RC Cars

RC Car Project - Tamiya TL01

11 April 2010 - The Tamiya TL01 was a very cheap and popular toy r/c car in the 1999. I wondered, how competitive is this car against the latest radio controlled racing cars such as the Tamiya 416, Hotbodies Cyclone, etc in the highly competitive 13.5T brushless TC class.

First I found a second hand TL01 for sale in the forums. And for around $45 USD I could not resist buying it.

A used Tamiya TL-01 rc car

Photo: Here is what I bought as is... a Tamiya TL01 beginner rc car.

To build my Project TL-01 rc car, I decided to completely disassemble the car, check the parts and rebuilt it myself. Was happy to find out this cheap second hand car was in very good condition.

RC car parts of the Tamiya TL-01

Photo: The r/c car parts of the Tamiya TL-01.

Next is to built it properly to make sure it is durable and slop is removed. Make sure the shock absorbers are equal lengths, weight balance left to right and front to back is good, etc. There is a big performance difference between a rushly built r/c car versus a radio control car that was built meticuously with precision.

Radio control car Tamiya TL01

Photo: Finished product. Tamiya TL01 with a Novak GTB ESC, Team Powers 13.5T brushless motor and Orion 4000/25c Lipo battery.

The first race for this "toy" car was on 10 April 2010. I also brought my Tamiya 416 to run back to back to notice the performance difference between an old TL01 and the latest racing machine from Tamiya.

Tamiya TL01 and 416 RC Cars

Photo: Tamiya TL01 (left) and Tamiya 416 (right) electric on-road racing cars.

I was very happy when I put the car on track, it handled well, and I did not have to change the setup. On this day, I decide the TL01 felt better than my 416!

It was not just feel. I managed to qualify 5th in the Amain with the Tamiya TL01 and was very competitive in the triple A-mains. Below is a video of the first A-main.

So for Stage 2, I will take the electronics from my 416 and transfer it to the TL01. With better electronics (e.g. esc, servo, battery) I think the TL01 will go even faster!

15 April 2010 - Tamiya TL01 Stage 2 Tuning

To add power, I enlarged the chassis battery slot to accept a more powerful 5000mah/30c LIPO battery. I also put in a Nosram Stock Spec ESC which has a more aggressive profile and better brakes than the old Novak GTB.

Project Tamiya TL01 RC Car Chassis

To improve steering response, especially on the chicanes, I replaced the stock Futaba 3003 with a Futaba 9550 high speed low profile servo.

Tamiya TL01 RC Car with Brushlees Motor

17 April 2010 - Club race had about 18 TC racers. The Stage 2 TL01 felt faster but sadly the lap times were a tick slower than the last race. The only main difference I could see is the motor and will revert back to the Team Powers 13.5T for the next race.

Anyways the car qualified 3rd in the B-main and improved by winning the B-main with a 2nd - 1rst - 2nd finish. Maybe it was my driving for the day that was slower and not the car.

Though it had a fast lap of around 14.15 sec compared to 14.28 the prior week so it is still an improvement. But I need to drop this time to around 13.5 sec to at least make the A-main with consistency. Top racers are running at around 13.0 sec / lap. 

Tips learned:

  1. Recheck ESC power profile setting. Mine went back to profile 3 when I thought I was running profile 8.
  2. Try a little negative forward throttle expo, around -20% to smoothen acceleration and make driving more consistent.
  3. Longer and harder front springs made the car better balanced. I could now reduce the -45 steering expo to around -25.
  4. Charging at higher amp rate does improve LIPO power noticeably.

To be continued...

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