ESC (Electronic Speed Control) PAGE
Feedback, Tips, & Recommendations From
Key word is "ECONOMICAL". Tug draws less than 1 amp.
Just over 2 amps with upgrade. Tow draws less than 2 amps. Duck less than 1 amp.
Crackerbox draws the most at around 12 - 15? amps depending on your
battery/motor/prop combination. I'm always swapping electronics from one boat to
another. I recommend that you buy an ESC that will work on scale or fast
electric. Some ESCs don't run scale boats very well. Those I keep in my FE boats
and put what works in the Scale models.
Boat ESCs are generally waterproof, although some can be
damaged with prolonged immersion as water can flow between the wire and their
insulators into the sealed ESC in time.
Car ESCs are more widely available. If they get wet, they must
be disconnected, opened up, rinsed, and completely dried as soon as possible to
avoid damage. Prolonged immersion under power will usually kill them due to
corrosion of the circuit board from power flowing through water between
components. Short immersion may kill them if you continue to run the boat while
the ESC is wet. A loss of control of the motor will result from a wet ESC.
Electrical insulating coating/lubes are available to
spray/coat car ESCs before they get wet. These usually void the warranty of the
ESC. Getting the ESC wet voids the warranty as well.
Best insurance is to wrap the ESC in a paper towel, then cover
with a balloon or the finger of a rubber glove with a tight twist-tie where the
wires exit. This way, if some water gets by the twist-tie, the paper towel will
soak it up keeping small amounts out of the insides of the ESC. If you know the
boat is going to get wet inside, then squirt some sealant, caulking, or grease
around the wires where the balloon will be tied, and tie with several wire ties
or a nylon pull-tie.
After a day of running, open up the balloon/glove-finger to
let the ESC air out incase some moisture entered the assembly.
I recommend you do the same thing with your radio
If your experiences are different or the ESC
has been updated or improved, let me know.
IMPORTANT: Most ESCs have a
safety built in. If your transmitter throttle is not in "neutral" when you arm
the ESC, the ESC won't send voltage to the motor. This prevents injury from
turning-on the receiver in a boat you are holding with the transmitter throttle
accidentally engaged. Not an issue with pistol radios and their self-centering spring-loaded
throttle trigger. However, with a stick radio (left stick is throttle with a
ratchet mechanism that doesn't self-center) you must center the stick
straight-up in "neutral" before turning on the receiver. Don't forget
to center the throttle's trim adjustment lever as well. I tend to forget this
and at least every other year think I have a bad ESC when using a stick radio.
|DuraTrax Streak. Car ESC.
Good Forward-Only ESC. Hi Freq. Smooth low-speed acceleration. Better for
Fast Electric since no reverse. Reliable. Lots of built-in protection.
Good for 4 to 10 cells. Not waterproof.
|Novak XRS Reversible Sport.
Novak is known for reliable ESCs. I have friends who buy nothing else. I
also have friends who put $100 ESCs into $75 boats! (Yikes! Don't do
that!) This one is economically priced and works well. Great for a
crackerbox-size FE. Reversible. Hi Freq (1,000 hertz) Instructions
indicate you have a full range of braking but have to flip it back to
neutral to engage reverse. (Another thing that Car-folks like but doesn't
work well for a boat. Especially in a panic stop, full reverse, all hands
rig for collision, etc...) Not recommended for Scale. Not
|Traxxas Nautica Boat ESC.
Forward only. 4-7 cells. I've had no problems with mine. Standard ESC with
the Traxxis Blast boat. Not advertised as waterproof.
|ProBoat ESC. 100%
waterproof. Designed and pre-programmed for a fast electric kit from
ProBoat. Don't grossly over-load it. I've been told it may not recover
from severe overheating that would only temporarily shutdown other ESCs.
Since it was designed as a fast electric ESC for their Ready-To-Run boat,
the reverse power is dialed down about 40% to prevent you from submerging
the stern of a fast electric if you kicked it in reverse. As a result, it
is not recommended for scale boats that need 100% power for
|Associated A.I. Quantum Runner
Reverse. Advertised as "100 % Waterproof". Built-in failsafe
that kills power with interrupted signal. Reversible. Small case but good
stats. New product. I just bought one and have yet to power it up. Likely
good for Scale or FE. Needs 4-7 cells. Most ESCs need 5 cells to function.
This might work well with a 4-cell class FE. No On-Off switch.
Instructions say to "turn on transmitter, connect battery to ESC, and
go" This photo doesn't show the blue heat-sink that covers the
Mosfets. Housing is only 1" x 1" x 5/8" not including the
heatsink or mosfets. ** Not recommended for the
Crackerbox. With six cells, and a ROAR Legal Trinity Monster motor, the unit
failed in "full power" mode melting the ESC and causing out-of-control
impact damage to the boat. Unknown if this is a one-time failure or
if such a load would always overload this ESC. More feedback is needed.
|DuraTrax Sprint. Older
DuraTrax Sprint Reversible ESC design. Reliable. Remote-wired on-off
switch. High Freq. Very smooth. Scale or FE. Smooth reverse transition.
Upon application of reverse stick, there is a slight 1-second delay, then
reverse ramps up over the next 2 seconds to full power. Not waterproof.
|Futaba MC230CR. Good
reversible ESC from Futaba that is available as a combo package with their
pistol radios. Good for FE. Not recommended for scale. To reverse,
you have to toggle the stick from Neutral to Reverse Twice. (A Car-Thing
having to do with controlled-braking, then reversing.) You can hold the
stick in reverse all day long and it will not move until you return it to
neutral then back to reverse to "shift" into reverse. Not a
natural thing to do so it causes collisions when someone unfamiliar with
it tries to stop the boat by just moving the stick or trigger to
"reverse". Not waterproof.
|DuraTrax IntelliSpeed Auto Sport
Forward-Only ESC. Fast Electric only as no reverse. Great deal with
lots of safety & protection features. 6 - 7 cells. Not waterproof.
|DuraTrax IntelliSpeed Auto
Sport Reversible for about $15 more than the forward-only
version. 6-7 cells. High Frequency. Great for Sport or FE. Smooth
reverse transition. Upon application of reverse stick, there is a slight
1-second delay, then reverse ramps up over the next 2 seconds to full
power. Other ESCs in this series will handle motors with fewer turns of
wire per pole. The price goes up as the # of turns goes down. Get them if
you plan to run modified-motor FEs with it in the future. Otherwise, just
get this inexpensive model. Not waterproof.