I was always a remote controlled vehicle enthusiast when I was growing up. I had a variety of cheap electric RC cars, trucks, boats, a submarine, and even a beefy 1/8 scale nitro truck. When I went to college and graduate school I faltered from the hobby because I had neither much time, money, or space for radio controlled cars. However, once I started working full time, I found myself with the urge to pick it back up. However, I still don’t have as much space.
The Mini E-Revo Brushed caught my attention because it is small enough to run in my yard, but big enough to use “real” RC car parts like a 2.4GHz radio, oil dampened shocks, tires with foam inserts, and fully independent suspension. It even has waterproof electronics, which I have verified to be true.
I was a little disappointed with my first run using the stock battery and charger. It comes with a 1200mah NiMH battery and a trickle charger that takes about 6 hours to fill the battery. The truck seemed quick and I could get it to wheelie by driving in reverse, then flooring it. All in all, I got a little bored of the truck after about a dozen runs. To compound the problem, the charge time meant I needed to wait a whole day between during the work week. A run with the stock battery only lasts about 10 to 15 minutes depending on how hard you drive it.
Aside from the poor runtime, the truck seems really well constructed. Durability was my primary concern because I favor the “bashing” style of driving (as opposed to racing). The Mini E-Revo doesn’t really have a reputation for being the most durable truck, but I would tend to disagree. The shocks lay in the body instead of on the towers which lowers the center of gravity and keeps them out of harms way when you crash. Everything is constructed from high quality plastics and the tires even come pre-glued. I subjected the Mini E-Revo to a number of crashes and everything has held up to the abuse except for the shocks which have begun to leak.
After some mild disappointment with speed of the truck, I decided to go out on a limb and spend even more money on the truck. I picked of two 2S LiPo packs, a charger, and a parallel adapter. From what I read online, people seemed to suggest that going LiPo only made a mild difference in the speed of the truck. Perhaps they were referring to the top speed of the truck, because LiPos transformed my Mini E-Revo into a completely different thing! I remember when I first charged the pack and put it in, I pulled the trigger to 100% throttle like I normally would and the truck just did a flip in place! I was very happy with the LiPo upgrade because it really increased the level of skill needed to drive the truck and opened up a whole new world of trick possibilities: like jumping off a roof or back flips, jumps, and donuts.
The LiPo upgrade necessitated getting a few other things. I picked up some stiffer springs and heavier oil because the stock setup is excessively squishy and bouncy. The stock setup was fine with the poor acceleration and lower speeds I got with the stock battery, but I quickly found myself unable to land any reasonable jump with the LiPo packs.
Highly Recommended Upgrades
The Mini E-Revo Brushed is an insanely quick, and reasonably affordable entry into the RC truck hobby. It doesn’t drive all that well through grass, so it’s better suited to pavement, sand, and dirt. It has a flexible chassis with a lot of after-market upgrades. The suspension setup is flexible enough to change the ride-height and convert the Mini E-Revo into a buggy or street car. The electronics truly are waterproof and I completely underestimated how cool and useful that would be until my Mini E-Revo went through numerous puddles, got hit by waves, and fell into a canal.
There is a brushless version for about $100 more. I think upgrading to the brushless system might be inevitable for me as any brushed motor has a limited lifetime. In contrast, brushless motors will last nearly forever as long as they don’t overheat.
I would still encourage anyone to start with the brushed version if they are even a little unsure that RC trucks will hold their interest for more than a few months.