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Mar 30, 2014, 01:22 PM
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Mini-Review

WLtoys A979 VORTEX





Introduction

In early 2013, WLtoys created a small suprize in the RC-car world by introducing three 1/12th scale brushed 2 WD car L959 (Buggy)/L969 (Short course truck)/L979 (Monster truck) and their brushless versions L202/L212/L222 respectively. This time, WLtoys announced four new 4WD models in 1/18th scale using brushed motors: the A949 (Rally Car), the A959 (Buggy), the A969 (Short course truck) and the A979 (Monster truck).
Are they new 4 models as good as their ancestor? Is the shrinking operation from 1/12th to 1/18th have been correctly done ? What about robustness ?, off-road capicity ?, maintenance ? and speed ? of these new generation cars.

For all opened questions, I will try to answer in next sections. This review is focused more specificaly on the A979 but all the 3 others models are sharing 95% of A979's parts. Only the canopy and tires are individualised for each models. Basically pro and cons points will be identical for the A949, A959 and A969.

Box content

+ 1 A979
+ 1 2.4G Remote control (V2x2 protocol)
+ 1 2S 7.4V Lipo, 1100mh
+ 1 charger (using balancer plug)
+ 1 power adaptor (10V, up to 800mA)
+ 1 instruction manual

Overview




At first glance of my A979 (provided courtesy of BG for a fair reviewing), you will clearly recognize the "L9x9" touch in term of chassis and structure. By the way, it's not a simple shrinking operation that WLtoys propose to us.





They offer to us to pass from a 2WD (using 540 motor type) to a 4WD (with 390 motor). Can we expect in a future some brushless versions of this new architecture ? it's an open question.

The A979 is 25cm long and 20cm large (compared to 35cm for the L959 for example).
The car is scaling 570g


without battery (59.3g)

and canopy (31.3g)

and 660.6g in total



The A979 is announced to run at 50km/h so even faster than the L9x9 generation (40km/h) probably due to higher RPM of the installed 390 motor type.
The battery is a 2S LiPo of 1100 mah (60mnx30mn) with JST connector (no discharge rating information given). The battery bay don't have really a lot of free room (62mn x 31mn), so it means that it will be hard to insert a more powerful LiPo with higher capacity.







The shipped charger announced 500mn for full charging. As usual, it's highly recommanded to use a more professional charger(avoiding overvoltage during charging).



The 4 wheels system is using a central tranmission shaft, protected by a two floors plastic central part, between the two differential cases. Unfortunatly, no metallic gears/pinions inside the differential mechanism, so probabibility of failure is increased especiatlly at full speed in off-road conditions. It's highly recommanded time to time to clean them and readding a large amount of greasse.

Each wheel is 71mn of diameter, 40mn large with wheel hexagons hole located at 20mn from wheel border. Tire design and material is better compared to L959.







Now all the 4 wheel have hexagons (7mn x 4mn x 3mn).



They are in plastic with common size for a 1/18th scale (https://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/...rse_4pcs_.html).











2 metallic dog bones are used in wheel axles so it's representing an improvement vs L959 (mettalic was only present in the brushless system).



Ball-bearings are used in the differential mechanism close to differential cup. Unfortunatly, oil bearing are installed between steering arms.


A first mod would be to replace them by real ball-bearings decreasing friction. For the shock absorber plate as well as for swing arms and pull rods, some ball head screws are installed offering a better telerance to shocks.
Finally, a 390 brushed motor is used (versus 540 for L9x9). This latter is cooled by a heatsink and the motor seat.


The system is quiet efficient. Now you can touch the motor after usage.
The steering servo is a 17g one


Shocks absorbers are improved with more stronger springs and this car can handle more effiently bumped/chaotic roads



On potential problem is concerning the front arms settling/hooking via the front bumper frame. If this first break, both front arms will be out of order. This crucial part should be modding in priority to be more robust to frontal hard crashes.




The Ground clearance is approximatively 17mn.



The RX board shows 4 MOSFET with invidual heatsink, 1 micoplug for the steering servo, 2 large wires connected to the 340 motors, 2 free plugs, a micro switch to start on/off the car and the antenna wire. These 2 free connectors can be used to install some LED lights for example. In order to be waterproof, all electronic conpounds are covered with some transparent glue.


The 2.4G antenna is located inside the canopy at approximatively 6cm high. By consequence, the control range is a little bit affected by the low position of the 2.4G antenna.



For these new models, WLtoys decided to keep the protocol that for the L9x9 series, i.e. the "V2x2" protocol based on the nRF24L01+ radio chip. It can be a good news if these models can be sold in BNR version.

