Category - R/C

Dromida BX4.18 Buggy – It All Starts Here!

 

pagebreakBX 4.18  B U G G Y

I just completed a test review of the SC4.18BL and DB4.18BL SPEED Series vehicles for Dromida where I concluded,

“The Dromida Speed Series draws a lot of attention, they are impressively fast, agile and easy to drive.  They are novice-friendly and highly upgradable.  And they are absolutely a racing option”.

Fast forward a couple weeks–  I became more interested in pursuing more of what the Dromida line-up had to offer, and really wanted to see whether the BX4.18 brushed buggies had a shot on the track.  I had a fever and the great big wonderful brown truck delivered the medicine just a few short days later.

The BX4.18 is Ready-To-Run (RTR) and requires nothing except patience.  The included 6-Cell 7.4v 1300mAh NiMH battery and accompanying charger required ~5 hours to complete it’s first charge.  Fortunately, subsequent charges are much faster, but I will recommend you consider multiple battery packs, or a good charger, or get both.  In fact, the batteries are only $18 so buy a few of them, you’ll thank me later.

Dromida offers a nice variety with their lineup, and the buggy should be everything I’ve already experienced at the track, but better.  While the BX4.18 buggy can do what the others can do and go were they can go, I’m mostly interested in these for the track.

BX4.18 RTR BuggyLength: 10.2 in (260 mm)
Width: 7.2 in (182 mm)
Height: 3.9 in (100 mm)
Weight w/battery: 1.29 lb (589 g)
Requires: nothing
DROMIDA BX4.18 BUGGY
  • Fully assembled vehicle
  • Finished body
  • Factory-installed motor, steering servo & receiver/speed control
  • 2.4GHz radio system with trims, steering dual rates & throttle dual rates
  • 6-cell, 1300mAh NiMH battery
  • AC charger & charge monitor
  • 4 AA radio batteries
  • Retail Price $99.99
DSC_3049

pagebreakT H E   B U G G Y

ELECTRONICS – There is a 2-in-1 unit which includes both the ESC and receiver, while keeping the steering servo separate– a feature found on larger scale r/c.  Included with the steering servo is a robust servo savor to protect those servo gears.  It works well in this configuration, though no programming options are available.

Included with the Brushless Dromida Speed series vehicle is a 1300mAh NiMH 6-cell battery, AC charger and charge monitor.  The charge monitor has 2 lights; one is an always on green indicator and one is an on/off red charging light. The manual suggests 4.5-6.5 hours for the charging process, and in this case I found that to be accurate for the first charge.  Subsequent charges much faster, yet still more than 1 1/2 hours.  However, after the experience with the chargers from the SC4.18 and DB4.18, I decided to use my Onyx 235 charger going forward so I can control the charge parameters.  That’s proven to be a sanity saving idea while at the track.

 

STEERING SERVO – It can be difficult to find a 1/18 RTR with a good, hardy steering servo.  Dromida understand’s that while this is a beginner vehicle, it’s also capable of being upgraded and raced.  An independent steering servo with a robust servo saver is a feature that makes racing these a real option.  Apart from the orientation, it’s the same servo the Brushless Speed Series uses.

The steering servo does nice job holding strong when going straight and returns to center nicely.  I didn’t feel as though I had to help it get back to neutral all that often, terrain depending.

 

TRANSMITTER – The D100 comes equipped with the basic features you’d expect for this type of vehicle.  Under the cover on top of the transmitter you’ll find two battery indicator’s to help you identify when the battery’s are both full and when they’re low.

Also under the cover is the on/off switch and steering and servo reversing switches, along with dual-rates for both.  Steering and throttle trim are on the front next to the wheel.  The antenna is a short, static, hard plastic shell.  And the steering wheel is modeled after a real vehicle wheel with foam.

The D100 is light, if not a bit bulky, but comfortable to hold and balanced well.  The trigger is not adjustable, but is positioned well and has a light spring, which I like.  Finally, it comes with the four “AA” batteries required, which is a nice touch on a “RTR” vehicle.

 

CHASSIS & DRIVETRAIN – The chassis is solid plastic, and all the components making up the drivetrain are plastic as well.  This is one way Dromida’s stays at its price point and able to be a beginner’s option.  This doesn’t equate to cheap.  On the contrary, these vehicles are intentionally constructed well, and ready for all the upgrade options available.

