Just about a year ago I was looking for a hobby. After some light research I settled on getting an electric, hobby grade RC. I asked around some forums, spoke to the folks at my local hobby shop and was directed to the ECX (formerly Electrix) brand. At the time, ECX had only three cars on the market: A monster truck, a buggy and a stadium truck. So I went with the stadium truck, named the Circuit. After a quick buy on Ebay, I received my truck and fell in love with it, and here are my thoughts and experiences…
First off is the packaging. I found that ECX did a great job of packing the truck and radio. Since this RC I have bought many others, and by comparison ECX did a great job and protecting the product, and yet making it easy to get out. Inside the box is the truck, AM transmitter, battery, charger and a buch of reading material. So now I’ll go bit by bit about what you get and talk about my experiences.
The battery is excellent! It’s a dynamite 1800mah NiMH battery. For those of you who have no idea what that means, just know this; ECX includes a rechargeable battery from a big name brand that will give you about 15min. of running time. That was simple enough! There is one down side here though, the charger. ECX includes a basic wall charger (also called a trickle charger) which can take upwards of 6 hours to get the battery full. Yeah, you read that right! 6 hours to charger a battery that lasts fifteen minutes! This is really the weakest point of the ECX Circuit. I suggest spending $30 to get a good charger that can have you up and running in half an hour or less.
That radio was all about function. While it has a unique design, I found myself hating how it looked, how long the antenna was and the feel of the wheel. Being an AM radio limits the usefulness and range of the system itself. it only take $20 to upgrade to a 2.4ghz system (smaller, better looking and much longer range) so that might be a first upgrade. It does have trims fro the throttle and steering and that is always a great thing!
So the Circuit itself is a great looking, modern stadium truck. Taking the body off, it looks just like an HPI E-Firestorm. Essentially that means it’s based on a racing design. The shocks are oil-filled and fully adjustable. All of the turnbuckles are solid plastic though, so there is not much adjustability there. Aside from those two key features, this just seems like a very standard stadium truck set-up.
The ESC is good for motors down to 12 turns, yet they give you a 20 turn motor. What that means is you have a motor that can go about 18 mph, but a system that can go faster, provided that you buy a better motor. I put a Traxxas Titan 12 turn motor in there and reached 28 mph, not too shabby! The steering servo leaves a lot to be desired, but hey, it’s free.
I know that nothing I listed off makes this truck seem amazing, but I have to say, i love it! This was my first hobby grade RC, and though I have others now, I still find the Circuit fun to drive. The tunability and durability of the truck is unparalleled for the price. If you buy a better charger and put $50 into it (which is not really asking much) you can have a competition level RC, or even just a great car to drive around the yard. Be sure to check around the web for ideas on this truck. Ultimate RC even has an entire forum dedicated to ECX vehicles and projects.