A while back John Bennett of RC Sure start sent me an engine pre heater to test, promote & give some feed back. To be honest its an area I have never really bothered on although for years I have seen guys with hot air guns trying to warm up the engine heads, for me that just looked to much like hard work to be fun. With the onset of winter now was a great opportunity to put the Sure Start to the test & with its simple design seemed a cracking bit of kit.
Its designed using power from a 12volt battery or lipo & the heat source is achieved from a 12 volt bulb. All this is contained in a neat tube with a small fan which has two functions, firstly to keep the important bits cool, the second too transfer the heat down to the whole engine head & crankcase reaching all those hard to get area's . The Sure Start comes in various colours & sizes to suit your needs in preference & different engine head sizes. With many features such as single or dual element heat, fuse protection & on/off switch, auto cut off when to hot, with a very strong point being the large range in voltage inputs compared to others on the market means many voltages will work without damaging the unit making it a very durable to the abuse RC racers will put it through.
When using what could be simpler than to just fit over the engine head, turn on & wait 5 minutes. For my simple non scientific test ambient & head temperature was 7 deg C, after the 5 minute heat the head was now deg 65 C & the point of being hot enough to be uncomfortable to hold. I gave head temperature as the plug which is normally measured will only get hot when running so in a way already at normal running temps. If you do not have a temp gun the old fashion spit test at this point showed it evaporating so more than warm enough. Different weather conditions will alter the heat up speed but generally for me a 3-4 minute burst is enough to get the engine temp up enough to fire up with ease. You can leave it running for longer but normally 5 minutes works for everyone & is all that is required.
For me being an old dog definitely learnt some new tricks. It was simple to use but more important ely quicker to get the engine running without causing undue wear when cold starting. Literally no need to prime the engine as the heat seemed to just draw the fuel through with the engine firing into life on the first touch of the start box. Totally converted to this form of starting an engine in the winter or cold & in my view a must for my pit box, with many pro's already using the Sure Start I see this as the next stage in engine prep & a world away from the days of blow guns.
The unit comes nicely presented & safe in its handy case so check out their website by clicking the link below for further details.