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Boff
The Dealer


Joined: 08 Dec 2012
Posts: 3411
Fav. Blaster: (Modified) Stampede ECS
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Post Falcon 130 Motors  Reply with quote
Motor upgrades for flywheel blasters are often the third line in upgrades after wiring and battery choices. They are often a difficult area with multiple competing options. Broadly speaking, the field is divided into 130 form factor, as the stock motors are, and 180 motors. These latter motors have a longer endbell which requires a degree of shell cutting and in turn raises the barrier to entry to an extent. The best characterised of these motors is the Mabuchi FK-180-3240, often sold as a 'Blade' motor. Its data sheet can be found here and it is often deployed along with a 2S LiPo for optimum performance. While 180 motors offer proven performance, the lower barrier to entry offered by the 130s is an attractive prospect for some.

130 motors in the Nerf hobby consist of the stock 130s, a cloud of various Tamiya brand motors (including motors such as the Plasma Dash), Ransons, Shark NSR40s, RM2s and more recently the Falcon 130. Here in the UK, the most common 130 motor builds are the Shark NSR40s, Barricade stock motor swaps (Standard Motor Company FN130A-2080) and over-volts on other stock motors. The susceptibility of RM2 and Tamiya motors to failing due brush failures from over-volting renders them somewhat niche. More recently, AliExpress and other websites have made the Falcon 130 available. It is a relatively new motor and has garnered a small following amongst the Australian crowd. Indeed, BlasterTECH (the Australian blaster modification company) have turned the Falcons into a commercial product. This article will characterise these Falcon 130 motors and compare them to the 2 most common 130 motor swaps in use in the UK (Shark NSR40s and Barricades).

It's important to note that these trials focus on muzzle velocity as the sole indicator of performance. It is understood that this is not the sole indicator of performance and that the human will indeed be at the centre of the Nerf hobby, irrespective of the hardware they have access to.


Method:

Falcon 130 Data Collection:
Data collection for the Falcon 130 motors themselves was done using our Competition Electronics Pro-chrono Digital shooting chronograph with custom lighting rig, placed on a tripod. Shots were fired over the chronograph at a rate of 2/s (unless otherwise specified in the specific protocols).

Constants:
Darts: Koosh (eBay seller Yutoys, sourced March 2015) & Koosh (eBay seller BabyGiraffe, sourced June 2014)
2S LiPo: ZIPPY Compact 2200mAh 2S 25C Lipo Pack
3S LiPo: ZIPPY Compact 2200mAh 3S 25C Lipo Pack

Rapidstrike Configuration:
Batch number: Unknown

The Rapidstrike in question was refitted with a Stryfe flywheel cage and motors ahead of the second 2S LiPo trial. The first 2S LiPo trial failed after one of the flywheels welded itself to the cage. The cause of this was due to a poor quality cage that permitted unbalanced flywheels to move against the exterior of the cage and slowly melt the plastic, forming a weld. In order to break in these new flywheels, 5x 18 dart magazines were loaded with Voberries and fired into a collection basket. This process was repeated 4 times in order to give the flywheels a consistent layer of foam build up. Trials then resumed with the second 2 trial and 3S trial. Loom was a standard Blastersmiths UK wiring kit and plate containing a full set of 10A micro-switches.

The trial method for the 3S LiPo was modified to accommodate the runaway pusher problem present in this RS configuration. The build is designed for 2S and so the pusher will over-run on anything higher. As a result it was necessary to use multiple magazines and fire a single dart from each in order to prevent errors.

Stryfe Configuration
Batch number: 42484

The Stryfe was rewired using a Blastersmiths UK solid state wiring kit and switches. In the place of a micro-switch, a IRF44ZN MOSFET was used to control the flywheels using the stock harness. The same batteries were used for all trials so the LiPo was held outside the blaster using Velcro on this occasion.

