MicroMagic videos

Three A-heat races from Saturday.
There were a lot of cameras around, so I hope some more (better quality!) material appears on youtube soon (please add a link below in the comments!).

The quality of these clips improve slightly by selecting the "480p" mode on youtube.

A lot of shouting at the start of this one, audio swapped to something more pleasant to protect the innocent and the guilty...

I wonder if the newer camera-phones have better video than the N95? But deciding on a new phone means choosing between android vs. symbian vs. meego - which isn't easy...

Balatonkenese, Hungary

In Hungary it is very important to have a fence around your house. The fence should have barb-wire or sharp pointy things at the top, and a sign saying "Tilos". Up to three exclamation marks after "Tilos" can be used for extra effect. An angry barking dog is optional.

I managed one A-heat, two-three B-heats, and a lot of fooling around and getting crashed into in the C-heat. Probably need to get the Mk1 fin and rudder as they seem to be popular. Lighter batteries also maybe, to have the total weight of the boat close to the minimum (860g?).

A bit of running too during the weekend:


Magic Rigs

Building new B and C rigs should be an almost foolproof way of making sure there will be nothing but A-rig during the event on the weekend. We will see.

2010 Finnish MicroMagic Open

22 skippers with guests from RUS, SWE, and NED, in addition to FIN skippers came to this two-day event in Espoo. For me it was a non-event since I don't own the smaller MicroMagic rigs that were required during the first day with steady 7-8m/s and up to 11-12m/s of wind in the gusts.

At times you hear voices out there who mutter that the IOM sort of "fails" as a one-design because there isn't a minimum fin thickness, and the minimum weight is so low it is really difficult to DIY build a competitive boat on your own kitchen table. In contrast, the MicroMagic seems to do a reasonably good job of "pure one-design" with the hull and appendages, although people do play around with combinations of MkI and MkII fins and rudders.

But compared to the IOM, the MicroMagic rigs are a completely wild jungle! Although the biggest no1 (or should we call it "A"?) rig is limited to the stock size sails which come with the kit, there are little or no limitations on the smaller rigs. When there is this much freedom, people are bound to explore the design envelope, and unlike a pure one-design where everyone has the same equipment it will take some experience, time, and money to converge on rig designs for the smaller sails which are competitive. People seemed to use either no2 or no3 rigs yesterday, and I photographed some of them below. The top NED and SWE boats led the field along with FIN-111 who had obviously invested in the right kind of carbon-sticks, ball-bearing thingys, and sails. It looks like it is advantageous to get both the main and jib booms as close to the deck as possible.

All of this leads to a slight illusion then when you gladly advise the newcomer that the class is cheap and uncomplicated, "you get the kit for 170eur and you are done", when in fact the competitive people swap out fins and rudders right away, and spend 4-500 euros on a set of the latest carbon-ballbearing-super-mainsail-roach-rigs. Anyone with more experience in the MicroMagic class care to comment?

MicroMagic 2010 Ranking 3, Lohja

12 boats completed 6 races before lunch in light and shifting conditions. After lunch there was no more sailing because of heavy lightning, thunder, and lots of rain.

The ball-raced gooseneck with ballbearings around the mast looks nice. Riku had a new boat with aluminium mounts for the sheet and rudder servos instead of the standard plywood ones. Many boats had new "VAM" sails.

4-Cell GP Recyko battery packs

There is a new generation of low self-discharge NiMH batteries out there, GP calls them Recyko and the Sanyos are called Eneloop. I put together two 4-cell packs for use in the MicroMagic. These have a nominal capacity of 2050 mAh - I will post later some results of discharge tests. Weight seems to be around 125 grams including some epoxy that holds the cells together, the heatshrink tube, and wires with Deans micro plugs.

Spektrum DX5E antenna mod


This is now my third 2.4 GHz radio after first having used a special module on the Futaba 3VCS, and then a Spektrum DX6 with the Noux (now sold). It's the cheapest model, a DX5E, which will be used with my newest boat (soon to be featured on this site...).

It seems the Spektrum engineers are not reading this blog too keenly, I suggested an internal antenna back in 2007. Even if the antenna is short I don't like it sticking out of the transmitter, so the first thing to do with the brand-new radio is to open it!


Here's how the transmitter looks opened. Note the small battery compartment which only takes 4 AA-cells (down from 8 in the early days and 6 on the older DX6). There's plenty of room for the antenna at the top of the transmitter, but just outside the top edge there's a metal carrying handle which I thought wasn't the best thing to have close to the antenna. So off it goes:


The handle detaches by opening two nuts on the inside of the case, after cutting a way some hot-glue which was used to secure the nuts.

Then the antenna needs to be made a bit smaller. What sticks out of the transmitter is actually first an empty plastic tube which just extends the antenna itself a little further from the case. By cutting away the small plastic bits that prevents the antenna from rotating 360-degrees it all disassambles nicely, and I'm left with the narrow coax-cable and the antenna:


The antenna can now be hot-glued to the top of the back casing:


I've also applied some hot-glue to the holes where the handle was attached. Now all that remains is to close the case again, making sure that no wires are caught between the casing or screws:


And we have ourselves a Tx with an internal antenna! The way it should have been designed in the first place - if you ask me. What remains is to tape or plug the old antenna opening. Previously I've had no range or other problems whatsoever with this kind of arrangement, but naturally I take no responsibility if you try this and void your warranty and damage your transmitter.