Adam Drake talks Losi SmartDiff


Words: Sylvain Lafrance
Date: January 2009
Photos: Courtesy of Losi

Adam Drake talks Losi SmartDiff Articles
From the outside, the diff looks the same

Team Losi Racing have recently announced new diffs for their popular 1/8 buggies and truggies, the SmartDiff. Are they really “smart”? Yes, I think they are. The concept is very interesting and innovative. Basically, ramp plates inside the differential lock on the gear shafts under acceleration and unlock them when decelerating or braking. In others words, it gives more traction when accelerating and more steering at low speed or when braking. By the way, the SmartDiffs are patent pending, so don’t expect to see the same technology with any other brands.

I asked Adam Drake few questions concerning the new SmartDiffs.

MyRCBox.com: Where does the idea come from?
Adam Drake: The idea for the Team Losi Racing SmartDiff is from Losi engineer Dan “Dyno” Hissam. I did extensive testing with different diffs on the market and explained to Dan what I was looking for in a diff. It started turning gears in his head and we now have the Team Losi Racing SmartDiff.

MyRCBox.com: I saw on Losi’s website, ramp plates with different angles and return springs with different rates. Does it mean we can fine tune the reaction time or the lock pressure?
Adam Drake: Yes, basically the springs control how quick the ramp plates open and close. The SmartDiff comes complete with all 4 spring rates included to suit each condition. The SmartDiff comes equipped with (4 ).15mm springs as we thought this was the best all around setup. The other springs that are included are .20mm, .25mm, and .35mm The ramps plates control the amount of pressure. The diff is amazing; you have the best of both worlds. A very free diff off power which increases steering and on throttle you have a diff that adjusts to the amount of traction you have.

MyRCBox.com: There is SmartDiff grease on Losi’s website. Is diff fluid required of simply grease?
Adam Drake: Both. You can use silicone fluid to control the off power steering, but I usually run it with the SmartDiff grease.

MyRCBox.com: Are there few racers that race with the SmartDiff at this time?
Adam Drake: Currently only 4-5 drivers have the SmartDiff, but that will change in the next couple of weeks. They will be available for everyone by the end of January.

MyRCBox.com: What have been their first impressions?
Adam Drake: The SmartDiff offers more offpower steering while at the same time being smooth with great precision. Another key asset to the SmartDiff is the increased forward drive it gives. This makes clearing jumps hard to clear jumps even easier. Vs. More steering, but smoother and more precise and also more forward drive.

Adam Drake talks Losi SmartDiff Articles
A look inside the center SmartDiff

MyRCBox.com: Does the SmartDiff require a different driving technique when entering or exiting a corner?
Adam Drake: Not really however at first the abundance of acceleration that the SmartDiff offers can cause you to over jump and out accelerate your competitors.(not sure if you want to add that?)

MyRCBox.com: In my case and according to my driving style, I assume the center diff is the first to upgrade. What are the results when upgrading the front, center and rear diffs?
Adam Drake: The SmartDiff will be something we run in the center diff all the time and in the front if you are on a track that requires additional offpower steering.

MyRCBox.com: When the smart diffs will be available on the market?
Adam Drake: The End of January.

MyRCBox.com: Is this a technology that Losi will incorporate into their others vehicles like monster trucks?
Adam Drake: The SmartDiff can be used in the front of the LST and LST 2 as long as you change the ring gear.

Adam Drake talks Losi SmartDiff Articles
The ramp plates lock the gears for more traction when accelerating

Team Losi Racing have recently announced new diffs for their popular 1/8 buggies and truggies, the SmartDiff. Are they really “smart”? Yes, I think they are. The concept is very interesting and innovative. Basically, ramp plates inside the differential lock on the gear shafts under acceleration and unlock them when decelerating or braking. In others words, it gives more traction when accelerating and more steering at low speed or when braking. By the way, the SmartDiffs are patent pending, so don’t expect to see the same technology with any other brands.

I asked Adam Drake few questions concerning the new SmartDiffs.

MyRCBox.com: Where does the idea come from?
Adam Drake: The idea for the Team Losi Racing SmartDiff is from Losi engineer Dan “Dyno” Hissam. I did extensive testing with different diffs on the market and explained to Dan what I was looking for in a diff. It started turning gears in his head and we now have the Team Losi Racing SmartDiff.

MyRCBox.com: I saw on Losi’s website, ramp plates with different angles and return springs with different rates. Does it mean we can fine tune the reaction time or the lock pressure?
Adam Drake: Yes, basically the springs control how quick the ramp plates open and close. The SmartDiff comes complete with all 4 spring rates included to suit each condition. The SmartDiff comes equipped with (4 ).15mm springs as we thought this was the best all around setup. The other springs that are included are .20mm, .25mm, and .35mm The ramps plates control the amount of pressure. The diff is amazing; you have the best of both worlds. A very free diff off power which increases steering and on throttle you have a diff that adjusts to the amount of traction you have.

MyRCBox.com: There is SmartDiff grease on Losi’s website. Is diff fluid required of simply grease?
Adam Drake: Both. You can use silicone fluid to control the off power steering, but I usually run it with the SmartDiff grease.

MyRCBox.com: Are there few racers that race with the SmartDiff at this time?
Adam Drake: Currently only 4-5 drivers have the SmartDiff, but that will change in the next couple of weeks. They will be available for everyone by the end of January.

MyRCBox.com: What have been their first impressions?
Adam Drake: The SmartDiff offers more offpower steering while at the same time being smooth with great precision. Another key asset to the SmartDiff is the increased forward drive it gives. This makes clearing jumps hard to clear jumps even easier. Vs. More steering, but smoother and more precise and also more forward drive.

Sylvain Lafrance

Sylvain Lafrance

Hello, my name is Sylvain Lafrance and I am the man behind MyRCBox.com. I have bought my first hobby grade RC in the early 90s. With years, what that started as a simple hobby, quickly became a strong passion. I am so much passionate about R/C that I have created MyRCBox.com in 2006 to share my experiences with R/C products that I use for racing and bashing. Follow me !

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