budget brushless upgrade - Surpass hobbies 3650 3900kv + 60a esc combo (Updated with 3S!)
*Note this is the same as the GOOLRC combo that is often recommended as a good budget option*
Sorry for overly long title. I've now had the Surpass Hobby 3650 sized 3900kv brushless motor and 60A ESC Combo for about 3 months now and have thoroughly tortured it in a very large 1/10 scale 4wd short course truck (brushed version of the DHK Hunter here) for this review. With these electronics you can easily upgrade any 1/10 scale hobby grade rc car to brushless which for the uninitiated offers significantly more power, efficiency and if done right, durability over their brushless counterparts. This stands true for on-road tourers, pan cars and offroad buggies, SCTs, trucks (2 and 4wd). The only cars this would be unsuitable for is where very fine control is required - drift and crawlers come to mind. Read on for install and review.
The "Surpass Hobby Waterproof 3650 3900KV Brushless RC Car Motor With 60A ESC Set For 1/10 RC Car" is available from Banggood and is the same as the GoolRC combo you hear about so much (which is on the right)
A look at the gear
The kit is very simple - a 4 pole brushless 3650 sized motor (540 in brushed terms) and a 60a ESC. The motor I reviewed is 3900kv which is a good all purpose size on common 2s batteries. The ESC is another simple waterproof affair with built in cooling fan. They are both waterproof according to the specs but personally I haven't and would not put the ESC to the test. The ESC can be programmed with common features but does require this programming card to change. Parameters that can be changed are:
Instructions (click to enlarge)
This replaced a 550 motor in my DHK hunter which is a very large (for 1/10) 4wd short course truck. This is about a tough an assignment as a 3650 motor will get as these tend to be heavier and put more strain on the motor i.e. if it works in this, it'll work in any 1/10.
Installation was simple - motor screws were in the same location as the 550 motor it replaced and since the shaft of this 550 motor was 3.175mm the stock pinions fit as well. With that said Chances are you will more than likely need to get a smaller pinion than what your brushed motor was using because this will have a much high kV than the brushed motor you are replacing. I dropped from 18t to 15t and would recommend you drop by about 20% as well until you can get a guage on motor temp (more on that later). You'll need to get a good mesh on the gear but there are plenty of articles around that explain this way better than me.
Find a safe spot for the ESC away from moving parts and plug in the motor (3 wires now instead of 2) and also the control wire to the receiver. Get some good foam tape to hold it down tight. I Recommend 3M VHB tape - a bit more expensive but worth it.
That's it really. The default settings on the ESC are really good so you'll probably never have a need for the programming card. Also calibriation is not required other than perhaps throttle trim. Essentially just plug it in and go!
So how does it perform? - 2s
Very good! So far I've been running it exclusively on 2s 5000mah (this CNHL battery if you are interested) and it's at least 50% more powerful than the brushed 550 motor it replaces. This means a lot more top speed but also pick is way more responsive (as is braking). Additionally I'm getting maybe 20 minutes of runtime whereas I had about 12-15 minutes before. Better yet the motor is much cooler. After a good hard thrash on fairly short grass I could hold the motor for more than 10 seconds without it being uncomfortable whereas the stock 550 would have well and truly burnt my hand. Also now that I have put over 20 packs through this setup is that the motor and ESC appears to be very reliable - no failure stutters or otherwise odd behaviour from my experience.
3s performance Updated!
Finally an update! I've finally gotten round to running this on 3s and it works a treat, wish I'd done it sooner. With it's powerful fan the ESC never gets more that warm. The motor got hot after running on some pretty rough surface (see video below) but not uncomfortably so. After this testing I'm more than happy to recommend this on 3s as well, just think about gearing appropriately.
End of the run with my 3s pack. Wish I tried sooner!
As I mentioned above this is not something I'm willing to test - on purpose anyway as I don't believe the ESC will handle more than just a little spray. I have had one run where the ESC got wet from running on wet grass with a few water drops here an there on the ESC but certainly nothing that would push it's credentials of being called 'waterproof'. Update: I still haven't dumped the car in water but I certainly haven't shied away from the mud. No issues whatsoever 8 months after install.
