RC Electric Off-Road Trucks, Buggies, Truggies and more Discuss electric RC off-road, buggies & trucks here. Also discuss brushless motors, speed controllers aka ESC's, brushed motors, etc

What's a cheap motor/ESC/Battery combo?

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Old 07-28-2014, 09:56 AM
  #1
ScotWithOne_t
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Default What's a cheap motor/ESC/Battery combo?

After tinkering with my RC10GT for a while, I have come to the conclusion that I suck at tuning nitro engines. I want to convert it to an electric setup.
It's been a good 20 years since I messed with anything R/C-electric. So I need some guidance on picking out a motor/ESC/Battery combo (plus a charger) that is dirt cheap. I'm well aware that you get what you pay for, but if the total cost to piecemeal together this electro-frankenstein RC10GT-E is more than $100 or so, I'll be inclined to just say screw it and go out and buy a brand new entry level RTR kit.

Here are a few parts I've picked out based mostly on price. Will they work together, or are they totally inappropriate?
Duratrax Photon Speed 2 Motor $12
Duratrax Onyx NiMH 6C 7.2V 3000mAh Stick Deans U Plug $22
Duratrax Sprint ESC $30

Also, can NiMH batteries be charged with an automotive battery charger? If not, I'll just pick up whatever cheap ebay charger I can find for NiMH batteries.

Thanks,
-Scot
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:21 PM
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sell it and buy another

You almost need a brushless esc, and motor when doing a nitro to electric conversion. Trust me I've done a quite a few conversions, and you do not save anything, and quite a few times spend a bit more as you have to try making some parts multiple times before you get it right.

As for a charger no a lead acid battery charger will not work
cheapest you can get a decent charger for its probably $40 off hobbypartz.com that will charge all battery chemistry(side note lipo batteries IMO are cheaper, and more reliable then niMh).
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Old 07-28-2014, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SyCo_VeNoM View Post
sell it and buy another

You almost need a brushless esc, and motor when doing a nitro to electric conversion. Trust me I've done a quite a few conversions, and you do not save anything, and quite a few times spend a bit more as you have to try making some parts multiple times before you get it right.

As for a charger no a lead acid battery charger will not work
cheapest you can get a decent charger for its probably $40 off hobbypartz.com that will charge all battery chemistry(side note lipo batteries IMO are cheaper, and more reliable then niMh).
I don't understand... why do I need a brushless ESC and motor? Is it just becasue a brushed motor will seem underpowerd compared to the nitro engine?

Also, will a "brushless" ESC also drive a regular brushed motor, or is the control system completely different?

I could swear we charged some battery packs back in the day with an automotive charger... but those were Ni-Cad batteries, so I guess they are different from modern NiMH and LiPo.
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Old 07-28-2014, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotWithOne_t View Post
I don't understand... why do I need a brushless ESC and motor? Is it just becasue a brushed motor will seem underpowerd compared to the nitro engine?
Yes, a brushed combo will be underpowered compared to nitro. Top speed will also be way down as well as run time. With the components you selected your looking at about 5-10min of run time at 20mph compared to about 35-40mph for the stock nitro setup.

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Originally Posted by ScotWithOne_t View Post
Also, will a "brushless" ESC also drive a regular brushed motor, or is the control system completely different?
There are esc's that can run both brushed and brushless motors. Castle Creations land esc's and the Tekin RX8 are the only ones I know of that can run both but I'm sure there are others.

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I could swear we charged some battery packs back in the day with an automotive charger... but those were Ni-Cad batteries, so I guess they are different from modern NiMH and LiPo.
It's certainly very possible that you did do this. Whether the battery pack liked it or not is another story. Automotive chargers would force. 12v down the throat of a pack that fully charged would be a little over 8 volts. Yeah you could do a quick charge to put some juice in the pack but it would likely charge faster than the pack would like and you'd have no way of knowing when to stop the charge. My advice, don't use an automotive charger. RC charges use a peak detection scheme (for NiCd, NiMh and Lipo) to see when the charge rate is slowing and the pack can't take anymore charge. NiCd and NiMh use the same method of peak detection but the sensitivity is set different since NiMh generally needs to be charged at a lower rate. The Lipo peak detection method is totally different from NiCd and NiMh.

