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Etronix Photon 13.0R Brushless System Review

Posted by Chris on 20th December 2011 Reviews 19 Comments
Etronix Photon Brushless Motor

Brushless motor and speed control systems are now more or less the standard when it comes to electric RC. A couple years back, prices were steep and options were limited, happily this has changed and now far more options are readily available. After the jump read our full review and watch our HD video review of a new contender, the Etronix Photon 13.0R Brushless System.

Brushless vs Brushed

I’m sure by now that the majority of our readers are aware of the main benefits of brushless vs brushed, yet I will quickly touch on the subject. To be abrupt about it, brushless is better, zero maintenance, more power plus longer run times and now the price of brushless combos rival their brushed equivalents, you really should only consider brushless if you’re looking to upgrade.

Unboxing and First Look

The Etronix is one of the cheapest Brushless combos currently for sale within the UK yet on opening the satin finish box you would be hard pressed to guess the price tag. Inside you will find the Electronic Speed Control (ESC) , the brushless motor and the programming card. The speed control is fitted with a cooling fan and supports 7.2v NiMH packs, LiPO 2-3 cell packs and LiFe 2-3 cell packs. Spec wise the ESC is rated at 60A and lists 240A as it’s peak output.

Etronix Photon Brushless System Box

Etronix Photon Brushless System Box

The motor looks nifty with it’s segmented rings and it’s blue anodised outer surface, it’s a 13t brushed equivalent and is rated at 3000Kv with a max amp draw of 33A,  the motor and speed control feel sturdy and well put together.

Etronix Photon Brushless System Box Contents

Etronix Photon Brushless System Box Contents


We’re fitting the Etronix 13.0R into our Ansmann Macnum as part of the build and hop-up series we are currently doing. The ESC sports wet noodle like, high stand, silicone insulated wire with deans connectors for the battery, which is a nice touch, the motor connectors are brushless standard banana type.The motor has evenly spaced mounting holes all around it’s face which allows you to mount it at any mount angle so you can get the wires to face in a useful direction.

On fitting the system into the Macnum, we noticed that the pcb and heat sink can move around in the base of the speed control, it seems it could be mounted more securely to it’s blue aluminium base.

Etronix Photon Brushless System 13R

Etronix Photon Brushless System 13R


The 13.0R comes with a programming card, which allows you to change a range of default preset software settings on the ESC. You simply plug it into the speed control and you can adjust; reverse power, start power, drag brake and battery type. The first three have 4 presets; off, lo, mid and high.

The programming card works as expected, however the instructions do not mention the programming card at all, only briefly instructing how to connect it, if you’re unsure shoot us a comment below and we can help you along.

For gearing we tried a 17t pinion with the stock spur gear but it produced too much torque without the top end, so we landed on a 19t pinion which has a far better balance of speed/torque.


It’s not the amazing, break the gearbox power that some must have, but it’s still the equivalent of a low turn brushed setup without the inefficiency. Still a serious upgrade if you’re after a proper hop-up.

The motor does cog slightly at low RPM, but as soon as the motor gets spinning this vanishes completely and the motor spins up quickly delivering ample speed and bursts of acceleration.

If this will be your first brushless experience you will be more than happy with the performance, it’s quick, you can expect to gain 10mph easily on your current brushed top speed.

We will be getting our GPS out and recording a couple of top speed runs soon, so check back soon or follow us on Twitter for updates.

Etronix Photon Brushless ESC

Etronix Photon Brushless ESC


Apart from the minor quality issue, with the pcb and heat sink on the esc, we’re impressed with the overall quality of the kit. More expensive brushless systems are more powerful, but for 1/10th light weight trucks and touring cars you don’t really need the extra horse power, the Etronix suits these types of applications really well.

Top Marks to Etronix.

Are you thinking of making the switch to Brushless? Post a comment below and talk about it.

Rating StarRating StarRating StarRating StarWe rated this product 4 out of 5.


