Aveox, the granddaddy of brushless motors, isn't relegated to the rocking chair of electric flight. The latest round of Aveox products shows there's enough muscle to take on all comers, and emerge victorious. New sensorless motors and controllers from Aveox are smooth, powerful, light, built to last a lifetime, incredibly versatile, and perhaps best of all (for U.S. citizens) - they're made in the USA, which means repairs are relatively convenient and inexpensive. A number of less expensive motors are now on the market, but one bent shaft or thrown magnet will turn most of the cheaper motors into paperweights.
I've been flying Aveox motors for quite a few years, and I've always been very impressed by their power, smoothness, and robust construction. My first brushless motor was an Aveox 1406/4Y with an L-160 controller I picked up at the Weak Signals show in Toledo. I installed it in my Scat Cat Q-500 plane on 10 cells with an APC 9x5 prop, and proceeded to see if I could find out why people were raving about brushless power. When this direct-drive plane outperformed my geared cobalt motor with similar current levels (and the cobalt setup was quite impressive!), I was sold. I've since owned a 1412/3Y, an F7LMR, and a 1409/3Y (which I still own and regard as one of my all-time favorite motors). My son has been flying his CSD Twister on a 1005/3Y, turning a great aerobatic plane into an absolute rocket. All that to say that I'm quite familiar (and very happy) with Aveox motors/controllers, and these latest motors and controllers are the best to date - and some of the best motors/controllers on the market!
New Aveox 36/24/2 motor and SL-48 controller shown with new Aveox 27/26/1.5 motor and SL-18 controller. A close up of the 36/24/2 motor next to the 27/26/1.5 motor, and the SL-48 controller next to the SL-18 controller. The SH-48 controller is the same size as the SL-48 controller.
Some close-up photos of the 36/24/2 motor.
Aveox motors have changed a little with the latest additions, and most of it is for the better. Previous endbells were held in place with small set screws, but the new motors have the end bells pressed in place. All motors feature stainless steel cases, hardened steel shafts (5 mm in 36 series motors, 3.2 mm in 27 series motors), new high temperature Neodym magnets (180 deg. C rating), high quality bearings, and carbon wrapped rotors (rated for 50,000 rpm). These very high rpm limits allow the tremendous versatility of the motors; many of the motors can be run direct-drive on smaller cell counts, then deeply geared for high cell count power.
As proof of their versatility, I powered three types of aircraft with one motor in this review. Simply by adding a gearbox and changing the cell count and prop I flew a 7 cell aerobat, a 16 cell sport plane, and a 14 cell glider with the 36/24/2 motor. I could have gone to higher cell counts as well, if I were so inclined. The same versatility applies to the other motors as well.
One note of warning - if you have one of the smaller diameter 27 series (or older 1000 series) motors, DO NOT CUT THE MOTOR WIRES! Aveox supplies the motors with the wires pre-tinned, but if you cut them you'll find the coated wires will need to have the coating removed to accept solder. Not an easy task! This does not apply to the 36 series motors, which have have uncoated stranded wires extending out of the motor.
Aveox recently upgraded their entire brushless controller line, matching the revision to the motor line. All the new controllers are sensorless and offer a fairly small profile. In comparison to the older sensored controllers, I've found the new controllers to be very "user friendly", yet they still offer programming options that allow the controllers to be used in a wide variety of applications. Once the programming options are set (most airplane fliers will find the controllers programmed from the factory correctly for their application), no user input is needed to operate the controllers. The controllers will adjust automatically to your radio's arm and max settings.
As with most sensorless controllers, watch the prop on start up - it will jump! I found the Aveox controllers to offer a very linear feel and smooth throttling. Programming options include hard or soft start, hard or soft stop, brake on or off, sport or competition timing, helicopter or airplane mode. Motors and controllers run very smoothly and quietly, making them somewhat deceptive about the power available. An LED indicates when power is applied, and flashes if something is amiss. Controllers with BEC now offer dual voltage regulators in parallel, doubling the current capability for safer BEC usage.
The three controllers I have are listed below, along with their ratings. In some cases, the ratings vary a little between the data printed on the controller and that listed in the instructions or on the web, but the controllers seem to have a fair amount of margin built in.
Controller Continuous Rating (Amps) Short Term Rating (Amps) Cell Count BEC or Opto Dimensions (in) Weight (oz) SL-18 30 60 6-12 BEC 2.2x1.0x0.3 0.9 SL-48 45 - 60* 60 - 80* 6 -16 Either 2.6x1.25x0.3 1.6 SH-48 40 50 12 - 30 Opto 2.6x1.25x0.3 1.6
*Dependent on cooling.
