The BBS Era

In the early 1980’s I was deep into my Atari 8 bit computer stage. When I got to university, I wanted to use it for papers and other things I had to write (this was pre-IBM PC) so I needed a printer. I bought a solid Epson dot matrix printer, and to connect it to the Atari. I needed an IO expander, so I bought the Atari 850, which plugged into the computer’s SIO port, and it provided serial (RS232) and Parallel ports for printers.

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Old computers – the remembrance vs. the reality (the Atari era)

image of an Atari 800 computer

I have been a computer enthusiast for a long time, having getting my first Atari 800 back in 1980. I had used a Commodore Pet in the mid 70s as part of my “gifted” program in elementary school, and unstructured time with the Apple II+ in high school.

I still have a lot of fond memories of that early era. But putting on my logical hat, and truly remembering the reality of these experiences. Let’s take a trip down memory lane…

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RC Brands: Traxxas – the Titan

Traxxas cut their teeth in the 1980’s by building a ready to run system of hobby grade RC. At the time, if you wanted to get into Remote Control cars, you bought a kit, you built it, and you fiddled with getting your persnickety Nitro motor tuned and running well. Often you had to modify parts, source things not included in the kit, and then fiddle non stop to get it all working. A huge commitment, and it meant that you had a lag between buying your kit, and being able to drive.

Traxxas delivered a car, complete, ready to hit the pavement. All you added were batteries for the transmitter, the pre-mixed nitromethanol fuel (back then electrics and battery tech were pretty pathetic), and you were racing. Today, we might not find this revolutionary, but at the time it was unheard-of, and it opened the hobby to the masses. And the masses rejoiced.

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The Chase: Traxxas Slash

This weekend, I spent a few hours upgrading the electrics in the Slash. I had a $60 “reward” at Amain Hobbies, so I bought a Hobbywing Max10 combo with a 3300kV motor, a “drop in” replacement (almost), to go to a brushless propulsion system.

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Project Slash – LiPO and spring preload changes

The next step in the Slash project was to add a LiPO battery into the mix. The XL5 ESC is compatible with 7 cell NiMH batteries, or up to 2S LiPO batteries. The switch over is trivial: turn it on, then press and hold the power button for about 12 seconds and it will switch from red to green. This enables the low voltage cutoff (or LVC). Without the LVC, the LiPO battery can discharge too much, and that can ruin it (as in, it will no longer hold a charge), or even catastrophic failure (as in a fire – if you google “lipo fire” you will find some scary videos).

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Slash 4×4 – a Quest

I am having so much fun with my 2wd Traxxas Slash “project” car, that I now want a 4WD version to complement it. Not wanting to pay retail, and knowing that I will customize it, I was thinking of buying what is known as a “roller” or rolling chassis.

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Why RC cars?

In case you want to know why I have become somewhat of a fanatic of driving model RC cars, it is because I can’t afford to drive a Stadium Super Truck.

Boo YAH, this is some fun stuff…

Rear wheel drive, spec built, jumps, and a lot of 3 and 2 wheel action.