Saturday, 25 November 2017

Mod: MTB Neo Hellcats in my Bullpup RS

The wait is finally over, Neo Hellcats have arrived.

On top of the neodymium magnets and new wind, Neo Hellcats also feature ball bearings. These are noticeable at the front of the motor, where the bearings stick out slightly from the housing.
I installed a pair in my Bullpup Rapidstrike, which have been waiting for new motors since last HvZ.
Installed with Artifact G2 plastic flywheels here. I spent a lot of time tweaking and testing things, and ended up with the same old setup I was on before, just with brand spanking new motors.

This video is a quick demonstration of the sheer torque of the Neo Hellcats. In the video the flywheels installed are Hooligans, which are a good ~7g in comparison to most other flywheels being ~5g or lighter. Regardless, the Neo Hellcats spin them up to full speed almost instantly.

Originally, I'd planned to use my Hooligan flywheels in my Bullpup RS, since with Neo Hellcats even they have negligible spin-up time. Unfortunately, some kind of issue, suspected to be an alignment issue, caused the blaster to have sub-par performance. In an attempt to improve performance, I pushed the top wheel on a little too far, seemingly dislodging the bearing of the top motor, damaging it. I replaced the top motor with one of my spares, as thankfully I had acquired 4 of them. I switched the flywheels to my final Artifact G2 plastic pair, and saw an immediate performance improvement. I couldn't use the pair that was originally in the blaster, as their shaft fit had worn out too much, and the wheels walked off the motor shafts easily.

With the Neo Hellcats installed, my Bullpup RS is finally fully functional again. Spin-up is essentially non-existent with Artifact G2 plastic wheels, and the noise is very distinct, clean and harmonious. I was getting very little deceleration during firing, even in full-auto. Simply put, they are very, very nice.

The specs of the Neo Hellcats can be found in this sheet.
Naturally, the primary reason to use these motors over any other is the raw torque. Developing at stall at 12V, Neo Hellcats are the torquest Nerf-specific 100-can motor currently available. They develop over five times the torque of a regular Rhino ( at stall at 12V), and around 15% more than the next torquest motor, the Titan Cronus-X ( at stall at 12V). As demonstrated in the video above, they can spin up heavy flywheels like the Hooligan flywheels incredibly quickly.

Massive torque also offers excellent control when used as a pusher motor, which is fantastic for full-auto blasters like the Rapidstrike. The torque is also a significant advantage in higher crush builds (like the OFP 41.5mm flywheel cage), where the torque becomes a much more significant factor in performance. Neo Hellcats also have ball bearings, offering various improvements over conventional (and cheaper) bushings, and a very distinct sound.

With such power naturally comes multiple disadvantages. First is the current draw, with Neo Hellcats drawing around 40A at stall at 12V. Any build using them is going to require a fairly powerful power source. Thicker wire and higher rated switches are also recommended compared to the fairly low requirements of say a Rhino build. The sheer torque causes significantly higher forces on the shaft holes of flywheels, which can cause accelerated shaft fit degredation. Too much removal and re-installation of a flywheel pair wears out the shaft fit, and can cause the wheels to "walk off" the motor shaft from sheer torque. With higher motor torque, the flywheels require a tighter fit to remain usable, and will wear away the shaft fit faster than a weaker motor.

Finally is the cost. Neo Hellcats will retail for 15AUD (12USD), which barring the now-unavailable XP180, is the most expensive Nerf-specific motor on the market. The Foamblast Fang ( at stall at 12V) or Titan Cronus-X can both be sourced from BlasterTech for just 9AUD, and provide lower but still very high torque with lower current draws. For most builds, you can probably get away with these cheaper motors or even just the Neo Rhino (8AUD/6.5USD, at stall at 12V), as these motors still produce enough torque for all but the highest crush or heaviest flywheel setups. If you want the absolute best 3S 100-can motor though, the Neo Hellcat is currently what you should be going for.

Note also that I have not had the opportunity to give them a rigorous combat test yet, so I cannot speak for its longevity.

I personally will be using them only for my best, most used builds due to their high cost and current draw. I currently have a pair in my Bullpup RS, and intend to install a second pair (pending acquiring an extra motor) in my Stryfe.

The Neo motors should be getting sent out to distributors at the start of next week, so look to your favourite distributor to receive stock soon.

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