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Old 2013.06.01, 04:33 PM   #1
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Firelap IW02 [2wd] and IW04M [4wd] issues (2013)

We run and sell both the 2wd and awd 2.4 versions of the current firelap at our club in Sydney. Having had some time to familiarise ourselves with both models I will attempt to list their most common problems/remedies below:

1. Iw02 2wd model (similar to Kyosho MR02):

-less customers come back with problems in these. They have a simpler design and thus get less affected and/or get fixed easily if something arises.

-despite being 2.4 the steering is quite laggy especially if you've been racing mini-z's all the time. I would place the 2.4 response as being similar to the old AM band on mini-z's and even then a tad slower. Power band on the throttle is less smooth.

-wheel rims are slightly smaller (0.5-1mm) than mini-z wheels. It is hardly noticeable though. The bearings/bushings, for example, have a tighter fit. They cannot be inserted from an angle. Line them up flat with the hole and use the locknut-removal tool to gently push them in.

-stock front knuckles and the h-plate break quite easily. Upgrade with aftermarket ones for the Kyosho MR02.

-When Transmitter power runs low, the cars unbind with it easily. It's indicated by the car simply not responding and having a flashing red light on the car. We found out that the Transmitter's power LED doesn't always indicate when batteries inside it are running low (light colour is still green). Many customers thought the cars's PCB was at fault; it's actually the TX batteries running low. Swap the batteries in the transmitter, rebind if needed and you're good.

-locknuts are made from more harder, brittle material. Be aware of stripping the holes.

-There are no instructions detailing how to take the batteries out from the innermost battery-well on the chassis. Many customers didn't know that the motor-clips can be used to push the batteries from the slot under the chassis.

-Binding/rebinding process is not the same as a Mini-Z. The transmitter has no bind mode - only the car has it. The procedure is like this: turn off the transmitter. Turn off the car. Turn on the car with a finger pressing the white bind switch on the top of the car chassis. Red light will flicker slowly. KEep it pressed down and turn on the transmitter's power. The red light on the car will flicker rapidly. Keep it pressed down until the light stays on and doesn't flicker anymore. Done. If you turn on/off the transmitter outside of this sequence it won't bind. Remember that if your transmitter's batteries are running low, the car unbinds easily anyway so if you find you have to constantly rebind, change batteries.

-Front suspension (stock kingpin+springs) is quite fluid for an MR02 knockoff. Definite plus here. Stock tires are also pretty grippy.

-Pinion gear for higher speed (7-9t) and spacers are included with the kit. There are no instructions for how to change them out in the manual, though. Many customers didn't know about them. Also, the motor spacers for MM mount don't have any imprints or indication on which is to be used with 7-9t. Trial and error is the way to go. that or use some kyosho spacers to match 'em up.

-RM mount, t-plate, spacers and motor cap are included in the kit. Once again, no mention in the manual of this. Locknut removal tool/c-clip remover is there but the manual doesn't refer to it or explain what it's there for.

-Manual refers to the transmitter as 'tx'. Additionally, the diagram in it does not show an actual transmitter; it actually shows a module! These two quips are not a problem for us RC guys but for the average joe they can be confusing.

-The bodies are made from one single piece of hard plastic, unlike Kyosho's autoscales which are comprised of several parts. It's more robust than Kyosho's newer bodies. Note that they do require more effort to pry apart in order to remove the chassis.

-On the plus side, firelap-branded spares (offered separately) are a lot cheaper than Kyosho ones. I still recommend to get the ones meant for the Kyosho Mr02 since they last longer. Atomic and pnracing still make 02 spares...

Sydney Mini-Z fans unite! Our store is also the official distributor of X-power RC parts.

Last edited by Geo-Z; 2013.06.01 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 2013.06.01, 05:14 PM   #2
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2: IW04M 4wd model (a hybrid Kyosho MA-010 + Xmod)

-more customers returned these because the drive train seized up more easily due to dust or hair getting clogged in the main shaft gear.

-Design of the chassis is not bad though it has more open holes than the Kyosho ones. Sand, dirt and other things got into the gears more easily.

-Bind switch and light on the bottom of the chassis, only accessible via a thin screwdriver. Unlike the IW02 it is well hidden. Bind/rebind procedure is identical to the 2wd versions.

-All four knuckles are exactly the same design. The kits also come with blue anodized steel dogbones. Gear diffs on front and back. Changing the length of the spur gear on the central shaft requires some effort and care must be taken to ensure the shaft does not end up bending.

-Bearings already installed

-To access the PCB or driveshaft, the top plate must be taken off. Believe me it is a lot of unscrewing. when you remove the top plate, the four wheel knuckles/dogbones/springs have a tendency to collapse and fall off! It's a lot of work getting the dogbones, knuckle-shafts, springs and steering rods aligned up on not one, but for all four of these knuckles at the same time. They must all sit on the base plate with every extension slotted together before you can put top plate back on. It was an enormous lesson in patience.

-drift tires are included, as well as high grip tires which come preinstalled.

-body shell selection on these have additional models not included on the 2wd sets. The best looking one is the Lancer evo 4 imho. They also sell an audi tt, bmw m3 with lightwells (no wing) and mini cooper along with enzos and ford gts.

-The IW04M MUST use rechargeable batteries. Alkalines are so weak, we've noticed that they don't carry enough power to even turn the front steering out of the box! This may be down to the actual servos in these cars requiring more amps to move than the KYosho mini-z's.

-The battery trays on the car actually instruct the user to insert the batteries incorrectly. This is a very silly oversight. The + and - parts of the AAA battery are printed the wrong way round. This is a defect for all IW04M chassis that I hope firelap will address soon.

-The battery clips on the chassis are incredibly tight - make sure you remove them with a small flathead screwdriver.

-gear diff on front and back are nice, but it's best to not be rough with the car. Upgrade if needed.

-soldering on the battery tray leads on the chassis was pretty weak. A quick resolder and you're good to go.
Sydney Mini-Z fans unite! Our store is also the official distributor of X-power RC parts.
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Old 2015.10.20, 07:50 AM   #3
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Have you ever tried binding the Firelap controller to a mini-z ASF car? A shop that carries Firelap locally says he thinks they bind together - however, I have my doubts. With them being an hour and a half away - would rather have an answer here to save the trip if possible. Thanks in advance.
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Old 2015.10.21, 12:20 AM   #4
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Hi mate, our shop in northern Sydney has gone out of business, and I didn't get to scrounge a Firelap set before the doors shut for good. Having said that, I did have some time to get well acquainted with firelap sets imported through 2014.

though I haven't tried, my guess is this procedure is not possible. The reason for that is because Kyosho's ASF signal is different from other 2.4 signals, including other hobby-grade names like specktrum and FHSS, which are popular on larger scales.

Firelap's 2.4 is cheap and the response time lags pretty significantly compared to the Mini-Z's, no matter if compared to an ASF, FHS and most likely MHS. Because of this, I'd assume Kyosho and Firelap's 2.4 transmitters are not able to be used interchangeably.

For the fun of it, I once tried binding an ASF mini-z to a cheap toy-grade transmitter, the sort that came with the WLtoys Mini super speed RC buggy. Despite being toy-grade, the buggy's transmitter was 2.4 but that was it. Of course, no bind.

So I'mm guessing the firelap's transmitter isn't going to bind successfully as well.

Sorry to say mate....I think you're gonna have to invest in a Kt18/EX5 or module+transmitter combo. Either way, I hope you get your mini-z up and running one way or another.
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