Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Mod: Motor Replaced Elite Rayven

The Elite Rayven is one of my favourite blasters. I love its aesthetics and the way it feels, and it's my go-to flywheeler. Sadly as I normally run it with 2 Barricade motors on 2 IMRs, its performance doesn't quite stack up to my EAT with OMW spring, and in games against similar level modded blasters (spring replaced springers), I can really feel the difference in power. So I departed on a quest to get more power from my beloved Rayven, and I entered the world of motor replacements.

The motors I settled on were Tamiya Mach Dash Pros. They're a 130-sized motor (same as the stock ones) designed for small model race cars, hence the dual sided shaft. Tamiya is also a very reputable brand, so I knew I would be getting a quality product that should last a while and take a fair bit of abuse.
Obviously the double sided shaft means that the motor will not slot straight in to the blaster, but the unwanted side of the shaft (the side on the red end bell) is easily cut off using a rotary tool.
Just some stats on the Mach Dash Pros if you're interested. (pulled straight from the Tamiya USA site)

  • Voltage(V) - 2.4-3.0
  • Torque (nM-m) - 1.3-1.8
  • RPM(r/min) - 20000-24500
  • Current (A) - 2.6-3.52
  • For reference I believe Barricade motors are rated to spin at around 15000RPM, though I'm not sure of the rated voltage.
    I also wore in the Mach Dashes by running them for around 90 minutes off a single AA. This process reduces arcing as well as resistance, allowing for a better current draw and a longer life.

    Besides just throwing in the motors and cutting the shaft, I also had to make some electrical adjustments to the Rayven. The only external evidence of the mods I've done to it is a small switch in the carry handle, which in the above picture is barely visible inside the shadow. You can see it much more easily in the picture below.
    A standard Rayven rewire has only 3 wires, but my adjustments have requisited many more than that. Note the red endbells of the new Tamiyas in the flywheel cage. I've also switched the flywheels themselves for those from a Stryfe, as the Stryfe flywheels are lighter and spun up to a higher RPM, giving greater range.

    Mach Dashes are rated for 2.4-3V, where most Nerf blasters use 6V, so some changes were needed. Where the Rayven's standard battery tray has 4 14500-sized (AA-sized) cells in series, I've modified it to have 2 sets of 2 series batteries in parallel (2s2p). The battery tray is also capable of running 2 batteries in parallel (1s2p), and this all has to do with the one switch just in front of the flywheel cage.
    When the switch is forward, the tray is in 2s2p configuration, and when the switch is backward, the tray is in 1s2p configuration.
    Since Mach Dashes are rated for up to 3V, a single IMR is already overvolting them, though the spin-up time isn't the best as the Mach Dashes do draw a lot more current than stock Nerf motors. A single IMR also doesn't have a great capacity, with only 700mAh. Hence to help provide more current as well as improve run time, I use two IMRs in 1s2p configuration. This provides maximum power and nets ranges averaging 22 or so metres at near flat (0-10 degree elevation estimated), and can reach 25m or more with stray shots. It's about on par with my personal modded EAT, which was the target.
    Motor spin-up is much better than with stock motors, the Mach Dashes reach "decent range" RPM in half a second, and full RPM in about 0.75s.
    For near-stock performance, I use 2AAs in 1s2p configuration. It spins up quite slowly (AAs have terrible current output) and gets performance similar to stock grey trigger blasters. I would much rather use a stock springer such as a Retal or EAT over this config, as the spin up time is really really slow. It's much like how a stock N-Strike Rayven performs.

    In both the above two configurations, the switch also acts as a safety, as if it is in the forward position the blaster is in 2s2p configuration, and the empty battery slots break the circuit, preventing any revving.
    For Uni games and indoor, I would use 4AAs in 2s2p configuration. Spin-up still isn't great (again AAs have pretty bad current output), however the range is much more respectable being near par with any Elite flywheeler running stock motors on 2 IMRs. This configuration is the whole reason I implemented the complicated switch mechanism and battery tray mods, as without them I would not be able to use AAs in a 2s2p configuration using the stock battery tray.
    If the switch is moved to 1s2p configuration (backwards) with all four battery slots filled, then the Rayven behaves like it is in 1s2p configuration, getting near stock ranges.

    Since there are so many motor replacement options, I thought I'd give my thoughts on why I didn't choose various other motors.
    • Mabuchi FK180SH-3240 motors (usually colloquially known as "180s") are a popular choice as they have a good RPM and much more torque than most 130-sized motors, however as they are longer (being 180-sized) slots need to be cut in the blaster's shell to accomodate. As I love the Rayven's aesthetics and the motors already bulge out in the left side, I didn't want to cut holes to accomodate new motors, so 180s were not a choice for me.
    • Polulu RM2s are a 130-sized choice that also run off stock voltage, and are incredibly cheap, however RM2s are notorious for their brushes burning out, and running them on 4AAs also results in extremely slow spin-up. I wanted motors that could spin-up fast, and so needed motors that could run on Lithium battery voltage increments (3.7V) reliably. It is possible to replace the brushes of RM2s with much better carbon brushes, however having accidentally broken open a motor before, I really don't want to have to open up another motor as it's quite annoying to get everything lined back up properly.
    • Ranson 130s are motors that were available from various places on the internet and are rated to spin up to 77000RPM at about 16V, however they were significantly more expensive than the Mach Dashes I sourced, and at the time of looking for motors I couldn't find a source for them. They also have a larger than usual commutator, requisiting part cutting, which again I was against. Another downside of such a hot running motor, Ransons are known to burn out very quickly if run off of a high voltage (3s+) and not worn in correctly.
    • Tamiya Torque Tuned motors are a recommended motor option by some, however after looking at the specs I felt that it didn't spin fast enough at the voltages I would be using (does 12000-13600RPM at 2.4-3V). The main purpose of the motor replacement was to get more power, and Torque Tuned motors would not give me the power I desire.
    • Falcon 130s are a good 130 option that are also cheaply available from a Nerfer in Australia, and are reported to perform quite well run off LiPos of both 2s (7.4V) and 3s (11.1V), however I found out about those after ordering the Mach Dashes, and I also have a feeling that they would run too hot and draw a lot of current, which my pair of IMRs probably would not be able to handle. As is I'm having to run my IMRs in parallel to keep up with the current demand from the Mach Dashes.
    • NSR Shark 3005s are one of the best 130-sized motors around, hitting 40k RPM when run on a 3-4s LiPo. They also have much more torque than most 130-sized motors, meaning faster spin-up and less RPM loss in rapid fire. Unfortunately, with such high specs also comes a high price, with Sharks costing around 4 times as much as most Tamiyas, making them by far the most expensive motors of all the ones I've looked at/heard of. Additionally Sharks run best off of a 3s LiPo, where all I have is 2 IMRs, which don't provide a high enough voltage or large enough current to get the best performance out of the Sharks.
    One of my biggest problems when choosing motors is that I'm currently limited to using just 2 IMRs. I'm planning to upgrade to using some LiPos when I get a little more disposable income, however my Rayven will probably remain as-is to maintain is versatility.