No lead wires are provided for the motor side on the SL-18 and SH-48 controllers. Instead, three tabs extend from the board to allow the motor wires to be easily soldered to the controller. The SL-48 has a second wire for BEC - simply plug the wire into the battery port of the receiver for BEC usage. If the wire is left disconnected, then the controller is opto-coupled. I found the SL-48 unique in the way the BEC circuitry is located on the wire, rather than the controller board. I really like having a BEC/opto-coupling option like this.
SL-18 controller. Solder tabs are provided for motor wires. The red component on the back of the controller has four sliding switches for programming the controller. Clasps of the SL-48 controller. In the photo on the left, the blue shrink-wrapped section of the wire holds the BEC circuitry. Plugging this wire into the battery port of the receiver activates the BEC system; otherwise, the controller operates with opto-coupling. On the back side of the controller (photo on the right) you can see the same red component with slider switches for programming the controller as shown on the SL-18. SL-48 shown attached to the 36/24/2 motor. I used gold-plated bullet connectors to join the wires, allowing the controller to be easily removed. This is the only one of my 3 controllers that came with motor-side wiring; the other two have solder tabs.
Aveox generally offers two gearbox options: the larger 36-series motors have a couple of 3.7:1 gearboxes available, while the smaller 27-series motors have a Maxon 4.4:1 gearbox available. All the gearboxes are planetary, are beautifully machined, and are capable of transferring immense amounts of power. I found the gearboxes easy to assemble; Aveox even provides the Loctite. Mounting screws for a firewall mount are also provided. Basically the pinion gear is installed on the motor shaft flush with the end of the shaft and held in place with the Loctite, then the gearbox is bolted to the motor housing. The 3.7:1 gearboxes feature a 5 mm output shaft, while the 4.4:1 gearboxes feature a 4 mm output shaft.
I was amazed just how quietly and smoothly these gearboxes run. I often prefer direct-drive motors for their quiet smoothness, but my 36/24/2 motor with the 3.7:1 gearbox was as quiet as the direct-drive motors I've used, and transmitted power seamlessly from the motor to the prop. Most offset gearboxes I've run generated a fair amount of noise, and often seem to add some roughness to the system. One plus of Aveox's choice of using planetary gearboxes is that planetary gearboxes offer substantially more bearing area for the gear system, allowing a much larger transfer of power for their size. They also operate without adding any side loading to the shaft or bearing, and they keep the output shaft inline with the motor shaft, easing many installations.
This is the 3.7:1 planetary gearbox sold by Aveox. Aveox sells these units complete with all screws, washers, and even the Loctite for the gear installation! The photo on the right shows the insides of the planetary box. The 3 planet gears are visible in this photo.
Aveox's 3.7:1 gearbox shown with adapter plate and input gear mounted to 36/24/2 motor. The photo on the right shows the gearbox mounted. It only takes a matter of several minutes to mount this gearbox.
Test Planes and Flight Performance
Proof of performance comes in the air, so I tested out the 36/24/2 in three different aircraft to see how it performed under different flight conditions.
Great Planes ElectroStreak ARF: Direct-drive, 8x6 APC prop, 7 SR Max 2400's or Sanyo 1900SCR's, SL-48 controller using BEC. With the 1900's, the 36/34/2 turned the prop 12,600 rpm while drawing 40 amps. Going to the 2400's increased the current draw by 2 amps and upped the rpm a few hundred as well. Performance of the ElectroStreak ARF with the Aveox 36/24/2 was outstanding - the E-Streak now really lived up to its name! High speed, huge verticals, easy launches, and great aerobatics made this plane a blast to fly.
Installation of the 36/24/2 motor direct-drive in the ElectroStreak ARF. A hot performance setup in this plane! A few photos of the ElectroStreak in flight.
Sig 4 Star 40: 3.7:1 planetary gearbox, 16 RC2400's, SL-48 controller or SH-48 controller, 13x7 or 14x9.5 CAM prop. With the 13x7 prop, the geared 36/24/2 motor drew 33 amps and spun the prop 9800 rpm fresh off the charger, settling to 9500 rpm @ 32 amps. This power system was incredibly smooth, quiet, and powerful. The 4 Star 40 leaped off the ground and climbed out nearly vertical, exhibiting plenty of power for nearly any aerobatics, although not quite enough for extended knife edge. It had the ability to torque roll and prop hang for short periods. Upon landing I found both the controller and motor to be cool when landed. I didn't time my flights, but they were quite long, probably in the 8 minute range. This is an excellent combination.