Comparative Data Sourcing:
Data for comparisons was sourced from previous work I've done on Koosh shoots and from OldNoob's fantastic Modified Blaster Data Archive. The data sources for each can be found below.

FN130A (Barricade) motor data - trial was performed with Koosh on the same 3S pack as seen here. Blaster was a Stryfepede integration with the forward portion of the Stryfe being unmodified for firing purposes. Therefore, it can be taken as a reasonable proxy for a 3S LiPo Barricade motored Stryfe.

Shark NSR40 data - Data was sourced from trials with a 3S LiPo, concern yourself with the 'Clean Ammo' column.


Results:

All Falcon 130 Data can be found here in one convenient document.

Rapidstrike 2S Results:
RS 2S Trial #1:
Test halted after 34 shots due to a noticeable change in flywheel pitch and significant accuracy problems. Remember data is recorded as it comes off the chronograph and so is in reverse shot order. I think it ought to be obvious when the failure occurred.

RS 2S Trial #2:
Data is presented alongside Trial #1 data.

Average: 84.28FPS

RS 2S Trial #3:
Trial was conducted using later generation Koosh darts from Yutoys. Still pack fresh and gave the following results.

Average: 94.42FPS  

Rapidstrike 3S Results:
RS 3S Trial #1:
Data is presented in the first column.

Average: 98.5FPS

RS 3S Trial #2:
Data is presented in the second column.

Average: 115.27FPS

RS 3S Trial #3:
Data is presented in the third column.

Average: 110.19FPS

RS 3S Trial #4:
Data is presented in the fourth column.

Average: 107.41FPS

Stryfe 3S Results:
Stryfe 3S Trial #1:
Data is presented in the first column.

Average: 114.97FPS

Stryfe 3S Trial #2:
Data is presented in the second column.

Average: 111.72FPS


Analysis:
Falcons 130 2S versus Falcon 130 3S:
To form an initial impression of the data for comparison between 2S and 3S LiPo performance, an initial aggregate mean average of all compatible 2S and 3S trials took place. In both cases, Trials #3 and #4 were compared due to the fact both trials used darts from the same batch. Trial #2 of the 3S trial was also eligible to be included and that analysis is listed separately but the #3 and #4 clusters will be used in further analysis to keep the data set size the same.

2S vs 3S LiPo - #3 and #4 Trails:
Average 2S FPS: 89.29FPS
Average 3S FPS: 108.8FPS
Student's t-test (p < 0.05 is statistically significant) : p = 1.93E-12

2S vs 3S LiPo - Larger sample size for 3S:
Average 2S FPS (Trials #3, #4 compose data set): 89.29FPS
Average 3S FPS (Trials #2, #3, #4 compose data set) : 110.96FPS

Sharks versus Falcons:
The average for Sharks on the clean ammunition was taken from previous tests with a 3S LiPo Rapidstrike build. Clean here refers to pack fresh Koosh darts. Given the data stamp on the data-sheet, this test was performed using the older Koosh darts from BabyGiraffe on eBay. The Falcons average is taken from the totality of the data-set. For the student's t-test, it has been done on a trial by trial basis.

Average (Sharks) : 98.1FPS
Average (Falcons) : 110.96FPS

t-test:
Sharks vs Falcons Trial #2: p = 3.97E-01
Sharks vs Falcons Trial #3: p = 1.35E-04
Sharks vs Falcons Trial #4: p = 1.17E-03

p < 0.05 is considered significant.

In all trials the Falcons outperformed the Shark NSR40 motors to a high degree of statistical significance.

Barricades versus Falcons:
Once again, clean darts were used to evaluate the performance of a pair of fresh Falcon motors in the Stryfe 3S build. 2 trials were performed and the results comapared to the data for the Stryfe with Barricade motors in as discussed above. The average below is taken from the totality of the dataset.