Included are fully adjustable oil filled, big-bore shocks that provide nice damping to hit the bigger jumps.  The differential’s, pinion and spur gears are all plastic and the power is sent to the wheels with a plastic drive-shaft as well.  A full set of ball-bearings keep things moving smoothly and efficiently.  And the motor mount is adjustable to accept different pinion gears for different surfaces.

This buggy is begging for the aluminum upgrades.

 

 

pagebreakT H E   T R A C K

Clocked at 22mph, these brushed buggies were obviously slower than the brushless versions previously reviewed but still fast for their size.  The speed difference isn’t too noticeable when driving around the parking lot or bashing off-road.  However, the separation of speed becomes a little more obvious at the track.

I armed my young Son with one buggy while I grabbed the other and we headed to the outside track at Battle Front RC.  The ESC factory setup has a good feel, jumps became fairly predictable with a little practice, and correction in the air is absolutely part of the equation.  There’s not much drama surrounding the buggy as it handles very well;  despite a dry and dusty track that night, the buggies got around better than expected.

Every track is different, but I found it more difficult to fly the bigger jumps outside without the brushless power propelling the car forward.  And while I could catch a few whoops, I wasn’t able to drive the buggies through them with any sort of rhythm.  Indoors was a little different as the whoops are closer together and every bit attainable with the brushed setup.  Difficult, but attainable.

In my first Dromida review, I came to the conclusion the SC was very capable of racing and think it would be fun to have an SC class created at my track.  However, I believe the greatest potential to tear up the track is with the BX buggy.  I’ve been eyeing those upgrades and may just have to see what I can do to turn these brushed buggies into all out racing machines.

pagebreakFINAL LAP

$99.99!  That’s the price of admission.  Why would anyone consider a toy-grade r/c vehicle ever again for nearly the same price?  These buggies, all the Dromida 4.18’s, are priced right.  All you have to do is dial down the Dual Rates by 50% or even 75% and put the transmitter in the hands of a 3 year old around the family room, in the garage or on the driveway.  As the child grows and learns, keep increasing the rates.  In the mean time, dial it up to 10 and have fun yourself!

I’m a fan of small scale r/c and find the Dromida BX4.18 buggies are tough to beat.  I have no hesitation in recommending these to anyone.

 

LaTrax SST – 600hp and 130mph, what resembles what?

 

 

S U P E R  S T A D I U M  T R U C K

 

Super Stadium TrucksSPEED Energy Formula Off-Road Presented by TRAXXAS features identically prepared high-horsepower trucks made to resemble their scaled-down Traxxas radio-control-car counterparts. The versatile off-road trucks race on virtually any surface, and in 2014 will be featured at IndyCar venues, X Games Austin and other large events that will expose the great sport of off-road racing to the masses.

Like their Traxxas namesake the trucks are designed to take flight. However, unlike RC trucks, they produce 600 horsepower generating speeds upwards of 130 miles per hour. Races feature man-made ramps set up in strategic locations throughout each course which allow the trucks to fly through the air nearly 20 feet off the ground and hundreds of feet down course. [source]

Unlike it’s full scale counterpart, the 1/18 LaTrax SST is built for any age or skill and designed to be durable and quick around the track.  It comes fully assembled, painted, and Ready-To-Race with the included 6-cell 7.2V NiMH battery pack and 2amp DC charger. Everything you need is included in the package.

Equipped with All-Weather electronics, the LaTrax SST is designed to be an all purpose vehicle built for racing, bashing, snow, rain, puddles and of course mud.  Initial inspection reveals a simple and familiar layout; I see before me a truck ready for some thrashing.

Preparing the SST for battle is simply a matter of unpacking everything, plugging in the 7.2V 6-cell NiMH battery and waiting for a full charge.  You will need a a 12-volt automotive auxiliary power supply, which I find moderately inconvenient and would highly recommend the $24.95 AC to DC converter.

It seems the kid in me always wants to pull the trigger on the throttle as soon as it’s out of the box, so I did.  Cruising around the house, it was immediately obvious the body was rubbing against the tires.  Adjusting the body mounts did nothing to eliminate the rubbing, and it appeared to be only the back fender’s so I went to work on the body while the battery was charging.

T R A N S M I T T E R – The transmitter is basic, offering adjustment limited to steering trim.  It’s also one of the more well-balanced and comfortable RTR transmitter’s I’ve driven; the steering wheel grip is a comfortable foam and the wheel has a balanced tension I like.  My thumb rests comfortably on the shaped handle and my index finger reaches full reverse without needing to adjust my grip to reach.  The trigger spring is more firm than I prefer, and its action isn’t as smooth as other RTR I’ve used, but that’s a minor distraction in an otherwise enjoyable transmitter.

