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540 Silvercan Motor Tuning - Johnson and Mabuchi

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Our fastest driver, Yuichiro Takaya, recently conducted a seminar about tuning 540 silvercan motors. With his tuned Johnsons doing 21,000rpm legally without magnet zapping, we were all eager to pick up some tips.

Taka conducting a 540 stock motor tuning seminar

Photo above: Taka conducting a seminar on how to tune the stock 540 Johnson or Mabuchi motors that come with most r/c car kits. Thanks Taka for sharing your secrets and knowledge.

He started by handing out a piece of paper with his notes. What the ??? hahaha. He then proceeded to talk for 30 minutes which helped decipher the notes.

540 Silvercan Motor Tuning Secrets

Above: The 540 tuning tips handout notes from Taka.

Here are the key points that is per my understanding. I hope I understood correctly.

  • A normal 540 silvercan motor will be from 14,500 to 19,000 rpm.
  • A properly broken in motor can legally reach 22,000 rpm without magnet zapping.
  • There are 5 kinds of brush that will give 16,000 to 22,000 rpm difference.
  • Any motor above 22,000 rpm is not normal.
  • A "magnetized" motor can easily be detected, it will draw excessive amps on a motor checker.
  • The 540 motor brush can only push 80 amps of current.
  • Reverse break-in will advance the timing of the brush and give a few hundreds more rpm.
  • But effect is short and once brush wears the timing advance is lost. Need to reverse break in again.
  • Centering the rotor by tapping the magnets to the correct position will add 500 to 800 rpm.
  • The Johnson 540 is a good motor to run.
  • The Mabuchi 540 (dull grey can) is strong and fast, but very short racing life, maybe just 2 hours.
  • The K.O. VFS 1 is the strongest esc for 540 silvercan racing.
  • The QC3 is the smoothest and good as well.

Basically the motor will give most power when brush contact is full yet there is still an "arc" or "curve" when viewing the motor brush. Then the power drops of when the brush becomes too short, maybe because spring tension is too light by then.

This was only his first seminar. There is more to come. Stay tuned!

540 Silvercan Motor Tuning Seminar Video

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