|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|
|Battery||2-7.2V 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|
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.
The review package arrived from Horizon Hobby double-boxed and free of damage.
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
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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!
Joined Feb 2006
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?
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.
Lemon Tree Passage NSW Australia
Joined Sep 2001
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!!
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?
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