Hacker for Hire

Letter to Tower Hobbies

Wyatt • • Rants

Well, I hope that everyone has had a good “day” of your preference (I can’t say religious cause that would just automatically assume that everyone has a religion of sorts) and that things are going well. This is a copy of the letter that I sent to Tower Hobbies about their product they sent me. I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I hated having to fix it.

Greetings,

My customer number is *\* **** and I would like to inform you of my experience with my most recent Tower Hobbies purchase.

I have long since been a fan of electric R/C and I recently I decided to make the jump to Nitro R/C. Being relatively new, I figured that a package such as the “Tower Hobbies Tower Nitro ST-15 w/.15 Pre-built” would be an excellent entry point into this hobby. While my ordering and shipping experience was everything that I’ve come to expect from Tower Hobbies, the package itself was not.

First, attempting to assemble the truck using the instructions provided was completely counter intuitive, especially when the second step is to undo what you did in the first step and continue along. Initially, the builder is asked to install the receiver and final servo, however on the next page, they are asked to install servos and the throttle assemble, which requires the removal of the first servo installed. Secondly, assembling the throttle on the truck was off completely. The small connector from the rod to the engine was supposed to have a snap ring that snaps on allowing free movement of the parts; however, that was not the part included in this package. I received a small connector from the rod to the engine that had a nut to hold it in place. While this is an equally acceptable alternative to the snap ring that was supposed to come with the package, it becomes highly unacceptable when the parts that are sent exceed the diameter of hole in the steel throttle adjustment on the carburetor they are supposed to fit into. After re-drilling the hole to accept the new threaded connector that continues to catch the burs on the throttle control that I am unable to sand off because I do not have a file smaller than a toothpick, I successfully mounted the rest of the components with the exception of the receiver battery pack. The receiver batter pack is supposed to go in the receiver battery case on the back of the truck approximately 7 inches from the receiver switch. This becomes quite difficult to do especially when you only have 2.5 inches of wire to work with on both the receiver switch and the receiver battery pack. Still wanting to test the actual electronics installation, I plugged in the batter pack and decided to return to that issue later. After correcting the 75 degree angle that my front tires were initially installed to, the steering servo tested successfully; however, when testing the throttle servo, there appears to be an engineering design flaw to the setup. If you depress the throttle more than 3/4 of the way, the break rod lifts out of the servo horn and lodges itself nicely upon the throttle control rod. This of course locks the throttle in the 3/4 open position, not an ideal situation for any novice let alone someone who is trying to break in a new engine to be in. After re-engineering the breaking control rod, the truck was finally assembled enough to start the break-in process, baring the deficiency of wire mentioned previously. The first run of fuel through the engine was horrid, as I expected it to be from the instructions; however, when attempting to refill the tank after the first run, I noticed that the engine had not been tightened down to the frame of the truck. With nearly 1/8″ of play on each side of the engine, I had to disassemble the engine to find that the engine screws had been mounted with grease instead of thread lock. Now being an engineer, knowing the principles of vibration, as well as having my 15 years of automotive repair tells me that this is just completely insane, even for a hobby world that I’ve only had 1 day of experience in. After remounting the engine, and taking the opportunity to re-adjust the low speed needle which came approximately 6-9 turns beyond the “default” setting, I’ve found that my truck start and runs much more reliably.

Please realize that I am not asking for a return, but that I want to make you aware of the defects in your product and that this is not the quality that I have come to expect from Tower Hobbies and that you will take steps to resolve these issues. I could not imagine being a parent or a complete novice to the hobby realm and attempting to successfully use this product.

Thank you,

Wyatt Neal

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