What is IR battling?
In IR battling, each tank is able to send and receive IR “rounds”. Each tank is assigned weight class that dictates the hits until death and delay in firing the main cannon. Weight classes even the playing field by implementing tiers for the hits until death and delay on the main cannon firing a round. There is a light, medium, and heavy weight class. The electronics package will send, receive, and log the IR rounds.
Why IR and not airsoft?
Airsoft poses a safety and injury liability issue, not to mention creates unnecessary waste with BBs, but can and will damage paint, details, and accessories on a tank. Our club members, like most in the hobby, are modelers and will thus invest a significant amount of time and incur expenses between time spent painting and detailing their tanks with accessories. IR battling leverages infrared technology, that used to control your television with a remote. The is no physical damage risk to a tank or injury risk in contrast. Additionally unlike airsoft, IR battling offers a simulated battle environment where IR rounds sent and those received from another tank can be accurately tracked automatically by the electronics.
What is required for an IR battler?
The tank or AFV will need to be able to send and receive Tamiya IR and be assigned the respective weight class to the vehicle. The IR emitter needs to be installed properly to prevent a blast effect since an IR beam is like visible light vs a laser, thus needing to be restricted. An IR receiver unit is needed to receive the IR signal and indicate when a hit is received via LEDs on the unit.
What about a Heng Long 6.x or 7.x tank?
Unfortunately the Heng Long (HL) 6.x and 7.x electronics package is a not the complete Tamiya IR implementation. This presents the issue of a # of unfair advantages over hobby grade electronics that has a complete Tamiya IR implementation. The HL 6 and 7 electronics is lacking the weight classes needed for a fair playing field. Without weight classes, the hits until death is the same regardless of the true weight class and there is no delay between cannon fires with these electronics. A tank thus can fire rounds one after another per no delay between rounds. Additionally, the stock IR receiver is a poor quality product with a very limited range outdoors where it will not be able to detect received hits after just a few feet (if even that far).
What about a Taigen or Torro tank?
Unfortunately Taigen/Torro electronics does not have any Tamiya IR implemented. This electronics package leverages a proprietary IR code that is only compatible with other Taigen/Torro electronics. You will need to upgrade the electronics to hobby grade electronics for Tamiya IR support.
What are my options for a proper IR battler?
Tamiya tank kits with their electronics package (the DMD and MFU pair) for many years was the only option for IR battling. Over time, various aftermarket electronics offerings became available for use in Heng Long, Taigen, etc. tanks. In addition to Tamiya electronics, there the main options are installing a Clark board, an ElMod board, or an IBU board. The DAK club recommendation if you are not running a tank with Tamiya electronics is to install a Clark board. A Clark board is not only an established solution, but widely used with a significant global user base. This provides not only ample resources if questions, but demonstrates this is a working solution in the hobby for electronics.
The US Clark Distributor dakrctank.com is operated by a DAK club member, which allows the club easy and affordable access to Clark electronics and accessories. This has aided in both growing the hobby and club locally, as well as at the national level.