By Mike Garrison
Whether it's wheel nuts, wings, tools, tracks, trinkets and/or anything in between, the LiveRC staff gives their testimonial and review of each every Thursday morning!
Tekin RS Pro Black Edition ESC
Perhaps one of the most well-known and widely used Tekin ESC’s to date is the original RS Pro. Tekin hinted at an updated version of the legendary RS Pro platform late last year, and after considerable time testing and developing, testing, and improving – the RS Pro Black Edition was born. The new RS Pro Black Edition ESC is recommended for 13.5, 17.5, and 21.5 spec racing applications, and features; Tekin’s ULR (Ultra Low Resistance) design, QuickTune one-touch programming, HotWire programming port and capabilities, high-voltage programmable BEC, ESC self-diagnostics with error codes, high density copper PCB’s, data logging capability, adjustable throttle and brake frequencies, on-board temperature indicator, and lightweight design.
Specs (according to the manufacturer):
- Input Voltage: 1-3S LiPo / 4-9S NiMH-NiCD
- Motor Limit Brushless Mode 2S: 36mm Can - 2-Pole
- Motor Limit Brushless Mode 3S: 36mm Can - 2-Pole
- Motor Limit Brushed 2S: 36mm Can - 540 & 550
- Motor Limit Brushed 3S: 36mm Can - 540 & 550
- Amperage: 480Amps per phase*
- ON Resistance: .000096ohm*
- BEC: 6.0 / 7.4V @ 5.5amps
- Weight: 1.23oz / 35g
- Dimensions: 1.0 x 1.3 x .68in / 24.5 x 33 x 17.25mm
Product Review Disclaimer: Before we get into my opinions and review of the RS-Pro Black Edition ESC, you should first know that I am in fact a Tekin team driver and have been for many years. With that being said, I consider the team manager, Randy Pike, a good friend. As a good friend, he and all my personal racing sponsors are fully aware of my “day job duties” to provide an honest and truthful review of all products I test. This means regardless of my personal racing relationships, if a product featured here is junk – I will tell you it is junk because I think it is junk, not because of my sponsors preference. If a product featured here is great – I will tell you it is great because I think it is great, not because I’m sponsored or obligated in any way. Now back to your normally scheduled programming…
Spec racing has been growing tremendously in my region, and especially the 1/10-scale 13.5T 4wd buggy class. To test this ESC, I paired it with the new Tekin Spec-R 13.5T motor, and Venom 4500mAh 2S LiPo battery pack aboard my TLR 22-4 2.0 4wd buggy (stay tuned for Spec-R 13.5T motor review coming soon).
Upon opening the package, I learned that Tekin has arguable stickiest display box ESC mounting adhesive of them all. It took me a little more time than expected to unbox and peel and pick the paper backing of the box from the bottom of the ESC. Unfortunately, this magic adhesive is not sold separately as I had hoped to mount my ESC in the car as secure as it was mounted in the box.
The Tekin RS Pro Black Edition is the smallest of the Tekin ESC line, and is right in line with the competition in terms of size and weight of comparable units. At only 1” x 1.3” in size, there is more than enough room in most buggies, especially the 22-4 2.0 to fit it in. Although technically it does not have a spec wind motor limit, and is capable of running mod 540-sized 2-pole motors, it is not designed for mod class racing, therefore does not include or offer a way to mount a cooling fan.
Speaking of fans, I am a HUGE fan of the Tekin BlueTooth HotWire programming system, however, the RS Pro Black Edition QuickTune one-touch programming allows you to adjust and tune nearly everything with the push of a button – no purchase of a HotWire necessary. If you are looking to adjust your throttle/brake frequency, program your BEC, use the data logging function, or tremendously fine tune the workings of the RS Pro Black Edition you will need a HotWire. Otherwise, most settings that the average racing is looking to access is fully accessible through the easy-to-use QuickTune button programming with no need to purchase a HotWire (unless you just love gadgets and playing on your phone as much as I do).
Calibration to you radio is easy by pushing and holding the mode button, waiting for the chimes, and inputting neutral, full throttle, and full brake with the trigger.
Using only the QuickTune programming, the only adjustments I found necessary for my personal liking was lowering the neutral width to the #1 setting, and removing reverse. I left the ESC in blinky mode as “cheaters never win” is my motto, and 13.5 4wd is supposed to be a blinky spec class at most of our local tracks. The power delivery of the RS Pro Black Edition is very smooth, very consistent and predictable, and very manageable even on less than ideal track conditions with very little tuning or settings changed.
The average race is only 5-6 minutes long, however, we all are guilty of pushing our cars to the limits on run-time when practicing occasionally. After nearly a 15-minute endurance run, my battery was dead, my motor was screaming at me, but the ESC came off the track blinking one light through the on-board temperature display - which is the lowest temp, and labeled "Ambient" temperature. Two lights mean 120 degrees, so clearly it was less than that.
Although I never received an error of any sort to verify, the RS-Pro Black Edition is also equipped with an on-board ESC diagnostics system that displays errors in flashing light sequences as well to help you easily troubleshoot, and hopefully solve the problem.
- Small, lightweight, and compact – making mounting easy and shaving unnecessary weight for stock racing.
- Easy to calibrate and setup.
- QuickTune one-touch programming allows for easy tuning without the additional purchase of a HotWire.
- Aside from reverse, out of the box settings were nearly spot on to what most racers want and need.
- Very smooth power delivery, and very consistent throughout the entire race.
- Even running a 13.5T motor in a 4wd buggy, the ESC stays cool without the need for a fan
- No need for a separate temp gun to use on the ESC, it will tell you how hot it is through the on-board temperature lights display.
- Not the highest priced spec racing ESC on the market, but still $40-60+ more expensive than most alternatives.
The original Tekin RS-Pro was a favorite among many stock racers during its time, and the new Black Edition has picked up right where the reputation left off. To sum it up, the RS-Pro Black Edition ESC is and all-round stock class racing performer for weekend warriors and paid professionals alike. The ESC provides smooth and consistent power and performance while also providing the capability to quickly and easily calibrate, tune, and monitor its temperature all through the QuickTune one-touch programming and on-board lights system. For more advanced racers looking to further fine tune, the Hotwire 3.0 (sold separately) is fully compatible and allows you more in-depth tuning options, data logging capability, and additional programming from your mobile device.
The RS-Pro Black Edition will not be the cheapest spec racing ESC you can find, but in my opinion, it is money well spent for any skill level stock racer. You are purchasing a top competition level ESC that can be as simple and easy as it gets for entry level racers to get on the track fast and be competitive, or as in-depth, finely tuned, and powerful as you can imagine for top level pros demanding the most - all-in-one package.
Rating: 5 out of 5