After flying with the 13x7 prop, I changed to a CAM 14x9.5 prop. The geared 36/24/2 motor turned the prop 8100 rpm @ 48 amps, yielding tremendous thrust! The 4 Star 40 took off almost immediately, would climb out vertically, perform huge loops, hover, and fly knife-edge! Definitely the most potent setup I've had in the 4 Star 40, and a huge amount of fun. Flight times were just as long; with all that power on tap, I used the throttle pretty conservatively through most of the flight. This is not a fast setup (the 4 Star 40 is not a fast plane anyway), but one that will pull the 4 Star 40 through nearly anything.
Installation of the geared 36/24/2 motor in my Sig 4 Star 40, along with a photos of the plane ready to fly. The Aveox-powered 4 Star 40 in flight. Incredible performance in a stock .40 size glow plane!
Jerry sailplane: 3.7:1 gearbox, SH-48 controller, 14 SR Max 2400 cells, 16x10 prop. This setup spins the prop 6500 rpm at 49 amps (measured after about 20 seconds of run time). Very quiet and powerful, the Aveox system pulls my 85 oz Jerry straight up at a very rapid pace. In fact, this plane seems to have more speed and vertical performance on 14 cells with this power system than it did on 16 cells with the previous power system. It's an absolute blast to shoot up to thermal height with only a few seconds of run time (around 5 seconds), rolling as you climb, then turn inverted and make a high speed pass across the field, followed by a series of stall turns and just cruising around. I'm not sure flying gets much better than this! Upon landing, motor, controller, and batteries are just lightly warm.
When I installed the geared 36/24/2 in my Jerry, I needed to make a plywood ring to act as a spacer around the gearbox front boss. Otherwise, installation was neat and straight forward, as shown above. The Jerry complete and ready to fly. I now call this my "junkyard" plane. After a crash last year I repaired the fuselage, then took a couple of wings Hobby Lobby had left over from other Jerry kits to put my plane back in the sky. The Jerry in flight. Unfortunately, still pictures just don't do justice to the flight performance of this plane. Aveox's geared 36/24/2 motor and SH-48 controller pulled this plane straight vertical at a very rapid pace. Short, powerful runs leave plenty of flight time, and sleek lines coupled with responsive controls give fast dives, hot aerobatics, and good soaring. The best of all worlds!
27 Series Motor Notes
I had intended to conduct flight tests of the 27/26/1.5 motor for this review, but some of my arrangements for aircraft fell through. I'll cover this motor in a separate review in the future (it will be used in an upcoming review of the Vermont Bell 1300 3D plane), but I did want to make a few comments on the small motor series from Aveox. These motors, while small in diameter, are very efficient and capable of producing huge amounts of power. Their small diameter makes them ideal for powering sleek gliders or greatly increasing the power of Speed 400/480 size airplanes, while their lightweight makes them ideal for 3D type planes. Aveox offers an adapter plate to allow the use of th27 series motors in Speed 500/600 size applications, such as powering something like the Lite Machines Corona helicopter. Offered in 3 basic sizes (27/13, 27/26, 27/39) and a variety of winds, Aveox 27 series motors can power aircraft ranging from Speed 400 size planes to 60 size aircraft.
The 27/26/1.5 motor. Note the pre-tinned wires, ready to solder to the controller. Don't shorten these wires, or you'll have a tough time getting the coating off the wire! The third photo shows the front of the motor. A number of holes are provided to accommodate direct-drive mounting, the Maxon 4.4:1 gearbox, or other options. Look for an upcoming review of this motor.
Also from Aveox - New Brush Controllers!
As a side note, Aveox has now updated their brush controllers along with their brushless motors and controllers. Offered in 5, 15, and 35 amp versions, these new controllers are small, light, and very smooth. A great match for anything from Speed 280 through cobalt 05/15 size motors!
Features (A-15 controller):
- Dimensions; .6 x .7 x .1 in.
- Weight: 0.4 oz, 12.5g w/ wires (supplied wires weigh 0.2 oz, 6g)
- 15A 5 min, 20A Peak
- 1A or 1W BEC
- JR receiver plug
- Red LED indicates off, and full power conditions
Aveox brush controller come with motor capacitors to cut down noise in some installations. The photo on the right shows the 35 amp unit connected to my Astro cobalt 035 geared motor. Light, small, and smooth, these controllers are great choices for most brush motor setups.
I can't recommend Aveox motors and controllers highly enough. Exceptional quality, very high efficiencies, outstanding power output, great versatility, and ease of repair make these motors and controllers some of the best values in brushless systems on the market.
I have an Aveox SH-18 (speed controller and motor). When I apply power, nothing at all happens. There is no beep, no chirp, and no ability to control servos. The motor/ESC are brand new, so I don't think they are bad (I also tried other identical motors to eliminate the possiblity that the motor/ESC is bad. What might be my problem?
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