WL Toys and Eachine recently released the 124016, 124017 and EAT14 Brushless RC Cars that are an upgraded version of the brushed 124018, 124019 and 144001 respectively. I've spent a lot of time optimising and documenting these brushless upgraded models and so wanted to compare them to the factory brushless version. I this article I'll compare the cost and performance of the new brushless models to a brushless upgraded version so you can figure out which option is best for you. All costs will be at today's advertised price before discount coupons or loyalty points. Prices change regularly including flash sales so you may get items for more or less when you are shopping
Factory Brushless Option
First of all if you need to refresh yourself with the brushless cars, you can see my review of the EAT14 here. This of course has the same running gear as the 124016 and 124017 so performance is identical. As you'll see in my review there are a few nice improvements that these brushless cars have over the brushed counterparts over and above the brushless power systems.
Brushless Upgrade Options
Option 1: Lowest cost 2s for bashing, easy fit
Setup. This setup is based on the lowest cost brushless setup I recommend for these cars and makes for a quick an easy install. In this setup you would purchase the new radio and a new 3 wire 17g servo. The ESC is a small 35A surpass unit which is cheap and has proven itself on 2s. Reuse the motor mount but you'll need a new motor (2 options below) that bolt in using m2.5 screws and the magical 15t pinion gear. I like the 2440 4600kv in the smaller 144001 sized car as a street basher like this car here and the 2445 3600kv in a proper 124018 offroad machine like this car here.
Install. Installation is very simple here and follow my 144001 budget brushless upgrade. All of the steps can be found here: 144001 BRUSHLESS UPGRADE: THE CHEAPEST SETUP WORTH HAVING Some of the pictures of the install and video of performance with 2440 4600kv below.
Performance. On 2s with the 2440 4600kV motor this car will do 60km/h. This is about the smallest you want to go with the motor but if you can keep it light is very fast and agile. The 2445 motor is a better size but 3600kv is conservative and so will get you to 50km/h max on 2s. This does open things up to using bigger wheels like the Remo P6973, 1822 or even the EMB-MT wheels whilst maintaining good acceleration and battery life. This ESC should be capable of 3s on 3600kv but I'm not sure I'd trust this ESC completely on 3s.
Option 2: Premium bashing for 2-3s, easy fit and high performance options
Setup. If you are willing to spend on a better ESC you will have more options for motor sizes, kV and cell counts. I've based this setup around the Hobbywing 10BL120 120A ESC which is not only powerful and can happily handle 2-3s but is also very compact and has the option of running a sensored motor if you wish. The use of this ESC makes this setup hugely versatile. Elsewhere you still need purchase the new radio and a new 3 wire 17g servo. Also you'll need the magic 15t pinion and a motor of which I'll highlight my favourite options for 2 and 3s
Install. Again installation is very simple here although the 120A ESC takes a little more room. You can still manage to get these underneath the shell fairly easily. A very comprehensive build guide can be found here: DROP IN BRUSHLESS UPGRADE GUIDE FOR WL TOYS 144001, 124018 AND 124019 Below are a few pics from this install:
Performance. The 2445 5400kv is a very fast motor and even with the 15t pinion it will get you close to 80kph on 2s and well over 100kph on 3s in short bursts. I recommend this for onroad only and you can see more details on this setup here in the original drop in brushless upgrade guide. Although the 120A ESC should handle this easily, this motor at 5400kv does run hot.
If you want something more conservative and still easy to fit then the 2445 3600kv is still good enough for around 50km/h on 2s and over 70km/h on 3s. Even on 3s the motor and ESC should only barely get warm and you can run larger wheels with this setup if you want like I did with this setup on my 124018 here.
If you don't mind drilling out the pinion to 3.2mm and the motor mount to 3mm then the 2845 is probably the best all-round motor for this car, especially in 4400kv. With the 120A ESC recommended here this will be fast (over 60km/h on 2s and around 90km/h on 3s) but it should still run cool and make for great performance on and off road - kind of a jack of all trades like Geoffrey did with project WLC Racing 124018 here.
