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  1. #1
    RC Racer
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    Novak HV Pro motors DO WORK with Traxxas VXL-3s ESC

    I got tired of reading the mixed reports of whether or not the stock ESC (VXL-3s) could run the Novak HV Pro motors, so I ordered one and tried it myself. Guess what.... it works!

    I also think I've found the cause for some of the unsuccessful reports: the sensor cable port on the VXL-3s makes it very tricky to get the connector fully seated. The first time I tried it, I got low-speed cogging, it ran smoothly at mid-range speeds, then it stuttered horribly at full throttle. I figured it must be a problem with the sensor cable. A little bit of patience and some help from a small alllen wrench (or any small solid item that can be used to apply pressure to the sensor cable connector), and the connector snapped into place. Now I have VERY smooth low speed throttle control and full throttle works just fine as well. I tried this with a ******* 5000 mAh 20C 2s lipo, btw.

    Here's what it looks like installed:


    Here's proof that it runs at low speeds without cogging: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-YtdMFRcDs&fmt=18

    I'll get some higher speed video sometime when it's not the middle of the night.

    Here's the details, in case anyone else wants to repeat my success. Acquire the following:
    • The Novak HV Pro motor of your choice. I picked the 5.5t.
    • A 32p pinion gear of your choice that fits 5mm motor shafts. I'm starting with a 15t pinion.
    • TRA3342: Traxxas Bullet Connectors (Male) (3) (VXL).
    • TRA3628: Traxxas Sealed Receiver Box Kit (for relocating the receiver).
    • 90+ cm of 12 gauge wire.
    • A PVC electrical box cover (looks like a lightswitch cover without the hole for the switch; used to make an ESC mounting plate).


    Remove the motor, ESC and receiver + receiver box from your Slash 4x4, then use a Dremel (cutoff wheel and sanding bits) to trim down the electrical box cover to the following size/shape:


    Mark and drill holes for the screws (line up with existing mounting holes on the chassis), then use a large drill bit to add a countersink to the screw holes. Use the 2 mounting screws from the stock receiver box to mount your custom ESC mounting plate. The heads of the screws should be flush with the surface of the plate, thanks to the countersunk holes.

    Install the new receiver box in front of the steering servo (refer to first picture in this post). The wires coming out of the servo make it a tight fit, but the receiver box will mount to existing holes on the chassis there. All necessary hardware and even a tube of grease is included with the receiver box. Just set the receiver in the box for now without taping it down.

    Get the motor mounting plate swapped over onto your new Novak motor and set it in place for some test fitting. Figure out exactly where to mount the ESC on the custom ESC plate (refer to first picture in this post) such that the throttle servo cable can reach into the receiver box and plug into the receiver, and leave some clearance for the sensor cable coming out of the end of the motor. When your happy with the location, stick it down with some double-sided servo tape. At this point you can finish installing the receiver into the new receiver box, and get the servo wires and antenna all routed, plugged in, etc. Follow the instructions for the receiver box to get everything closed up and sealed properly. All that remains is the motor itself.

    For the motor wires, I cut my 3 wires to be 27cm long each. Follow the included instructions for soldering the male bullet connectors to the wires. Don't put the heat shrink on the connectors yet. Follow the instructions for the Novak motor to solder the other ends of the wires to the motor's solder tabs.

    As warned by the motor's instructions, DO NOT hook up the motor and try running it without it fully mounted. You shouldn't run the motor without any load. Mount your pinion to the motor, fully install the motor and set your mesh. To wire the motor to the ESC, pay attention to the labels on the end of the motor next to the solder tabs. They are labeled "A", "B" and "C". The 3 wires on the ESC are similarly labeled (look on the ESC next to the wires). Match these up and plug them together. We didn't install the heat shrink tube on the motor wire connectors yet so that we can verify the wiring first. It's still not time to do the heat shrink tube...

    Plug the motor's sensor cable into the Aux port on the front of the ESC. It WILL fit in with the rubber seal still in place (just remove the plastic cover from the hole). Use a small allen wrench or similar to help push the connector into the ESC Aux port. Be careful: the connector has small tabs on it that prevent it from being inserted upside down. Don't force it too hard if you aren't sure that it is lined up correctly. When it is fully inserted, you should be able to tug on the cable lightly without the connector moving or coming out of the Aux port.

