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.
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.
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.
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.
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.