If you are new to this hobby you will learn that there is a wide variety of things that can make your life easier and time with your RC more enjoyable. We aren’t talking about vehicle upgrades in this post, but other RC related upgrades. If you happen to have some extra cash laying around, consider some of these things.
Hex Tools: A proper set of Hex tools to replace the Allen keys that came with your vehicle. The Allen keys that came with your vehicle will do in a pinch, but if you do any kind of maintenance or repairs to your vehicle, you will save yourself a lot of time and pain to your hands if you get a good set of tools. There are many manufactures of these tools from M.I.P., EDS Racing Products, Hudy, Dynamite, Turnigy and Integy. These are just a few of them, find what best fits your budget and know that they all are an improvement over the tools that came with your RC.
Battery: An extra battery, one just never seems enough. The battery options are endless, chances are your RTR vehicle came with a Nimh or Lipo battery. At this point I will tell you that once I switched to Lipo from Nimh batteries, I haven’t looked back and I wonder what took me so long to make the leap. A 2s lipo battery will most likely match the lipo battery that can with your RTR. It is when you get into a 3S battery and up that I urge caution because this is where you will find increased speed and a greater possibly of damage to your vehicle. Lipo batteries are perfectly safe when used properly, you will also enjoy increased runtimes and the same consistent speeds throughout the length of the battery. (No more speed fall off as you drive, like you get with a Nimh battery). Some notable batteries are made by SPC Racing, Gens Ace, Turnigy, and Turnigy Nano-Tech. Here are a couple of Canadian Lipo battery options Swift Current available at Terra Nova Hobbies and Gens Ace is also available at GreatHobbies.
Charger: If you have a Nimh battery get a Nimh charger or even consider a dual charger Nimh & Lipo so you are ready when you make your leap to Lipo batteries. Some solid Dual Chargers are the Thunder AC680, Onyx 245, and the Hyperion Super Duo. When selecting a Lipo charger if you want AC current make sure the charger comes with a power cord or power supply. Chargers like everything else are all over the place in price and you will usually get what you pay for, sacrificing things such as quicker charge rates, multiple batteries charging at once, connections and balancing options in order to save some money. So truly consider how you intend to use your charger before getting one. I use my RC every weekend, I am not a serious racer, but I do have multiple batteries to maintain so I am in no hurry to charge batteries. 2 years ago I bought a Thunder AC680 and I haven’t had any problems, it suits my RC lifestyle just fine. Some other solid options include the GENS ACE iMars , the Thunder 0620AC, and the Hyperion Eos 730i. There are many more options out there, have a look around and make sure to ask questions if you are unsure of something.
Desk/Table: Select an area were you can work, ideally a place that can be dedicated for just this purpose. A desk is good start. If you stay with the hobby, you will see this space expand over time as you upgrade your vehicle, collect spare parts and add vehicles to your fleet. You will eventually find yourself with an assortment of bins, shelves, hooks and tool holders.
Work Stand: This a handy thing to have when it comes to working on your vehicle, beside making wrenching easier, it keeps the wheels off the ground allowing you have no fear of a runway vehicle when working on the electronics. It is also not a good thing to let you RC sit on the ground when it is not in use because it could leave flat spots in the tires. I was able to make my own work stand, but some available for purchase are the Revolve RC Workstation, Team Integy Work Stand, and Duratrax. Once again look around and find something in your price range.
Lighting: This is something that shouldn’t be overlooked, good lighting is important, you will be surprise at how dark some of the nooks and crannies in your RC can get. Some good options here can be a swing arm desk lamp or a headlamp. The thing to look for in the headlamp is a pivoting light which allows you to adjust the direction of the light. Shop around for prices.
Work Mat: They can help you keep your spot clean, organized and if you have a magnetic one, it will keep screws that hit it from hitting the floor. We previously discussed pit mats, that post can be found as Pit Mats / Work Mats.
Enjoy the hobby and drive it like you stole it.