Friday, July 19, 2024

Reviewed – HobbyStar 120A 1/10 Competition Sensored ESC With Turbo and 540 Competition Brushless Sensored Motor

540_Race_Combo_Main_cpmp_V2 copy

The technology behind radio control vehicles and their respective electronics has grown exponentially over the past several years. I mean, if someone told me back when I was building my first vehicle, a Tamiya Falcon, that I would be able to program my speed control (then a 3-step forward/reverse mechanical unit) with a programming card or laptop I would have just given them a blank stare.  Today, it is common practice to see laptops and programming boxes throughout the pits at large races. Everyone is looking to make things smaller, easier to us and a better value. HobbyStar might not be a household name in the industry, yet, and is looking to change that with a variety of items that offer exceptional performance and are a great value.  Two of these items are the 120A 1/10 Competition Sensored ESC With Turbo and their 540 Competition Brushless Sensored Motors.


The HobbyStar 120A 1/10 Competition Sensored ESC With Turbo ESC comes well-packaged and is delivered with a basic set of instructions. The speed control itself comes with motor and battery wires that are easily soldered to external solder posts on the side of the ESC, as well as a 2-pack of capacitors that solder to the battery terminals, cooling fan and a variety of shrink tubing. Under the motor and battery solder posts is where the well-placed sensor wire port is located. An on-board on/off switch is a nice touch and is located right next to the receiver plug port. The top of the esc case on the HobbyStar 120A 1/10 Competition Sensored ESC With Turbo ESC is made from machined aluminum while the bottom is plastic.

Some sweet features that the HobbyStar 120A include:

Dual-stage and switch point adjustments for punch setting
Brake curve and dual-stage brake switch-point adjustments
Throttle curve and punch-rate adjustments
Dynamic boost timing and turbo timing adjustment
Optional “Stability” mode for boost-timing
Multiple protection features: Low-voltage cut-off, over-heat protection and signal loss protection.
Built-in power switch avoids having to use separate, bulky switch

As for programming the HobbyStar 120A, it can be done with the LCD Programming Card (sold separately) for quick changes and the Programming Card can also be used in conjunction with the StarLink software (a free download) and laptop for fine and specific adjustments of the esc.  Additionally, the LCD Programming Card can be used to update the firmware on the HobbyStar 120A so you’ll always be up to date with the latest changes that HobbyStar has to offer.  When used with the StarLink software there are a multitude of options available including various running modes including Modify (the option I used), Zero Timing, Practice, Sport, Stock 10.5T, Stock 13.5T, Stock 17..5T, Buggy & SCT, Crawler and Drift.


The 7.5-Turn HobbyStar 540 Competition Brushless Sensored Motor that I tested features a billet T6 aluminum heatsink can, large cup shaped solder tabs to make soldering painless, high purity copper windings, adjustable timing and high RPM ABEC5 bearings.  It also comes with a sweet black colored flat sensor wire that is plenty long.  While I tested a 7.5-Turn motor Hobby Star offers motors from 4.5-turns to 11.5-turns as well as 13.5, 17.5 and 21.5-turns.


Installation of the HobbyStar 120A is very straightforward and easy. I decided to install it into my new Yokomo YZ-2CA 2WD off-road buggy. I had more than enough room to mount it behind the steering servo and secured the 2-pack of capacitors to the side of the ESC with some double-sided tape. Speaking of the motor, it has large solder tabs that make wiring it up to nearly any vehicle painless. There is a bit of distance between where I mounted the esc and where the motor is located and the wires that HobbyStar included were not long enough so I used some black wire in my spare electronics parts box.  I left the battery wires longer than I needed and soldered TQ Wire bullet connectors to the ends of the power wires. Once calibrated I was able to hit the track.


Once my HobbyStar 4600mAh, 90C shorty battery pack was fully charged, I set the YZ-2CA with the HobbyStar electronics down on the off-road carpet track at R/C Madness in Enfield, CT, for some testing.  I started with all of the stock settings and the combination of the 120A 1/10 Competition Sensored ESC With Turbo and their 7.5-Turn 540 Competition Brushless Sensored Motor.   This combination had considerably more rip that I could ever use on the high-bite track! After a few minutes I brought the car back into the pits and decided to dial the power back a bit.

Using the LCD Programming Card I turned adjusted the punch rate, switching point, boost timing and made a drag brake adjustment.  It took me less than three minutes to make the changes using the LCD Programming Card and my laptop and I was then ready for more action. This time the power band was much more usable and I was able to get in a full run with the car. Throughout the run, the throttle remained smooth and consistent. Likewise, the brake was as strong at the end of the run as it was at the beginning. I made several more runs, each time making a few small changes to the ESC. I made these changes in part because I was testing the esc and because it was so easy to do. At the end of a full day of testing, I was more than impressed with all that the motor and ESC had to offer.


The main reason that I wanted to get my hands on the HobbyStar 120A 1/10 Competition Sensored ESC With Turbo and their 540 Competition Brushless Sensored Motor was so I could see how well a speed modified esc and motor at such a great price point could perform.  After a full day of testing, the performance of the esc and motor were nothing short of fantastic with a smooth and linear feel and a strong consistent brake throughout every run. To make this killer deal even better all three pieces, the motor, esc and LCD Programming Card can be purchased altogether for just $149.99.  Considering the very competitive price of the speed control and motor, its ease of use and fantastic performance these units should be hot sellers at places like RCJuice and other retailers.

HobbyStar 120A 1/10 Competition Sensored ESC With Turbo
Hobby Star 7.5-Turn 540 Competition Brushless Sensored Motor
LCD Programming Card
PRICE: $89.99 for the ESC, and $42.99 for the motor. $19.99 for the LCD programming card
FOOTPRINT: 41.5mm x37mm x21mm (without fan)
ESC WEIGHT: 50g (without wires)
ON-RESISTANCE: .0.0003 ohms
BEC: 6.0V, 3.0A linear
MOTOR LIMIT: 3.5-Turn on 2S LiPo, 7.5-Turn on 3S LiPo
CURRENT: 120A continuous, 760A burst
DIRECTION: Forward, brake and reverse with optional reverse lock-out
MOTOR: 7.5-Turn
DIMENTIONS: 51.5mm length x 53mm diameter
WEIGHT: 178g
ROTOR: 12.5mm x 5mm
KV: 4,700

Many tuning/programming options
On-board on/off switch
Great soldering posts on the esc and soldering tabs on the motor
Fantastic price points
Smooth and consistent power
Not too much really at this price point!

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