Eachine EC30 Review
The Eachine EC30 is a new radio controlled 1/14 scale 4wd buggy and sold exclusively by Banggood. This buggy is manufactured by Haiboxing (HBX) which are renowned for being some of the most durable cars out and this new model continues that tradition given it borrows heavily from the hugely popular 16889 range. In this review we'll look closely at the car, and it's performance and compare both to the car it borrows the parts off and the ones it competes against - the legendary WLToys 144001.
As I've mentioned on a number of occasions, Eachine is merely a shadow or house brand for Banggood, the quality of the car the offer depends on the manufacturer. The good news is that with the Eachine EC30 as reviewed here, the manufacturer is Haiboxing. As you'll see in my Master RC Car Comparison, the HBX cars rate highly because of their extreme durability, the thoughtful powertrain and driveline, and value for money in general. This car specifically borrows from the 16889 and SG1602 trucks but also brings a number of improvements which make this a solid offering.
I want this review to be a standalone so my comparisons to other cars are merely to help you understand this one better and why it may or may not be suitable for you.
A Closer look at the Eachine EC30
Transmitter. The radio that comes with this car is fairly basic. Like the controller for the WL Toys 144001 it comes with adjustments only for steering trim and throttle dual rate. It's a nice touch that they have labelled throttle dual rate as "speed" as that's what it adjusts - a limiter for top speed. The remote is powered by just 2 x AA batteries and runs on digital 2.4GHz frequency to minimise interference.
Powertrain. This car is powered by a standard brushed 390 sized motor which is appropriately sized for this car. Brushed motors aren't as powerful nor as efficient as more expensive brushless motors but are much smoother on the power and are well suited to a starter. I like a 390 sized motor in the 1/14 scale car and think it is a much better size than the 550 motor used in the WL Toys 144001. Brushed ESC is integrated with the receiver and the whole lot is powered by a 2s 7.4v 1500mah li-ion pack which again is well suited to this setup.
Drivetrain. Like other HBX cars the drivetrain in this model is incredibly smooth. It uses a M0.6 14t pinion to drive plastic spurs and diffs which has ball bearings for every rotating part making it very effcient. There is no slipper clutch (unlike the HBX 16886). Plastic gears are fine for the powertrain and I know that these particular gears can even handle brushless power as they are identical to those found in the brushless powered SG1602 (reviewed here).
Power is transferred from the diffs to the hubs by plastic driveshafts - universal in the front and dogbone in the rear. My previous experience with these driveshafts is that they are durable and hard wearing, even with brushless power. I don't like that the wheels are attached to the car by a screw into the hub, it feels like taking these on and off would cause them to loosen over time. Wheels use a 12mm hex adapter meaning you have lots of options for wheels.
Front drive shafts and hubs are plastic but have proven to be strong.
Steering. Using a 3 wire servo means the servo is easy to replace or upgrade. Steering speed is moderate. Steering geometery is good but lacks adjustable tierods. This means you are stuck with neutral toe (which is fine) with the upside being increased durability. Again, well suited to this car.
Suspension. Swing and a miss. Suspension geometry is good and arms are extremely durable as are the knuckle arrangements. You can see the they have really cut costs in the shock absorber area with friction dampeners coming standard. They work in a basic manner but do reach their limits with this car. Good news that replacement oil filled dampeners are inexpensive but a shame they didn't come with them from the factory, one of the few black marks for this car
Chassis, Body Wheels. Chassis is plastic which is my favourite for a basher when it is well designed as it is here; although it is made of a flexible and shock resistant plastic, the design means there is no flex and good strength (if that makes sense?). This makes it very durable for bashing. The body is a cab forward design and I really like the colour. Before you ask, yes, it will fit on a 144001 so long as you are using a 390 sized motor (brushed or brushless) and low profile ESC. Wheels look good and tyres have a nice tread pattern with a medium - firm rubber compound and foam inners.
