Dickie Upgrade by William Jones

Super Workboat / Dickie Tug

Length 23 1/2 Inches 600mm
Beam 7 1/2 Inches 190mm

Tug was Purchased on Ebay for about $23 including shipping. I purchased it for a retrieval tug for my speed boats.
I quickly found that the Hull and Super Structure was great quality but the Electronics were lacking.

I removed all electronics including Motor and Pump. I also Open the top of the Ballast Tank and sealed the bottom up.

I then removed the motors yoke and bored it out a bit to fit on a 1/8" shaft of a 540 Stock 27 turn motor. I have bunches of them from my RC Cars. Mounted the motor on a Aluminium Motor Mount that I purchased from http://www.offshoreelectrics.com I then Epoxy a piece of balsa wood that I bevelled to fit the hull and then epoxy the motor mount upside down to that. Yes this system does make some noise but mine seems to make a good loud engine sound that seems pretty realistic for a tug. So I have not thought of changing the drive train any further.

I also installed a Robbe D37 Water-Cooling Heat Sink that has been silicone to the motor. The Clear tubing required a bit of silicone and I recommend silicone on the aluminium where the o-ring is. It leaked a bit on me.

As you can see I mounted a Standard Servo and a Z bent .073 wire for the steering.

I also Installed a Water Pump MFA 650 6-12 volt pump along with a 1/8" ID Fuel Filter, You never know what is in the lake and the Monitors will get clogged if you suck something up.. It flows at a rate about 500ml per minute at 6 volts. It is mounted to a Piece of Balsa and CA Glued to the bottom of the boat.

I used a Hitec SP 6/10 amp speed control that I just had around from something I had purchased a while back.

I also custom made an Aluminium Water Cooled heat sink. I started with a 12" by 4" piece of 1/4" thick aluminium I then bored 10 5/32" Holes 1 1/2" deep leaving some space between each and making sure to leave at least 1/4" space at the end. I then milled out the aluminium between some of the wholes to allow water to pass from 1 to the next. Creating like a snake effect on the water going back and forth. I then cut the aluminium block out of the larger block making sure to leave 1/4" for the fitting to be put in on the ends. I then milled the other side. I then drilled a whole at each end with a #21 Drill bit and then taped it with 10-32 tap for a 10/32 Threaded barbed fitting. I then Caped the Top and bottom to seal it with a piece of sheet aluminium with JB Weld epoxy. Putting Light Clamp pressure. Make sure to use some Thread Sealant or Teflon tape on the Fittings. And test if for leaks before mounting it on a Speed Control.

I used a 4.5ah 6 Volt battery that provides plenty of ballast. It weighs about 1.8 lbs or 725 grams. If you are looking for more thrust or Bollard Pull then you should go to 12 volt NiMH and use a 4 Bladed 50mm LH Brass Prop with a 2.5:1 Reduction 600/24 Motor. You may need to remove and install a new brass tube. Heating it is most likely the easiest way of getting it out.

The MFA 650 Pump has several purposes it Cools the Motor and ESC and it Shoots water out of the 2 Graupner 337 Monitors that replaced the fake monitors. It requires no modifications to mount them. Just need to enlarge the hole in the bottom deck for the water line.

I used a 3/16" Vacuum T from an automotive store to connect them up. They are Fixed but are really just for show. They also look like they belong on the tug.

You may have noticed in the picture above to the left of the on and off switch. Those are banana Plug jacks for Charging the battery. I also thought those looked like water hook-ups and seem to fit in with the boat. I am using a Radio Shack 6 Volt 800ma Power Adapter for the Charger. It is a Universal Power Adapter and has a Impedance Circuit to limit the Milliamps. As the Charge Reaches about 7.1 to 7.3 Volts it shuts down or lowers the Milliamp Push. According to Interstate Battery that Supplied the 4.5ah battery this is a good way of charging it.

Now for a little more technical stuff. Due to the fact that the boat is 6 volts you can run your RX off of it. I recommend this cause BEC are not all that reliable so if your ESC has a BEC disconnect the RED power wire from the servo connection off of it to then use a Battery connector to the switch inside to power the RX. You can Also Hook-up the Lights direct to 6 Volts plenty bright.

The Servo up front controls the Pump. The MFA 650 is reversible. I used 2 micro switches to allow it to go in both directions. And Allows you to Clean out the Filter by reversing it and use it as a bilge pump as you will see down below.

To wire the micro switches you need to find the Common terminal. Use a Multi Meter to check for continuity. Check to find the 2 terminals that are connected when the Switch is at rest and when the switch is triggered. The 1 in common is the Common terminal.

The Uncommon Terminal when at Rest is the - the Uncommon terminal when Triggered is the + on both micro switches to the Battery. Then connect 1 wire from the motor to each Common terminal.

I used a Degree Wheel that comes with the servo that I cut and bevelled to allow me to use the trim adjustment to cut it on or off Pump in or out. And then Either Glue or very Carefully Screw the micro switch to the servo.

I have chose to make a Bilge pump out of it by installing 2 Aquarium Check Valves (1 way Valve).

The Check valve on the right allows water to go up to the Monitors but not back. The Check Valve on the Left that is coming off the 3/16" Vacuum Y Fitting will only allow water to flow toward the Y Fitting. The line coming off of that goes to the bilge area under the Motor. When you reverse the Pump it will suck any water out of the bilge. It also will flush out the filter. I should note my boat never leaks I keep a little oil on the Prop shaft and never needed the Bilge Pump.

I also extended the rudder I need to get some red paint. The paint said red but it came out a bit to pink.

To create a reverse with 2 Micro Switches.

  1. The at rest uncommon terminals on both should be
  2. The Triggered uncommon terminals on both should be +
  3. Wire 1 wire off the motor to each of the Common Terminal

When neither micro switch is triggered both terminals on the motor are when you trigger 1 switch it sends a + to the motor Completing the Circuit and turning in 1 direction or the other.

Here are some of the Parts I used to make this tug.
Balsa Wood
1 Banana Plug Terminal for Charging ( Electronic Store )
1 6 Volt Wall Adapter 500 to 2000ma and 2 Banana Plugs
1 Stock 27 Turn 540 Motor
1 Aluminum Motor Mount from http://www.offshoreelectrics.com
1 MFA 650 Pump from http://www.pandanmodelboats.co.uk/
1 Raboesch - Brass Water Cooling Inlet/Outlet http://www.pandanmodelboats.co.uk/
1 Robbe D37 Motor Water Cooling Heat Sink http://www.pandanmodelboats.co.uk/
1 4 channel Stick Radio with 2 Servos
2 5amp Micro switches for the Pump
1 Hitec Reverse 10/6 amp speed Control
1 6 Volt Lead Acid Battery (3 to 4.5 ah)
2 Aquarium Check Valves (1 Way Valve)
1 3/16 Vacuum T Fitting (auto parts Store)
1 3/16 Vacuum Y Fitting (auto parts Store)
1 Package of Graupner Part# 337 Monitors (2 monitors per package) http://www.harbormodels.com
2 Brass 10/32 Threaded Barbed Fittings for the Custom Aluminum Water-cooled Heat sink http://www.towerhobbies.com


William Jones
Columbia SC


        Dickie / Seaport Tugs