Building a Losi 5ive-T Brushless (part 2) – Choosing the motor and ESC

Back in 2010 long before HPI released their HPI Baja 5B Flux 1/5 scale brushless car  I made a Baja 5B brushless conversion using a big Schulze ESC and tested two different motors – one being a Neu 2230 and the other a Lehner 3060. This was a very capable setup and even though I really enjoyed the build and had fun driving it a few times I must admit that the setup was just too powerful for the car to put down the immense power to the ground.

Now with the Losi 5ive-T and 4WD it should be easier to get proper traction instead of the 2WD on the HPI Baja 5B that I ended up crashing. So in choosing the motor and ESC I made five decisions:

  1. Start out with something that can be upgraded to more cells if I need more power but don’t start out like last time and “overdo” it
  2. Build a car that works well on the track and for bashing – I will not be doing speedruns or something similar
  3. Even though it will put pressure on the ESC I have decided to use the motor and ESC for breaking
  4. Get something where there is a reasonable balance between price and quality/performance
  5. Get something that has been on the market for a while and has been tested thoroughly (no cheap stuff from HobbyKing or similar)

The motor for the Losi 5ive-T

Having looked at the options today I got it narrowed down to three options for the Motor. The Lehner 3080, the Neu 2230 or the Castle Creations 2028 (which is basically a Neu motor just mass produced). My priority list would be the Lehner 3080 as the preferred choice but I ended up with the Castle Creations 2028 instead for two reasons. It has had great reviews on many forums, it is by far the best bang for the buck and I could run the car on a range from 8-12 cells which is what I would prefer to start out with (more on that later).

It is also worth mentioning that Castle Creations recently made some performance-enhancing updates to this massive motor:

  • Revised stator and magnet shapes provide lower cogging torque for improved starting performance
  • The new 800Kv rating will make the setup faster
  • Rated at a higher RPM (45,000) due to improved manufacturing processes
  • Capable of operating on 12S

Here some photos of the unit as it comes right out of the box including a shot with the motor on a scale and a size comparison to a Castle Creations motor in a 1/10 Traxxas E-Revo:

Castle Creations 2028 Extreme 800kv brushless motor
Castle Creations 2028 Extreme 800kv brushless motor
Castle Creations 2028 Extreme 800kv brushless motor
Castle Creations 2028 Extreme 800kv brushless motor
Castle Creations 2028 Extreme 800kv brushless motor
Castle Creations 2028 Extreme 800kv brushless motor
Castle Creations 2028 Extreme 800kv brushless motor
Castle Creations 2028 Extreme 800kv brushless motor
Castle Creations 2028 Extreme 800kv brushless motor
Castle Creations 2028 Extreme 800kv brushless motor
Castle Creations 2028 Extreme 800kv brushless motor
Castle Creations 2028 Extreme 800kv brushless motor
Castle Creations 2028 Extreme 800kv brushless motor
Castle Creations 2028 Extreme 800kv brushless motor

 The ESC for the Losi 5ive-T

Finding the ESC turned out to be a choice between two manufacturers and both options had its pros and cons. One option was going with the highly praised MGM controller lineup. From what I can gather going over tons of YouTube videos and forums the TMM 25063-3 for Cars X2-SERIES PRO should be a solid performer and I have yet to find anyone stating that this has caused them issues or that has complained about performance. This ESC is capable of handling 15S and 250amps continous. The only downside is the price tag at around 610EUR  with a few necessary optionals (fan, on/off switch, water protection, wiring).

The second option was the Castle Creations Mamba XL2 ESC. This speed controller is an excellent partner for the 2028 motor and is fairly priced at 171USD. This has also been on the market for a few years but with that said there has been issues with the unit and many have experienced that it went up in smoke. Furthermore there is an issue with the warranty and the fact that the Losi 5ive-T will probably weigh around 35lbs. Castle Creations write the following on their website:

“The Mamba XL 2 and 2028 motor are recommended and warrantied in vehicles weighing less than 25lbs for 4WD and 30lbs for 2WD. Any use outside of these recommendations may lead to an ESC and/or motor failure that is not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.”

Also the Mamba XL2 ESC is only capable of taking up to 8S batteries but going back to my wish to start out and then be able to upgrade I decided that with the affordable price tag, the fact that they should have fixed most issues by now and that I have seen a few videos on YouTube where this setup is tested made me confident that this was the right place to start. This would also allow me to upgrade to the MGM controller if and when this should ever become relevant.

Castle Creations Mamba XL2 ESC
Castle Creations Mamba XL2 ESC
Castle Creations Mamba XL2 ESC
Castle Creations Mamba XL2 ESC
Castle Creations Mamba XL2 ESC
Castle Creations Mamba XL2 ESC
Castle Creations Mamba XL2 ESC
Castle Creations Mamba XL2 ESC
Castle Creations Mamba XL2 ESC
Castle Creations Mamba XL2 ESC
Castle Creations Mamba XL2 ESC
Castle Creations Mamba XL2 ESC
Castle Creations Mamba XL2 ESC
Castle Creations Mamba XL2 ESC

Videos of the Losi 5ive-T with the Mamba XL2 ESC and 2028 motor

The following is a two videos show a) a car with the same setup running and b) a video review of the Losi 5ive-T and the Castle Creations motor/ESC combo:

Continue to part 3 of the Losi 5ive-T build series http://deguno.com/rc-cars/building-a-losi-5ive-t-brushless-part-3-fitting-the-parts-and-testing-the-truck

Summary
product image
Author Rating
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Aggregate Rating
3.5 based on 7 votes
Brand Name
Losi
Product Name
5ive-T
Price
EUR 950
Product Availability
Available in Stock
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13 Replies to “Building a Losi 5ive-T Brushless (part 2) – Choosing the motor and ESC”

  1. Wayne,
    Since you have converted your 5ive T, have you had any issues with the XL2-S running 8S LIPO? Which Lipos are you running and what’s your average runtime?
    I have the Losi MINI WRC, which is basically a 5ive T and wanted to convert over to electric also. Of course 99% of the people out there are telling me that the CC combo you are running will not work, catch fire etc. and have to go with the MGM, yet like yourself to big an investment.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Steve,
      I have been very satisfied with the Castle Creations combo so far. Power has been just right for my taste and I have had no issues with heat even without the CC fan shroud.

      The batteries I have used are from Hobbyking http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=16226. I have used them in model airplanes and now the cars. They have worked extremely well – no heat problems or swelling. As for runtime I would think that you get around 15 – 20 minutes when bashing and a little less when racing. I have never clocked it but that would be my guess.

      So my advice would be to at least start out with the CC combo and try it out. From there you can then choose to get the MGM ESC if you want to go to 8-12 cells (The 2028 can handle up to 12S) and then get the Lehner if you want to go beyond 12S.

      You could also wait for Castle to release their up-coming new XL ESC. You can read more about it here: http://losi5iveforum.com/showthread.php?t=6227

      Hope you have fun converting your MINI WRC!

      http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=16226

  2. Thanks for the quick response.
    So do I need to also get a BEC or am I good to go without.
    Lastly you are still using the mechanical brakes and do not have reverse on the XL2-S turned on?

    Steven

    1. I have the Hitec giant servo that includes a dedicated battery http://www.davesmotors.com/HRC34900-Hitec-HS-1000SGS-Giant-Servo-for-Losi-5ive-HT900K-Double-Sided-Servo-Arm.html but you could also choose to use a BEC or a separate radio battery.

      Regarding brakes I use the ESC/motor for braking and despite all the recommendations to go for a manual brake setup I have been extremely happy with it. I have plenty of control, it has not affected heating and reverse is definitely a nice bonus.

      Let me know how it goes.

  3. Wayne,
    I got my Castle Motor/ESC combo and the RCMadness conversion kit today.
    Quick question. Are you using the included 16T pinion that came with the RCMadness kit or something else?

    Also where can I get a power switch to use on the CC XL2 that plugs into the second connector?

    Thanks for all your help

    Steven

  4. Wayne,
    This is where I am confused.. On my Losi Mini WRC, it is a little different then the original 5T I think. On my LOSI Mini it already has a 2s LIPO to power the receiver and the steering and brake servo. So I am just trying to figure out what I need to do in terms of wiring. In my case would I just unplug the Brake/Throttle servo from my receiver and plug the XL2s into channel 2 which is what the CC manual says to do?

    I just don’t want to accidentally fry my new ESC by hooking it up wrong.

    Thanks
    Steven

    1. I bought my 5ive as a roller so not sure how it differs from the WRC RTR.

      But the ESC is pretty straight forward to hook up. Unplug the break/throttle from the receiver and in with the ESC cable. Then plug in the fan to a free slot on the receiver. Then connect the motor and finally the battery.

      Afterwards you just go through the setup program to make sure the ESC is calibrated to your transmitter and you should be good to go.

      And as far as I am aware – only the batteries and getting that wrong is where you could potentially ruin the ESC. Just start up with adding a 4S and set it all up and then 8S when everything works on the bench.

  5. Wayne,
    Thanks for all your help I am officially up and running on 2 4S 6200mAH LIPOS in series.
    I ordered 2 of the 4S 8000 Zippy LIPOS that you are running,

    I am running everything off my 2 LIPOS, I removed my 2S LIPO that was powering steering and Throttle / Brake servos.

    Last question for now is did you program your ESC to disable reverse and just use brake. It seems like a lot of stress on the motor when I brake. Not sure though.

    1. Excellent! Only glad I can help.

      I am driving with reverse and brake and have no issues. Braking makes quite a high sound that sounds like the motor and ESC is under a lot of stress but I have had no issues whatsoever.

      Let me know if you have some photos or videos posted somewhere.

    1. Hi Steve,
      I know that there are quite a lot of people recommending mechanical brakes and I too was in doubt when I read on the forums. A lot of people tend to recommend stuff that they have never tried on themselves and few that recommend mechanical brakes have ever really tried the combo and seen it fail.

      With that said it is evident that you are asking more from the kit as it has to handle acceleration and breaking.

      The reason I have gone for this is because Castle has upgraded their motor and probably also the ESC slightly as they have received feedback from V1 users returning faulty units. I have also gone for it because I have seen several forums and videos with this kit and gone over the comments sections and found that the owners were happy with the setup.

      So… In the end it’s your choice. I have had GREAT fun with my setup and NO issues at all.

      Whatever you choose – have fun and accept that with RC something is always bound to break at some point – be it a gasoline engine, brushless setup or anything else for that matter – nothing in this RC world is bullet proof.

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