Straight up this is probably the best budget mod you can do to your brushed 1/10 scale car. More speed, pickup and battery life for the princely sum of $40 (or thereabouts). This is the same GoolRC combo you hear about but rebranded and from arguably a more reliable source than some rogue amazon or aliexpress seller. You do need to be sure your donor car is capable of the extra power but even then you can adjust settings like punch to reduce impact on the driveline and still enjoy the benefits of efficiency that brushless system offer. There are of course very nice hobbywing and castle creation brushless systems out there which are great but for the money I really believe this combo cannot be beaten. I think this is well suited to speeding up your rc car on a budget which is kind of what bashing is about.
Thanks for reading, if you found this article useful please feel free to like or share, the facebook links below directly link/like this article. Links are affiliated and help me buy the bits I need to produce this type of content. If you are looking for quads or parts check out my coupons and discounts page which I keep updated with only the parts and quads I like at a proper discount
28/4/2020 03:35:22 am
Hey quick question. I’m swapping out a 550 mega out fo a Arma typhon with this set up, what 3s lipo would you use?
5/6/2020 08:50:02 am
Sorry, I haven't been getting notifications on this one so I'm (very) late to see your question.
Bryon E Fandel
5/6/2020 08:30:25 am
I just got this in today and noticed that, in my traxxas slash dragcar build. I have hooked it up to the traxxas receiver and it seems the throttle trigger is set to forward and backwards are mixed up, it says to change the wires between the esc and motor, but doesn't specify witch ones to reverse the forward to backwards, and I dont want to mess this up and wanted to know witch 2 wires out of the 3 wires to switch if you know possibly? It would help to know thanks, I have a 60C 6000mah 11.1volt battery, is this going to work or to much power, and any help would be much appreciated
5/6/2020 08:52:31 am
These motors run at zero timing from a hardware standpoint so yeah easy to change. Change ANY two of the three wires that go from ESC to motor - it doesn't matter which ones.
19/11/2020 10:30:01 pm
which motor would accelerate faster and go faster this one or the other one
20/11/2020 12:09:39 am
Which other one? Assuming you are talking about the 2838 brushless upgrade for the WL Toys 144001 then definitely the 2838 in combination with the smaller pinion gear in the article. This one better for straight run top speed
20/1/2021 01:44:59 am
14/6/2021 03:36:53 pm
Hey Quadify rc. I am upgrading my Arrma Typhon Mega from brushed. Using the Goolrc 60a esc with 3650/ 3500 kg motor. I had already swapped the stock( 14t) pinion for an 18t to get a bit more speed. Going to run on 2s lipo. Will this pinion(18t) be too much heat?
16/6/2021 10:22:40 pm
26/9/2021 12:14:55 am
Will i be able to use this combo on wltoys 124019 using the stock pinion? more on offroad
28/9/2021 05:04:59 pm
It'll work but it will cog a bit and run hot. I don't really recommend this setup for offroad. Here is my favourite offroad setup which is easy to install: https://www.quadifyrc.com/rccarreviews/drop-in-brushless-upgrade-guide-for-wl-toys-144001-124018-and-124019-quadifyrc
8/12/2021 06:44:35 am
I am using this guide to upgrade 12428. So far I noticed that ESC fan is very loud and never get warm. Can I remove/disconnect it for a test and see how it goes? What should I wantch for to ensure I don't overheat it?
10/12/2021 10:48:57 am
Yes, it's worth a go. Just keep a close eye on ESC temp. All ESC fans are loud but they are very effective in keeping heat levels down.
Hi and thanks for that manual for Surpass ESC. I purshased two combos last year and had now my first ESC Problem on the ECX Torment 2wd with my 80A+3660 Combo. Probably the wires aren´t correctly in place. That are great systems for beginners (probably). I´m one of them. But since then the cars are breaking in others parts :(
7/3/2022 06:57:30 pm
We use this very motor and esc in our 1/10th derby cars.... I have to say they do not disappoint whatsoever. They take an absolute pounding and keep going. My son's Feature winning car with a 2s 5200 mah battery lasted the whole 1 hr 13 minute feature in a car that weighs just over 6lbs. Proof of the pounding these cars are put through is on YouTube. RC FULL CONTACT as well as Facebook.
7/3/2022 10:13:11 pm
21/9/2022 07:38:46 am
Great website, thanks for all your hard work!
23/9/2022 11:31:53 am
Thanks Paul. Please check out this link for what I consider to be a much more suitable setup: https://www.quadifyrc.com/rccarreviews/drop-in-brushless-upgrade-guide-for-wl-toys-144001-124018-and-124019-quadifyrc
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