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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OK guys, I guess the best way to present this proposed solution to the ESC crisis is by defining clearly what has transpired and the solutions the we have observed and considered that have failed. Let’s start:

Advancements in brushless ESC’s have been coming at us on a regular basis since the introduction of the Novak GTB. Here is a brief look at that history:

· Novak GTB – 1st Industry standard, no timing profiles
· Novak GTB at 2008 Snowbirds – rumored “team” timing profiles tested, concerns raised about “level playing field”
· LRP Sphere Comp - 6 timing profiles
· LRP TC Spec – illegalized by BRL because of concern over higher timing profile
· Tekin RS Pro – Software updateable
· LRP SPX - profiles 4 thru 8 had excessive timing. This was a must have item at the 2008 US Indoor Champs
· Tekin software leads industry with 30 profiles, boost, and turbo boost, etc. Tough to beat.

Now I might have some details out of whack and my timeline may be off a little, but bear with me. My point is that there have been several marked increases in the level of performance over time that we, as a group of racers, have absorbed and still called it a level playing field.

Then, in September 2009, CRC introduces the Advanced Electronics Black Diamond ESC at the IIC in Las Vegas. It proved to have a very large increase in performance. Concerns were raised that the receiver pack voltage was being used to drive the motor. The TOUR rules had already considered this possibility and had addressed this issue as follows:

· 4.22V per cell is not only the maximum voltage per cell that Li-Po batteries may be charged to......it is the maximum voltage per cell allowed to be presented to the motor drive circuitry for the purpose of powering your car.............period.

· Any attempt to use a secondary source of power (receiver pack battery or booster) to drive the motor at a higher voltage than 4.22V per cell is prohibited. No sneak circuits, no gray areas. This is blatant cheating.

Further testing verified that the Advanced Electronics unit was legal per this requirement.

Next in question was the high retail cost of the unit. Did $$ make the only difference. This is the point where “yours truly” set out to learn about timing and switching speeds. Through Bob Novak I was led to a conversation with the chief design engineer and President of Castle Creations. I agreed to test his Mamba Pro unit and worked with him to get the unit to function in a 1-cell mode. Removing a small, easily accessible chip on the unit disables the BEC. A few minor software tweaks prevented the unit from shutting down during low voltage operation. First test = 3 laps on the track record. Full retail cost $149.00.

It wasn’t voltage boosting and it wasn’t pure $$$$. Just better engineering than what was currently available. Thus, we surveyed other manufacturers. Sure enough there are a host of new products on the horizon from Tekin, Novak, LRP, KO, Speedpassion, Orion, Keyence, etc. that may perform equal or better. EVERY Manufacturer was against a ban, restriction, or moratorium on new equipment for several reasons:

· It would be impossible to police. New ESC updates from several manufacturers would be made available as software only or in identical cases to currently available product.
· It would be impossible to qualify. What would be the criteria for legalizing/illegalizing an ESC? Cost? Speed?
· Older legacy products that would be deemed legal, were being discontinued by the manufacturers so their availability would be short-lived.

That was their reasoning. I have my own opinions as well. I understand the process involved in designing a piece of electronics for a market. A company first surveys the market performance standards, and reviews the mandatory design specification for that market. With ESC’s, there has been NO design specification that these manufacturers are asked to build to. Therefore it would be impossible to “illegalize” any ESC simply because it performs better than the prior ones made. Making an “after the fact” ruling such as a “released prior to” date is not an appropriate course of action for a national rules based establishment. If the R/C community at large would develop a design standard with a future date as a deadline, with appropriate lead time, then I would support it.

Now.....on to page 2........
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
All that being said, we still have the problem of a “must have” purchase and the immediate obsolescing of current equipment. We tried developing a list of illegal or non-approved ESC’s. It would be immpossibile to qualify or keep up with. We tried to develop a list of approved ESC’s that were legal and on a level playing field, but there was no equality is the list. Some organizations went so far as to develop a list of acceptable alternatives and verify, in tech, the acceptable software versions that maintain this level of equality.