    Hook up a battery and make sure the motor is working.

    If nothing happens at all, then double check that the ESC is hooked up the the receiver properly (ESC is channel 2, steering is channel 1; there's also 2 slots for channel 1 on the receiver), double check your soldered connections, and double check that you matched the A's, B's and C's when you plugged the motor into the ESC.

    If the motor runs, but you get cogging at low speeds and cogging/stuttering at full throttle, then your sensor cable is not connected properly. You should be able to make the car move smoothly at very low speeds as shown in my video.

    When you are satisfied that everything is working properly, unplug the the motor wires one at a time, slip the correctly colored heat shrink tube onto the wire, then plug it back together. With all the wires plugged together, you can line up the heat shrink tube perfectly against the heat shrink on the ESC wires, then apply heat with a heat gun or similar to shrink it into place.

    Finish putting various things back on your truck, then go have fun!

  2. #2
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. asheck's Avatar
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    It seems that the newer esc's do run them. All the reports of them working I've seen is with the ones that have wires, not bullets. I am sure mine was hooked up correctly when I tried previously, and it would not work, but it was the old one.

    But as long as it works, this is an awesome combo.
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  3. #3
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    [QUOTE=asheck]It seems that the newer esc's do run them. All the reports of them working I've seen is with the ones that have wires, not bullets. I am sure mine was hooked up correctly when I tried previously, and it would not work, but it was the old one. QUOTE]

    What do you mean by "the ones that have the wires. not bullets"? Do you mean the new ESC's do not have bullet connectors going to the motor?

  4. #4
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    i think he means the ones with wires for the motor coming off the esc. the old ones had bullets on the esc like the MMM
    Drive it like you stole it or leave it shelved

  5. #5
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    Here's better proof that it works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0L8KP6OR0YE&fmt=18

  6. #6
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. asheck's Avatar
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    Nice, it seems to do a good job.
    the old ones had bullets on the esc like the MMM
    Correct, and it was a bad design, that got cold soldered horribly. I got to where I would just open them up, and solder the bullets to the board better, when new. My last one of that version just started having troubles, so it will be going in soon. I guess I'll also have to pick up another HV motor to go with the new one.
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  7. #7
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    Good job! I wonder if it's a software or hardware difference on the older and newer VXL models? I'm assuming it's got to be a software thing.

  8. #8
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    great man !!


    but why do you use a mile long cables?
    slash 4x4 VXL, Novak HV4.5, MMP

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MVB
    great man !!


    but why do you use a mile long cables?
    Because I only had a small amount of wire and was afraid of cutting it too short, then not having enough left to re-do it. Just being a bit conservative I guess. Now that everything is mounted securely, I'll probably shorten them up quite a bit next time I'm looking for something to do.

  10. #10
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    I bet it because it's a lower kv motor (5.5). The 5.5 would demand less from the VXL esc. then the 4.5 & 4400kv. 4.5 5000kv, HV 4400 4400kv and the 5.5 3700kv so I wouldn't doubt it.

    I have the 4.5 & 4400 as soon I go full throttle it goes berserk/Cogging.
    I got skills!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by fastman
    I have the 4.5 & 4400 as soon I go full throttle it goes berserk/Cogging.
    That's exactly what I experienced with my 5.5 at first before I got the sensor wire fully plugged into the ESC.

  12. #12
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    I have seen a 4.5HV run on the VXL ESC...

    Thanks for putting this up, I am tired of telling people they work together.
    4x4 PE & Beyond...

  13. #13
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    strange i tired a sensored motor and it worked i just had no brakes..

    maybe ill have to try it again..
    Brian
    slash 2wd
    slash 4x4 PE

  14. #14
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    I spent some time at an indoor carpet track today. I'm really liking this motor . Power delivery is very smooth and consistent. With the stock motor, I sometimes messed up the jumps because the motor seemed to stumble a bit and not provide the instant predictable punch I needed to launch off a jump smoothly. No such problems now thanks to the sensored motor.

    With 18/54 gearing and 2s lipo, I should be geared for just over 40mph top speed. I am able to reach top speed (I think) very briefly on the straight. I also have enough torque to wheelie down the entire straight if I punch the throttle hard as I enter the straight. My 5000mAh 20C 2s lipo lasted through 20 minutes of constant hard racing (lots of hard acceleration and braking). Afterwards, the motor was 150 degrees and the ESC was 165 degrees. Ambient temps were about 68 degrees.

    With 15/54 gearing and 2s lipo, I should be geared for about 34mph (a bit faster than stock, which is right around 30mph). This was also very fun on the track, but required a little more effort to clear the jumps smoothly because there wasn't quite as much instant punch available if I wasn't already going fast enough leading up to the jump. I was able to reach and maintain top speed for a short section of the straight more obviously than with 18/54 gearing. My 5000mAh 20C 2s lipo (same battery) was still going strong after 22 minutes of hard racing, but the track closed before I could finish the battery. I also forgot to check how many mAh the battery charger put back into the battery, so I have no idea how much was left. Afterwards, the motor was 140 degrees and the ESC was 145 degrees.

    I also got a chance to borrow a 3s lipo for a while. I ran that with 18/54 gearing... INSANITY! I need to get one for myself now. I pretty much could never use full throttle. Obviously, I could never reach top speed on the straight (theoretically, over 60mph). Wheelies on command at any point on the straight. I only ran that battery for about 10 minutes, after which my motor was only 120 degrees. I didn't measure the ESC temp.

    The only problem I had was that the sensor cable worked loose from the ESC Aux. port once (after about 5 battery packs of run time). This was immediately obvious when it stuttered horribly at full throttle. I'll just add that to my "before each run" checklist, along with checking that wheel nuts and shock mount shoulder screws are tight, and it should never be a problem again.

    Lastly, I shortened my "mile long" motor wires for a much cleaner look:


    Conclusion: This motor is a very worthy upgrade. And because it works with the stock ESC, it's quite affordable compared to some other options. $99.99 from www.amainhobbies.com and eligible for free shipping if you buy something else to put your order over $100. I ordered the receiver box, wire and bullet connectors along with the motor for a total of $116 after using a $5 off coupon (code: DPPMAR105; expires: 4/30/2010). I really like the extra punch, speed and mid-air control provided by the 18t pinion compared to the 15t pinion. I'll probably continue to use the 18t pinion on the track and keep an eye on temps as summer temps arrive. I may need to add cooling fans. For general purpose bashing, I'll probably go with the 15t pinion for worry-free temps and longer run times. I also definitely need to acquire a 3s lipo for some extra smiles.

  15. #15
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    Be sure to come back and tell us how it does on 3s
    Traxxas start making dirt bikes! :)

  16. #16
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    asheck made a good point. I had the older version with the female bullets on the ESC for motor connection. That ESC didn't like sensored motors at all.

    Good to see that the newer ones are working with the HV motors. That's a great budget controller. Should work great for those that want to keep their trucks waterproof and don't mind not having any adjust ability of their ESC parameters.

  17. #17
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    If any water dances near that sensor though, may god help you.
    4x4 PE & Beyond...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Substance
    If any water dances near that sensor though, may god help you.
    further explain please????

  19. #19
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. vxlrocket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UselessPickles
    Here's better proof that it works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0L8KP6OR0YE&fmt=18

    WOW...that looks awsome...i'm gonna have to do this combo.
    (2) RC8TEs, RC8.2E, Slash 4x4, Ofna LX2E, Slash

  20. #20
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    Why run a HV motor on 2s?

    Id rather run brushed than novak...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by outkast187
    Why run a HV motor on 2s?

    Id rather run brushed than novak...
    Obvious troll is obvious...

  22. #22
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    Let's feed him. I'm anxious to see what flavor motor he prefers.
    Turbo in the front, groceries in the back.

  23. #23
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    Hey I'd love to hear the temps after just mixed basing around in the grass, and speed runs on the pavement....

    See if boosting to the high torque 550 size motor will handle that kind of load better/cooler or will it just draw more power and still heat up. ??
    3905 E-MAXX

  24. #24
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. asheck's Avatar
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    Hey I'd love to hear the temps after just mixed basing around in the grass, and speed runs on the pavement....
    On average, running my 4.5, compared to the VXL, on 2s, I gained 8mph, and temps dropped roughly 20* On 3s temps were an even bigger spread, at about 40* This is with stock gearing on the VXL, and 12/54 on the 4.5 .
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