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:
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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 parameter of the ESC.
One of the easiest ways to upgrade your brushed RC car is to change the brushed motor and ESC with a brushless ESC and motor as I did here with the Surpass Hobby 3650/ 60a ESC combo (click here to see full review). 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. This came as a surprise to me as I thought the $40 combo I bought surely wouldn't have this functionality.
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. For the record I accidentally bought the surpass LED program card for brushed crawlers and after initially thinking I couldn't use it it turns out I can, more below.
*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)