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The Problem with the Car

March 13, 2003 10:34

It's amazing. When the car works, hardly anyone ever plays with it. But the second it's broken, the bitching and whining and moaning begins. To save myself the excessive repetition, I will post a semi-detailed explaination of the problem here, once and for all.

Ever since I got the camera fixed, the car has broken 4 times. The camera part works fine. The problem resides in four transistors that feed power to the motors in the vehicle. These transistors get HOT. So hot, in fact, that they each have heatsinks with over two square inches of surface area to dissipate the heat. After a couple weeks of 24 hour operation, the car has probably taken more abuse than it was designed for. No, ladies and gentlemen, Radio Shack RC Cars are NOT designed to be controlled via the internet. They're not designed to be crashed into walls 500 times a day. They're not designed to run 24 hours a day. They're not designed to carry 10 extra pounds of weight.

After an exhaustive search, I was able to locate an inexpensive local source for the transistors, and I have stocked up on them in anticipation of future problems. However, all my efforts at repair have taken a toll on the circuit board in the car. All the copper contacts on the board have started peeling off due to all the excessive soldering. It's therefore getting harder and harder to replace the components without destroying the board.

My plan now is to not solder the transistors to the board at all. Instead I'm going to solder some transistor sockets onto the board, then just plug the transistors into those. That way, if and most certainly WHEN they burn out, it will be a two minute process to replace them and won't cause any further damage to the board and my only concern will be the cost of the transistors, but at 50 cents apiece every two weeks, I'll deal with it.

So as soon as I get those components replaced, the car will be operational again and you may immediately proceed with your efforts to break it again. The car itself isn't the best mobile platform, for this reason among others, and it will probably only be a temporary installment until I have a chance to build one of the quakebots. After those are functional, the car will probably get retired. But we'll see.