WL toys have had a series of hits with the 1/14 scale 144001 and now more recently with the 1/12 scale 124019 and 124018 - same car just a little longer. In order to hit their price point though they have had to compromise on the power train - opting for brushed motor technology that although surprisingly fast offers poor long term durability and even worse efficiency leading short running times. Upgrading to brushless is a solid option but has required hacks and workarounds in the past to get anything other than basic speed run builds. This new guide aims to be drop in solution with no mechanical modification required.
Just to recap I've already made 3 brushless builds. If you have the ability I still highly rate the ultimate brushless upgrade as I believe the motor and gear combination is perfect for fast, reliable and efficient 2s running.
The WL Toys 144001 is a small 1/14 scale 4wd buggy with a massively oversized brushed motor that can reach well over 30mph. When this massive brushed motor is replaced with a massive brushless motor the top speed can become over triple that with the right setup. The below guide goes into detail the build components I used for such a build, the build process and setup to optimise handling.
By now you've probably seen some wild speed run builds based on the WL toys 144001 of up to and over 100mph. At the top end of the scale these are highly customised with expensive race-oriented gear and outboard twin-battery power supply. The objective of my build was stealth: to retain the stock look, making everything fit (somewhat tightly) under the stock bodyshell and be bolt-on without the need for machining or fabrication i.e. as simple to replicate as possible. For this reason I have specifically chosen to run my car with stock gearing on 2-3s only. To that end here are the parts I chose and why,
Parts used for build:
I've separated this into power system for the key components...
Recently I upgraded to brushless power in the WL Toys 144001 as you can see in the below article which is also relevant to the new WL Toys 124018 and 124019:
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. Please note this may now be out of stock depending on warehouse
The larger bore means the pinion collar is larger. It fits but the grub screw needs reducing in length just a little.
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. This upgrade is fully compatible with the new 124019 and 124018 as well and an excellent option to improve performance and battery life.
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-1 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 - see my speed run build guide here for more details
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!
This review and advice article covers the use of the surpass hobby/racerstar/goolrc brushless ESC programming card which can be used on most in not all power systems from these suppliers. It is a simple <$10 device that allows you to easily change the parameters of the ESC - how fast power comes on, how power braking is and much more.
One of the easiest ways to upgrade your brushed RC car is to change the brushed motor and ESC with a brushless ESC. If you are lucky like me the drive train (gears, differentials, driveshafts) are designed to take brushless power but even if you don't there is a way to tame you power and still get the benefits of fast acceleration, higher top speed and better battery life. I've used budget Surpass Hobby (also branded as Racerstar) systems on both a large 4x4 SCT brushless upgrade here and the very popular WLtoys 144001 brushless upgrade here and can confirm the programming card works for both
There are several cards that can be used to program these ESCs but the one I recommend is the Racerstar LED Program Card that works with all of the ESCs and motors branded as surpass hobby, goolrc, racerstar and probably more.
*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)
The SG 1602 Brushless RC truck is a 1/16 scale 4wd off road truck/buggy (truggy) that has a powerful and efficient brushless motor/esc system. Note, this appears identical to the HBX 16889 and shares the same parts. It is available from Banggood for less than $90 and as little as $70. I've had one of these for about 2 months now and for the times that my son lets me drive it I've had quite a few runs to get a good feel of performance and durability. My full review is below.
What's in the box?
Actually this is pretty well equipped: