RC Gear Shop 1/10 4550kV Brushless Motor System w/120A Review

Image Credit: Tower Hobbies

Review by Adrian Apodaca, RealRCReviews Owner

Specs:

ESC:  120a continuous current with 6V/3A (linear mode built-in BEC)

Motor: 4550kv with 3.175mm shaft

 

See complete specs on product page linked at bottom of page

 

Test Vehicles:

Traxxas Rustler for ESC and motor

Axial Yeti: ESC and stock Yeti motor

Pros:

- Solid look and feel

- Feels way more expensive than it is

- Comes with everything you need

- Up to 4s compatible (with 3000kv)

- Entire system less than $100

- Easy to use programming card $9

- Runs cool

- Backed by Tower Hobbies

- Shipped from USA!

- Leads come pre-tinned

- Includes mount

- Long cables

- Comes with spare switch cover

- Waterproof!!!

Cons:

This is usually one of my favorite sections to write... at this moment, after an easy install on my trusty Rustler, and several runs, I have ZERO complaints.

Summary:

When Tower Hobbies recently announced their RC Gear Shop brand line of budget electronics, I was pretty excited.  I'm the kind of guy that likes to have a bunch of vehicles and not spend all my money on just one or two vehicles.  Outfitting them all with decent electronics can get expensive, so I try to save a buck when I can.  I have had my hits and misses when trying to outfit a car on a budget.

 

Some of my cars have premium electronics and you can see why they cost what they do. Some others, are mid-priced but feel cheap or don't always perform well.  This RC Gear Shop stuff looks and feels premium while staying under $100 dollars even if you purchase the programming card.

 

When the package arrived from Tower, I immediately opened the box to dig out my new goods.  What was surprising in a good way, was the packaging itself.  It is no frills, brown cardboard with a white adhesive label on it with the brand name and specs.  What that told me, was that RC Gear Shop is not wasting money by packaging the electronics on a beautiful box that we are going to toss away as soon as we install our electronics.  That is savings they can pass to the customer.  Another pleasant surprise was the amount of stuff that came with it: Plenty of heat shrink tubing, zip ties, bullet connectors, AND the extension you'll need if you decide to purchase the programming card (which is a no-brainer at $9).

 

I soldered up the bullet connectors and added a Traxxas connector to match up with my batteries.  I went downstairs to pick which car fit the bill the easiest.  I decided on my Traxxas Rustler VXL.  The Rustler is fun on 2s lipo, but even better on 3s with the VXL system.  The problem there is that the battery tray does not accommodate a 3s of any decent size.  I have been searching for a budget priced, higher KV system to run so I could use my 4000 and 5000mah 2s batteries.  I found it.

 

The initial setup is a very simple calibration with the trigger (details are in the manual).  The programming card takes about a minute or two to completely set up your system if you want to adjust anything.  I don't think I have ever set a system up so quickly and so confidently since you are looking at numbers on a screen versus a pattern of flashing lights or beeps.  With all that done I took it outside to hit the pavement.  Wow, I really mean WOW.  I didn't check the speeds with any instrumentation but I honestly feel like this system on 2s is as fast as the VXL system on 3s.  I left the stock gearing on the Rustler to have a more apples to apples comparison.  I was really trying to push it so I did speed run after speed run and couldn't get the ESC or motor to heat up at all.  It may warm a little in warmer weather, but I couldn't get it to budge on a 52 degree day or a 39 degree day.  What I also found impressive was the smooth low end of the system.  The cogging was quite a bit less noticeable than my Castle or VXL systems.  The video below has some slow running to show that.  Excuse the erratic driving in the video, it was cold, the tires were new and the pavement had salt and dirt on it. A few days prior, I had done some running in grass, did some jumping... and other typical bashing activities and the system never skipped a beat.

 

The system also claims to be waterproof....sooooo I drove it in and through some snow.  Splashed around some melted snow too.  I'm not sure how it would do if I threw it in a pool, but I am not willing to do that test, simply for the fact that I will never drive on a lake floor. I'll run some boats if I want to play in that much water.  I really didn't know what else I could throw at this system other than intentionally trying to destroy it.  What I do know is that I was so happy with this system, that I ordered another 120a ESC for my Yeti Kit build.  I would have confidently bought a RC Gear Shop motor for it if they one that fit the specs.

 

To conclude, I really don't see why anyone would pay premium prices for "okay" electronics when there are options like this.  There are other decent budget options out there, but they generally ship from China and are backed with spotty customer service, if you are lucky enough to get customer service at all.  RC Gear Shop products ship from Tower Hobbies and are backed by Tower's customer service here in the USA.  I've alerted my local hobby shop and told them to stock up on this stuff.  I hope they expand the line to include sensored motors and a few more sizes.  I will update this review if anything changes as I continue to do some more bashing and speed runs.  This product is a winner all the way.