Cautions before first usage

One caution is concerning the motor and one the LiPo. In order to extend motor life and improve its capacity, it's highly recommanded to realize a "breakin" procedure or in the worst case, for the first run to drive your car at moderate speed without strong acceleration.
The breakin procedure consists in running your motor at constant speed to "settle" motor'brushes. Dry breakin is the simple way to perform the breakin (see attached video) but maybe a little bit less efficient than a water breakin.
At the end breakin process, you have to clean residues for example with a airflow or a electrical cleaner spay (such as "3-in-1" for example).

The second caution is concerning the LiPo. It's also highly recommanded for the first runs to not go below 50% of its capacity (approximatively 6-7 mn of usage) with moderate accelerations (to not pump too much current).

The last caution is about the gearbox sealing. Some small holes let sand grains to enter and can block/destroy gear box elements. So there are some mods in this thread to seal correctly the gear box.




First runs !!!!

I started first on aslphat just front my door .... WHaaoooohhhhhhh my god it's super fast even more nervous than my L959. I guess the 4WD system is not innocent in this story. Steering capicity is excellent and this car is easier to control compared to a 2WD.
By consequence, this car is slipping less. I continue to test in a mixed zone medium size grass and ground. Previously, my L959 didn't like too much medium size grass and often was blocked after few meters on a higher part. I was surprized to see that even with a smaller scale, the 4WD was more efficient in such condtions.
On ground, skidding are fun and easy to control. I crashed it a lot during some failed jumps and only observed some minor scrapes. Of course, it could be a different story for a full frontal crash (frontal bumper) and for a high jump (underbody cover)

WLtoys A979 first runs (Courtesy Banggood) (3 min 39 sec)



Conclusions

This new WLtoys represents an excellent small/medium size RC car with an unbeatable ratio price vs quality (you can find it at BG for 70 USD).
This car is very fast and nervous due to the installed high RPM 390 motor cooled by an heatsink.
Maneouvrability is excellent, especially on asphalt thank to its 4WD system and by more efficient shocks. This car is not perfect, some cautions must be taken into account especially the potential weakness of the front bumper and undercover body (in case of hard crash), but this car is quiet solid. I personaly had a lot of funs with this car. Of course you can find better with brushless model but for probably 4 times the price.

If you don't own any RC cars, this model is representing an excellent first model. You can expect some cheap spare parts and maintenance is easy (should be available within 1 month).
If you already own a L9x9 model, it's also worthy to have such model, at least in "BNR" format.
If you already own any brushless model, this model is no more for you.

Unboxing video

WLtoys A979 unboxing (courtesy Banggood). (23 min 7 sec)




PROS

+ FAST !!! and very fun
+ Price. 70 USD for RTR representing an excellent ratio price vs quality
+ Waterproof
+ Good steering capacity
+ Better Off-road capacity especially in medium-size grass field
+ 7mn hexagones for both front and rear wheels
+ Better shock absorber system, more efficient (with more harder/stronger springs compared to L9x9)
+ Ball head screws
+ Heatsink system efficient
+ Voltage Limit Cut
+ Same protocol and TX than L9x9. Would be perfect to have A9x9 in BNF


CONS

- Front bumper is settling front arms. If you break this bumper, you car is Out Of Service
- No ballbearings everywhere, some oil bearings/brass bushings between steering arms.
- No metal gears (what did you expect for this price ?)
- Gear box not perfectly sealed from sand. YOU NEED TO MOD IT TO HAVE A PERFECT SEALING
- Underbody cover thin plastic (2mn). Can be broken during high jumps.
- Range control limited compared to L9x9 (RX antenna closer to ground level limiting range)
- No extra free space in the battery bay.
- Too fast for small kids


This car have been courtesy provided by Banggood in order to make a fair and not biased review. I would like to thanks them for this attitude.

A979:

http://www.banggood.com/Wltoys-A979-1-Or-18-2_4Gh-4WD-Monster-Truck-p-916960.html

and the 3 other associated models :

A949:
http://www.banggood.com/Wltoys-A949-Rc-Car-1-Or-18-2_4Gh-4WD-Rally-Car-p-918502.html

A959:
http://www.banggood.com/Wltoys-A959-Rc-Car-1-Or-18-2_4Gh-4WD-Off-Road-Buggy-p-916961.html

A969:
http://www.banggood.com/Wltoys-A969-Rc-Car-1-Or-18-2_4Gh-4WD-Short-Course-Truck-p-916962.html


LiPo substitution: 2S 1200mah, 25C

http://www.banggood.com/7_4V-1200mAh-25-C-Lipo-Battery-With-JST-Plug-For-RC-Car-p-921149.html

EDIT 03/31/14

+ English + typos correction
+ Added unboxing video
Last edited by SeByDocKy; Oct 25, 2014 at 02:14 AM.
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Mar 30, 2014, 01:23 PM
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Reserved for mods and videos


WLtoys A979 second runs (Courtesy Banggood) (2 min 24 sec)
Last edited by SeByDocKy; Mar 31, 2014 at 01:19 AM.
Mar 30, 2014, 10:19 PM
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telos81's Avatar
Nice looking truck!

