With 2016 being dubbed “The Year of Large Scale”, there are a large number of consumers looking for 1/5th scale power systems. Whether it be for an electric converted HPI Baja 5B, or the new Traxxas X-Maxx, big power systems are in demand. A few months ago Castle Creations announced their new Mamba XL X brushless power system. The new “X” series controller comes with a beefier BEC, on-board data logging, and the ability to make changes on the fly via your transmitter. We got out hands on one and have been giving it some serious abuse to see what it is like to use in every day bashing. Is the XL X the “King of the Hill” in 5th scale power? How smooth is its power? And just how much power does it really have? Read on to find out…
Review By: Cubby
Pictures By: Cubby
Mamba XL X ESC
Input Voltage: 3 to 8S Lithium
BEC Output: Adjustable 5 to 8.4 volts, 20 amp peak
Data Logging: Yes
Bullet Connectors: On motor wires only
On-The-Fly Adjustment: Yes, via AUX wire
Weight: 10.4 oz
Dimension: 4.81” x 2.06” x 2.75”
Support Vehicle Weight: Up to 30 lbs
Cell count: 3 to 8S Lithium
Weight: 44 oz
Output Shaft: 8mm
Max RPM: 45,000
XL X/2028 Brushless Combo
Set-Up Notes: Because of the popularity of the new Traxxas X-Maxx, that is exactly the vehicle that we decided to install our test unit in. To make it fit we had to use a Kershaw Designs motor mount along with a Kershaw 48 tooth pinion (!!!). MaxAmps lithium batteries produced the juice and we used Castle 6.5mm connectors for maximum current transfer. The stock X-Maxx servo was used along with a Futaba 4PKS transmitter and receiver. Charging duties were handled by a Hitec X1 Pro.
Ease Of Use: Set-up was really very easy. The XL X doesn’t come with battery connectors, so we had to solder some up, but it does come with bullets pre-soldered for the motor wires. Calibration was the standard Castle routine and adjusts were easy to make by using the transmitter, or via a CastleLink hooked up to a computer.
Power: Are you kidding me? The XL X is the most powerful brushless system we’ve ever tested, hands down. Torque off the bottom is insane and it just keeps on pulling like a freight train. The XL X system whipped around our X-Maxx like it almost wasn’t even there, never showing a lack of power when we needed it. The stock X-Maxx system has some wheelie power from a dead stop, but the XL X system had a lot more and even had the power to produce flip-over-backwards wheelies when punching it at over 20 mph. For top speed, our X-Maxx went from just over 30 with the stock set-up to 50 mph with the Castle system, a huge improvement.
How It Drives: Even though there was epic levels of power on tap, the XL X still managed to be quite smooth when driven on 6S. There was a slight surge in power in the upper mid-range, but overall the power was quite drivable. Our truck pulled away from a dead stop very smoothly, perhaps more so than other ESCs in the Castle line-up, with no cogging whatsoever. Needless to say, there was a HUGE difference between the stock power system in the X-Maxx and the Castle unit. Where as the stock system runs hot and feels like it is being pushed near its maximum output, the Castle ran cool and simply had a lot more power available at every point across the rpm range. Racing the Castle X-Maxx against a stocker wasn’t even fair as the XL X unit ate the stocker for breakfast when drag racing. When driving the XL X we found that if there was plenty of traction available that you had to really ease into the trigger to prevent instantly flipping over backwards. When driven on looser surfaces, we found that the XL X instantly overcame what grip the tires could find, resulting in absolutely huge rooster tails that you really, REALLY, didn’t want to be standing behind.
Downsides: The XL X system is physically very large. Both the motor and ESC take up some space, but then, if you are installing it in a “normal” 5th scaler or X-Maxx, your truck should have plenty of room. All that insane power also comes with a healthy price tag, with the XL X system being priced at $425. Of course that is a good chunk of bank, but considering the price of vehicle it is most likely going into, a typical buyer surely already knows that playing with large scalers isn’t cheap.
Durability: We experienced no issues with our test system. We ran it like it owed us money and the XL X system barely broke a sweat in our X-Maxx (sadly the truck itself didn’t hold up so well to all the power). Both the motor and ESC ran very cool, with the highest temp we shot on the motor being 115 degrees.
Final Verdict: While we haven’t tested every 5th scale system on the market, the Castle XL X is the best we’ve ever driven. It has more power on tap than most reasonable people will ever use and proved to be extremely durable. The “on-the-fly” adjustments were handy to have around and we found the on-board data logging a nice feature as well. If you are looking to put absolutely crazy power in your 5th scaler we can very highly recommend the Castle Mamba XL X system to you.