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   RC Hardware - N-Tune Dials  RATING:  

 fit / finish  

RC Hardware - N-Tune Tuning Dials

There is one thing that often mystifies new RC nitro drivers more than anything else. Engine tuning. Nitro engine tuning is probably the number one "problem" for new drivers. Even for veteran tuners, a little extra help sometimes would be nice “did I just lean the HSN by one hour or two?”

RC Hardware has come up with a small yet incredibly helpful device that will be sure to please new and old tuners alike, the N-Tune dial. This device is so simple and helpful, we have to wonder why engine manufactures don’t install it as standard equipment. Let’s face it, the whole “look at your needles like a clock face and tune an hour at a time” idea can be tough for some to grasp. At the very least, it is sometimes hard to keep track of where your needles were at before you started playing with them, especially if you are having a hard time tuning an engine.

The N-Tune dial makes tuning and recording needle settings incredibly easy. No longer are you forced to “imagine” your needle as a clock face. The N-Tune gives you a picture perfect view of where your high speed needle is, at all times.

Some of the following installation information was taken from the N-Dial web site. The instructions are written so well, we copied a lot of them here and added some of our own notes/thoughts:

On most engines the dial can be taken out of the package, installed and ready to go to work in less than a minute. If you remove the needle, you should first “seat the needle” for future reference. Rotate the needle clockwise and count the rounds until a slight to medium resistance is felt, (seated). Write down the number of turns it took to "seat" the needle to make resetting it easier when reinstalling the needle.

To use the N-Tune dial properly, the high speed needle requires some type of reference point. Most needles have a black or grayish coating. Use a hobby knife and scratch off the coating to expose the silver (metal) finish. Make the reference point about 1/16" long, at one end of the screw driver slot. This may be done with the needle inside the housing, however, removing the needle allows for better access to the bottom of the slot and usually produces better results. You could also use some paint or a Dremel/file to make a mark on the needle face. Whatever you do, the reference point should be well defined. We used a small drop of white paint to mark our needle.

Unscrew the set screw enough to allow the N-Tune dial to slip over the needle housing. Reinstall the needle and return it to the original setting. With the dial and needle in place, tighten the set screw.

Note: Excessive tightening could result in damaged threads and/or damaged needle housing. The set screw only has to hold the N-Dial in place!

Needles with plastic thumb knobs will have to be adjusted with the screw driver slot once the N-Tune dial is installed. The knob is not accessible inside the dial and can no longer be used. It's not a big deal but you are forced to use a screwdriver for tuning.

After you have the N-Dial installed, run engine and tune it for good performance. Make adjustments in whole number increments to dial in the desired tune. The “half” number increments are perfect for ultra fine tuning.

After we had our engine tuned and running its best, we loosened the set screw and spun the dial so the needle reference point at our white mark was at zero. You could really spin this to any number or for that matter, not spin it at all. We set it at zero as it was an easy number to remember and from that point on, we could always go back to zero if our needles got goofed. Zero will be our “good tune” setting, or a “baseline” for any future adjustments. The dial has two set screw positions, if the set screw is not accessible in a certain dial position, it can be moved to the opposite side. Simple and smart!

RC Hardware offers there dials in two different surface finishes. Anodized dials are coated with a hard black finish inside and out. The top layer of anodizing is then removed from the face and this highlights the measuring scale. The silver face is finished with a soft brushed texture. This is there RTR version. The other option is a machined silver finish dial.

You could add an extra level of bling by polishing and coloring to match your color scheme. Want red numbers on your dial? Grab some red Testors paint, apply to the dial face and wipe off the excess. The numbers will retain the paint. This is a subtle but easy touch to make your N-Tune dial even cooler looking! All dials (with the exception of the new 18mm dial), are 16mm in diameter with a 20 increment scale. These dials are very nicely made. They feature excellent machine work and highly detailed engraving. It is a little thing but it does add some serious "bling" to your engine compartment; yet another small item to set your truck apart from the rest.

We used our N-Tune dial during the break-in and performance tuning of our Racer’s Edge .32 product review. It enabled us to keep track of our needles with precision and ultimately helped the entire break-in process.

It also enabled us to easily catalog our needle settings per the ambient temperatures (HSN at #1 at 43 degrees F, HSN at #1.5 at 35 degrees F, etc). This is data we jotted into our engine manual for future reference. We will also do this when the warmer weather rolls around and the ambient temperatures get into the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Thid data should be a very handy future reference point for tuning!

We did dock the Performance rating by 1 star as you do lose the ability to adjust your HSN with the plastic knob on engines so equipped. This is not a major loss and the extra functionality the N-tune gives is worth more than any knob adjustment.

We at BYT consider ourselves pretty decent engine tuners. The original thought of something like a "tuning aid" was not overly exciting. However after using it on our Racer’s Edge .32, we have added a dial to our EPIC .18 and will be getting them for the rest of our fleet!

This is a great item for nitro newbie’s and veteran tuners alike. Newbies will like the easy reference of where their needles are at and veteran tuners and racers will enjoy a simple way to record and catalog their needle settings. The price is decent at $15-$20, depending on the dial.

Everyone can use some help tuning and the N-Tune dial delivers exactly that. The only thing we did not like is that it defeats the plastic adjustment knob on needles so equipped. That means you have to have a screwdriver in your pocket to do the tuning.

Do they make one for your nitro engine? Here are a few engines that N-Tune Dials are available for: Associated, Cen, Collari, Duratrax, Dynamite, EPIC, Fantom, HPI, Losi, Megatech, Novarossi, O.S., Ofna, Omega, Picco, RB products, Rex, S/H, Sirio, SportWerks, Team Orion, Thunder Tiger, Top, XTM

Click here to check out the RC Hardware web site and trick out your engine with a functional, flashy N-Tune tuning dial!

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