E S C – On the top of the transmitter is also a set button for the patent-pending all-weather designed ESC.  3 different throttle modes are selectable: Sport, Race or Training.  Through a series of blinks, the ESC can be programmed to run at 50% for beginners, without reverse for racing or with reverse for the full experience.  And while it’s advertised as all-weather, there are specific warnings about it not being submersible or 100% waterproof.

Built-in two-stage low-voltage detection for LiPo batteries is an included feature, so longer run times and more performance is available.  That also means there is thermal shutdown protection.

D R I V E T R A I N  &  C H A S S I S – The SST is a fiber-composite, full ball bearing, shaft-driven, full-time 4wd vehicle.  Impressively, the driveshaft is steel, as are the front and rear differentials, ring and pinion gears.  While usually reserved for the upgrade list, LaTrax saw fit to include these as standard.

Having all that steel means nothing if you don’t have the high-torque strength and precision of the bell-crank sub-micro steering servo installed on this machine.  Combined with a small but heavy spring servo-savor and fully adjustable oil-filled independent suspension, the SST is a point and shoot missile seeking your intended path with precision.

 T E S T  D R I V E

I have a level of expectation based on my pre-drive inspection that could be considered unfair at this price point, but given the hype surround this vehicle I don’t think it’s unwarranted.  The SST presents itself as durable, has a picture of Robby Gordon on the box, and everything about it says this is the same as the full-scale version, just smaller.  That elevates my expectation.

The first test was the outdoor track at Battle Front RC.  Despite the Brushed 370 motor not putting out as much power as I would like for this track, the SST just didn’t care and pushed on.  When this track dries out it starts getting dusty and slippery, but the SST didn’t care and handled it wonderfully.  The 4wd and independent suspension, along with the high-torque steering servo kept it moving around the track without many complaints.

The SST doesn’t quite have the top speed to clear some of the jumps or move smoothly through the whoops of a track designed for 1/8th vehicles, but with a little practice it is a lot of fun to race.  The suspension is so compliant, both in the jumps and around the corners.

Given a long and straight enough setup to the jump, it will launch brilliantly and land on the downside; it would be a beast on brushless and LiPo.  I am impressed how smooth it is around the outdoor track, soaking up the bumps and random debris.  And the battery life is substantial– lap after lap it just kept going strong and lasted much longer than I expected.

The indoor track, which is smaller and more compliant to this scale r/c, was next.  As much as I enjoyed this on the outside track, I enjoyed it all the more inside.  It was almost as if the indoor track was made for the SST, and I just couldn’t get enough.

Off the track and on to bashing.  High speed passes on pavement saw a top speed of 23mph as recorded by the radar gun. It handles nicely on pavement and is very controllable through power slide stops, drifts and the oh-so-fun J-Turn (rockford) maneuver.

It is tall enough to handle some short grass driving, but it’s not where it’s going to spend much time.  Sand, dirt roads and two-tracks, puddles and mud are where I drive this and you will too.  I just don’t have many complaints here either.  Point the SST where you want to go, on whatever surface you choose, and it will make you smile more often than not.

F I N I S H  L I N E

At $149.99, The LaTrax SST is right there with its competition.  However, it’s a truck with a very fair value given the more durable steel components included.  I also appreciate the scale connection, which makes it even more enjoyable to me.

There are a few upgrade parts you can choose, like some aluminum driveline components and suspension, otherwise it’s all included in the stock package.  Being brushed, it’s not the fastest 1/18th I’ve driven, but it is a complete package with which I find difficult to find fault.

Through all the torture, not one thing has yet to break.  I did notice a slight tendency to land on one side verses the other.  It slightly favor’s the battery side when the suspension compresses on landing, but otherwise is balanced nicely front to rear.  And quite frankly, I can’t say it affected the jumps.

I’m a fan of the LaTrax SST– It’s tough, has scale realism, it’s 4wd and has a list of upgraded parts already included.  What’s not to like?

