User Input

User Input: Finite Longevity

Like this, only not real.

Like this, only not real.

For Christmas one year, my parents finally fulfilled a wish I had stubbornly repeated for several years, and bought me the remote-control car I had longed for. Interestingly, I had never requested any specific car, which they told me was a bit surprising for me. I simply wanted a remote-control car, in virtually any form. At the time, these were a fairly new innovation on the toy market, and the vast majority had basically two commands; forward at full speed, or reverse-and-turn at half-speed. The magnificent beast they bought for me had infinitely more capability. The speed control was totally variable, meaning that the further you pushed the joystick forwards or backwards, the faster the car would go, and there was a separate joystick for the steering, again totally variable. The beast was at least 18″ long, possibly closer to two feet, and replicated a Martini Racing Porsche 944, complete with massive box flares.

It was a boy’s dream toy in almost every respect. The sole exception was the fact that it drew so much power that on the 6 “C”-cell batteries it required, you could only play with it for a half-hour before they started to fade. If you tried to use the terrible rechargeable batteries of the day, that could be as little as ten minutes. So more time was spent recharging and changing batteries than was ever spent actually playing with it. My dad used to joke that, just like a real Porsche, it spent more time in the shop than on the road. As such, the poor beautiful beast mostly just collected dust, and was admired sitting on my shelf.

What was the worst toy you ever had for its massive battery consumption?

  • Phillips Pronto universal remote. Grayscale passive matrix LCD, weird greenish backlight, took forever to program (but you could design your own screens), and could barely make it through a single macro before it needed to be back on the charging cradle.

    <img src="http://images.philips.com/is/image/PhilipsConsumer/TSU3000-IMS-global?wid=225&hei=225&$jpglarge$"&gt;

  • SSurfer321

    Team Associated TC3

    1800 mA = 10 minutes at race speeds

    <img src="http://www.teamassociated.com/pictures/news/articles/139/supporting_photos/2000_0707report_exx_md.jpg&quot;, width=500>
    IMG from Team Associated

    • Yeah, but with the speed rechargers, they could recharge in 15 minutes or so.

      • SSurfer321

        I just kept multiple battery packs.

        • Same here for my Tamiya cars, but I only had one 8.4V "super pack". wonder why Dearthair didn't convert his Porsche to use the good rechargeable packs? I was using mine in the mid-late 1980s.

    • Dean Bigglesworth

      10 minutes on 1800mAh batteries? Maybe with a 17+turn motor… IIRC I got about 7-8 minutes in the late 90's with a belt driven Yokomo with 1700mAh batteris and a mild spec motor.

      Still have one of those TC3's somewhere. And a Tamiya TBIII Evolution, Asso B2 buggy, various Tamiya monsters and rally cars, a couple of Tamiya F350 High-Lifts( ladder frame and 3-speed gearbox FTW) ,Traxxas Stampede with a waay too powerful brushless…

      • SSurfer321

        I think I had a 19 turn in it when racing.

        • Dean Bigglesworth

          I only did a few races in the late 90's, couldn't afford to be competitive and it has only gotten worse since then in terms of gear. You wouldn't think aerodynamics and downforce would be that important on a 1/10 scale car, but it is and back then the Dodge Stratus body was the one to have. I had completely forgotten that car even existed before you posted that pic.

          I also suggest any parents around here get a proper RC car for their hoonlings, preferably one in kit form. It will cost a bit more than a RTR car from the toy-store but they will learn an amazing amount about cars while having fun. And unlike the toy cars you can repair them and get spares for decades to come. A Tamiya M-chassis kit is probably the best way to start, or a 1/10 scale stadium truck or buggy or rally-car if you do a lot of gravel. You can later upgrade the battery and/or motor to go faster.

          I was 13 when I built my first differential, and also learned about suspension geometry, steering linkages, weight distribution, sway bars, tyres, aerodynamics, all the differences with engine location and drive type… And correct driving lines and techniques, which I could alter apply to driving real cars.

          • SSurfer321

            I raced locally on the weekends but wasn't a very good driver. I've since sold all my gear.
            Now I have a yard again and want a new truck. But this time I think I'll go gas.

          • Dean Bigglesworth

            You don't get the sound and smell of nitro, but for 1/10 scale you can go just as fast with brushless motors and LiPo batteries now. It isn't too hard getting a 1/10 scale electric touring car to top 100mph.. It would be much harder to find a place to drive it. Or you could go with something that really runs on pump gas, like the huge 1/5 scale HPI Baja.

          • SSurfer321

            I'm not so concerned with speed, I don't want the downtime of recharging batteries and cooling off between runs. My yard isn't big enough for 1/5 scale, those are HUGE!

          • Dean Bigglesworth

            Yeah they are huge, I imagine it's like driving a really loud chainsaw at 50mph+. Not really something for urban environments..

            What kind of truck are you looking at? Simple RWD truck, massive 4X4, short-course..? I think a simple RWD truck is the most fun for backyard bashing, or maybe a short-course truck for scale(ish) realism.

            I just looked at some options and most cars are only available as RTR, very few kits available. Too bad since building it is half the fun.

            Charging is not a huge issue anymore with affordable lipo batteries but yeah it's still easier to just add fuel, and it's fun to fiddle with the carb to get it just right. My only nitro truck was/is the original Kyosho QRC Beetle. Piece of shit, that was. Had to replace something pretty much every time i drove it.

          • SSurfer321

            Team Associated has some closeouts I'm eying.
            RC10GT2 (stadium truck) which is discontinued. RTR $200+-

  • Devin

    With the disclaimer that I never actually owned this, but borrowed it briefly:

    <img src="http://retrothing.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/seganomad.jpg"&gt;

    Designed in collaboration with Duracell, to separate children from their money as rapidly as possible.

    • Haha! Mine was the Game Gear, whist playing Sonic.

      <img src="http://static.gamesradar.com/images/mb//GamesRadar/gb/Other%20stuff/Sega%20feature/GameGear–screenshot_large.jpg&quot; width=550>

      6 AA batteries did not last long at all in that thing.

      • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

        I still have my Lynx, Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure used many scraps of paper and batteries.

      • FuzzyPlushroom

        I never had a Game Gear, but one of my childhood friends did… he rarely played it because of its battery-chewing tendencies, and anything you added on just made it worse.

        I had (well, still have) a Game Boy Color. 25-30 hours with the sound wound down? Yes please.

        • Devin

          I knew a kid who had an original, brick-style Game Boy. Well, I knew lots of them, but this particular one left his outside. In the winter. In Saskatchewan. The night of a blizzard.

          When they found it again it worked completely fine. Those things were tanks.

  • Back in 1982 my Sanyo M9975 would burn through an entire set of 8 D cells in a single day when blasting Skynyrd or AC/DC casettes. At reasonable volume the radio would work for weeks on end but tapes, not so much. When working a landscaping gig or hanging out outside my standing offer was that I would bring it but you had to supply the batteries.

    By the end of the summer not one of my friends had a working flashlight anywhere.

    <img src="http://www.shizaudio.ru/audio/data/media/21/M9975.jpg&quot; width="400">
    *not mine but I still have it, just too lazy to upload a pic.

  • Did you know that if you worked the garage sales you could get a ton of the less desirable, bent and rusty pices. Box 'em up and give 'em to your kid and ignore his pleas for the good pieces. He grows up just fine.

    /chews at leather straps and bangs head on padded wall.

  • Vairship

    Knowing that this article was about things that required lots of batteries, when you wrote about your "toy" which was a Large Erect… my mind went somewhere else.

    I. Blame.Charles.

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