Average (Falcons) : 112.86FPS
Averege (Barricades) : 109.3FPS

t-test:
Barricades vs Falcons Trial #1: p = 0.04648622571
Barricades vs Falcons Trial #2: p = 0.1426463093

This analysis suggests that there is only marginal differences between the Falcon and Barricade motors. In the trials conducted, only one data set offered a p value that met the threshold for statistical significance.

p < 0.05 is considered significant.

Discussion:
Falcon Battery Selection:
It is clear from the data above that 3S LiPo offers superior performance to the 2S LiPo option. There was an average increase of 19.51FPS between the two battery configurations with a high degree of statistical signfiicance. More importantly, there were no signs of motor distress during any of the trials. There was no ozone smell, no smoke or anything else normally associated with a motor being run beyond its capacity. The rated voltage for the Falcon 130 motor is 12V so this is an unsurprising observation. During a brief run on a 4S LiPo, there was little indication of problems but that run was for a very brief moment so no discernible data can be said to come from that. Moving forward, it is probably best to utilise the 3S battery solution as it offers a better comparison with Barricade and Shark motors. Future avenues of investigation might come from fully and correctly characterising the stock motors at 2S compared to the Falcon 130s but the remainder of this discussion will focus on the 3S solution.

Falcons vs Sharks:
The Falcons, against expectations, outperformed the Shark NSR40 motor by an average 12.86FPS. This is somewhat unexpected as the Shark motor is rated to 40,000RPM at 12V while the Falcon 130 is rated to 36000RPM at the same voltage. Further investigation is likely needed to verify this fact as the size of the data sets in the trials suffer from a large degree of size disparity. However, even if such trials offer better outputs, there is still the cost factor. Shark NSR40 motors often retail for around £10 per motor in the UK. Additionally, they are natively a 2 axle motor which must be removed before use. The process of removal is difficult as the axle is stainless steel and incorrect removal can lead to irreversible damage to the motor. Shark NSR40 motors are also known to suffer failure under load when exposed to 3S LiPos. The author knows of at least 3 separate failures of the Shark NSR40 in this fashion in Rapidstrikes. With the high cost and difficult install, there's little to recommend the Shark NSR40 compared to a Falcon in light of these performance figures.


Falcons vs Barricades:
The comparative trials between the Falcon 130 motors and the Barricade FN130A motors demonstrated a degree of similarity in performance. Of course, the Falcon is the easier to procure motor as they can be purchased at retail and wholesale quantities by anyone with an internet connection. Once again, it is the lack of longevity data in both cases that determines their adoption. Though, in this specific case, it is far more reasonable to choose the Falcon over the Barricade as it is much easier to replace the former.

The comparative trial between the two sets of motors also demonstrated a deeper need for statistical analysis. The simple student's t-test is unable to compare data sets of a different size and this limits the use of the analysis above. However, these trials have create a large repository of data that can be used by others for further analysis and meta-analysis as the hobby moves forwards and makes an effort to quantify and characterise its various components to optimise builds.

On data availability:
The trials above have also highlighted a dearth of data readily available to the community. Granted, there are several repositories here and there but none are of the size and scale presented here. It ought to be that a 50 dart Koosh trial is the standard for assessing any performance and multiple trials are better if possible. Presentation of data in a readily accessible format with a protocol attached will be be necessary. Creation of large, permanent data archives, correctly curated is a priority for the community so that it is possible to utilise past research to further future work. To that end, all data presented here will be collated into a single Modified Koosh Data thread as per the current BritNerf OldNoob Foam Data thread for Elite darts. There are other trials that have been conducted and will, in turn, be added to the roster for both stock and modified blasters.

