11-07-2005, 01:37 AM
Since we are smack dab in the middle of winter, I get a lot of questions about waterproofing an RC car or truck. It's a good idea to do it as it can save your electronics from getting fried when water gets in them.
But there are also other things to consider, mostly for those that run nitro vehicles. You not only want to protect your car or truck from water if you run in the winter, but fuel itself can damage your electronics, even in the summer. Spill fuel on your receiver enough times and you can be sure you'll have problems at some point.
So this article is not just for waterproofing your car or truck in the winter, but is something you should do all of the time if you run any type of nitro vehicles. Yes, even the servos should be protected, they are not sealed enough to prevent fuel or water from getting at the innards and trashing them.
The easiest and least expensive way to do it is using common balloons. Just head down to your local Wal-Mart or K-Mart and pick up a bag of 9" round balloons. The only ones I could find when writing this article had Happy Birthday on them... no problem, just turn them inside out. A bag of 15 cost me $1.79 and is enough to 4 vehicles and still have a few left over in case you ruin some.
Stretch the balloon with your hands to relax the rubber in the balloon. This will make it easier to stretch the balloon over your servo or receiver.
11-07-2005, 01:39 AM
Pick out a color for your balloon cover that you like. I use different colors for each servo and the receiver. I like to have color on the chassis and this is a good way to make yours stand out. You may want to have matching colors and we all know that blue is faster then any other color... :)
Carefully stretch the balloon over the servo (or receiver) slowly working from the end that doesn't have the wire sticking our of it. It can be tough to get the balloon over the servo but if you stretched the balloon before you started, it makes it easier.
Work it over the servo little by little. Take your time or you can break the balloon. Once you have done a couple of them you will get the hang of it and each one will become easier to do. If you do happen to break one of the balloons, don't worry as they are inexpensive and you have a bag full of them.
Once you have the balloon completely over the servo, the wires should be sticking out of the balloon as shown. You now need to punch a hole where the servo shaft is with a pin. Once you have the hole you can easily work it around the servo shaft so it sticks out of the balloon. Do not make this hole very big, just use a pin to make it. By stretching it out over the shaft you make a nice tight seal to keep out water and fuel. By using a 9" round balloon on a standard sized servo you can see that it fits nice and tight around the servo. This size also works nicely around standard sized receiver, if your are using a smaller receiver then what is standard then you may need to use a 7" balloon to make it tight.
Just use a tie-wrap or twist-tie to around the neck of the balloon to seal where the wires exit the balloon. Here you see the completed servo. The balloon is nice and tight around the servo making it easy to install. The balloon is also snug against the output shaft and there is a tie-wrap around the wires to keep any moisture or fuel from entering there.
It's now time to install the servo in our vehicle.
11-07-2005, 01:40 AM
It's now time to install the servo back into your car or truck. If you followed the previous instructions and the balloon is nice and tight on the servo, it will make it much easier to install. It also makes for a neater installation and looks really cool once installed if it is nice a tight against the servo.
The have found it easiest to install the servo mounts on the servo, then install the servo into your vehicle. This may not be possible with all cars and trucks, it's just a little tip you can use to make installing it a little easier.
Just put the servo mounts in place and screw in the servo as you normally would using your regular servo mounting screws. I recommend that you put a little oil on the screws before you start. If you don't the balloon will want to grab the balloon while you are tightening the screws and could rip the balloon. With a little oil, the balloon stays in place and doesn't rip.
Mount the servo in your car/truck, bolt on the steering or throttle linkage and you are set to go. The neck of the balloon will take up a little more space then the bare wires did before, so make sure the wires are out of the way of any moving parts. You wouldn't want to cut the wires in a flywheel or hang your steering when your wires went where they weren't suppose to.
Here you see the steering servo (in red), the throttle servo (in blue) and the receiver (in green) all wrapped in balloons and mounted in my DuraTrax MT Pro. No more worry about moisture of fuel getting into them and at the same time the colors really make it stand out. Hopefully this tip gives you the incentive to do it to your car or truck and can save you a bunch of money by protecting those expensive electronics.
11-07-2005, 01:41 AM
End of article. Your comments are welcome.
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