What is Traxxas TSM?

If you’re used to driving brushed RC cars, you’ll notice a HUGE power difference the first time you drive a brushless car. That happened to me when I moved from my brushed Traxxas Rustler 2WD up to the brushless VXL.

But I soon realized just how well the Rustler VXL got the power to the wheels. 

That’s all because of Traxxas’s TSM.  

Traxxas TSM (Traxxas Stability Management) is a driver assist found exclusively on their brushless RC cars. Like traction control on a full-size car, it helps the tires maintain their grip during high-speed cornering and prevents fishtailing when accelerating quickly. 

Suppose you’re just starting out in RC cars or have a young driver looking for their next vehicle. In that case, you might be concerned about whether you can handle the power of a brushless motor. 

TSM is one of those innovations that’s gotten a lot of praise from the RC community, from new and experienced drivers alike. 

Let’s discover what TSM does and whether it is something you should consider for your next Traxxas car!


What Does Traxxas TSM Do?

TSM or Traxxas Stability Management is offered specifically on RC cars, trucks, and buggies with brushless motors. It’s intended to make driving an RC car easier on terrain with traction challenges.

Specifically, it’s designed to help when driving on dirt, loose gravel, sand, ice, or snow. 

The motor puts out so much power in these conditions that the tires lose grip, usually causing a spin or crashing. 

Even on quick starts, the back tires struggle to maintain traction. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve crashed my Rustler because I gave it too much throttle off the line. 

Traxxas TSM technology adjusts the car’s steering when it loses traction. It automatically turns the front wheels into a slide to help keep the car traveling as straight as possible, preventing spinouts on a slippery corner.

The sensors in the car will automatically adjust the steering when they detect the vehicle is losing traction and the drive wheels are starting to spin on slippery surfaces. These sensors automatically determine how much adjustment is needed in each situation, preventing the system from over-compensating.


What Are The Benefits Of Traxxas TSM?

We have seen how Traxxas TSM works to control the RC car on slippery surfaces, but what does this mean for your driving and your experience with a TSM enabled car?

TSM Prevents Fishtailing On RC Cars

Fishtailing happens when you use too much power on a slippery surface, and the car’s rear kicks out to one side. The driver compensates on the controls, and the car’s rear kicks out on the opposite side.

TSM countersteers to limit the fishtailing effect when it detects the situation arising. It will keep the car traveling in a straight line when it kicks in, allowing more speed and power on starts and straightaways on slippery surfaces.

Traxxas TSM Limits Spinouts

Low traction surfaces pose a challenge for cornering your RC car. This can easily result in spinouts as you over-compensate on the controls or give too much power in a corner.

TSM is designed to limit cornering spinouts in these conditions by automatically steering the car appropriately as the system detects a slide or spin out is imminent.

The TSM system reacts quicker than an RC car driver can to the car beginning to slide in a corner. It applies the right amount of correction to prevent overcompensation, resulting in spinouts.

TSM Allows For Full Power In Slippery Conditions

In real cars, you can usually feel how well the car is gripping the road, whether through the steering wheel or by the seat of your pants. This gives you time to adjust power levels to avoid slides and spinouts. 

RC cars don’t give you that same tactile feedback, making it challenging to adjust power accordingly.

The TSM system controls the car’s steering to adjust to the high power coming from the drive wheels combined with the slippery conditions.

This means that you can keep the power on in these challenging driving conditions, keep the car driving in a straight line, and corner more effectively in this terrain.

Traxxas TSM Lets You Drive Faster

Since you don’t have to feather the throttle, Traxxas TSM lets you perform faster starts from the line, keep your car straight, and corner faster on slippery surfaces.

It’s easy to see how this gives you an advantage in races. When every second matters, traction loss or spinning out can mean the difference between winning and losing a race. 

TSM Is Great For New Drivers And Experienced Drivers

The Traxxas TSM will make it easier for new RC car drivers to learn to drive their RC cars and reduce their time to master driving in slippery conditions.

Experienced RC car drivers can benefit from the technology by driving faster under challenging conditions and less loss of control in low-traction conditions.

TSM lowers the frustration level for new RC car drivers and increases the fun level for experienced drivers. This makes Traxxas TSM an advantage for RC drivers at all levels.


Does Traxxas TSM Limit Your Throttle?

Many stability management systems interfere with the power being supplied to the drive wheels from the engine and consequently reduce the speed and power of the car.

The Traxxas TSM leaves the RC car operator in complete control of the throttle and the power delivered by the motor. The TSM doesn’t affect your control over the throttle in any way, even if the system is set to maximum assist.


Multi-function knob controlling Traxxas TSM

Can You Switch TSM Off?

The RC controller for cars fitted with TSM has a dial that enables the RC car driver to select how much assistance the system offers and switch the system off entirely.

You may need less driving assistance from the system in some terrain types. The dial on the controller allows you to finetune the amount of assistance that the system will offer while you are driving.

Traxxas recommend that the dial is set to 50%, but you can lower this value if the terrain doesn’t warrant this level of control. You can also increase the assistance level to 100% if the terrain is particularly challenging.

Some drivers choose to lower the assistance level to improve their own skill at controlling the car under challenging circumstances.

In certain types of RC car racing, such as some drag racing events, driver assistance technology is sometimes not allowed. You can turn the TSM dial to the off position when participating in these events. It’ll be inactive until you increase the level on the dial.


Conclusion

The Traxxas TSM system is intended to increase the driveability of RC cars in low-traction conditions. The technology allows you to keep driving and having fun without the frustration of continual loss of control over the vehicle in difficult situations.

The level of assistance the TMS system provides can be controlled by a dial on the controller, giving the operator the ability to adjust the driver aid to varying levels throughout the run. The TMS can be switched off entirely if desired.

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