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Spent a very enjoyable 3 months building and developing the setup on my DT03 but this car being brushless and pretty quick lead to the Thunder Dragon feeling a bit unloved. When a cheap Chinese hobbywing 120a esc copy popped up on eBay for £11 I figured it was cheap enough that I had pretty much nothing to lose.

Although proper vintage (I have had the car since 1989. Got it for my 13th birthday) it's always been a runner and it's had quite a few improvements and modernisation already so brushless seemed like a good step. I had an Mtroniks rv20 esc and 21t x 2 brushed setup before which was great when it was replacing the MSC and silver can but even the tble-02 in my DT03 is much easier to handle and more responsive to braking and neutral throttle programming. I had also found the Thunder Dragon just a bit dull to drive because with 4WD and modern 2.2" wheels and tyres it was easily able to handle 21t and was just a bit easy to drive. Contrast to constantly chasing the setup on my DT03 and how much better it was making me drive because I couldn't just open the throttle and hold it there like on the TD it was time to pep up the old timer and make it a bit more of a handful!! I picked a Speed Passion 10.5t 3800kV motor on eBay but with this esc have options for lower.

Firstly had to rearrange the tub. The rv20 is tiny and just slid in the vacant MSC servo slot on its side. The new esc complete with fan needed to sit on the MSC plate but that attachment bosses needed filing off first.

Brushed setup stripped out

120a esc and 10.5t brushless system in my Thunder Dragon

MSC mounting plate. One boss has been removed previously but I can't remember why! The boss nearest the camera needs to come off to make a flat mount space for the esc

120a esc and 10.5t brushless system in my Thunder Dragon

And it's gone

120a esc and 10.5t brushless system in my Thunder Dragon

The other thing I figured out to tidy up the packaging a little was my ACOMS Rx slots into the old servo slot vacated by the previous esc, but the old servo bosses needed filing off. This gives the mounting plate more support and hold the Rx nice and snug

Before

120a esc and 10.5t brushless system in my Thunder Dragon

After

120a esc and 10.5t brushless system in my Thunder Dragon

Rx moved and plate reinstalled

120a esc and 10.5t brushless system in my Thunder Dragon

This was my first effort at soldering leads. The removable plugs on the speed passion motor made this a breeze. My big problem came because the cheapness of my esc played out when the battery leads just fell off in my hand from a nice random crimp/nearly cut through section on the leads about 4cm from the esc. I desoldered the connections and removed the stubs and went about soldering the battery leads with the plug back on. This was a complete pain and such a fight! Soldering to esc terminals is hard! Anyway, finally just about got it sorted. I was worried about mucking it up so didn't trim the wires before soldering so not the neatest installation but a tie wrap to the body post sorts that. Waiting on some more double sided sticky pads from Modelsport to complete the mounting but a tie wrap got me up and running.  The power switching isn't compatible with the under chassis slot so I stuck it on top of the tube where the resistor used to be so I can reach through the hole in the body to get it.

120a esc and 10.5t brushless system in my Thunder Dragon20170430_202946

I have the Deans convertor because I run Nimh batteries and all my stuff is tamiya plug. If someone can persuade me that soldering deans plugs is as easy as my motor connections were I might convert all my stuff to Deans.

Took it for a run on gravel and in the woods and played with the program card (hobbywing card works). 14t pinion and it's quick and fun and I now need to sort the dampers and handling out because it's pretty feisty. Just what I wanted. 

Cheers

 

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On 2017-5-1 at 10:32 AM, ThunderDragonCy said:

Spent a very enjoyable 3 months building and developing the setup on my DT03 but this car being brushless and pretty quick lead to the Thunder Dragon feeling a bit unloved. When a cheap Chinese hobbywing 120a esc copy popped up on eBay for £11 I figured it was cheap enough that I had pretty much nothing to lose.

Although proper vintage (I have had the car since 1989. Got it for my 13th birthday) it's always been a runner and it's had quite a few improvements and modernisation already so brushless seemed like a good step. I had an Mtroniks rv20 esc and 21t x 2 brushed setup before which was great when it was replacing the MSC and silver can but even the tble-02 in my DT03 is much easier to handle and more responsive to braking and neutral throttle programming. I had also found the Thunder Dragon just a bit dull to drive because with 4WD and modern 2.2" wheels and tyres it was easily able to handle 21t and was just a bit easy to drive. Contrast to constantly chasing the setup on my DT03 and how much better it was making me drive because I couldn't just open the throttle and hold it there like on the TD it was time to pep up the old timer and make it a bit more of a handful!! I picked a Speed Passion 10.5t 3800kV motor on eBay but with this esc have options for lower.

Firstly had to rearrange the tub. The rv20 is tiny and just slid in the vacant MSC servo slot on its side. The new esc complete with fan needed to sit on the MSC plate but that attachment bosses needed filing off first.