The willingness of tracks to tech to this level, lead us to the solution. Electronically, the only real difference in all of these ESC’s is the ability to perform dynamic timing advancement. Each of the ESC’s mentioned thus far, have the ability to be set at 0* of dynamic timing advance. GTB’s come this way. All LRP’s are virtually identical on setting 1. Tekins can be set to 0* timing. So can the AE unit and the Castle unit, as well as the new releases from Novak, LRP, etc. Testing has shown that none of these ESC’s show any real advantage over the other when the timing is set to 0*. This setting is easily verifiable. (or at least as easy as verifying software versions.)

Thus, the TOUR has established that the only reasonable way to provide a temporary level playing field during this transition period is to define and establish a “LIMITED” speedo specification. When a promoter defines a class as “LIMITED”, any ESC may be used in this given class with the ESC dynamic timing set and verified to be 0*. It is the responsibility of the racer to prove the legality of their ESC setting to the race promoter if questioned. It is at the race director’s discretion if and when to tech each racer either before and/or after a race, or only when a question is raised, or to verify a track record, etc.

Now before all of the what if’s start flooding in, let me state that I realize this is not a perfect solution, and can pose a tech nightmare. That’s why I stress the words temporary and transition. This fix only needs to be applied where there is still resistance to open ESC formats. As each week goes by, more and more tracks are dropping their ESC restrictions at the racer’s requests. I firmly believe an open ESC ruling is the only REAL long term solution. But I am offering this definition of a “LIMITED” speedo specification for track and classes of racing that insist on some limits. I believe this approach has huge advantages over the current “banned ESC” or “approved ESC” lists that some tracks are using.

Let me offer this example: A good friend of mine called me this evening. He went to race today at a nearby track. Someone noticed he had a Mamba ESC. He was told that the track had made them illegal. He had sold his other ESC’s. He went home. [true story…it happened today]

Lets apply the “LIMITED” speedo specification to this story: Same story…… He goes to race today at a nearby track. Someone notices he hasa Mamba ESC. He is told that the track had agreed to run under the TOUR’s “LIMITED” speedo specification till May. He had sold his other ESC’s. He disables the Cheat mode in the Mamba, verifies it with tech and races with everyone else. (and gets beat by a guy with a 4 year old GTB!!) The next day he goes to a different track where they run OPEN ESC rules. He sets his timing at 25* and races.

This approach reestablishes the consistency from track to track that we worked so hard to achieve. It allows for new equipment to be purchased without the fear of it being illegalized at a track near you. It allows for a smooth transition to new technology. It allows each class at each track to transition at its own rate. It temporarily allows old ESC’s to run head-to-head with new ESC’s on an even playing field. It allows race directors to control the speed of classes locally based on skill level. It allows all manufacturers to compete.

It’s not perfect, but it can help us through the process. Think about it and consider it. It’s the only fair, complete, and comprehensive approach that has been offered. I look forward to your comments.

Steve
 

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I Think this is a good temporary fix. Right now the problem isn't the fact that new speedo's are coming out (we've always deat with that), it's the fact that they are making such a large difference. When we first switched to 4 cell, it was motors coming out constantly that drastically improved performance. That too settled down after manufacturers had enough time to learn the technology restrainsts. This "ESC WAR" to will pass, given enoguh time, I expect a year, for manufacturers to "figure out" 1 cell racing. after that advancements will come, but they will be much less noticable.

Yes, teching will be a pain, but it's simple, someone is consistently faster, or way faster, they get teched, period.

I agree that I don't believe limiting speed controls to certain brands or manufacturers is the answer (make someone pay 170 for a new speedo when they could spend 110?), but at the same time competition is suffering right now. This solution needs to only be temperorary until technology settles down.

