or it would cost the driver the chance of a top 5 finish. With the event running so smooth and only having 20 drivers, all competitors were finished by 12:00pm and were ready for the announcement of the top 5 finalists who would have a shot at attempting the finals course. During the course of the day, Jeff Morgan “nitrojeff” had managed to drive himself into the top 5 by squeaking by Doug Johnson “djohn”.

The finals course had been isolated with caution tape since Friday afternoon, so nobody had laid eyes on what was in mind for this course. Finally, the course was revealed. The drivers were amazed at what had been laid out, and tried their best to tame the beast, but all fell just short. Joe DuRard was the closest, as he did make it up to the threshold of gate 10 and pointed out. Mike Rosenthal put on an equally impressive show, but points only allowed him to progress just past gate 7. Meanwhile, the 3 other drivers (Andy Zuber, Nick Justice, and Jeff Morgan) had either pointed or timed out on gate one, which was placed on top of a 10 foot vertical. When it was all said and done, and the dust settled, we had our top 5 set in stone. All that were involved in this event, be it driver or judge, had an amazing weekend of crawling and camaraderie. With BattleGrounds 2010 officially in the record books, planning for 2011 has already commenced.

Overall Top 5 Scores

Mike Rosenthal – 96 points
Joe DuRard – 97 points
Nick Justice – 149 points
Andy Zuber – 169 points
Jeff Morgan – 182 points

The highlights:

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See you next year!!

Convert Your AX10 to an SCX10

I decided to see how hard it would be to convert an AX10 to an SCX10. The transformation was relatively simple by just changing out some hardware here and there. Most of the stock AX10 M3 hardware can be used in the conversion to the more realistic SCX10 chassis. But, you will need to purchase a few screws and some new links depending on the direction you go and the wheelbase you are looking for. You can also make your own links as well. I decided to use Axial’s new Trail Ranger body (Part #AX4009) for this build which has about an 11 5/8″ wheelbase. It’s important to decide what body you want to use before you get too far into the build. That way you can set your wheelbase and link lengths accordingly.

Getting started:
First thing I did was assemble the SCX10 frame. Start by bolting all the plastic cross members to one chassis rail then bolt the 2nd chassis rail up after that. I installed the battery tray out front to keep as much weight on the front wheels as possible. This will help when climbing steep obstacles.

SCX10 Chassis
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Optional front battery mount
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The Tear Down:
Start by removing the axles, transmission and links from the AX10 kit. I usually keep a bowl or small parts tray handy to drop all the hardware in as I remove it from the various components. This will help keep your hardware in one place instead of it being scattered around your workbench.

Here’s what I started with, a fairly bone stock AX10 kit.
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Transmission:
Installing the transmission was the first step in the conversion process. You can use the 2 long stock transmission screws in the holes closest to the right chassis rail, looking at the chassis from the back end. But, you’ll need longer screws for the holes near the center of the skid plate. I used M3X12 screws (Part #AXA146) for this.
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Rear Axle:
In order to maintain a relatively scale look to this build I installed a set of straight axles (Part #AX30421) out back with Axial’s plastic lockouts (Part #AX80020).
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Remove the aluminum hexes, knuckles, outer axles, short tie rods, C hubs, and inner axles. Make sure you take the bearing out of the ends of the axle housing too, these bearings will now be installed into the ends of the plastic lockouts.
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Now slide the new longer straight axles into the housing making sure the flats of the axles seat properly into the locker. Drop the bearings you removed earlier into the ends of the lockouts, and install the lockouts onto the axle housing. If you try to use the M3X8 screws you removed from the stock C hubs in the lockouts they’ll hit the inner straight axles because they are a bit too long. I had to use shorter M3X6 screws (Part #AXA863) to remedy this problem.
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Front Axle:
I decided to go with grey links throughout on this build, instead of the standard Axial green. I picked up the short steering link in grey (Part #AX30517), and the longer steering tie rod in grey (Part #AX30516) as well. Start by removing the upper 3 link mount from the axle housing, and remove the steering links too if you decide to change them out like I did.
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Install the old rod ends onto the new steering links, and bolt them back up to the front axle.
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Lower Links:
Now remove all the rod ends from the old lower links. I decided to go with two packages of grey 98mm lower links (Part #AX30518) on this build because the wheelbase on the Trail Ranger body is slightly longer then the stock SCX10 body which uses 91mm lower links.
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Using the supplied hardware that comes with the SCX10 chassis kit install the lower links to the chassis and axles. Then install the upper links as well. I used the grey 65mm threaded posts (Part #AXA1430) as upper links. I also had to use some small grey 6mm spacers (Part #AXA1418) at the upper 3 link mount on the axle to adjust the pinion and caster angles correctly. They come with 6 in each package, the remaining 4 can be used as upper shock mount spacers to move the top of the shocks away from the plastic shock hoops. I used the stock upper 3 link screws that tie the upper links to the chassis in the plastic 3 link connector on the axle side. Because of the extra 6mm spacers used, you’ll need longer screws for that now.
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Shocks:
I grabbed a set of our scale shocks (Part #AX30090) and installed them onto the axles and chassis next, using the 6mm grey spacers on all 4 upper shock mounts. I used M3X18 Binder head screws (Part #AXA668) for the upper shock mounts on the chassis.
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Tires, wheels and body:
I swapped the stock green AX10 rock rings out on the Rockster wheels for the gun metal colored rings (Part #AX8112). if you are converting an RTR you already have these beadlock rings as standard equipment. Then dropped the body posts into their mounts with the supplied body clips and set the orange Trail Ranger body I painted up in place until I get a chance to paint another TR body specifically for this build. As you can see the conversion is fairly simple and it’s an easy way to get a more realistic/scale appearance out of your AX10.
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For a more scale appearance you can also go with Axial’s 1.9 beadlock wheels and Pro-Line 1.9 Flatiron tires.
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Part Numbers Used for Conversion:
SCX10 Chassis Kit AX30525
Trail Ranger Body AX4009
Rear Axle Lockouts AX80020
Rear Straight Axles AX30421
Short Steering Links AX30517
Long Steering Tie Rod AX30516
Scale Shocks AX30090 (X2)
98mm Grey Lower Links AX30518 (X2)
65mm Grey Upper Links AXA1430 (X2)
6mm Grey Spacers AXA1418
M3X12 Screws AXA146
M3X18 Screws AXA668
M3X6 Screws AXA863
Gun Metal 2.2 Beadlock Rings AX8112 (X4)

