This review written by "Sleebus.Jones",
a BYT Forum Moderator and long time member. Sleebus.Jones is a
well respected electrical aficionado here and he
was the perfect person to do this review. Read on sparky!
|CASTLE CREATIONS - MONSTER COMBO SYSTEM - 2200KV BRUSHLESS MOTOR AND ESC|
Then came the next step, the Mamba Max. 1/10th scale was about to get a rude introduction into the fierce power of brushless. Ever see a 1/10th scale move like it thinks it's an 1/18th scale? You can with a Mamba Max system. So, Castle had taken over the 1/18th scale and 1/10th scale brushless markets. Rumor had it they had their sights set on the 1/8th scale and Monster Truck market. A long period of development followed, which culminated in the release of the Castle Creations Mamba Monster Combo.
This is not a system for the faint-hearted. This is a system for someone who wants raw, unbridled, brutal brushless power. One pull of the trigger on the track (or at your favorite bash spot) lets everyone know you have something special. Something to be feared.
with this in mind, I was understandably excited when I was asked to
review the combo. The system consists of a Mamba Monster ESC,
a Steve Neu licensed design (you've heard of neu motors, right? Yes,
THAT Steve Neu) 2200KV or 2650KV brushless motor, a 32P 18T green aluminum
5mm bore pinion, a USB Castle link for programming, and a set of motor
wires topped off with massive 6.5mm castle-designed bullet connectors. Operating
manuals and stickers round out the group, all nicely packaged in foam
in a sturdy box. Voltage wise, they system is rated to handle
up to 6S LiPo, and the burst (10 second) rating is beyond what just
about any battery pack on the market can put out. So, when Castle
tells you the amp rating is "more than you can handle",
you can believe it.
Having used big brushless systems before, I had a few R/Cs this system could go in. First up was the emaxx. This is almost a completely built emaxx, with GARC 7075 bulkheads and diff cases, Nova RC Diff cups, FlexTek arms and a FLM extended chassis. It was designed to be pretty much bulletproof.
So, in went the system, with a 5S LiPo pack. I pulled the trigger and it was immediately obvious that the first thing I needed to do was to adjust the slipper! I run a Robinson Racing slipper on the emaxx, because the stock is so weak. Clamping it down started getting some acceleration. Word to the wise: if you are running a stock slipper, crank that thing down tight. It probably won't last more than a few slips.
So, I'm running around my front yard, trying to get the feel for the system. Acceleration is immediate and powerful without hesitation. Seeing an emaxx pull as hard in 2nd gear as it does in 1st is pretty amazing. 2nd actually feels more powerful, because the taller gearing makes more use of the torque. You won't have any need for 1st gear once you get this in your emaxx. A bit more testing and wheelie's galore and the truck feels off. It doesn't pull through the grass as well. A quick inspections reveals my 4x4 has been turned into a 4x2. Checking it out in the shop show that my front CVD has thrown the pin out of the dog bone end. Off to eBay for a set of MIP cvd’s and on to the next truck!
The next truck was a brushless conversion of a Losi Aftershock. This truck fared better, but was not without its problems. It made it through a good shakedown run by the house, and a bit of running by a friend's house. I figured it was ready for the big time out at the local BMX track. Well, after running there for about two minutes, I had that same familiar "off" feeling. Checked the 'shock out and I had a front wheel drive vehicle. I thought I might have stripped a wheel hex, but that was not the case. I sheared (!) a CVD pin in the rear axle. Luckily I had a replacement on hand and was able to get it running again.
These are major parts failures, folks. These things generally
don't fail, but they sure did once they got slammed with the venom
of the Mamba Monster.
How does it feel? Well, if you can imagine a 1/8th scale monster
truck trying to go as fast as a 1/18th scale mini truck, you're getting
the idea. This thing is FAST. It accelerates hard, gives
you wheelie's on command, and will make your truck stupid fast. This
will not only scare the people around you when you're running, but
it'll scare you too. My Aftershock weighs 12 lbs. but you'd never
know it by as fast as it goes and how high I can launch it. If
you don’t have any driveline upgrades when you start, you'll
be thinking about them about 1.4 seconds into your first run. I
will say though that the aftershock stood up to the Monster pretty
well, aside from shearing the CVD pin. Since it's an 1/8th scale
setup, it's probably one of the better set up conversion platforms
to start from.
Speaking of setup, that's something you want to pay special attention
to. This is SERIOUS brushless power. I'd not be doing my
duty if I didn't tell you that improper operation of this system can
hurt yourself and those around you. This system can blow tires
off of rims and accelerate vehicles to dangerous speeds...but that's
just what we like here at BeatYourTruck, right? So, when you
are setting gear mesh, make sure you do it accurately...it won't take
much for that nice green pinion to shave all those cute little teeth
off your spur if it's not set up right. Don't plug in your ride
in indoors to test the mesh...I have tire marks on some household items
that just won't come off, and the wife is not pleased. You don't
want a 3+HP beast running around loose inside your house. It
may sound fun, but it's really not. Honestly.
My tests were done on my Aftershock conversion, because it’s
the one that held up best to the rigors of testing. I’m
running a 6S 5000MAh Zippy lipo for this test. Here’s
the EagleTree results from a run on the combo:
Max amp draw is 154.35A
Now, you’re not going to see peaks like that all the time, but you are going to be in that ballpark. I find that initial starts are in the 2,600w range, and that drops off to 1,300w once it gets moving. So, yeah, when Castle tells you that you need a beefy battery to run this beast, they aren’t kidding!
Here’s a zoomed in run on some goofing around. Most of
the peaks are very short, mainly because the front wheels kept coming
up on me.
In looking at the graphs, I’m within what the battery can do, but juuuuuust barely. That means I can’t gear up any higher without getting a battery with more capacity. The important thing to do here is to make sure you feed your monster correctly. Resist the temptation to save money on the battery, you’ll only end up damaging or destroying your system. The problem is that when you try to draw more power from you battery than it’s designed to supply, the voltage drops. At that point, the electronics aren’t able to keep the power going to the monster stable, and this is generally when the smoke gets let out. Voltage drop is extremely bad for electronics that are working under a heavy load.
The take-away here is that most folks don’t know how much their system really draws, and as a result, use an underpowered battery to run it. I gotta admit, even with playing with high powered BL gear for some time now, I was surprised to see 150A+ peak draws. That’s a tremendous amount of current, and most folks don’t have batteries that can do that. Don’t underestimate the current requirements. I’d say to be safe, your battery system should be able to deliver at least 150A.
This is a great system. It’s very smooth, and with the
firmware updates, it just keeps getting better – at no charge! Even
with all the power going through it, it still runs very cool. Chalk
that up to excellent design on both the part of the ESC and the
Castle-Neu motor. Castle’s customer support is beyond
reproach, and is always willing to help you out with any problems you
might have. Get one today!