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Castle Creations Sidewinder Review

Old 01-17-2008, 03:19 PM
  #1  
johnrobholmes
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Default Castle Creations Sidewinder Review

Here is a little review I wrote about the Sidewinder, hope you fellas enjoy. Post up any questions you might have.



As technology and manufacturing progress, hobby electronics become more affordable and complex. Castle Creations gives a taste of the future with the very affordable Sidewinder ESC. This little powerhouse is available alone, or as a motor/ESC combo. The Sidewinder has all of the features of the Mamba Max, including Lipo cutoff, brushless mode, brushed mode, and a variety of programming options. The footprint is also the same as the Mamba Max at 1.8x1.4”. Adjustable drag brake and regenerative braking are also built into the Sidewinder. This allows you to have controlled descents on steep and technical sections, or you can program zero drag for those go fast bashers. Programming can be accomplished via stick or PC interface with the Castle Link. If you are familiar with the Mamba max, you will find the programming almost identical.

The first test was to see how well the Sidewinder pushed my XX buggy around. I used a stock Castle Creations 4600 motor/ESC combo for this test. No programming changes were made from the factory settings. The power was provided by 7 matched GP 3700 cells, gearing was 20/76. I noticed right away that the startup has been significantly refined as compared to the Mamba Max. Startups were rock solid and immediate. Also, I could push the rig backwards and it would take off in forward locomotion as soon as I told it to. A third change is that the startup is in fact slower. If you want to putt around at 1mph, you can now do so. Certainly a large improvement over previous startup routines. Even with the mild 4600 motor, I could pull wheelies from a slow roll. Once the rig was moving it was very easy to keep the rig dialed into whatever speed range I wanted. I went to test the temperatures, but there wasn't enough heat to even worry about. Castle gives a spec sheet that states about 45mph with a 3 cell lipo and the 4600 motor. I trust that data enough to move on to the next stage.

The second test was in a Wheely King with a HK-2221 scorpion outrunner of 4400kv. It is a 9 slot motor, and slotted motors are notorious for giving the Castle startup trouble. This is my worst case scenario. I even made the gear mesh a bit tight and put on my super heavy MSD delrin beadlocks. The gearing was 25/90, and the battery was a 3 cell 4000mah PolyRC. With the Mamba Max, the startup was not consistent. Sometimes it would take off, and sometimes it would stutter a bit. With the Sidewinder it took off every single time with no flaw. The motor had enough power to make the rig wheelie at any speed, and was really too much for the rig to handle. With full throttle the soft Moabs turned into pizza cutters, I would guess about 30mph. The outside temp was 38f, and the ESC and motor never got over 120F. In hotter weather it might push the Sidewinder a bit hard, but lighter wheels and gearing would certainly help. The main point is that the Sidewinder has better startups. Good job Castle!

The final test was in the AX-10 Rock Crawler. I put a Crawlmaster Sport in with a 3s Vislero 2100 pack for power. The servos were powered via CC BEC, since a 3 cell lipo makes the Sidewinder's internal BEC near useless. The startup was smoother than a Mamba Max, with no surprises or hiccups. Neither the ESC or motor got warm at all during the test. The biggest improvement was startups while the rig rolls backwards or is under load. Every time I gave it throttle, the motor would start up predictably. The only problems were in very hard binds, when it would be better to pick the rig up instead of trying to throttle out. In these hard binds the motor would chirp and try, but I was too afraid to give more throttle for fear of breaking parts. All in all, it worked very well with an outrunner.

Next up was brushed mode. Unfortunately I could not get the ESC to hit the 9th step in programming, so I could not test this. I don't know if this is my problem or an oversight in the first release of firmware. Castle will be contacted.

Overall, the Sidewinder is a great controller for a great price. The positives are the startup, the cost, the overall power, and the plug and play aspect. The downside to the controller is that the Castle link has not been updated yet, so the controller cannot be USB programmed as of this writing. Also, the lack of brushed mode troubles me. I know it is supposed to have brushed mode- it is in fact in the manual. I would have liked to see Castle release the ESC and the Castle Link update at the same time. But, until that day it is still a great brushless ESC at a price point that no other company is near. My final conclusion- Castle made the right choice when they designed this ESC.


JRH
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:41 PM
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jombo
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Default RE: Castle Creations Sidewinder Review

how much is the sidewinder you never posted price
Old 01-17-2008, 07:52 PM
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johnrobholmes
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Default RE: Castle Creations Sidewinder Review

You will probably see it around $77. I didn't post price because it will vary depending on where you get it.
Old 01-17-2008, 08:32 PM
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hands without shadows
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Default RE: Castle Creations Sidewinder Review

Many of you don't know JRH. He is basically an RC crawling electric guru, comparable to RURC at a common consumer level.

Would you say this is the new 2.2 crawling ESC? The low throttle control sounds like a big improvement over the MM, it maintains the ability to run 3s, and its very affordable. The only downsides it seems are the lower amp rating, a weaker BEC and the lack of a USB port. The amp rating is still overkill for a 2.2, many ESCs have a weak BEC, and the lack of a USB port isn't that major. If anything I wish the MM used the castle link and used a smaller case. When you test it with a brushed motor could you post how well the drag brakes work?
Old 01-17-2008, 08:45 PM
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Default RE: Castle Creations Sidewinder Review

I might just save up $30 and get this ESC instead of the Dynamite 12T ESC I was going to get. Update when you get to test in brushed mode.
Old 01-18-2008, 02:20 AM
  #6  
dark96
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Default RE: Castle Creations Sidewinder Review

hi, sorry if this may have been asked in other post, but real quick what is the difference between the siderwinder and the max? it seems that with this ESC and their other one, that they are try`n to fizzle out the MM or it just seems like that to me. well tghanks for any help on the matter.
Old 01-20-2008, 01:47 AM
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johnrobholmes
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Default RE: Castle Creations Sidewinder Review

The difference BT the Mamba max and the Sidewinder is two fold. First, there is no usb plug so the Castle Link must be used for programming. Second, there is about 70% of the amp rating compared to the MM. Best guess is 60-70 amps continuous. That is it really.
Old 02-04-2008, 06:20 PM
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Gado
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Default RE: Castle Creations Sidewinder Review

I got my sidewinder today but I dont know which firmware version I have and I dont have the castle link either. Is there a way to tell?
Old 02-05-2008, 07:45 AM
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nomobux
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Default RE: Castle Creations Sidewinder Review

Thanx for the review. I have one coming for a little hop up on a snow blizzard.
Old 02-05-2008, 08:32 AM
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yellowfuzzle
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Default RE: Castle Creations Sidewinder Review

Very nice review.

Have you run the Sidewinder on 6 cell Nimh, and if so what was the performance like? I saw the portion on the 7-cell battery but was wondering if 6-cells made a noticeable difference (as far as low speed driveability especially).
Old 02-05-2008, 06:02 PM
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DARKWAV
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Default RE: Castle Creations Sidewinder Review

I ordered mine from Tower on 22 Jan 2008 and received it on 25 Jan 2008. You'll need the Castle Link interface to know for sure what version firmware you have. Mine had 1.15, and there was improvement when I upgraded to the 1.17 firmware. When running 1.15, I noticed some cogging or hesitation once in a while getting it rolling from a stop (but not every time). I didn't have this issue with the 1.17 firmware.

Guess this is the price of being an early adopter!

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