As for converting nitro to electric. It can be cost effective if you can fabricate things yourself and you got the chassis for cheap. If you need to buy a battery tray, motor mount, etc it quickly becomes more costly than selling the nitro rollin chassis and getting an electric rolling chassis. The cost of RTR must also be weighed vs buying the motor and esc as well. Many times it's not worth the cost unless you don't care about the money and want to build it yourself.

Last edited by Maj_Overdrive; 07-28-2014 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 07-29-2014, 04:58 AM
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He's just looking to play around; a brushless system isn't really needed. The ESC, motor, and battery would be good for that.
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Old 07-29-2014, 05:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maj_Overdrive View Post
Yes, a brushed combo will be underpowered compared to nitro. Top speed will also be way down as well as run time. With the components you selected your looking at about 5-10min of run time at 20mph compared to about 35-40mph for the stock nitro setup.
OK. Thanks for the real-world info. Tallying things up, I'm looking at $65-ish for the parts, plus a $40 charger, and another $30-ish for a cheap radio/receiver 9one channel is toast on my current one.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maj_Overdrive View Post
There are esc's that can run both brushed and brushless motors. Castle Creations land esc's and the Tekin RX8 are the only ones I know of that can run both but I'm sure there are others.
ok. I'll have to look into that a bit more.


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Originally Posted by Maj_Overdrive View Post
It's certainly very possible that you did do this. Whether the battery pack liked it or not is another story. Automotive chargers would force. 12v down the throat of a pack that fully charged would be a little over 8 volts. Yeah you could do a quick charge to put some juice in the pack but it would likely charge faster than the pack would like and you'd have no way of knowing when to stop the charge. My advice, don't use an automotive charger. RC charges use a peak detection scheme (for NiCd, NiMh and Lipo) to see when the charge rate is slowing and the pack can't take anymore charge. NiCd and NiMh use the same method of peak detection but the sensitivity is set different since NiMh generally needs to be charged at a lower rate. The Lipo peak detection method is totally different from NiCd and NiMh.
hmm... I do seem to recall melting the casing off of one battery pack when I accidentally left the charger in 10A mode.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maj_Overdrive View Post
As for converting nitro to electric. It can be cost effective if you can fabricate things yourself and you got the chassis for cheap. If you need to buy a battery tray, motor mount, etc it quickly becomes more costly than selling the nitro rollin chassis and getting an electric rolling chassis. The cost of RTR must also be weighed vs buying the motor and esc as well. Many times it's not worth the cost unless you don't care about the money and want to build it yourself.
I'm pretty handy and have lots of tools (dremel, drill press, bench grinder, etc.) So I could probably fab-up anything I need from various scrap material around my shop.

And you're right about the cost of RTR kits nowadays. In my mind, entry level price was around $4-500. I was looking at things like the brushed emaxx, revo. But I see that there are much cheaper options like the Red Cat Volcano, Mad Truck, and ECX Ruckus.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:27 AM
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reason I said brushless is almost needed
I've tried brushed motors on Nitro converts.
They usually burnt up extremely fast as gearing for a nitro is usually pretty high in comparison to the electrics. I've destroyed a few motors, and ESC's in my experimentation. The brushless ones though I've not had this issue as they can put out way more power then the brushed motors, but this is just my experience from 3-4 nitro to elec conversions.
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:31 AM
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I would also say sell the nitro and go buy a new electric car. You can get a number of them under $200. Do you have a hobby store nearby where you can window shop? Go look.

Brushed motor systems are so last century! Why would you want to even mess with them? Especially throw-away motors like the Photon. There is no reason why you shouldn't go brushless, especially since you have experience driving RCs. True, a brushless RTR is going to cost you more up front, but for the most part, it's worth it. (Except if it comes with a crappy 2amp charger and 3000mah NiMh battery. Then, find an RTR that doesn't include those items.) And, IMO, NiMhs shouldn't be used with brushless systems anyway. From experience, I destroyed my NiMhs after I converted my Evader to brushless. Nimhs cannot deliver the current (amps) that brushless systems demand. So go LiPo. 5000mah packs will give you 20-25min runtimes.

This is a great little charger: Thunder AC680 Professional Dual-Power LiPo Balance Charger Discharger w AC Adapter for 1-6 Lipo 1-15 Nimh + USB to PC Software
And I get Gens Ace Lipos from them for about $40ea.
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