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Author Topic: Hobby Engine RTR Tug Southampton Conversion  (Read 4554 times)

bilgerat

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Hobby Engine RTR Tug Southampton Conversion
« on: October 03, 2015, 05:10:44 PM »

Hello all,

Have just joined the site and been asked to post what  I am up to in the model boat world. Well here goes-

When I decided to get back into model boats, I wanted a RTR model that would get me up and running quickly rather than spend a lot of initial time kit bashing.  So after a lot of searching I opted for the 1/36 Southampton as it looked interesting and was a tug. First impressions out of he box was quite surprising as the detail on it was actually rather good and it didn't look too plasticy like some do. After initial sea trials I was reasonably happy but there were a few shortcomings, so the decision  was made to put her into model drydock and resolve these issues. Here are the pros and cons that influenced my decision:

Pros-
not a bad looking model for a rtr and some very good detail on it
lent itself well to an upgrade and remodel
lots of extra operational bits
quite sturdy in general and well put together

cons-
remote tx dreadful - sticks tended to jam in 100 percent positions
astern performance non existent, wandered round in circles
centre of gravity way off as it had permanent list to port due to battery position
bit difficult to see at a distance as only about 24ins long
led lighting a bit weak.
Standard battery only 800 mah, upgrade to 2000 mah. Only got 20 mins run time on standard battery

So into drydock it went and here is he joblist-

improve handling
improve led lighting - better searchlight on wheelhouse top and brighter working deck floods.
correct CG issue
repaint job - bright orange hull to aid visibility and a few other custom paint mods
fit working winch.
remove smoke unit. this works ok indoors but is useless in open air, probably produces the same smoke as a mouse on an e cig!
remove and grease shafts with ptfe grease
Possibly fit sound unit ??
fit fenders to bow and stern

Reason for the working winch is that I am building a dumb towed barge so wanted to be able to reel in / pay out remotely the towing hawser to allow a shortened tow for close manouvering.

First job a complete stripdown, remove stock esc, radio gear and modify battery tray to correct battery position causing the port list. Battery now sits on the centreline of the keel. Smoke unit removed, unfortunately not enough room to put a new smoke unit in its place, which is a shame as I would have like to have done so. Stock speaker for horn left in place for now in case a sound unit is fitted in the future.

The standard installation has twin geared 360 motors driving 2 shafts via 1 esc, so very little motor control. Esc removed, motor wiring altered to allow independant control. This entailed snipping and trimming various connections as the motors were wired in parallel and linked via capacitors.

The stock RX circuit board was housed below the wheelhouse structure and this was also removed. Trouble with a rtr boat is that everything is controlled from one pcb, so will have to install new switching gear to remotely operate lights etc. and fit new esc to operate winch.

Installed 8 channel r/c gear, the rx now situated in the battery tray, this keeps it higher in the hull and away from any water ingress from the bilges.

Left stock motors in as these seemed adequate but fitted a twin esc system and a mixer, this now gives far better control of motors and allows the model to be steered via the motors as the mixer is plugged into the rudder channel. Did all this and in the bath it seemed to work really well, just needs proper seatrials to test properly. The mixer allows proportional input on he rudder controls and slows down the relevant shaft accordingly thus steering the boat. If the throttle is left at idle and the rudder put hard over, one shaft goes ahead, the other astern and swings her round like she had a bow thruster. All so far so good, however this has thrown up a new dilemma - do I use the rudders as well, do I take them out of the rx circuit and leave them as skegs set to midships or even remove them altogether - decisions decisions, I am tempted to leave them as fixed skegs so if anyone has any experience here, all input and suggestions gladly accepted. This set up is all a bit heath robinson at the moment with jumper leads and crocodile clips so next job is to solder it all in permanently.

Then the job after that is to fit a 7 way remotely operated switching unit for the lighting, upgrade the leds, fashion new wheelhouse top searchlight and fit resistors in to prevent burn out, whilst experimenting with a small 7.2v NiCad pack to see what wires fed what lights from the pcb, I managed to burn out and pop 2 leds, so have to figure that one out re. resistor values etc.

Towing winch, I thought I had a flash of inspiration and was going to experiment with a rc off road car winch that mounts on he front bumper for dragging them out of sticky situations but reading through threads last night, I found that this has already been thought of - there goes my patent........ {:-{. However I am going to persevere with his idea and will let you know how I get on, so watch this space, as although the idea has been thought of before, no-one seems to have gone into any detail on how it can be done, if they have, I stand corrected and apologise in advance.

Just for info, here is a link to the suppliers website showing the stock model and TX.
 
http://www.cmldistribution.co.uk/product/HE0701/hobby-engine-premium-label-2-4g-southampton-tug-boat

Will keep this updated as time permits should you wish me to do so.

cheers
Trev.
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Netleyned

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Re: Hobby Engine RTR Tug Southampton Conversion
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2015, 05:22:28 PM »

Hi Trev,
See you on Sunday at the boating lake?