Budget RTC Build

We received the first few RTC kits here at the Axial warehouse a couple days ago. I snatched one up as soon as they hit the floor out back. I drove it for a couple packs in bone stock form, and it works very well. But, I decided to make a few basic mods to see how capable I can make it, while keeping the money spent down to a bare minimum.

First up…………a few pics of the new box. Our marketing department even included a list with all our hop-up parts on the bottom.
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Here’s a couple pics of the RTC straight out of the box.
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Here’s a few tips on converting Axial’s new RTC rig into the most capable crawler possible on a tight budget. Some of the best mods can be done for little to no money. First off you’ll want to drill a couple breather holes in each wheel at 180* from each other. This will let the tires wrap around obstacles better. I used a body reamer to poke the holes in the wheels. Open them up so they measure about an 1/8″ in diameter. I drill the holes as close as possible to the inner bead seats. Because I’m also going to add a little weight to each wheel for better traction and stability. And I don’t want the weights to block the breather holes.
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Now you’ll want to remove the tires from the wheels to add weight. I use standard 1:1 wheel weights for balancing real car tires. These can usually be found at your local tire shop. I’m going to add about 7 1/2 ounces to each front wheel, and about 4 1/2 ounces to each rear wheel. This will help the suspension cycle better as well as keep weight down low for a better center of gravity. The lower you can keep the bulk of your rigs weight, the better off you’ll be on steep climbs, descents and off camber situations. Again, just make sure you don’t block the breather holes you drilled in the previous step with the wheel weights.

Front
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Rear
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Next, I installed the included clear lexan upper link plate on the front links. This will be where I place my 2 cell 1100mah MaxAmps lipo battery. For those that aren’t ready for lipos a standard flat 6 cell 2/3A battery pack should fit as well. I also switched out the stock Tamiya battery connector for a male Deans plug to match my battery.
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Another option for mounting batteries is taking the stock standard 6 cell stick pack hook and loop straps that come with the kit and mount them on the front axle for 2/3A split packs which will lower your center of gravity even more. Just poke a couple holes with a punch through the straps, and run some short M3 screws through the holes into the axle housing.
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Next thing I want to do is called siping the tires. The Pro-Line Hammer tires work good in stock form. But, cutting a little tread out of them will help the rig stay planted in off-camber situations. You can do this a few ways. One is using a couple cut-off wheels stacked back to back on a Dremel, but that gets very messy in a hurry. I personally prefer to use nice sharp wire cutters to cut sections of lug out of each tread block.
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Here you can see I cut about an 1/8″ out of the solid lateral lugs on the right, compared to the stock lugs on the left. Now, I will go ahead and notch all the solid lugs on all 4 tires to match.
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That’s pretty much it for now. I’m going to try and get a video shot/edited with these few modifications done asap. I’ll get it posted here as soon as it’s finished. These few mods should really take this RTC to the next level as far as performance goes, without breaking the bank.