Failure reporting for motors:
The common thread with 130 motors in general and perhaps the greatest sticking point for Falcon 130 adoption will be longevity. It's a relevant concern as we have seen multiple cases of failure of 130 motors in the past. Critically, however, there is a total dearth of data on this matter. Barring anecdotal evidence, there's little accurate record of motor failures and the circumstances in which they happen. The only option can be to encourage people to report failures when they do happen. Either through a common reporting form located somewhere highly visible or through better record keeping amongst bloggers and modders. Yes, it's an afterthought to keep track of what has been happening on the bench but it's reporting failures and the circumstances as they happen is the only way to garner that vital data. The Shark NSR40 failures that the author has personally heard about are sourced from 2 sets personal and 2 further anecdotal. That's fewer than the RM2 failures which were much more high profile (and frequent), however the higher cost of a Shark motor ought to warrant better reporting. That said, it ought to also be acknowledge that  the adoption rate for Sharks is much lower due to the higher cost.

With a full characterisation of a set of 130 motors as laid out above, it is possible to move forward and begin to challenge the 180 motor's dominance. Further study into the comparative performance of the FK-180 series is needed. The FK-180-3240 is not invulnerable to failure and the author knows of at least 2 failures to date. One was within a short period, the modder in question reported only 6-8 hours of game time. The other set was by /u/TorukMakto4 who reported a failure in his TacMod (find source). Whether such a challenge is successful remains to be seen. The design of future trials will have to take into account the disparity between an optimum Falcon build and an optimum FK-180-3240 build.

Additionally, it is important to understand that the culture of the NIC has changed in the 2 years since the start of the so-called 'battery wars'. Through the positive hard work of a number of modders and bloggers, the adoption of good quality wiring practices and significantly higher powered batteries has almost become the norm. With these factors in mind and the current restricted supply of FK-180-3240s, the landscape has shifted somewhat.

Future prospects
In all, the Falcon has its strengths. Low cost, comparatively good performance, good availability and a 130 form factor. Whether it lasts and is sufficiently durable remains to be seen. There will be ongoing trials and recording of failures in an effort to garner data on the longevity of the Falcon 130 motor. Trials will be designed in due course to compare it to the FK-180-3240 motor and the results published accordingly.

Disclosure:
The author is an employee of Blastersmiths UK Ltd and owns shares in the company.


A note on data ethics and publication bias:
I'm committed to the principle of All Trials which essentially means that all the tests I do get published; not just the successful ones or the comparative ones. If I've done it it'll be here on BritNerf. The more data we have, the more useful things we can determine by analysing it. Something I might miss, someone else might notice because of the data I've published. Yes, I'll use the successful data when I'm promoting a mod or upgrade but the bad stuff will be here, too.

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Boff: Managing Director, Blastersmiths UK & BUZAN Founder (formerly)
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Last edited by Boff on Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:48 pm; edited 2 times in total
Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:34 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Aldegar
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Post Reply with quote
Have not seen one in a pusher yet, wondering if these would do well for ROF?

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Sun Apr 12, 2015 2:09 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Boff
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Post Reply with quote
Try this. Smile

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OldNoob
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Post Reply with quote
My problem with the Falcons is that I can get very close on total FPS at 2s with total reliability, I have had 0 failures in all 10 I have built and will hit the flywheel ceiling at 3s with them, at the expense of ROF control and probably motor life.
It is very clear that the falcon represents superb value for money as a 3s system, with the added advantage of not needing motor covers. I still remain sceptical of long term reliability, but as Boff has noted there is no real data on this.
I would consider doing falcon builds for people who want them. I can't see many of my personal fleet getting them yet. I will see what a GC season does for a set or two. I was never a Shark fan, I felt they were too expensive given their limited reliability on 3s.
Thanks for doing such a thorough motor analysis for us Boff.

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Big_Poppa_Nerf wrote:

Boff whats the damage? I have spent over 3 times my Nerf budget this month already. Part of me is trying to be a responsible parent/husband/house owner. The other half is just says 'Ahhhh, Screw it!'.
Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:28 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Boff
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Post Reply with quote
OldNoob wrote:
Thanks for doing such a thorough motor analysis for us Boff.


