The Flysky FS-GT5 is a surface transmitter (and receiver) from Flysky suited for use in RC car and boats. It uses 2.4gHz digital transmission on the very reliable AFDHS2a protocol. What sets this aparts is the premium features for the price - 20 model memory, full gyro control via remote and a very easy to navigate GUI.
The development of digital signal over 2.4gHz has been a massive improvement for RC cars, especially for those of us old enough to remember that bad old days of frequency crystals and constant glitches. Unfortunately going to digital has mean the proliferation of protocols meaning that certain receivers only work with certain transmitters meaning you can often end up with a transmitter for each different car. One way around this is to buy on GOOD transmitter and a number of compatible receivers whether you are bashing around or racing. Obviously racers will be able to justify the more expensive equipment like that made by Futaba and Sanwa but it is hard to justify when you are a basher. Luckily the FS-GT5 offers us the key features from the more expensive radios at a better price point and receivers that are as little as $5 each to kit out your fleet.
I've now built up quite a library of articles for the 144001 and thought I would use this page to share them. I've separated here into beginner, moderate and advanced ability but hopefully I have enough information in these guides to make them straightforward enough for anyone to try.
Parts I would buy
Now that I've had experience with quite a few upgrades and replacements, here are the parts I can actually recommend:
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Extending the wheelbase on RC cars is nothing new but I've yet to see anyone document this for the WL Toys 144001 Thus, I've written this article to show you how to do it step by step. There are a number of benefits, not least of which is straight line stability. The good news is that this requires no extra parts and it only takes about 10 minutes
Basic theory for extending wheelbase
Changing wheelbases has long been something you could do with race-spec RC cars in order to adjust for track conditions. Generally speaking short wheelbases allow for faster turning (sharp corners in particular) and longer wheel bases allow for better straight line stability. The 144001 is overpowered for such a small car (especially if you upgrade to brushless) that any increase in wheelbase is welcomed ESPECIALLY if you are looking at speed runs where straight line stability is crucial.
Extending the wheelbase on a WL Toys 144001
The good news is this is very simple on the 144001 and it's free - no new parts are needed and so far as I can tell there are no compromises to the car. In fact there are slightly more benefits than I first thought:
I've now completed a number of articles that have improved the handling, power and efficiency of the WL Toys 144001 which can be found here: All my WL Toys 144001 upgrade articles. The next item I am addressing is the tyres. The stock wheels and tyres (like the rest of the car) are modelled closely on the LR Racing EMB-1h micro pins which are design for carpet and hard packed dirt racing. Outside of these grip isn't great, and when you take into account the the rubber is firmer on the 144001 tyres then you are left with a tyre that is not really suited well for bashing off-road. In this article I'll explore some better bashing alternatives that shouldn't compromise the rest of the car
Stock wheels and tyres
Stock tyres have an outside diameter of 72mm which is the same front and rear (it needs to be on a 4wd). Widths are staggered meaning they are slightly wider at the rear - 30mm compared to the front - 26mm. Again typical for a buggy because on acceleration weight transfers to the rear and the extra width provides more grip. Drive on the wheels is provided by a 12mm hex drive which is something of an industry standard on cars around this size
The problem is that a combination of the design and compound of the tyre mean that they don't grip well on the majority of surfaces we run (off road bashing and tarmac). Since the 12mm hex drive is common there are a lot of wheels that physically fit but not a lot that work well because of the uncommon diameter. On to the theory:
Lithium Polymer (Lipo) battery technology has been perhaps the best leap of technology in the RC world. The relatively high energy density and absurdly high continuous current capability has meant that quadcopters have become a viable hobby and electric RC cars can now outperform their Nitro cousins without most of the fuss.
Voltage as measured in volts (v)
A single lipo cells has a maximum charge voltage of 4.2v which is usually reported as 3.7v for real-world purposes. Voltage can be increased by connecting these cells in series (s for series) and is reported as 1s (1 cell in series), 2s (2 cells in series) 3s (3 cells in series and so on). Voltage is additive when cells are placed in series i.e. 1s = 3.7v, 2s = 7.4v, 3s = 11.1v and so on.
Capacity as measured in milli Amp hours (mAh)
Lipo cells can vary in capacity, these are measured in mah and signify the amount of 'fuel' the lipo battery can output before it is depleted. All else being equal the larger the capacity they larger the physical size and mass (weight).
