The Eachine EC30B is an upgraded brushless version of the lower priced EC30 car I reviewed here. It competes in the highly competitive 1/14 4wd category that generally speaking offers the best bang for your buck out of all the RC car categories. The Eachine EC30B brings some truly class leading features in this category which I will cover in this comprehensive review.
For those that haven't read my EC30 (brushed) review, I can tell you straight away that this car is very much based on the hugely successful HBX 16889a pro monster truck I reviewed here but with the additional wheel base, staggered wheels and and course the open-wheel body and wing. When compared to the EC30 brushed, this EC30B brushless model not only has the more powerful and efficient brushless powertrain but a raft of other well executed improvements, particularly in the suspension and driveline departments. This makes for a very compelling offering and I'll show you why but first let's looks at what is included in the box:
What is in the box?
As you can see, there is little more that the basics. The car and transmitter is there of course including a 2-sectioned wing that needs to be attached with the included screws and brace. There is a 2s 1500mah li-ion battery and chargers, a couple of spare body pins, a screwdriver (to put the wing on) and a wheel nut remover and a manual with full part number list. That's it really and is typical of this category - when price is so important the focus is on the performance of the car because that is what people remember, not the spares.
A closer look at the hardware
I like the cheaper EC30 brushed model but this EC30B I cover in this review has just so many upgrades it becomes almost a no-brainer to move to this model. Let's see why.
Transmitter. We all know this is an Haiboxing (HBX) made RC car so it's surprising they don't supply the all-too-common HBX transmitter with it. Instead we get quite a different model. I thought it was the same as the EC30 transmitter at first glance but it has one additional feature - steering dual rate. This allows you to limit steering on the fly. Elsewhere it has functions typical on RTR transmitters - steering trim control, proportion steering and trigger throttle, and LED lights to show binding. The steering wheel has a foam wheel which is always nice. This transmitter takes only 2 AA batteries which is nice but does limit range. The good news is I've confirmed the 4-battery HBX transmitter works flawlessly with this car as you can see below:
Power Train. The Eachine EC30B uses a 2838 3800kv brushless motor and an all in one brushless ESC/receiver unit. This motor size is well suited to this car. kV is a little on the light side (I would have preferred 4500kv) but it will provide excellent efficiency, battery life and lower temperatures should make it reliable. This is the same powertrain as used in the popular HBX 16889a pro (reviewed here) and Flyhal FC600.
Drive train. The drive train is hugely upgraded compared to the cheaper EC30 model. The spur gear, diffs and bevel pinions are all metal and like other HBX cars I have reviewed are extremely well put together which makes for a smooth drive. The pinion gear is 14T with a non adjustable mount meaning you are left with the stock gear ratio. This is very short and combined with the lowish kv motor prioritises acceleration, battery life and reliability over top speed - the opposite of what WL toys does with their 144001 - the long term market leading in this category.
Suspension. I'm very glad that Eachine included the oil filled shocks on this model, they are night and day better over the friction dampners used in the EC30. Oil filled shocks are a must in this category in my opinion. These oil filled shocks are not as good as the units that WLToys use on the 144001/144010 but are "good enough" in my opinion. Springs on the rear are a little soft for my liking, I had to wind the collars right down to get the right ride height. The rest of the suspension componentry is solid, made from the flexible but tough plastic that make HBX cars so durable. Camber angle is fixed due to non-adjustable upper arms but I think this is not really and issue being designed more - fixed camber (no adjustable tierods) but this just helps with the durability.
Wheels and Tyres. The wheels and tyres used here are a new design and coincidentally (?) very similar to the one from the WLToys 144001 albeit with a slightly more agressive tread pattern that should wear better and offer a little more grip on tight packed dirt and gravel. Dimensions are identical to the 144001, staggered front (mm wide) and rear (mm wide) with a diamter or 71mm. The seem to be strong and have a good look without the unsightly Chinglish in the middle. The use a standard 12mm hex so you have plent of upgrade options including the Remo P6973 and 1822 which both reviewed well.
Chassis. The Chassis is extended 15mm over the 16889a pro from which it is base and that helps MASSIVELY. The extra length makes it much more stable in a straight line and prevent wheelies in conjunction with the smaller wheels. It also feels more predictable on cornering making handling on par with the WLToys 144001 and 144010. The advantage over those cars though is how much stronger and light this car is due to that flexible, shock absorbing plastic they use. This makes this one of the toughest cars around, really only surpassed in this budget range by the 16889a pro since that has shrouded shock towers and no spoiler. Speaking of the shock towers, the EC30B uses aluminium units. They are strong but will bend in a big enough crash although you can easily bend them back.