Brushed setup stripped out

120a esc and 10.5t brushless system in my Thunder Dragon

MSC mounting plate. One boss has been removed previously but I can't remember why! The boss nearest the camera needs to come off to make a flat mount space for the esc

120a esc and 10.5t brushless system in my Thunder Dragon

And it's gone

120a esc and 10.5t brushless system in my Thunder Dragon

The other thing I figured out to tidy up the packaging a little was my ACOMS Rx slots into the old servo slot vacated by the previous esc, but the old servo bosses needed filing off. This gives the mounting plate more support and hold the Rx nice and snug

Before

120a esc and 10.5t brushless system in my Thunder Dragon

After

120a esc and 10.5t brushless system in my Thunder Dragon

Rx moved and plate reinstalled

120a esc and 10.5t brushless system in my Thunder Dragon

This was my first effort at soldering leads. The removable plugs on the speed passion motor made this a breeze. My big problem came because the cheapness of my esc played out when the battery leads just fell off in my hand from a nice random crimp/nearly cut through section on the leads about 4cm from the esc. I desoldered the connections and removed the stubs and went about soldering the battery leads with the plug back on. This was a complete pain and such a fight! Soldering to esc terminals is hard! Anyway, finally just about got it sorted. I was worried about mucking it up so didn't trim the wires before soldering so not the neatest installation but a tie wrap to the body post sorts that. Waiting on some more double sided sticky pads from Modelsport to complete the mounting but a tie wrap got me up and running.  The power switching isn't compatible with the under chassis slot so I stuck it on top of the tube where the resistor used to be so I can reach through the hole in the body to get it.

120a esc and 10.5t brushless system in my Thunder Dragon20170430_202946

I have the Deans convertor because I run Nimh batteries and all my stuff is tamiya plug. If someone can persuade me that soldering deans plugs is as easy as my motor connections were I might convert all my stuff to Deans.

Took it for a run on gravel and in the woods and played with the program card (hobbywing card works). 14t pinion and it's quick and fun and I now need to sort the dampers and handling out because it's pretty feisty. Just what I wanted. 

Cheers

 

I quote like the leisurely speed of mine :D

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51 minutes ago, mman2005 said:

I quote like the leisurely speed of mine :D

I was fine with mine until I got something modern and quick. Rather like that it's a bit feisty now! Seems to handle the power well enough 

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Got the final install sorted and tidied up with some new double sided foam tape from Modelsport

20170507_103554

Cut the chassis cover around the esc and got the on/off switch so I can get it through the old resistor hole in the body

20170507_103634

Got the convertor piece as all my gear is tamiya plug, but I am a bit tempted to get a deans plug 8.4v pack as Overlander said they would do one for me for an extra quid. 

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On Mon May 01 2017 at 10:32 AM, ThunderDragonCy said:

If someone can persuade me that soldering deans plugs is as easy as my motor connections were I might convert all my stuff to Deans.

I found soldering them a faff.

I made a holder to solder the males, I say made, I drilled 2 small holes in some wood and slotted the legs in 🙄 The females, I held with mole grips.

Good to hear the old gears are holding up to some brushless power, pondering what to run in some of my veterans.

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That was my fear. Seeing as Overlander will do me a pack ready fitted I think that is the way to go. 3 other esc plus four batteries to change just feels like hard work. Not like the Rising Fighter or Lunchbox are going to cook their tamiya plugs, is it?

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I've only ever melted 1 tamiya plug, but I used bullets (or banana plugs?) bitd. I believe they are the worst of the battery connection design though, saying that, I've just ordered an adapter to run nimh in the bullhead (2,3 and 4s for me, but my 2yr old can run with nimh for now, but, she carried a big wheelie the other day with the 2s, one proud dad! 😁)

Remember if you're swapping battery connections, only cut one at a time! 🤔 

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I don't find deans plugs that difficult to solder, I put a big lump of blue tack onto my desk, stick the plug into that, it holds it perfectly and stops burnt fingers. 

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Unfortunately it seems you get what you pay for with this cheap esc. It died on Friday after maybe 6 packs through it. To be honest the punch on a 120a esc with the 8.4v pack I had was really a bit much for me. I plumbed in the tble-02s and 7m2 pack from my dt03 this afternoon and it's less of a nutter so I am going back to that. Found my limits.  Lesson learnt!

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Update! Got a TBLE-02S to replace the dead ESC. Ran the 7.2v battery on the 10.5t motor no problem, so I decided to push my luck and hook up the 8.4v I got. First run it thermalled after about 5 minutes running on a hot day, but the esc wasn't fried it just shut down to look after itself as it should. After a bit of research I took the plunge and got the fan unit and installed yesterday. Ran the full 8.4v pack through it on gravel and grass with no issues at all. Nice one Tamiya! Here's the final installation

20170529_09182020170529_091849

I think the only thing that's left to do is get a Deans connector soldered to the ESC. 

Cheers!

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Those cheap ESCs can be very hit or miss, probably the most variable of all the Chinese ones for quality control. There's a possibility it's just another bad solder or something but it could be like trying to find a needle in a hay stack. I find the slightly more expensive ones such as Goolrc are more dependable.

I've used various cheap brushed and brushless ESCS so read up about them as much as I can and the tsky 120a always seems to be the one people have bad experiences with. 