 

 

 

 

Traxxas
6250 Traxxas Way
McKinney, TX 75070, USA

1-888-TRAXXAS
https://traxxas.com

Dromida 4.18BL Brushless SPEED Series – Rule The Wild Country Right Now

D R O M I D A  4.18BL
SPEED SERIES
BY NATHAN MAAT  |  PRODUCT TEST

Dromida was the subject of conversation earlier this month on RCTech’s homepage.  The topic surrounded itself around the idea that everyone started somewhere in r/c, and in many cases when the person is quite young.  Moving from toy-grade to a hobby-grade r/c vehicle can be a difficult choice, given the range of products and prices in the marketplace.  Finding one that is durable and has the ability to grow with the new driver’s skill’s, at an affordable price, is usually the objective.

Dromida set it’s sights on being a quality, durable, entry-level hobby-grade r/c company, and I’ve learned they are definitely high on the list for this purpose.  However, they’ve also managed to position the brand as a fun, inexpensive racing alternative.  Club-level racer’s have started gravitating to this brand and 1/18th scale, creating new Dromida race series.

I find it interesting that Dromida consider’s their vehicle’s a beginner’s option, while appealing to the club-racer’s who in-turn have created a new series.  I look forward to exploring that more in the coming weeks.

The product lineup is simple to understand with 5 choices of 4wd vehicles in both Brushed and Brushless options:

Take those model names and add “BL” to the end and you have what we are discussing during this product test, the DB4.18BL and SC4.18BL, two of the Brushless Speed Series vehicles.

 

T H E  T R U C K

There are differences between these two vehicle’s, but they pretty much share the chassis and suspension.  It’s the body, lights and spare wheel and bumper’s on the DB4.18BL that separate it from its the Short Course counterpart.

The lights on top of the DB are sufficiently integrated into the body and include 4 LED’s.  They are incredibly bright and pretty cool for indoor use.  They don’t provide much driving light outside, so as the DB gets further away from you orientation can be a bit tricky if it’s dark.

Electronics

The ESC setup and programming is extremely simple, and the instructions are precisely confined to one page.  The ESC has everything you’d expect at this level.  For LiPo’s it offers low voltage cutoff, and it can be shut off for NiMH.

Programming includes: Running Mode with and without reverse, Drag brake force from 0-40%, LVC for 2.6v-3.4v LiPo’s, Punch Mode and Max Brake Force from soft to very aggressive.

To program the ESC, hold the set button and let it blink 1-5 times depending on what you want to adjust.  Press the set button again and wait again for the LED blinks.  Shut the ESC off to complete programming.  The one-sheet programming guide makes this VERY simple.

Included with the Brushless Dromida Speed series vehicle is a 1300mAh NiMH 6-cell battery, AC charger and charge monitor.

The charge monitor has 2 lights; one is an always on green indicator and one is an on/off red charging light. The manual suggests 4.5-6.5 hours for the charging process, yet I found it took about 1 hour between charges.  At some point during the testing however, one charger stopped correctly indicating a complete charge.

 

 

I swapped batteries on the charger in question throughout testing, and each time one monitor would indicate a complete charge while the other didn’t.  The subsequent run times would be about equal, regardless of the vehicle or battery, so the batteries are fine.  The charger in question still charges the batteries fine, but would need to be replaced for the best results.

The Brushless Speed Series is also 2S LiPo compatible, which I do believe will help push these up and perhaps beyond that 30mph range.

 

 

 

 

D100 2-Channel 2.4GHz Pistol Radio

The D100 comes equipped with the basic features you’d expect for this type of vehicle.  Under the cover on top of the transmitter you’ll find two battery indicator’s to help you identify when the battery’s are both full and when they’re low.

Also under the cover is the on/off switch and steering and servo reversing switches, along with dual-rates for both.  Steering and throttle trim are on the front next to the wheel.  The antenna is a short, static, hard plastic shell.  And the steering wheel is modeled after a real vehicle wheel with foam.

The D100 is light, if not a bit bulky, but comfortable to hold and balanced well.  The trigger is not adjustable, but is positioned well and has a light spring, which I like.  Finally, it comes with the four “AA” batteries required, which is a nice touch on a “RTR” vehicle.

Steering Servo

It can be difficult to find a 1/18 RTR with a good, hardy steering servo.  Dromida understand’s that while this is a beginner vehicle, it’s also capable of racing.  An independent steering servo with a robust servo saver is a feature that makes racing these a real option.

The steering servo does nice job holding strong when going straight and returns to center nicely.  I didn’t feel as though I had to help it get back to neutral all that often, terrain depending.  It struggles a bit on grassy surfaces, but did quite well on the track.

