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Brushless RC Car - Inexpensive and Fast
For decades I've played with electric rc cars powered by brushed motors. But around 3 years ago I bought a brushless motor and esc. The power and ease of maintenance immediately got me hooked and excited. From then on, I've put brushless technology into my racing cars.
Introduction to brushless rc cars
Brushless dc motor
What esc do we use in a 1:10 brushless rc car
What is faster, nitro or electric brushless rc car
Legal for racing?
Good and inexpensive brushless rc car/truck
Good website to order from
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Photo: 1/10 Tamiya F104
with sensorless 14T brushless motor and esc. Note if you see an orange,
yellow and blue wire going to the motor, it is a brushless system.
Introduction to Brushless RC Cars
Way back in 1994, I remember attending an r/c hobby show in New York USA. What caught my eye was the Aveox brusheless motors for radio control cars. It was a design ahead of its time. Now brushless is the standard.
Companies like Associated, Exceed RC, HPI, Losi and Traxxas sell ready-to-run (rtr) brushless powered rc cars and trucks. This is the easiest and fastest way to get into the hobby.
The other option is to buy a brushless motor and electronic speed control (esc) and to install these into your kit.
Brushless DC Motor
There are two technologies to consider and choose from. Sensored or sensorless systems. Sensored systems are more popular especially in racing. Sensorless systems are not so popular because of issues such as cogging (motor stutterring) and reportedly compatibility issues with some controllers.
Photo: The Tamiya 14T sensorless brushless motor (left) and the Novak sensored brushless motor and GTB esc combo. Note the sensored motors have an extra wire (i.e. sensor wire). Common to both are the blue, yellow and orange wires.
Personally I have both sensored and sensorless brushless dc motors and both have worked fine with my Futaba and Airtronics / Sanwa radio controllers. Though I do find the sensored motors more smoother and do not cog.
What ESC Do We Use in a 1:10 Brushless RC Car
For 1/10 on-road touring cars, popular esc are Tekin RS Pro, ORCA and Hobbywing XERUN. I personally use Hobbywing XERUN as it is less than half the price of Tekin, ORCA and other esc. And despite the cheap price, it is durable and high quality and can compete. It my local track I've never seen a Hobbywing esc break. I own two, and both are still going strong.
Qualities I would look for in buying a brushless esc are a) reputation for performance/quality, b) price, c) software updates and d) programming convenience. Don't be tempted by cheap no-name brands. Stick to those that have good reviews especially on forums.
Look for an esc that can be updated with newer software which makes acceleration and braking smoother yet more powerful. And also a portable handheld programmer where you can change the esc settings.
What is Faster, Nitro or Electric Brushless RC Car
Usually electric brushless rc cars accelerate faster than nitro powered. Some 1/10 brushless touring cars have been clocked at over 110 kph down the backstraight of an rc track. A typical 3500kv motor would probably go around 30mph. Whereas a modified motor with higher kv rating could push speeds well into the 60mph - 70mph racing speed.
You compare. Here are video of 1/10 brushless touring cars versus nitro rc cars on the same racetrack (though different layout). Play the video at the same time to compare the speeds.
Now nitro rc cars might have a higher top speed due to a 2 or 3 speed transmission. But around an rc track, where there are a lot of corners and acceleration to be done, the laptimes of a brushless rc car should be lower (i.e. faster). I guess it also depends on the track. On very large tracks, the 1/8 nitro rc cars might be faster.
The reason I love brushless rc cars is that the motors are almost maintenance free. Usually just oiling the bearings once every 4 hours should be good. This is so much easier than trying to maintain brushed motors of the past (e.g. changing brushes, cutting comms, etc).
Legal for Racing?
In general, yes. Large organizations such as IFMAR and ROAR have adopted brushless motors and made them legal. To check which ones are allowed, go to their website.
For local club races, check with your race director. There are some classes where they still run "silvercans" or the stock 540 brushed motor.
Good and Inexpensive Brushless RC Car/Truck
Associated, Exceed RC, HPI, Losi and Traxxas sell good RTR brushless models in various categories such as short course, touring, monster trucks, stadium, buggy and drift. Here is a partial list with estimated sale price in USD. Compare the prices. These are inexpensive considering they come ready to run with a brushless motor, esc and radio controller.
Traxxas leads the way in brushless off-road rc trucks with the E-Revo VXL, Slash VXL 4WD, Rustler VXL and Stampede VXL. Powered by Velineon 3500 brushless motors and VXL-3 esc with reverse.
HPI Racing has both on-road and off-road models. The 1/8 Savage Flux HP monster truck with the Flux Tork 2200kv motor. The 1/10 Sprint 2 Flux touring and the 1/10 RS4 3 Drift powered by the Flux Warp 5700kv brushless motor.
Team Associated has the 1/10 short course SC10 truck with a Reedy 3300KV motor and XP SC450-BL brushless esc.
Good Website to Order From
I guess it would depend where you are from. For example, in the USA popular are Tower Hobbies, Stormer Hobbies, etc. Though some even order from websites of Hong Kong hobby shops. Primarily because I think Hong Kong is the cheapest place to buy rc cars. But you will have to factor in shipping, customs and taxes. Eventually you might find it more convenient to buy from a hobby shop in your own country.
Here are a few online rc stores to get you started.
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