I wonder how this compares to a Mini LST (1st version with AM radio and double brushed motors) I have one and I'd consider selling it and replace it with one if these. The biggest advantage I see of this model is the 2.5ghz radio, lipo battery, and brushless motor

Based on your video I think this has more power and better acceleration then my mini LST!
Mar 30, 2014, 10:54 PM
TS Banggood RC's Avatar
Nice review, tons of helpful information. Got news from WLtoys factory, the first batch of A959 are out of factory now, should be available in this week. Other model expected to leave factory around 7th, Apr.
Mar 31, 2014, 01:19 AM
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SeByDocKy's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron qin
Nice review, tons of helpful information. Got news from WLtoys factory, the first batch of A959 are out of factory now, should be available in this week. Other model expected to leave factory around 7th, Apr.
Good news Jacky,

Do you know when spare parts will be available ?.

I will publish two new videos today, one is the full unboxing (2.5G of videos )
Mar 31, 2014, 03:26 AM
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SeByDocKy's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by telos81
Nice looking truck!

I wonder how this compares to a Mini LST (1st version with AM radio and double brushed motors) I have one and I'd consider selling it and replace it with one if these. The biggest advantage I see of this model is the 2.5ghz radio, lipo battery, and brushless motor

Based on your video I think this has more power and better acceleration then my mini LST!
Yes very punchy RC car .... especially for a brushed motor. I guess with a 3S lipo + diodes to lower voltage, this car can be even faster.
Mar 31, 2014, 06:47 AM
Registered User
Zaphod69's Avatar
Great review SBD.I've never had an RC car and this looks like a great place to start.

Cheers
Mar 31, 2014, 08:05 AM
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SeByDocKy's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaphod69
Great review SBD.I've never had an RC car and this looks like a great place to start.

Cheers
For this price, you can't be wrong... Be aware that spare parts are not yet available but I am quiet sure within few weeks (Wltoys is producing parts in a later batch). BG will have them first I guess.
Mar 31, 2014, 09:41 AM
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telos81's Avatar
If anyone starts running these trucks - I'd be very curious to know how durable they are. One thing I've always loved doing with my Losi mini LST is flying it off skateboard jumps ... I've launched it 3-4' in the air countless time on pavement with no major damage - can these models handle the same kind of fun (or abuse, haha)
Mar 31, 2014, 01:34 PM
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SeByDocKy's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by telos81
If anyone starts running these trucks - I'd be very curious to know how durable they are. One thing I've always loved doing with my Losi mini LST is flying it off skateboard jumps ... I've launched it 3-4' in the air countless time on pavement with no major damage - can these models handle the same kind of fun (or abuse, haha)

I will try to make videos with jumps. Need to find a skateboard park around
Mar 31, 2014, 10:42 PM
TS Banggood RC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeByDocKy
Good news Jacky,

Do you know when spare parts will be available ?.

I will publish two new videos today, one is the full unboxing (2.5G of videos )

Very impressive unboxing review, wltoys release spare parts after cars, have not a certain date yet. should be middle of April
Apr 01, 2014, 12:39 AM
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SeByDocKy's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron qin
Very impressive unboxing review, wltoys release spare parts after cars, have not a certain date yet. should be middle of April
Great

I remember for the L959, I had to wait close to 2 months for some spare. Hope this WLtoys with their new factory will be faster

I will make a video in FPV mode for this car
Apr 01, 2014, 04:00 AM
Registered User
servo's wire and plug is not standard.
is this really bad new?
also i'm waiting the restock of banggood for order it in "buggy" version.

thx sbd for complete review.
Apr 01, 2014, 04:21 AM
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SeByDocKy's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaw5
servo's wire and plug is not standard.
is this really bad new?
also i'm waiting the restock of banggood for order it in "buggy" version.

thx sbd for complete review.
Don't think so .... I will try to identify what type of micro servo plug is used (probably a losi one but not sure). By the way, for the L959, a servo costs around 6 USD and the TX board more or less the same price. I guess will be the same for these new models. Of course, if you want to install your own servo, you can streap out the actual connector for your new servo
Apr 01, 2014, 09:23 AM
Registered User
bigger lipo seems to be possible to install Inside
do not use the battery bay but just put lipo on bottom of battery bay and try to attach it as you can.
it is not the body (canopy) that prevents the installation of the lipo.
there is plenty of room especially with that canopy.

sorry for my English, Google helped me


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