Option 3: Speed Run
Setup. If you are serious about speed running you probably already have an idea of what you want and plan to strip out most things anyway but I'll give you a solid start point which should take you to around 140-150km/h if done right while balancing out cost. As with everything else you'll need a radio and a replacement 3-wire servo. Stick with the Hobbywing 10BL120 ESC because it is compact and handle decent current. You'll need some decent 3s batteries to get the most out of this car, I recommend GNB or ChinaHobbyLine here. Since I prefer not to go to mod 1 gearing we will stick with the stock spur, pinion and motor mount but we will of course need a high speed 3650 motor. You will absolutely need some foam tyres as well. Nothing rubber available in this side will cope with this wheel speed.
Install. All of the components here bolt up so the install is easy in that regard however it is a fairly tight fit. I went to a lot of effort on this installation to ensure the body stayed low and streamlined and shared all the detail here: WL TOYS 124019 SPEED RUN BUILD AND TRICKS I'VE LEARNED ON THE WAY Below are a few pics from this install:
Performance. There are a lot of nuances to these speed run cars running at optimum and not flipping over so I recommend you read my article on the 124019 speed run build. With that said, this setup should get you to around 130-150km/h on a good 3s battery; you may even be able to crack 100mph. I will say that straight line speed are all these cars are good for. They are too heavy and suspension is too limited to handle cornering and an excess of power makes anything but slow and smooth acceleration bound to spin out. These cars are fit for purpose but the operating window is narrow and as a result, not a passion of mine. I do howeverrespect the legends like Michael Koebbe in this area who has just pushed his heavily modified 124019 past 135mph albeit with a very special setup and very expensive electronics.
Option 4: Direct comparison
Setup. Clearly I'm not a fan of the stock car's gearing and motor kV choice but I've replicated here for the sake of comparison. I have not used this setup so can't specifically recommend it. In this setup you would purchase the new radio and a new 3 wire 17g servo. The included ESC already comes with a Deans t-plug for the battery so goes straight in. Internally the F540 is the same size as the 2845 motor in the brushless variant but the 540 style mounting allows you to retain the stock mount and use the stock 27t pinion. You will of course need to re-use the motor mount and pinion so use plenty of heat and care to remove - see here for more disassemble details if required.
Performance. Given effective motor size and kV is practically identical (and from the same manufacture) I would expect performance to be identical i.e. around 70km/h on 2s and just under 100km/h with a good 3s pack. Don't let the top speed lure you in though, like the factory brushless car this will have poor throttle control and cogging at takeoff and low speeds. I wouldn't consider this option at all for any sort of off road driving.
After the initial excitement that WL toys have finally released a fairly priced brushless version of the 124018 and 124019 the disappointment set in - this was largely around the cogging and poor low speed control. No doubt this is directly from them trying to chase big top speeds and their resulting use of very tall gearing. In this article I have given 4 alternative options to build your own rather than accept the compromises of the stock brushless 124016 and 124017. I consider all of these options to have superior performance except for possibly #4 as this was done more for direct comparison. Which you will choose ultimately depends on what you want to do with it and how hard it is to build. Easy fit, low cost and good for offroad bashing? Option 1. Best allround performance that requires a little more customising? Option 2. Flat out straight line on road speed? Option 3.
You do need to take into account that even the lowest cost option is comparable or slightly more that the stock brushless EAT14, 124016 and 124017. It is worth considering however that you can sell off the spare stock transmitter, esc, servo and motor to recuperate some of your expenses and finish up with a much better car personalised to your specific requirements with the knowledge that the resulting car will be uniquely made for you.
If you already own the EAT14, 124016 or 124017 I have a number of ways to fix the cogging issues here: WL TOYS 124016 124017 EAT14 COGGING ISSUE [SOLVED]
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