I think this solution is an excellent fix for the time being, I am sure come summer, the rules will be evaluated at that date and this ESC situation will no longer be such an issue.
 

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Steve,

I think that this is a great short term solution, in fact I proposed it for tomorrow's TOUR race at RCH. The problem is that most people don't know enough about electronics to drop their fear factor. For example, I have heard people say that even with 0* timing, a hardware advantage could still exist. Anyone that knows better is aware of the massive parallel array of FET's in the Tekin. Unfortunately, I think that technology has risen above the comprehension of the average racer, but I personally deem your proposal fit.
 

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Sorry to stir the pot here, but it needs to be asked and clarified.....

When the Tekin is set to 0 on the boost and turbo, it is still applying 15* of advanced timing from the factory. When an LRP or Mamba is set to 0 timing, is it still applying a certain amount like the Tekin does? If so, what are those numbers?
 

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Cory, the problem doesn't exist with "static timing (i.e timing on the motor, or the 15 degree that comes programmed into the tekin). What is a problem is the dynamic (changing Timing vs. RPM or Amp Draw). Gearing can compensate for static timing, but not dynamic.
 

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Cory, the problem doesn't exist with "static timing (i.e timing on the motor, or the 15 degree that comes programmed into the tekin). What is a problem is the dynamic (changing Timing vs. RPM or Amp Draw). Gearing can compensate for static timing, but not dynamic.
Jeff, I totally understand I just simply wanted to get the numbers out there because I have already heard from several people in the past who "perceive" that 0 timing is NOT the same on each of these when each of these ESC's are set to 0*.

My point (and reasoning of asking the question) was to go ahead and squash it right from the start so that people didn't start down that road. I guarantee you that you will hear somebody say that all of these are not equal when set to 0* timing.

Sorry for the confusion there!:thumbsup:
 

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no problem Cory, didn't mean to imply you didn't know what was going on. We did our own testing of something similar, to see about how to gear different speedo's and such, and when all of them were set to profile 1, with the same motor they all came out to within 2-3 watts and 400-500 rpm of eachother.
 

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no problem Cory, didn't mean to imply you didn't know what was going on. We did our own testing of something similar, to see about how to gear different speedo's and such, and when all of them were set to profile 1, with the same motor they all came out to within 2-3 watts and 400-500 rpm of eachother.
:thumbsup: Yep, exactly what I was getting at!
 

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Seems like it could be a tech nightmare...but a possible short term solution
 

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If your track has taken the stand against the escs than they should absorb the tech problem, after a couple of weeks it should be easier. BTW Steve with all you got going on I don't know where you find time to sleep, nice job. Rich Hammond :dude:
 

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I like what you have proposed Steve and I think that the tech nightmare is not as bad as it appears. According to Steve it is not up to the track to tech every speed control prior to every heat or main it is up to the racers to prove there ESC is set properly to limited timing if track records are broken or other racers believe they are in violation of the rule.

I tested the mamba this weekend and if you activate CHEAT mode with 0 timing it ain't got nothing over a GTB.

I think it's a workable solution... maybe even the only one available until this whole thing gets sorted out.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thanks

Hi guys,

Thanks for the support so far. All of the feedback I've been receiving by phone has been great. We might be on to something here. Just a couple of quick points:
  • Whether 0* is the absolutely exact from ESC to ESC, only time will tell. But it is much more of an even playing field than running every ESC wide open, so .... close enough for now.
  • The sooner tracks are willing to accept an open ESC ruling, the better, as this is only a temporary fix. With the host of new products coming out, and Christmas right around the corner, followed by Snowbirds, alot of folk will have new stuff soon and this won't be much of an issue.
  • Tracks can apply the "LIMITED" ruling as they see fit, but I recommend it primarily for 17.5 Sportsman, to maintain the current speeds, and maybe in 13.5 if you're getting serious "new tech pushback" from your racers. For 10.5 and 7.5, I can't imagine them wanting a "LIMITED" rule in place. At that level, the "pros" show up and the chances of finding a way around the rules gets higher.
Hope this helps.

