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Pro Boat Blackjack 26 Brushless Catamaran Review

With incredible styling and high performance handling, Pro Boat has done it again with its Blackjack 26 Brushless EP RTR, the perfect boat if you want extreme speed but don't want to hassle with nitro.

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Introduction


Length:26 7/8"
Beam:8 3/8"
Motor:A3630-1500 water-cooled Brushless
ESC:water-cooled 45A programmable brushless
Radio:ProBoat 2 channel AM 27mHz
Hull material:Fiberglass composite
Trim Scheme Colors:Metallic blue, silver and white
Prop Size:Size:1.6" X 2.5" composite
Hull type:Catamaran
Battery2-7.2V sub-C packs with Dean's connectors (required to complete) or 2-2S 7.2V Lipo packs
US distributor:Horizon Hobby
Available From:Horizon Hobby
Retail price:$299.99

Brushless electric technology has taken the RC world by storm both in the air and now on the water with the introduction of the Pro Boat Blackjack 26 Brushless Catamaran, a ready-to-run powerhouse that offers extreme speed without the hassle of nitro.

Kit Contents

The review package arrived from Horizon Hobby double-boxed and free of damage.

Kit includes:

  • Assembled Blackjack 26 Brushless EP Catamaran ready-to-run
  • ProBoat 2 channel AM 27mHz pistol grip radio transmitter
  • ProBoat wood display stand
  • Complete instructions

Kit requires:

  • 2-PRB3313 7.2V 3300-4200mAh Nimh batteries w/DEANS or 2-3300-4400mAh 2S 7.4V LiPo
  • 8-AA alkaline batteries for transmitter

Key Features:

  • Brushless Electric Technology for fast, reliable and convenient performance
  • Water-cooled A3630-1500 brushless motor and ESC keeps electronics cool
  • Steerable drive system for superior handling
  • High quality, prepainted fiberglass composite catamaran hull
  • Pro Boat™ 2-channel AM 27MHz pistol-grip radio system installed
  • Magnetic hatch and quick access radio box helps keep electronics dry
  • Programmable ESC allow you to customize settings and use LiPo batteries.

Assembly

Not much to do here but assemble the wooden boat stand using medium CA or epoxy, install eight AA batteries into the transmitter, and charge your two batteries and install them into the two battery boxes. The hatch cover is held in place very effectively with two magnets. The Pro Boat water-cooled ESC comes pre-wired with a Deans-style connector for each battery. For optimum performance, use two 6-cell battery packs or two 2S LiPo battery packs. If you use 2S LiPos, you will need to reprogram the ESC using the optional Pro Boat Brushless Programming Module which is a breeze to operate. It allows you to program the PRB3309 Blackjack 26 brushless speed control for safe use of Li-Po batteries, with settings for voltage cutoff, brake function, timing, throttle curve and more.

The short instruction manual was easy to follow and understand, with many photo-illustrations throughout. Although the Blackjack 26 is ready to run out of the box

Steerable Drive System

The steerable drive system of the Blackjack 26 is a marvelous unit. The entire power system is water cooled via a small pickup hose that pumps water in from the drive system at the transom, circulates it around the motor and ESC before it exits the hull on the side of the boat. The only item that needs regular maintenance here is the flexible driveshaft. Keeping it lubricated with marine grease is essential to the drivetrain's life, and it is easy to do with a couple of 10mm wrenches. The marine grease also acts as a water seal to keep the hull watertight. Should you break a prop, it's a breeze to replace by simply loosening one nut.

The manual recommends operating the Blackjack 26 Brushless EP in low to medium wake conditions to avoid the possibiliy of the boat overturning. If the conditions are questionable, the prop strut can be easily adjusted to compensate for rough water. The motor mount is slotted to allow you to move the motor slightly when adjusting the outdrive.

Inside the hull

The radio gear is pre-installed in a watertight compartment inside the hull. The transmitter has dual rates on steering and adjustable trims for throttle and steering. This is a nice touch as it allows you to dial up the rates when you're driving the boat and dial the rates back to allow a less experienced driver take the controls. The hull is designed to be watertight and even the rudder push rod is sealed with an internal watertight boot. Should any water reach the inside of the hull, it's easily drained by simply removing a small drain plug at the back on on the transom. The battery boxes are pre-installed and ready to use, however I would recommend adding a few strips of velcro to each one so the batteris don't shift inside the hull during hard maneuvers. The boat has side-mounted fixed aluminum turn fins that keep it tracking straight, even in rough water conditions. The included boat stand is very handy for transporting and maintenance of the Blackjack 26. It's also a very attractive display stand and features laser-etched lettering on each side.

The rudder trim is preset from the factory but there is plenty of built-in travel for making adjustments whether on the stand or on the water. After hooking my batteries for the first time, the rudder centered perfectly and needed no adjustment, however it can easily be adjusted mechanically at the servo arm or via the radio.

All decals were preinstalled at the factory, a nice touch that allowed me to get on the water that much more quickly!

The included instruction manual is fairly short but extremely easy to understand. Even though experienced r/c boat enthusiasts will probably not need it, I would still recommend going over the manual as there is alot of helpful information listed inside. Note: A 'hardware update' included with the reading material states that the Blackjack 26 has been upgraded with a composite propeller that "offers higher top speeds and more torque for accelleration".