    I'm quite happy with the way my Rayven is performing now, and it will probably see a lot of use in my Nerf games unless I do a complete Rapidstrike build.


    1. If you run thise Mach dashes ftom a 1s Lipo you will get much better performance. As it is you are choking them with the batteries you have. They are not a great Nerf motor in the first place.
      All the 130 motors run hot and don't offer the claimed gains vs a 180 set up. All those people posting 120fps claims for Falcons etc are not measuring properly. The most reliable measurements I have seen are a 98fps average, well below a 2s 180 rig.
      If you wanted more power out of that Rayven you would have been better off putting an extra IMR in the tray. With the motors run in, 3 is fine for occasional use. I have 2 stryfes, both 2 years old that have run 3 IMR for a game a month without any motor failure.

      1. Thanks for the insight FDS.
        The only reason I didn't go with 180s is because I didn't want to cut the shell knowing I would probably butcher the motor covers.
        I do intend to switch to using LiPos soon, once I get the money to get the charger and connectors. Given my next flywheel build will probably be a Rapidstrike, I'll most likely be going with a standard 180 2s setup, which will be easily powered once I get aforementioned LiPo charger.
        Who knows, if the 180 RS goes well enough I might even have to re-remotor my Rayven with 180s.

    2. My only issue with stock 130s (at least Aussie spec 130s) is the lack or torque they provide. I'd rather have a five second spinup and maintain a high loaded torque than fast spinup with low loaded torque. I want to maintain thhe torque between shots so that I can fire rapidly if I have to.

      1. I think you may be getting a little confused, high torque would give both a fast spinup and maintain speed at high rates of fire. What you are describing is a situation in which the first instance describes having very heavy flywheels, while the second describes having very light flywheels. Heavy flywheels would spin up slow, but lose very little speed in rapid fire, while light flywheels would spin up super fast, but lose a lot of speed in rapid fire.
        Since we Nerfers want both fast spinup and no speed loss, the way our top recommended motors have both is by having high torque, but also a higher than necessary top speed. The minimum speed of a flywheel for maximum muzzle velocity is around 25000 RPM, however a max speed motor spinning at that speed will decelerate below 25k RPM when firing a dart. As such, most top aftermarket motors spin above 30k RPM as well as having buttloads of torque.
        The MTB RHino 130 for instance has enough torque for a spin-up of less than half a second, while its top speed at 12V is 36k RPM, well above what's necessary. The guy who ordered the MTB Rhinos calculated that Rhinos/Falcons could sustain a ROF of about 14 darts per second (I think) without losing muzzle velocity (flywheels dropping below 25k RPM).
        180 Blades spin up to just over 30k RPM at 7.4V, but have twice the torque of Rhinos/Falcons, and so spin up almost instantly, and can sustain something like a 20 dart per second ROF (possibly even more) without losing muzzle velocity.

        Yes, 130s generally don't have that great torque, Rhinos/Falcons are already pushing it for 130 sized motors. I don't think you could get much more without rare earth magnets or something. Rhinos/Falcons have enough torque to run a standard Rapidstrike build already though, the only things you'll need more torquey motors for are running metal flywheels or running a ridiculously high ROF Rapidstrike (more than ~15dps).

    3. Where can i get cheap falcon motors en masse?? Thanks again for the advice on the rapid red. (Hard to get now) now my female friend loves that beast and i wanted to get another one.:(

      1. Don't bother getting Falcons, get Rhinos instead. Falcons have become much harder to source, but Rhinos are easily available, and for the most part won't go out of stock for very long.
        There are a number of Rhino sources, depending on where you live. Here in Australia you can get them from BlasterTech. In the UK, you have Blastersmiths UK. Singapore has Black Tactical. The US has Containment Crew and Duke Wintermaul (via Reddit or Facebook).
        If you're after a whole lot of them (50+), you could contact the guy personally (rhino_aus in reddit).

      2. I was really impressed at the performance for a 130 motor. that rapid red was nailing the ranges and began to love it better than my 180 motor rapidstrike for the fact that you can go around corners with it. pity it wasnt mine:( rhinos have same performance??

      3. Rhinos are basically identical to Falcons, only difference being a minor motor can difference - Falcons have holes cut in the flat sides, Rhinos don't.
        Rhinos were made specifically to replicate Falcons because Falcons were so good but became hard to source.