The Eachine EAT14 is 1/14 scale brushless 4wd RC buggy. This car is made by WL Toys for Bangood under their Eachine Brand and is based on their hugely popular 144001 car but with a upgrade to brushless power and discrete electronics as well as a raft of other improvements. I will cover the spec, build quality and of course performance of this car as a stand alone review here rather than focusing to heavily on the obvious comparisons. This car is also practically identical to the WL toys 124016 and 124017 except for a slightly smaller wheel base so the findings here apply to those cars as well.
Just to be very clear, Eachine is not a manufacturer. They are a brand only which is exclusive to Banggood which they use for RC products. The brand managers at Banggood relabels products from their key suppliers, in this case, WL toys. Thus, so for all intents and purposes, the Eachine EAT14 is an RC Car designed and made by WL Toys.
A closer look at specs and build
Now that we have that out the way, let's take a closer look at the car, including the specifications and how it has been put together. This car is based on the WL toys 144001 which as mentioned before is a hugely successful car and a product I consider myself to be an expert on - I have written over 30 reviews and upgrade guides on this car which you can find here. The key difference of the Eachine EAT14 to that base model is the brushless power system but there are a raft of other obvious and not so obvious improvements which I'll cover in detail here.
Available in both purple and blue colour coded options
Power System - Motor. At the heart of this car is a brushless 2845 motor rated at 3400kv very much like this one. Obviously smaller and lighter than the brushed 550 motor in the original 144001 but much more powerful and more efficient due to the brushless technology used. As I've said time and time and time again, the smaller brushless motors not only offer better performance but also improve the handling through less weight and better balance. In fact I consider the 2845 brushless motor used here to be slightly overpowered if anything. Motor KV is 3400kv which looks low at face value but makes sense when you realise that WL toys have chosen to retain the very large stock 27t pinion they used on the brushed model. This blew my theory of them moving to a 15t pinion out of the water as I wrote about in my preview article on these cars. This type of setup is optimised for top speed rather at the cost of acceleration and potentially low speed control but this will be covered more in the performance part of the review
Power System - ESC. According to the specs this car uses a 60a ESC which, if true offers a decent amount of current overhead. I don't recognise this particular design but it does include a basic fan which is a good choice given the gearing in this caUpdate: it is this Surpass Hobby 60A ESC which is capable of 3s although I wouldn't recommend with this gearing. It connects to the motor using surprisingly heavy gauge silicon wire and 4.0mm bullet connectors. This ESC is rated for 2s only (update 3s too), I would definitely not recommend running on 3s given the gearing in this car. If you need to know why then I would recommend this guide I wrote on exactly that topic A t-plug (Deans) connector is used for power supply which is a common standard on this scale of car
Suspension. This car uses a really nice oil-filled large bore coilover dampeners which are the result of many small improvements since this platform was released about 2 years ago. In my particular car the shocks were filled with the perfect amount of oil and had more dampening than previous cars suggesting they may have moved to a heavier fluid - a good upgrade in my books. Nice to see too that they have staggered lengths (i.e. shorter on the front) which was an improvement from the 124019 car and allows for a much better suspension geometry.
Suspension arms are plastic and have provision for install sway bars as per this guide if you want. Stock suspension arms are pretty tough but can break in really bad crashes which is precisely what you need them to do rather than transmitting unwanted force to something more critical in this car.
The chassis is plate aluminium which, along with a top deck is extremely rigid. This combined with a good set of shock absorbers and the improved weight distribution from the smaller brushless motor should make for some really good handling which I discuss further on.
Wheels and Body. Wheels are a disc style and have, in my opinion, some pretty awful graphics in them!! I wish they had stuck with plain white but nothing a little acetone can't fix. I know from my experience with the other cars using the same wheels that they are very strong which is the main thing. Tyres look very promising. They have a new, much more aggressive tread pattern which is a big improvement over the fine pattern on the 144001 which looks like it was designed for carpet racing. This new design should be more suited to loose or hard packed dirt on tracks and even some light offroad. Additionally the tyre compound is what I'd call medium - similar to the Remo P6973 I rate so highly and so we can expect some really good grip. As best as I can tell, I don't think there is any foam but I'm not too worried given the compound and the fairly small sidewall size. Dimensions of the wheels and tyres can be seen below
The body is all new based on a "cab forward" design. I'm undecided on how I feel about it but it's pure opinion. Functionally it makes more sense because it allows for the taller ESC used here, specifically the fan. The body sits quite high on the car which detracts from the low profile look I prefer but again, it is for functional reasons.
Transmitter, Receiver, Servo. Transmitter is the same as every one WL toys have release over the last 2 year. Very basic but it does include a throttle dual rate - the ability to limit top speed which is good for learners and small people.
Since a regular receiver is used, they have had to go to a regular 3 wire servo as well which I am very pleased about. It is of course the same size as the 144001 etc. This servo is extremely fast as you can see below
Overall Package. Overall a pretty tidy package. Other than a basic manual and wheel brace there are no extra spares included other than a random bumper that doesn't fit properly. This I now know to be a piece from the newly released 144002 monster truck. I'm happy that no extra or unnecessary spares are included, this means they can hit a really sharp price point.
Now that we have covered of the specs and the theoretical aspects of this car, we'll now look at the real world performance and I'll give you quantified results and my opinion on this in the performance section.