  1. Martz says:

    What made you go for the 13R motor rather than the more powerful 9R motor?

    • Nick says:

      We chose the 13.0R due to the test model, the Ansmann Macnum, which has a notoriously weak ball differential. The 13.0R is also plenty if your favoured bash spot is tightly packed, theres more than enough speed to cause quite a bit of damage 😀

      The 13.0R will also provide a longer run time than the others, however, if you like doing high speed passes in a carpark the hotter motors might be a better choice.

      • Chris says:

        Exaclty what Nick said, we managed to break the Macnum with it’s stock motor, we thought this would be the sensible option. 😀

  2. Martz says:

    Cheers for the lightning response! I’m thinking of building up a Macnum for a bit of fun, first RC car since a ministock back in the day. I was going to go for the 9R and dial the throttle back a bit, leaving some in reserve.

    Great site and videos.

  3. Nick Bennett says:


    How’s the etronix brushless combo surviving? I just bought a 9t combo for my LRP Blast MT. Started to research it now after buying it 🙂 Should arrive tomorrow so we’ll see what its like then.

    Did you get any video footage of it running?

    • Nick says:

      It’s holding up fine. We’ve been trying to record a brushless bash video for the last month or so, but so far the body on the test truck has been replaced and the steering servo has gone twice… Tomorrow looks good though 😀

      Oh, and awesome first name, shared by all the coolest people.

      • Nick Bennett says:

        Couldn’t agree more on the name front, anybody would think we chose it ourselves 😀

        Keep up the good work and fingers crossed for some brushless action tomorrow.

        • Chris says:

          We’ve got a few things planned for this brushless system if it holds out. It may find itself flirting between a few different chassis’s quite soon 😀

  4. Nick Bennett says:

    Hi Guys,

    Had my Etronix 9T in for a little bit now, the quality issue you had with the PCB moving about may have been bad fortune as the one I got doesn’t suffer the same.

    The combo is exceptional value, I’ve only been running it for a little bit but it has loads of power and speed. The only issue I had was the esc must but set up as backwards is forwards and vise versa, but this was easily rectified.

    I can see why you would want to swap the system over as it is a cracking bit of kit 😀

    • Chris says:

      Funny you mentioned the backwards / forwards issue, seems to cropping up all over the place now.

      I’m looking at getting another one of these for a touring car project we’ve got in the works.

      Watch this space! 😀

  5. Rick says:

    I have a 9t motor and the ESC has blown on it.

    I did run it on 11.1v 3 cell lipo but it should have taken it.

    Not sure what happened exactly as it was a write off at this point I only know the capacitors went. I tried the fan on a different ESC and it has also burnt out, This may have been the cause I don’t know?

    I am also unsure if there was any issues with the ESC getting wet, It did have a couple of damp runs before going pop but no significant water.

    I am probably going to upgrade further for a replacement though just because I want to

    • Nick says:

      I’ve seen a couple of the ESCs with blown caps now, I reckon they are under specced for running 3S, a shame but it seems fairly common with lower end systems.

  6. Florian says:

    I am thinking of getting the Etronix Photon 2.0 1/10 Brushless system 9.0R. Would this be to much for the Ansmann Macnum and would i have to upgrade anything else on the standard kit.

    Thanks a lot =)

    • Nick says:

      The 9.0R will be fine as long as you keep a close eye on the ball diff, also be sure the slipper has a little give in it. I am of course assuming you have ball bearing fitted throughout, if you’re on bushings things will wear out very quickly.

  7. Matt D says:

    What does the AUTO and MANUAL setting on the programming card do?

  8. BL says:

    Any knowledge of the RPM on this little guy?

  9. TraxxasMatt says:

    Just bought a 9.0R for my 2wd T,Stampede and I am a little confused with the set up. The instructions mention a yellow LED which blinks when complete. Well i cant see that at all.
    Also seems to be a complete lack of power and a flat spot on full throttle on the radio gear. Please help