I'm not done yet! CarrierII wired up the Stryfe this afternoon so I'll get on that tomorrow afternoon. Very Happy

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Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:44 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
DLO01
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Joined: 09 Aug 2014
Posts: 17
Location: Australia



Post Reply with quote
Aldegar wrote:
Have not seen one in a pusher yet, wondering if these would do well for ROF?


They are great as a pusher motor.  We use Falcons in both 2S and 3S builds as our go to pusher motor.  The video linked above by Boff was with 3x 0.7v drop diodes in it as we install these in our 3S builds for bit better finger control.  Even without diodes on 3S the falcons perform rock solid.  No bump fire/run on and the ROF is super super quick bordering on insane.

Overall, so far I've heard of no failures for these motors here in AU.  I've gone through 2x wars personally and others have done plenty more.  Sure its early days and you always hear good news before bad news from others, so time will always tell.

For me, overall the Falcons are a great motor.  They really put the Sharks out of the game.  Price and performance they are hard to beat!

Nice write up Boff.  Awesome stuff!!!

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Northwind
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Post Reply with quote
I have nothing useful to add other than that I love this stuff- thanks guys! The science gets done and you make a neat gun...
Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:51 pm View user's profile Send private message
Boff
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Post Reply with quote
OP updated with Barricade (FN130A) and Falcon comparative analysis and discussion. In an interesting turn of events, the two types of motor appear, at this level of analysis, to be very similar in performance. Similar to the point where it might be an either or until more data is available (or better analysis is done).

I think I'm done now. This excerise has highlighted a number of short comings in my own statistical understandin that I'll need to rectify as well as a lack of effective data repositories for motor performance. The best I could find were 10-15 dart shoots on Youtube or the odd archive here and there. I think, from memory, the Dart Zone was the only place that was up to standard and even then, their sample sizes were tiny.

I might try and create a motor failure reporting system, too. Not sure how it would work but if this study has taught me anything; it's that we need one. Confounding factors are going to be a problem, however.

tl;dr Get yourself some Falcons. They're awesome and you don't need to cut your case. Work is ongoing on the durability question.

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OldNoob
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Post Reply with quote
I would still argue for a 50 dart Elite shoot for global comparison. There are still a number of mods for which Koosh darts are wholly unsuitable, e.g. springer fit barrels /brass breeches, hi po long barrel airguns, which all work with Elites as far as getting them out the barrel and over a chrono.
Currently the only economic source for elite darts is the 75's off Amazon.com or flash sales.
Totally agree on a full and detailed motor comparison. I would have done one months ago if it weren't for cost of darts and all the bloody painting you all want me to do! I would suggest a new thread here, like the Modified and Stock blaster threads, just for motors. I will make it a sticky.

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Big_Poppa_Nerf wrote:

Boff whats the damage? I have spent over 3 times my Nerf budget this month already. Part of me is trying to be a responsible parent/husband/house owner. The other half is just says 'Ahhhh, Screw it!'.
Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:21 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Boff
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Post Reply with quote
I'm going to stick with Koosh at this juncture. While these trials might be reasonably artificial, Koosh are what we are going to be used in-field because they're so damned cheap and accurate to boot. To that end, I'd suggest it's better to use Koosh in these trials as it's what 9/10 shots are going to be using.

It also helps that the quality of Koosh has improved of late as the 1000s currently spread around the office will attest to. I've not had any problems with Koosh in long barrel springers since this new batch came in. Smile

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TopDart25
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How quickly do the Falcon 130 motors respond? Can the motors perform like the Mabuchi FK 180SH 3240 motors, in terms of immediate fire power? (Thanks to Torukmakto for the demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWUOe2cYqbk)
Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:08 am View user's profile Send private message
Boff
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Post Reply with quote
They come up just the same, provided you're feeding them enough power. Given the 25C LiPo packs and 18AWG wire I'm using in the above blasters, they've got more than enough. Indeed, that goes for any motor set. Smile

I'll be doing comparisons between FK-180-3240s and Falcons soon, just got a bunch of other stuff to get out the way first.