Check out performance of the Eachine EAT14 above in a light offroad area
Based on component and design choice, it looks like WL toys was always going for maximum speed as a brag factor. This does not come without compromises through. The first of which is a phenomenon known as "cogging". This is when a car that is stationary or at low speed does not have enough electromagnetic energy to turn the motor and so it bounces back and forward and causes a stutter. Pile on the power and it will go away but this comes with a rush of acceleration. Cogging is typical in brushless cars with tall gears and this is certainly the case here. You can see examples of this below when I tried to start in tall grass and the cars simply would not budge. It is a little frustrating although for a large part you can get around it by applying more throttle.
Here is an example of cogging
Obviously the second main compromise for a high top speed is slower acceleration and this quite noticeable. Certainly better than a brushed car still but certainly not a lively as one of the brushless conversions I've done that have a shorter gearing (smaller pinion) and lower top speed. Again, a bit of a trade off in order to hit the top speed. Please note this is just my opinion, I tend to prefer a fast accelerating car rather than one with flat out speed. The acceleration is by no means bad but getting up to top speed does take a little winding up.
ESC and motor heat. I was extremely surprised to find that in spite of the tall gearing, the motor and ESC runs surprisingly cool - I was expecting it to be piping hot. This makes me think that maybe the ESC is in fact rated to 60a but more likely it's the fan that is doing a really good job. Similarly the large heatsink on the motor seems to be helping the motor avoid overheating issues.
Handling. This car handles really well and is a big improvement on the WL toys that come before. First of all the shocks have always been good but are usually let down by minor issues like incorrect filling or a poor choice of oil weight. No such issues here - the fill level on my car was perfect and I found it has more dampening that my other cars; I think they have move to a heavier oil and as a result the shocks are able to control the cars handling much better. Also worth noting that the suspension geometry is very sound since they have taken the improved shorter front shocks on the front of the 124019 and have carried them over to this car.
A much improved weight distribution helps too. Although the motor is larger than what I'd choose, it is still a darn sight lighter than the massive 550 motor that really biased the weight toward the rear. In addition the longer 2200mah battery (instead of the short 1500mah battery on the 144001) helps move the weight balance further forward too.
Last and certainly not least are they tyres. Maybe I'm just boring but I think these are my single favourite upgrade on this car. Even though they don't appear have inner foam, the medium firmness tyre compound helps them retain their shape well and offer excellent grip on most surfaces. This really helps reduce spin outs under power and so makes the driving experience a lot more fun and user-friendly. You can see just how much power they get to the ground by the way the front lifts under hard acceleration in the videos below. This is quite a feat for this style of car because buggies are designed no to do this compared with say a monster truck style. Cornering under power and breaking is also excellent although an unintended consequence is potentially a little more traction roll on certain surfaces. I'd suggest they will probably wear fairly quickly if you are doing skids on road. If I were wanting a track car (dirt or astroturf) then I would seriously consider these tyres.
Battery life. Even though tall gearing hurts battery life, the fact that a brushless motor is used means it's still much more efficient that a brushed car like the 144001, 124018 and 124019. The larger 2200mah stock battery also helps too and I get around 12-15 minute driving - roughly double of the brushed equivalent. Battery is warm at the end of the run suggesting it is operating at or close to the peak output of the battery. A higher c-rated battery may help performance here but they are difficult to find in this size. Read more about batteries and c-rating here.
Durability and reliability. The brushed versions of these cars were never wonderful for durability because all of that weight and the speed meant they carried a lot of kinetic energy into a crash which would often make for broken pieces. Well, this car is lighter but faster so on low speed crashes this car will be more forgiving due to the lighter motor. If you crash into something hard at full speed (60kph) you are most likely going to break something but to be fair, there are very few cars that would survive at crashes of this speed. This will never be as durable as the HBX 16889a pro (reviewed here) for example but by comparison that is maybe half the weight, has a tops speed of 40kph and is made of plastic which is more flexible in crashes but doesn't allow for the accurate handling a rigid car like the Eachine EAT14 does.
It's well worth mentioning that the design improvements we have seen on the new hinge pins (hinge screws?) will greatly improve a known weak point of this car - the rubbery plastic grommets that were prone to failure and the forward mount on the rear gearbox which often became loose and is an ABSOLUTE PAIN to tighten back up. Yes a definite improvement here if you're picking up what I'm putting down!
In summary this is a well refined car build on a proven platform that has been built with the pursuit of top speed in mind and credit to them, it is fast. The compromise for this speed is fairly poor low speed control and sensitivity due to a cogging motor that is caused by the tall gearing. Handling is really good - the suspension has been heavily refined since this platform was first released. Grip is fantastic thanks to a much improved tyre tread pattern and compound that is much better suited to the type of driving you would expect to do with this car. It's nice to have discrete, hobby grade electrics in this car that can easily be replaced or upgraded if desired. All in all as a standalone it's a nice car and certainly is a significant improvement over it's brushed counterpart - the 144001.
My final thought is that this car is probably better than just being a brushless 144001 because of all the minor incremental improvements that have made to more than just the power system. This includes suspension, tyres, hinge pins, shimmed diffs, metal hex drives and so much more that goes on behind the scenes.
In future I will compare this car to custom brushless upgrades I have done which is more relevant if you are a somewhat confident builder. Also I may look at modding the gearing on this setup to suit my driving style better - less focus on top speed and more focus on acceleration and the reduction of cogging. Let me know if that would interest you in the comments
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