Body. The body is a cab forward design and fits really neatly against the chassis. This means it lets less dirt and dust in compared with a monster truck style body. If you want you can use velcro around the sides of the body to attached the shell rather than body clips for an even more positive seal. It comes with a sheet of decals, you can chose which (if any) you wish to apply which I prefer to pre-applied decals under the clear coat (looking at you, WL Toys). The wind is a 2 piece unit and is LARGE. It looks cool though in my opinion but I am expecting it to get damaged in crashes.
Steering. The steering setup is simply but reliable. The servo is a 3 wire unit which gives hobby-grade servo and or receiver upgrade options. This runs and all plastic steering mechanism which is identical to the HBX 16889 models, albeit with the servo on the other side. The servo saver is built into the servo horn. Lock is fine and it's nice that the remote has steering dual rate control, something not often seen in these budget models.
Battery and charger. I'm disappointed that this car comes with a Li-Ion battery back, I would have preferred a lipo as they are capable of outputting more continuous current. It's a good thing this car is so efficient otherwise this would really be shown up. Now for the good news, due to the extended chassis, the EC30 and EC30B as reviewed here have a lot more room in the battery tray meaning you can easily fit larger batteries. For example the stock 144001 battery (a genuine lipo) fits easily with room to spare. The charger is a basic USB balance charger. It's fine to get started but I strongly recommend upgrading if you plan on sticking in the hobby.
No that we have broken down the hardware for this car in detail, let's see how it runs.
Top speed and acceleration. Acceleration is really strong on this car but top speed is not great for a brushless model, just 35km/h from my measurement. I am generally a fan of under-gearing rather than over gearing because of other benefits it brings (more below) but I think they may have gone too far. As you can see below they have kept with the same gear ratio from the 16889a pro monster truck but have gone with smaller wheels, dropping the effective ratio. I really wish they would have compensated. Without getting too carried away though it still feels fast when in tight spaces and acceleration is really impressive, it's just that the top speed could have easily been better without giving much away. As you can see below there is little option to change gear ratio but an inexpensive higher kv motor would be a great upgrade for example, this 2838 4700kv Surpass Hobby motor at around $14 would be a tidy upgrade, capable of around 43km/h + with little impact on battery life or heat buildup. Although I have seen others be successful, I do not recommend you run 3s with this car.
In this video you can see me ripping it around the carpark. As you can see the speed is still not bad but the response and acceleration is just amazing. On this particular run I got around 14 minutes of running (not all filmed obviously!)
Battery life electronic stress. Since the effective gearing is so short, this car has amazing battery life, I typically had 12-15 minutes plus depending on how and where I drove. As you can expect, there was very little heat build up too meaning that all other things being equal, the electronics in this car should be long lived.
Handling. After some minor tweaks to the suspension setup (see below) I'm happy with the suspension on this car. Oil shocks are lightweight but acceptable given the car is lightweight. It would benefit from stiffer springs on the rear however oddly enough I have the same feedback on the WL Toys 144001 and 144010. The extra 15mm over the length of the 16889a pro certainly helps with handling, specifically straight line and cornering stability. The tread pattern on the tyres are derived from carpet and hard packed dirt racing so soon get shown up on really rough off-road but open-wheeled cars like this are more designed for light off-road and on road and these tyres are well suited to that. The compound is fairly hard to grip in the wet isn't great but they should wear well.
Durability. The real high point of HBX cars is their durability which is largely down to the flexible, shock resistant plastic that they use throughout the car. Generally speaking this is the same for the EC30B. The only exceptions to this can be put down to the type of car, namely and exposed spoiler and shock towers, an issue for all car of this type. Since the stock spoiler has 2 elements it is stronger than most polycarbonate units but don't forget that a moulded plastic one like this LC racking EMB-TG model is much tougher. Since the shock towers are aluminium, they will bend with a big enough hit but they can also be bent back.
Final thoughts and recommendations
Overall this is a nice little RC car: It is very durable, has great battery life, is extremely responsive and handles well and also has great acceleration. All it lacks is the top speed that we would expect from a brushless 1/14 scale car. Cars of this size are really good at around 45 km/h and although 35km/h is decent in tight areas, it runs out of puff in bigger spaces. It's not hard to fix... a $14 motor like this Surpass Hobby 2838 4700kv will bolt right in with very little negative impact on heat or battery life but will get you to around 43km/h.
If you are looking for a fast 1/14 scale car then I would recommend instead the WL toys 144010 which will do 70km/h out of the box - my full review of that car is here. You'll also see that the 144010 will break easy and has an awful delay in throttle response so it's not really for beginners. If it is a beginners car you are looking for that is still brisk, can take a hit and has great battery life, then I am happy to recommend the Eachine EC30B brushless 1/14 scale car as reviewed here.
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