C - Rating
Where voltage and capacity are simple physical parameters, C-rating is slightly more complex. It is closely tied to capacity and has no relationship to voltage. In short the C rating signifies the maximum continuous output that the battery can maintain. Strictly speaking the C value multiplied by the capacity is the maximum continuous current output which we measure in Amps. The best way to describe this is to give examples:
We've now had the SG 1602 brushless RC Truck (same as SG 1601, HBX 16889) for 6 months and it has been abused several times per weekend by my 5 year old (and myself!) in that time. I'm delighted to say that it is still running, still fast and I haven't needed to buy any spare parts. So far the list of casualties are:
So, as you may be able to see, this fast and light truck has taken an incredible amount of abuse and has very little damage to show for it, even then the damage is purely cosmetic. So what are my thoughts on the good and the bad of this now and my more recommendation based on the additional experience? Read on:
Recently I upgraded to brushless power in the WL Toys 14401 as you can see in this article:
WL TOYS 144001: ULTIMATE BRUSHLESS UPGRADE GUIDE
Performance is so much better than stock and battery life has increased by over 50%. I much prefer this smaller brushless that the larger 3650 size that are usually limited to on road and speed runs. The install is fairly straightforward but you need to slot the motor mount to set the mesh on the smaller 17t pinion gear and this can be tricky. Good news though, I've found a workaround where no machining nor tricky gear mesh setting is required.
The 144001 uses a 0.7 modulus gear pitch and is very rare for pinions. We are typically limited to the very large stock 27t pinion (way too big for this application) or the 17t pinion from the WL Toys A959 / A969. The 17t pinion offers an excellent ratio for the 2838 and 2845 motors but you need to mod the motor plate as mentioned in my original brushless upgrade article.
Good news though, I've found that using the stock 380 motor mounts on the motor plate you can use a 15t pinion gear. Up until recently these have been impossible to find but I've done a LOT of testing and have found three options for you.
Option 1: 15t from Hobbyking
Hobbyking still have some old stock of a 15t 0.7m pinion that we used on certain helis but it is not a bolt on option - as it has an oversize 5.0mm bore. Because of this you need a 5mm to 3.2mm reducer which is available here. You may also need to file down the grub screw a little if it fouls on the mount.
The larger bore means the pinion collar is larger. It fits but the grub screw needs reducing in length just a little.
With the boom in popularity of the WL Toys 144001 1/14 scale RC buggy, there are a lot of aftermarket parts available now, all of which are currently available at here. For this article I'll be looking at why I chose the metal upgrade parts I did, how to install and my thoughts on the parts I did install.
Don't forget to check out the other guides and reviews I've already written for the 144001:
The first thing you probably think of with metal parts is that they will be stronger than the plastic parts they replace. Although this is true, strictly speaking, the stock plastic pieces do have advantages in some situations, specifically -
I've specifically avoided these parts below because I think they will reduce net durability for reasons explained underneath the images. If you are just going for looks however they do still look great!
Parts I recommend against:
Plus other parts available with my comments
RC car technology has changed a lot over the years and one of the biggest changes have been batteries. I started with Sanyo SCRC NiCd pack, left the hobby before NiMH came out and came back when LiPo was full swing. Along with brushless power systems, LiPo batteries have revolutionised all RC vehicles - more burst power, higher energy density and multiple cell options. LiPo batteries need a lot of care, more than than a set of nichrome wires that hook your battery pack directly to a car battery anyway. The technology you need to properly charge and care for Lipo (and LiIon batteries) is a balance charger which allows the charger to charge each individual cell at a time rather than all together in series. This is important to not only extend the life and performance of your battery but to minimise the risk of the Lipo pack causing damage to your surroundings.
The right tool for the job
Like everything else to do with RC Cars, LiPo balance chargers are available in any number of models with different features, different interfaces and different quality levels. However unlike, motors, wheels, servos, escs and any other RC car parts they don't wear out and typically the charger you use will be with you for a long time so it is definitely worth having one that does the job properly. With that said you don't need to spend a lot to get a good charger that you can trust with your safety and life of batteries. This is in contrast to charger that come with RTR RC Car kits which at best are inaccurate and at worst are downright dangerous.
The WL Toys 144001 is an excellent low cost hobby grade RC buggy that I ordered from Banggood. I've already taken free and low cost steps to improve performance in part 1 and part 2 of my upgrades guide. This upgrade guide here is dedicated to installing a powerful and efficient 2838 brushless system that is optimised for balance, handling and efficiency. It will also be much faster and reliable that the stock system.
As mentioned above the brushless upgrade I am doing here is based on a smaller, lighter more powerful motor than stock so I can get the best handling by reducing weight and improving balance. For this reason I have chosen a brushless 2838 sized motor (28mm diameter, 38mm can length) that runs at 4500kV. This is the same spec powertrain used by the premium LC Racing EMB-1h on which the 144001 is based. The objective is to optimise handling by removing the extremely heavy and power hungry but inefficient brushed 550 motor.
I have not gone with a brushless motor the same size as the brushed 550 (3650, 3652, 3660) as these are really only suited to speed runs although this will be an upgrade I'll do later on with my second 144001.
Benefits from this 2838 brushless setup over stock will include:
Click on any picture in this article to Embiggen or go to product link
Motor size comparison: The stock 550 weighs 271g and the new, more powerful 2838 weighs 95g. Damn!