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From: Lief G Goodson <liefg-at-juno.com>
Subject: My M5 Tank
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 21:15:43 -0400
Reply-To: tanks-at-rctankcombat.com

I sucessfully R/C'd my M5 this weekend, but not without glitches.  Here
is a summary of my testing:

1) I used the Black & Decker cordless screwdriver assemblies that G.R.
Baker recommended.  During initial field (literally grass) testing, the
plastic gears in one of the screwdriver assemblies stripped out. 
Luckily, I had a third, older Black & Decker cordless screwdriver
assembly I was planning to use for the turret rotate drive.  This
cordless screwdriver assembly had metal gears instead of plastic.  I
replaced the gears in the sprocket drive with the metal ones and this
fixed the problem.  I would have replaced the whole assembly, but the
shaft on the spare was a different diameter and length.  

2) A less critical issue was the speed controller.  My local hobby store
only has electronic speed controllers.  The cheapest one with reverse (RC
racing cars are not allowed to use reverse) was $80.  Not willing to wait
for a mail order, I bought it and have been generally disappointed.  The
controller "whines" during use (probably because I'm using motors for
which it was not designed) and sucks power.  A 1500 miliamp pack only
lasts about 5 minutes.

3) The traction of the M5 tracks is not that good.  It works great on
pavement, but in the grass it slips a lot.  Adding weigth may help that.

Next steps:

 I am replacing the speed controller with an old fashion mechanical one
(3 speeds forward, 1 reverse).   I use only one controller for both
motors.  I turn by simply turning off one motor.  This way, I can drive
the tank with a single transmitter stick.  I will also replace the 3 volt
cordless screwdriver motor with a 6v one the same size.  I hope this will
give the tank more "umph".

Lief Goodson
Lakeland, FL