Battery options

There are two options here: 7.2v NiMH packs or 2S 7.4v LiPo packs. Both offer excellent performance and are easy to install. The ESC in the Blackjack 26 Brushless EP is pre-programmed from the factory for NiMH batteries, so remember that it will need to be re-programmed for LiPos using the optional programming card. I did notice a slight increase in performance with the Common Sense 2S LiPo packs over the NiMH packs, mainly due to the savings in weight of 2.6oz per pack. Although ballast is critical for the drive system to be submerged and operate properly, the boat seemed very happy with the lighter LiPo packs.

Performance

What can I say that hasn't already been said about the greatness of brushless power systems? The naturally stable catamaran design really takes advantage of the power this brushless system dishes out, and the boat feels rock-solid even in extremely tight turns. You can feel the power come up the second you squeeze the radio's trigger and the 'holeshot' performance is terrific as the Blackjack 26 lifts up on plane almost instantly and zips across the water.

Photo Gallery/Video

Downloads

Is this for a beginner?

Absolutely! The Blackjack 26 Brushless Catamaran is an easy boat to operate, even if you have little or no radio control boating experience. Very little maintenance is required to keep it in tip-top shape, which I think is important, especially for a beginner. The adjustable dual rate dial allows less experienced drivers to tone down the steering sensitivity or increase it as they progress. The Blackjack 26 Brushless Catamaran is as ready-to-run as they come, and you can have it on the water in as little time as it takes to charge your batteries.

Conclusion

The Pro Boat Blackjack 26 Brushless Catamaran RTR is an exciting performer that offers nitro speed in a convenient electric design. It's a perfect choice for the first-time or seasoned RC boater, and its great looks will surely satisfy your "need for speed" at the neighborhood pond. Check out the Blackjack 26 today at your local hobby shop or at Horizon Hobby.com!

Pluses:

  • Superb Performance
  • Beautifully pre-finished fiberglass hull with factory decals
  • Watercooled brushless motor and ESC
  • Magnetic hatch for quick access to batteries
  • Programmable ESC for LiPo batteries
  • Attractive display/maintenance stand
  • Excellent instruction manual

Minuses:

  • None that I can find!
Last edited by Angela H; Apr 08, 2008 at 07:37 PM..

Discussion

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Old Apr 16, 2008, 11:10 AM
Registered User
Ohio
Joined May 2003
2,083 Posts
Cool, does it have room for a gps system so you can tell us how fast it runs?

Ed
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Old Apr 16, 2008, 09:17 PM
What is this a center for ants
avidjeepr's Avatar
United States, CA, Beverly Hills
Joined Jul 2007
2,270 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by no stick
Cool, does it have room for a gps system so you can tell us how fast it runs?

Ed
Yes it does, I just put Lipo's in mine.. It's FAST!!!
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Old Apr 17, 2008, 02:48 PM
Registered User
NW Oregon
Joined Feb 2006
72 Posts
Do you think it's competetive with the Aquacraft SV27? They're hitting 32 - 36 mph out of the box. The hardcore FE boating guys are concerned that the steerable outdrive saps too much power and would have a negative effect on cornering. Not true?
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Old Apr 17, 2008, 03:14 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,421 Posts
The Blackjack 26 is faster off the line but then the Brushless SuperVee 27 catches and passes it when both are in standard as sold set-up. At least in relatively smooth or slightly choppy water. Mike
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Old Apr 22, 2008, 09:10 PM
What is this a center for ants
avidjeepr's Avatar
United States, CA, Beverly Hills
Joined Jul 2007
2,270 Posts
I just reprogramed the ESC to Lipo (stock it comes set up for NI-CD) and threw on a Octura prop, I haven't raced a S.V yet.
I take corners wide and slow but the straight line it's on a rail,even in choppy water...as far as the outdrive sucking power, I am on 1/4 throttle when cornering.
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Old May 03, 2008, 10:48 PM
Registered User
Lemon Tree Passage NSW Australia
Joined Sep 2001
378 Posts
The Blackjack is a great boat by the standards of what has been available to electric hobbyists for years.

I would have liked to have seen a little time give to improving waterproofing and the cornering and stability can be improved to a very great degree and it aids waterproofing.

That said its a very fast boat - faster than the Limited Sport Hydro classes sanctioned in Australia, NZ and North America and it is less expensive! A great boat to start a racing career.

And if anyone has an electric boat up to 29" and 2.5kg you could have mega fun and reliability using a Proboat esc and motor to give it some extra oomph!!
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Old May 06, 2008, 05:02 PM
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Joined May 2008
4 Posts
i have a sv27 and a freand has a blkjak they seem to be pretty even
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Old May 06, 2008, 05:07 PM
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4 Posts
cane i run 5000 7 cell 8.4 in my SV27 without herting it?
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Old May 08, 2008, 07:26 AM
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Millbrook, Alabama
Joined Jun 2004
6,439 Posts
I really looked hard at both this and the SV27 but I really want a hydro. Now that Pro Boat has announced the brushless Ms. Elam and it will be available soon, I will probubly pull the trigger on it. The manual says it uses the same motor as the Black Jack so I assume the same esc too. Before I pull the trigger, I want to know if the Black Jack/Miss Elam can use the pair of 8.4v MaxAmps packs I have sitting around looking for a home. That would save me some up front cost. Anyone try 8.4s yet? How do they compare to the lipos?

Capt. Crash
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 11:11 PM
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44 Posts
yes it can use them
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Old Feb 17, 2009, 03:53 AM
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PERTH WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Joined Dec 2008
457 Posts
vep few mods and they fly like something simple like putting the batterys at the front of the motor better balanced and keeps batts cooler for thrushings .....
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 04:04 AM
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Australia, VIC, Melbourne
Joined Mar 2010
71 Posts
what sort of run times for the blackjack on a 3300nimh
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