Wednesday, 31 December 2014

50/50? CS? RWD?

You may have looked into taking up RC drift as a hobby and you may have come across these terms but what do they mean?

Many companies sell cars with "Drift" written on the box but most of these will be standard touring car chassis' fitted with drift tyres. A touring car is used to race around concrete (or other) race tracks. Low budget or entry level chassis' consist of a shaft drive system powered by an electric motor connected via gearing. Slap on some drift tyres and this chassis becomes a "drift car".

(Image source: Tamiya)

I started with a touring car converted to drift but it easily and quickly peaked as to how it performed. These shaft driven touring chassis' supply power to both front and rear axles equally thus splitting the power 50/50. This means that the front and rear wheels spin at the same speed. A good starting point for anyone to get onto RC drift.

However, after a while of messing around with the chassis and getting a few nice slides, you may start asking yourself "why does my car not drift like the ones in the videos?". The reason is because these 50/50 cars are entry level and come with very limited tuning options but the next step is CS.

(YouTube: Hir@Chiba)

CS or Counter-Steer, by definition, is to steer into the direction of the skid. For example, you would steer right to go around a right turn or curve. CS would mean that you'd be steering left instead so that the car doesn't end up oversteering and/or spinning out whilst holding a drift. There are times in 50/50 drift that will require counter steering but not often. If you watch full scale drifting, the front wheels will always be in the counter steer direction.

CS cars make counter steering more achievable by changing the drive ratio of the front, rear or both axles and are shown as a percentage or ratio. A CS ratio of 1:1 would mean that the car is as a 50/50 car and as a percentage, this car would be at 0% CS. CS ratio of 1:1.50 would be at 50% CS, 1:2 ratio makes it 100% CS and so on.

The ratio can be changed either by underdriving the front or overdriving the rear or both. With shaft driven cars, this consists of acquiring a CS bevel gear set which comprises of a small bevel gear that fits onto one end of the main shaft and a large bevel gear which is fitted to the differential (replacing the ones that are currently fitted).

(Image source: Max Speed Technology)

The other design is belt driven; the one that I chose to go with.

After hours of research, I came across a website called DriftMission and they had some very useful advice, guidance, tools etc. I was particularly drawn to their "top rated chassis" pages (under $150, $150-$450), these would guide me in my decision.

I eventually decided to go with the TEH-R31 from R2Hobbies. Yes, it's clone chassis and yes a lot of people look down on them but I didn't want to spend a lot of money as I was still new to the hobby and unaware of how far I'd actually take it.

(Image source: R2Hobbies)

The TEH-R31 is a 3-belt system where some other chassis are 2-belt. It also comes as a 50/50 car but an additional purchase from Race and Drift Japan and I had a finite amount of CS options. To change the CS ratio was simply swapping out the pulleys on the drive belts till the ideal ratio was gained.

Which takes up to the last type, RWD.

RWD is the definition of scale drifting; a motor powering the rear wheels to get some controlled slides with the front wheels pointing in the correct direction at all times. A few manufacturers have released dedicated RWD drift chassis' and they are performing very well. Before that, it was get a hold of anything you can and make it work.

(Image source: Soul RC) 

 (Image source: DriftMission)

(Image source: D1RC Ukraine)

Instead of drive to all four wheels (regardless of ratio), all drive to the front wheels are removed and maximum steering lock is increased. Also, a gyro is installed to smooth out the steering action.

So there you have it, the 3 different types of RC drifting. You don't have to follow the same line here, you can just in and try any type. Best thing usually is to find a group or track where this is RC drifting and go and have a chat with them. They may even let you have a go..

If you'd like to read more on these options, RE-Extreme also has a blog post dedicated to this subject. You can find the webpage here.

This is a fun hobby so whatever you end up going with, just make sure to enjoy yourself!