ESC (Electronic Speed Control) PAGE

Feedback, Tips, & Recommendations From Owners

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.

Avoid ESCs that are labeled "with brake", "brake-on" or have language that talks about brake amps. With some car ESCs, reversing the trigger causes the car to brake. Farther you push the transmitter's throttle trigger, the harder the braking. To reverse, you would have to return the trigger to neutral then back again to engage "reverse". When you let someone run your boat, in a panic stop, they won't remember to toggle reverse twice to make it reverse and they will crash into the rocks, friend's boat, etc... Some ESCs have a programmable brake function that you can turn off.

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 receiver.

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 waterproof.
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 reverse.
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.
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. 
HOBBYWING QuicRun-WP-1625 on Ebay. No adjustments. FWD+BRAKE+REV only. Not recommended because you have to toggle trigger twice to engage reverse.
HobbyWingQuicRun1060 on Ebay. Has three jumper settings: FWD-BRAKE, FWD-BRAKE-REVERSE, and FWD-REV. The FWD-REV setting is what we are looking for. LiPo/NiMh jumper. Good amperage. Waterproof. Multiple protections: Low voltage cut-off protection for battery / Over-heat protection / Throttle signal loss protection. Recommended. If you move the programming jumpers, unplug the battery for the changes to take effect.  
Neewer 25 Amp Reversible ESC on Ebay. BDESC-S16E-RTR-25A. Has mini-Tamiya connector. No adjustments. FWD+BRAKE+REV only. Not recommended because you have to toggle trigger twice to engage reverse.
Neewer 45 Amp Reversible ESC on Ebay. Also listed as 320 amp for 1/10 scale cars. Jumpers for FWD+BRAKE and FWD+BRAKE+REV, but no setting for FWD-REV. Tried removing the jumper completely, didn't work. Not recommended because you have to toggle trigger twice to engage reverse.