Steve
 

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First off,I appriciate all your efforts Steve. I was on the fence about the race up in New York ( I do not own a Mamba)and with this news have climbed over the fence and will head up fpr sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi Bill,

Thanks for the kind words pal. I don't want to curb your enthusiasm, but let me be clear on this rule, so no one gets confused. The "LIMITED" ruling can be enacted (or not enacted) by a race promotor in any class. It is up to Frank/CRC as to what classes this will be applied to at his race. So please don't assume that it will apply in 13.5 COT, without checking first.

I know for sure that the "LIMITED" ruling will be applied in the 17.5 Sportsman Truck class, because we need to keep that class's speed under control. But most importantly......we are mirroring what the Snowbirds will be doing in that class.

One of the purposes of this race is as a Snowbird's warm-up race. The Snowbirds has no ESC restrictions in 13.5, 10.5, or 7.5. I don't believe Frank had intended to impose this limitation in 13.5, but check with him to be sure.

Either way, I'd love to see you at his race.

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Maybe I need to type bigger for everyone whose handle begins with "FLYING...."

Would you please do us all a favor and please re-read my post. Now....pay close attention to the words....

"I firmly believe an open ESC ruling is the only REAL long term solution." and

".....This fix only needs to be applied where there is still resistance to open ESC formats."

and that other little part where it says the Tour is
".....against a ban, restriction, or moratorium on new equipment for several reasons....."

So help me God...................Hankster, could you please set up an IQ test before giving people a handle on HT!!

But...............thank you FLYING5 for giving everyone a clear understanding as to why I made the following post yesterday.......

POST #79 on OVAL RACING - Where's the REAL FIX?

"Before I exit this thread, I would like you all to know something. The handling of this “crisis”, good or bad, marks the end of my day-to-day involvement with the TOUR. If others would like to step up and volunteer their time and talent to work with our team at making racing better for all, then I welcome you. But the time and energy that this has taken, and disruption that this has caused to me personally, has been more than I am willing to continue to tolerate. The 10-20 phone calls per day, the constant PM’s and emails, and being attacked from all angles on HobbyTalk is simply not the reward one would expect to get from volunteering one’s efforts to help improve a hobby that we all love.

Going forward, the TOUR can be as big and comprehensive as we all want it to be. It all depends on YOU and your involvement. With all the time people spend posting, I’m surprised (not really) that no one has offered to step up and put their neck on the line to become involved (like I said before, my inbox is still empty….unless I missed something).


But as for my own involvement, here is what I intend to do:
· I will offer my support to the TOUR committee each year in late July/early August to help determine any rules modifications, class restructuring, equipment considerations.
· I will update the “TOUR Guidelines” and post the updates to that tracks can use these as a reference.
· As of September 1st each year, I am done. It’s in the promoter’s hands from there. I will respect their rules and attend their races.

That’s it. If we as an industry can’t seem to stay on the same page for 6 months at a time, then having me spend 20 hours a week babysitting it, is not an option. The TOUR has been in effect for less that 3 months since carpet racing started, and already I can’t name 3 tracks within a 300 miles radius of my own house that run the same rules package. Why, because promoters and track owners cave to the whining racers and alter the rules to protect their own cliental. That’s fine, if that’s what we all want, but there is no sense in me worrying about getting us all on the same page and keeping us there, week after week.

The TOUR’s goal is to limit the number of classes and offer a consistentcy of format. I will do my part to continue to offer that. If the track owners want that and the racers do too, then the template will be there for you to use, and I’m happy to provide that for you. If not, no hard feelings. I’ll be racing your rules at your tracks and having just as much fun as ever.

See you at the races!!

Steve Pemberton
Husband, Father, Racer, guy involved with the TOUR"
 
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