The TBLE is a good affordable option though, sellers often split them from kits and sell them for as little as £15 on ebay.

As far as soldering deans, I have found it very easy and I only have a crap 30w soldering iron from Wilkinsons. I find it helps to try and create a little bridge of solder between the iron and connector to transfer the heat because it's a cheap iron. I got some very cheap gold plated connectors from ebay and they seem to take the solder very well even with my crap iron. I've converted many batteries and ESCS over to deans.

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Brushless power, even a 17.5 is gonna break that car. Vntage loves silver cans especially brittle black plastic.

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6 hours ago, ThunderDragonCy said:

Nah! Thunder Dragon loves it! Plus it has some beefed up parts I designed myself.

I ran mine with a 8.5T 4000Kv motor and a 9.6V Nimh battery with locked diffs to do drag runs and the transmission held up fine. They're tough as old boots :)

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14 minutes ago, MadInventor said:

I ran mine with a 8.5T 4000Kv motor and a 9.6V Nimh battery with locked diffs to do drag runs and the transmission held up fine. They're tough as old boots :)

Niiiiiiiice! I got bold on the spec after seeing the Terror Scorcher from a few years ago on here. That was similar spec.

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Decided 10.5t on 8.4v batteries was a bit too ooooooo much for me to handle, plus was getting thermal problems with the tble02s even with the fan. Just swapped the 10.5 for a 17.5 and plugged it in tonight. With the 8.4 it is plenty fast enough! For me I think if you're running 7.2/7.4 on these then 13.5 might be as quick as you want to go. 

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Thunder!!! After everything you said about going 10.5t! :D ;D luckily my tblm-02s 10.5t got lost in the post so going to be getting a 15.5t

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Ha! The car will take it easily and if I hadn't stumped up for an 8.4v pack it would have been fine on thermal. Was just a bit quick for me and I'm still pretty new at this. 15.5 sounds mint.

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Im planning on running the tble 2 and 10.5 t in mine when it arrives but it'll just be with The standard 6 cell batteries so hopefully I should be fine.

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14 minutes ago, gary1365 said:

Im planning on running the tble 2 and 10.5 t in mine when it arrives but it'll just be with The standard 6 cell batteries so hopefully I should be fine.

The buggy will be absolutely fine. I just wanted to calm things down a bit myself. 

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8 hours ago, ThunderDragonCy said:

Ha! The car will take it easily and if I hadn't stumped up for an 8.4v pack it would have been fine on thermal. Was just a bit quick for me and I'm still pretty new at this. 15.5 sounds mint.

That's all that worries me to be honest. With the sports tuned it looks like I really know what I doing at the moment :)

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10 hours ago, ThunderDragonCy said:

The buggy will be absolutely fine. I just wanted to calm things down a bit myself. 

I'm only really worried about getting thermal issues but I'll cross that bridge when i come to it. If I want to calm it down any I'll use the tx adjustments.

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I am pretty sure thermals were only from using 8.4v. I only had trouble on got days. Earlier in the spring it was fine. So long as you have the fan I think you will be OK. 

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How’s this holding up to brushless power pal, did you ever get a 2s lipo to run in it?

I’m going to strip and rebuild a Thundershot chassis and want to run a 3000-4000kv motor with 2s lipo and hoping the gearbox’s will hold up, I’ll use a steel pinion and bearings throughout.

I only bought it for the odd looking Dash Emperor Shell it came with and have now amassed lots of new parts to replace rotten or broken bits - Chassis is the main one with both broken front suspension joints.

Mine has the twin shocks st the front and tbh I’m not sure what branch the chassis really is, was there much difference between the TS family of cars other than either a mono or twin Front shock?

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I found the 3800kv a bit mental with the 8.4v pack so I swapped it for a 2900kv/17.5t brushless and kept the 8.4v pack. Even with the 14t pinion it's still way faster and punchier than my Terra Conqueror with 3300kv and 7.2v. Certainly haven't had any trouble with any of the setups but I don't do jumps so that makes me easy on drivetrain I think. 

There are no fundamental differences in the chassis itself. The later buggies and ReRe got different c hubs and rear uprights to the original Thundershot and Thunder Dragon, but my Dragon is still on its original 1988 rear uprights so that isn't a big deal IME. Shock mounts is the main thing. Thundershot and Dragon got mono shock front with a narrow dual shock mount on the sprue, along with very narrow rear shock mounts with rear shocks angled at about 45 deg. This required really stiff springs. The Terra Scorcher and Fire Dragon got twin front shocks with wider set shock mounts front and rear which are more modern set up. The wide front Doesn't fit under the Thunder Dragon shell hence me designing my own wider stiffer shock mount to clear it (there is a thread in TC designs on this). If you have the narrow rear mount modern CVA short shocks built to longest 94mm fit the top mounting which was originally for the Long Shock upgrade back in the day. Terra Scorcher G Parts are the wide shock mounts. 

Additional: If you search on here for Terror Scorcher there's a build from a while back from a guy who raced 8.5t brushless

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