This article was originally published in the RC Driver’s March 2016 issue.
By David Harringon
I love how Hollywood greatly exaggerates the effect of nitrous oxide in cars. A push of the button, and the car shoots off like a rocket. While it is not completely realistic, wouldn’t it be sweet if we could do that with our RCs? Being involved with this hobby for a while now, it is not often when new a new product comes out that makes me ask, “Why didn’t someone think of that before?” Well, that is exactly what I thought when I saw Dynamite’s new TurboKick. The TurboKick increases the voltage from your battery to the ESC by 3.7-4.2V for five seconds, every 20 seconds, with a press of a button on your transmitter. That’s like adding an extra LiPo cell. Do you ever find 3S is too much for where you’re running, but sometimes you want that extra kick? I know a lot of rock crawlers are looking for that extra wheel speed to hop over a ledge, but most of the time 4S is overkill. This will really come in handy there! This will give your NiMH batteries a boost, too. You don’t have to use the five seconds in one burst, you can do multiple short burst within a short period of time, and then after your five seconds is used up you have to wait 20 seconds before you can use it again. If you think about how long it takes you to get around a track, 20 seconds really isn’t that long. I’m excited about this, so let’s get to it!
First thing I had to do was find an RC vehicle to install it in. While the EC3 connectors will make it plug-and-play with any of the RCs in Horizon Hobbies’ lineup, and Horizon has a big chunk of the popular RCs out there, the reality is there are several types of connectors in popular use right now. I’m sure the Traxxas guys would like to try this too, in which case you will have to change connectors. I opted to install this in the ECX Circuit which already has EC3 connectors installed. I also felt this RC could benefit from this device to keep up with the Ruckus, which came with a larger battery. Which means I needed a 3-channel radio. Since the newer DSMR receiver will not bind with my older Spektrum DX3R radio, I ended up having to borrow a receiver from another of my vehicles. Then I had to figure out how to program my third channel to a momentary switch, which is no big deal, I just never had the need to do that before. So it wasn’t exactly plug and play, but for the experienced hobbyist, who already has a 3-channel radio, it is really no problem to set up. Now I just needed to find a place on the chassis to mount it, as space is tight on this chassis. I could have zip tied it to the upper brace to keep the weight centered, but the space around the steering linkage is a bit tight, so I opted to just use servo tape to attach it to the battery cover. I discovered that if you plug it in with no radio signal, the boost automatically kicks in, so it may be a good idea to make sure your car and transmitter is on before you plug the battery into the TurboKick. I took it out to the street to rip some speed runs. First time I try something, I always get nervous, mostly that I did something wrong. So I just gave the button on my transmitter a little tap as I drove up the block, and the Circuit jumped forward a little. Cool! I gave it a longer burst and I could hear the motor kicking it up a notch as it screamed down the block. It does what it is supposed to. I brought the Circuit back in towards me and by then the TurboKick was ready for a another blast down the block. The instructions warn not to activate from a dead stop or full throttle. So I just did not do that and didn’t have a problem, but I can see how that could be problem in a stop/start track condition. While this is not legal for racing anyway, my son better look out the next time we race in the backyard!
WHO MAKES IT: Horizon Hobby/ Dynamite
PART NUMBER: DYNF1020
NEEDED TO COMPLETE: 3-Channel radio
CONTINUOUS MAX CURRENT: 50A
INPUT VOLTAGE: 5-13V DC
LENGTH: 3.7 in. (95mm)
WIDTH: 0.31 in. (23mm)
HEIGHT: 0.31 in. (23mm)
WEIGHT: 8 oz. (227g)
• Low IR MOSFETs handle the power from the large capacitor, generous heat sinks, and low impedance connectors provide 50 amps continuous, and 100 amps burst of power for your ESC
• The TurboKick is plug and play, no programming required. You just need to program the third channel on your radio to a momentary switch so you can activate the TurboKick at the press of a button.
• It is waterproof, making it equally suited to your off road vehicles, as well as boats. This is perfect for the bashers and rock crawlers that I foresee these spending a lot of time in.
• LED indicators let you know when the TurboKick is on, when the capacitor is recharging, and when the TurboKick is activated so you know what is going on at all times.
• It is advertised as being the size of your ESC, and I’m going to have to disagree there. It is much longer and a little skinnier than most ESCs, making placement on some chassis tricky. Its size and weight is basically similar to adding an extra cell. The real advantage here is having that power on tap when you need it, at the press of a button.
I am going to recommend this product squarely at the intermediate level RCer. Since it does require a three channel radio and the ability to program the radio, the TurboKick is probably not best for beginners just starting out. Since I am sure it is not legal for sanctioned racing, the hardcore racer is not going be able to use it, but for that largest group of us right down the center, the ones that play for fun, this is an awesome device, and I can think of numerous uses for it. I know all my friends are going to want one!