Ned
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Re: Hobby Engine RTR Tug Southampton Conversion
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2015, 07:30:13 PM »


Step by step refurb please!  :-)
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Capt Podge

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Re: Hobby Engine RTR Tug Southampton Conversion
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2015, 11:54:35 PM »


Step by step refurb please!  :-)

 
...same from me.
 
The idea of the working winch has got the old cogs turning as well.  :-))
 
Regards,
 
Ray.
 
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bilgerat

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Re: Hobby Engine RTR Tug Southampton Conversion
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2015, 12:09:54 AM »


Step by step refurb please!  :-)


 
...same from me.
 
The idea of the working winch has got the old cogs turning as well.  :-))
 
Regards,
 
Ray.

Will do gents, may even post some pics........ ok2
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bilgerat

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Re: Hobby Engine RTR Tug Southampton Conversion
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2015, 12:12:58 AM »

Hi Trev,
See you on Sunday at the boating lake?

Ned

Hello Ned, away from home at mo but may be back in time - you will have to introduce yourself, probably spoken but name not familiar - lousy memory for names but never forget a ace or a good pint :}........... cheers trev
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Re: Hobby Engine RTR Tug Southampton Conversion
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2015, 06:55:13 AM »

http://www.modelboatmayhem.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,42266.msg429837.html#msg429837

have a look at this thread. a conversion of the original southampton
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bilgerat

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Re: Hobby Engine RTR Tug Southampton Conversion
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2015, 12:59:08 AM »

THanks Klunk

that is a cracking paint job, seems most Southampton owners get the urge to upgrade it at some point. Don't think mine will look that good as painting aint my forte but hoping the improved handling will help drag the dumb barge around that I am making for her.
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bilgerat

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Re: Hobby Engine RTR Tug Southampton Conversion
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2015, 03:27:11 PM »

The link that Klunk attached says it all really, as this is pretty much the same lines I am going down with the exception of the winch and extra lighting. Got a bit more progress to report. all wiring now soldered in properly just needs tidying up as it looks like a snakes wedding. Trial fitted and tested the 7 channel lighting switcher, very impressed with that, it works a treat, for info it was sourced from Dalewood models, very impressed with it and was very reasonably priced as well. It enables me to run 7 lighting channels off just one tx/rx channel. Will be definitely getting another one of these and fitting it to the dumb barge I am doing as that will be floodlit like daytime.

Speaking of which, I put up a post about powering a MMM variant barge but alas no one has replied, would be interested to get some feedback on this idea. 

decided to leave the rudders in place but took them out, greased the shafts and reversed the linkage as the rudders were fighting the mixer and trying to steer in opposite direction that the mixer was trying to send the tug,  also moved the linkage in by 2 holes on the servo horn to reduce the steering effect from the rudders slightly.

whilst rudders were out, the propshafts were removed, inspected, greased with ptfe shaft grease, then reinstalled. Whole power train was run up and tested and seems ok, I think the new esc's even give more power to the motors as the props seem to run faster than with the stock esc at full power. Next job is to start soldering up resistors for the nav lights and fitting led's to the main mast, fit winch, and start on the paint job. was considering a sound unit but the ones I have heard so far are way off the mark, so may look towards the world of model railways and see what I can find there.

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bilgerat

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Re: Hobby Engine RTR Tug Southampton Conversion
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2015, 05:28:51 PM »

Latest updates on progress:

electrics nearly finished now, wheelhouse top light now replaced with twin powerful white led floods from a rc car. they were glued onto a small piece of 6mm square tube, then glued to wheelhouse roof. they are a lot more effective than the old ones.

The rc car crawler winch arrived yesterday, after much measuring and jigging, have attached it to the underside of the aft removable deck section, with d/s foam tape. A hole will be drilled to allow the rope to go through the deck via a length of tube to prevent water ingress, the winch stuck down to he topside of the removable deck and the rope fed over the winch drum and run aft to appear as it is coming off the drum. The power winch was a bit of a problem to locate as here are literally only millimetres clearance available to prevent fouling the steering servo horns and linkage but got there in the end.

These rc car winches are remarkable, it was about 15 quid off e bay, is light, powerful ( 1 kg pull ) and even comes with its own controller, this is controlled from the tx via a 3 way switch programmed to channel 6. Simple operation up for in, centre for off, down for out. all jury rigged at moment but when installed properly I will take a picture or two and post them here.

The aft deck led lights have been disconnected and will be replaced by a powerful light bar ( again from a r/c car ) with 4 led floods in it, not quite sure where to mount them yet but between the after part of the funnels is looking good at the moment.

Did a bit of experimental painting and have now done the funnels in humbrol French blue, there will be a white stripe painted in for the shipping line logo to go on to.

Once the winch is in properly, I can button up the deck to the hull and start the new paint scheme on the hull - orange.
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