Chassis and Drivetrain

The chassis is a solid plastic, and all the components making up the drivetrain are plastic as well.  This is one way Dromida’s stays at its price point and able to be a beginner’s option.  This doesn’t equate to cheap.  On the contrary, these vehicles are intentionally constructed well, and ready for all the upgrade options available.

Included are fully adjustable oil filled, big-bore shocks that provide nice damping to hit the bigger jumps.  The differentials, pinion and spur gears are all plastic and the power is sent to the wheels with a plastic drive-shaft as well.  A full set of ball-bearings keep things moving smoothly and efficiently.  And the motor mount is adjustable to accept different pinion gears for different surfaces.

All these things combined keep the price very competitive, without sacrificing much.  And for the long haul, aluminum upgrade kits or parts are made available so you can enjoy these vehicles for years to come.

 

 T E S T  D R I V E

I keep saying this is a beginner’s vehicle, and I just so happen to have a young man in my life willing to drive them to his limits and probably theirs.  He’s 8, he’s my son, and while he’s pretty handy with a transmitter in his hand’s he also has a lot to learn at the track.  I figured it was appropriate to feature his driving in the video, so apart from racing together, he is your test driver for this review.

He and I spent several hours driving the Dromida’s both on and off the track.  At our local track, the Dromida’s were a conversation piece, sparking several questions; Once the driver’s saw the potential behind the brushless setup, the idea of creating a series behind these vehicles was hatched.  Maybe that happens and maybe it doesn’t, but it’s the fact these vehicles have racing potential for very little money that makes it an intriguing idea– I’d like to explore that more.

The outside track is where we started our testing.  Essentially these vehicles are the same, yet there are enough differences to make them look different but also drive differently.  The DB feels lighter and more agile than the SC; cornering is precise on both vehicles thanks to the responsiveness of the steering servo, but they handle jumps differently.

The brake drag is set to 0% on both vehicles, and I don’t imagine a situation where a driver would want to dial in more.  Coming into a jump at speed with the DB will force you to keep the throttle engaged as the nose tends to dive more than I would have expected given the rear tire placement.  I can’t think of one occasion where it was appropriate to stab the brake through a jump as the DB seems to always like throttle through the jumps.

The SC on the other hand felt better balanced through the jumps, and more controllable.  When the timing is right, bringing the throttle back to neutral during high speed jumps kept the truck happy.  Neither vehicle get huge air, so reaction time needs to be quick in getting a stab of the throttle or brake, but it’s more available on the SC than the DB.

I am fortunate that Battle Front RC has both an outdoor and indoor race track along with an indoor dirt oval.  It makes for some really good overall testing for vehicles like these.  The dirt oval was available, so we spent a little time there first.  As you might expect, the tire’s aren’t exactly ideal for a dirt oval, but it was still fun.  Easing into full throttle out of the corner’s into the straight was attainable, and no brakes were needed even with 0% brake drag.  It doesn’t appear one vehicle has an advantage over the other here.

Next, the indoor track.  We took turns driving both the SC and DB through a few battery packs, and everything we learned outside was consistently true inside as well– the SC is our preferred weapon around a track between these two vehicles.

Bashing these are equally as fun as bringing them to the track.  Obviously grass is your enemy, but you’ll see in the video it’s not completely out of the question.  The 4wd does fantastic in sand and over pretty rough terrain.  They’re also quite handy on the pavement, I could easily envision parking lot races.

F I N A L  L A P

There’s a lot more to like about the Dromida Brushless Speed Series vehicles than there is to not like.  Coming in at $149.99, these are a bargain.  I believe they are race-able out of the box, but Dromida also has a full list of upgrades including: aluminum shocks and towers, drive shaft, dogbones, axles, pinions and spur gear.  For a little extra money you can really dial in a Dromida and wring out all the performance possible.

I had a small issue with the DB, and it’s based on how the front bumper is connected to the differential housing.  The DB took several hits to the bumper at the track, and it caused the connecting screws to come loose.

The problem is these screws also secure part of the differential housing, as it’s all connected.  That opened the door to a lot of dirt and sand to enter and ended our day of racing.

I took the whole thing apart, cleaned it and was was able to secure it back in place.  I’m hopeful it’s going to continue holding through more troubled landings, but my confidence isn’t high.  Alternatively, the SC took equally as punishing hits and tumbles and we had no issues.

It’s an unfortunate blemish on otherwise stellar experience while testing both these vehicles.  The Dromida Speed Series draws a lot of attention, they are impressively fast, agile and easy to drive.  They are novice-friendly and highly upgradable.  And they are absolutely a racing option.