Product review: Botbitz 30A ESC.

The Banebots BB-12-45 was for many years the most commonly used speed controller in the 12 lb Hobbyweight class of combat robot. They were compact, simple to use, and reasonably reliable. I had used them successfully on my 3 lb Beetleweight wedge/brick Trilobite, and had planned to use them on my fleet of mini bothockey bots.

However, when I came to order them I found they were no longer available. Looking around, I found that Botbitz (www.bot bitz.com; an Australian company) had a new 30A ESC (Electronic Speed Controller) that looked suitable.

They cost $45 USD including shipping. I received mine within two weeks of the order. Botbitz reprograms nonreversible Hobbyking ESCs designed for aircraft into reversible ESCs suitable for drive on a combat robot. The 30A model is based on the Turnigy Multistar ESC and will operate on two 6S LiPo (6V-24V) batteries.

Note that you cannot use the Turnigy programming card with the Botbitz ESC.

The ESC at 3″ x 1″ and 3/8″ thick is about twice the size of the Banebots 12-45, but it does have a nominal rating more than twice as high. It weighs 1.4 oz by the time you have trimmed the leads and added connectors.

I tested it in an 8 lb chassis that uses two HarborFreight drill motors to provide 4WD, and used a 6S LiFe battery pack. The radio used was a HobbyKing HK6S.

The Botbitz ESCs don’t have any LEDs to indicate whether or not you have a signal, but they powered up without a problem (apart from perhaps being a little fussy to trim them, to not operating with the stick in neutral).

They had a nice smooth response curve and the bot proved easy to drive with them. They failsafe correctly for combat robotics, shutting down quickly after the transmitter is turned off.

The Botbitz BB-30A-ESC is a useful ESC and should find its way into bots from 3-30 lbs. I’ll be using them in my mini bothockey bots.

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