Shock towers are aluminium meaning they should take a hit well - very important as they are unprotected in a buggy.
Speed, battery life and acceleration. My brushed Eachine EC30 topped out at around 28km/h which is very similar to the similarly specc'd HBX 16886 (my review here). If you are judging on top speed alone then this rates poorly against the WL Toys 144001 because that whole cars has been made to have the maximum top speed for a brushed car. The EC30 is not targeting top speed though, what it lacks there it makes up for in acceleration due to short gearing and battery life since it is much more efficient. Actual battery life was 12-15 minutes, depending on how you drive. The smaller motor also makes for a lighter car with better balance but I'll discuss that more in the handling.
In summary this car is well suited to bashing around off-road and in small areas with the efficient powertrain making less heat and being much more reliable as a result.
Handling. Even though I was disappointed about the lack of oil shocks, I was pleasantly surprised that the car actually handled quite well as you can see in the video above. 2 key reasons offset the poor shock absorbers:
Durability. This is hard to make a call on without a long study but so far it seems to be holding up well. I'm glad they upgraded from plastic to aluminium shock towers because they are very exposed with a buggy. Like the other HBX cars, all of the chassis components are made of a flexible plastic which does a great job of absorbing shock rather than transmitting it to sensitive parts. In practice this means the car tends to bounce off things undamaged.
The only part that does seem to be getting damaged is the spoiler which is sadly pretty typical for all buggies. If you want a more durable spoiler then the LC racing EMB-T spoiler is an excellent tough option.
Comparison to the car is it based on - HBX 16890 / SG 1602
I knew as soon as I saw this car that it was made by HBX and based on the extremely tough SG 1602 / 16890 / 16889 chassis which I have bashed extensively over the years (see this review and this review). They are the toughest cars I've ever owned. In order to turn that 1/16 truck into a 1/14 buggy they have made a 15mm longer chassis to bring the wheelbase up to 190mm. In addition the have mirrored the components with the motor, servo, esc/receiver all going on the opposite side. Extending the wheelbase obviously improves stability at speed but it has serendipitously increased the battery tray size - a massive improvement because the tiny battery tray of the 16889 made it almost impossible to fit anything but the stock 2s 1000mah lipo. Now you can fit a WL Toys 2s 1500mah lipo which is actually a nice little upgrade for this car.
Other changes include the smaller staggered buggy style wheels and tyres, the body and wing but otherwise it is very similar. All things being equal I like the way the longer chassis improves the handling on light offroad an onroad but lacks the grip for heavier offroad.
Comparison the the main competition - the WL Toys 144001
Although this car is similar to the WL Toys 144001 in size and appearance, the similarities kind of stop there. Where the 144001 is fast but runs hot with poor battery life, the EC30 is slower but has much better acceleration and almost double the running time. Where the 144001 handles well due to the excellent shock absorbers, the EC30 does it by being lighter with better weight balance. Lastly the EC30 is in completely different class when we talk durability - other than the rear spoiler it is one of the toughest cars out there whereas the 144001 and it's variants have a reputation for being fragile.
I like both of these cars but clearly they offer quite a different experience. If you are looking in this category then hopefully this review which help you understand which one to get as both are great in their own way.
The Eachine EC30 body can fit on a custom 144001 setup like this one I built
My Conclusions and Recommendations
The Eachine EC30 is a 1/14 scale RC 4wd buggy that is new to the highly competitive market of 1/14 scale buggies. It is based on an extremely durable chassis from HBX and is powered by a lightweight brushed power system that is design for maximum acceleration and battery life over top speed. It is let down by friction shocks but makes up for this with excellent weight balance and light weight.
My recommendation is that this is a good alternative to the very popular WL Toys 144001 if you are a beginner, have a smaller space to run in or want something tough because although slower, it has strong acceleration and almost double the battery life. The ace in the hole of the Eachine EC30 is it's extreme durability and the fact it just keeps going regardless of what you throw at it.
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