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Northwind
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Post Reply with quote
Hi Boff,

Just to be clear, you mentioned the 25C battery there, did you mean the 2 or 3S? Probably the 3 I think?

Really interesting stuff this, I like that the focus is on the Falcons but it probably puts the barricade motor swap back in the spotlight too, given the value of barricades these days.
Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:14 am View user's profile Send private message
Boff
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Post Reply with quote
3S. As the paper concludes, 3S is the superior voltage option for the Falcons. I quoted 25C in my previous response because the poster was asking about response time which is a function of torque and current supply. 25C at 2.2A is around 55A continuous which is more than enough for most motor configurations in Nerf. I think the burst is something closer to 40C over 15s... Very Happy

It's true: the FN130A motors are solid and, as far as I can tell, a good proxy for Falcons. However, the supply is a little limited but if you can get your hands on a Barricade then great. Though, I'm not a fan of cannibalising blasters for parts and leaving them hanging. Much better to leave the FN130As in the Barricade and stick Falcons in your RS.

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Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:25 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
OldNoob
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Post Reply with quote
The other issue with the Barricade motors is a cheap second hand donor could have had no end of abuse, like being left in the garden etc, making any set of motors out if one unreliable. I always buy new.
C refers to the discharge rating of the pack, measured in Amps, S refers to the cell count. We usually aim for 25-40c for Nerf applications, you match the cell count to the optimum operating voltage of the motors, then look for a discharge rating that can handle both Flywheel motors at stall. That info is typically in the motor data sheet.

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Big_Poppa_Nerf wrote:

Boff whats the damage? I have spent over 3 times my Nerf budget this month already. Part of me is trying to be a responsible parent/husband/house owner. The other half is just says 'Ahhhh, Screw it!'.
Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:35 am View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Northwind
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Post Reply with quote
Boff wrote:
3S. As the paper concludes, 3S is the superior voltage option for the Falcons. I quoted 25C in my previous response because the poster was asking about response time which is a function of torque and current supply.


Cool- was just querying as both the 2S and 3S batteries in the test were 25C so it wasn't totally clear to me which of the 2 you were referring to. I've found the response rate of 2S/40C a bit underwhelming with barricades which is why I was assuming 3S- but it did also make me question whether there's just something horribly wrong with my builds  Laughing
Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:44 am View user's profile Send private message
Boff
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Post Reply with quote
FN130A motors do perform best on 3S. I have a feeling they might be rated to 12V like the Falcons are. It's one of the rare cases where 3S is preferred long term over 2S. Generally, 3240s, stock motors and the like all prefer 2S in the long rong but Barricades just have to be different.

And good point, ON, about the recovered motors. I hadn't considered that. Smile

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Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:48 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
OldNoob
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Post Reply with quote
Northwind, you have mismatched motors and battery. Switch to a 3s and you will be up to 110-115 FPS.
If you run that pack with stock or 6v rated motors the snap speed will be right up there.
As Boff has added, they may well be 12v rated. Any 130 on 2s is going to be around 95-98fps average, that's why 180's are so popular.
I can see a potential change to 3s Falcon becoming the norm especially for those who like everything in the shell.

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Big_Poppa_Nerf wrote:

Boff whats the damage? I have spent over 3 times my Nerf budget this month already. Part of me is trying to be a responsible parent/husband/house owner. The other half is just says 'Ahhhh, Screw it!'.
Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:44 am View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
SSGT
Nerf Addict


Joined: 12 Jan 2013
Posts: 1284
Fav. Blaster: 'Rave-N' CS-18, Elite Alpha Trooper (EAT) CS-12
Location: Durham



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I made this a little while ago. It got a bit annoying to have to sprawl through google every time I needed to look up and compare datasheets. It's not much but it makes life a lot easier. Razz

The original datasheets are listed at the end of each row too. I couldn't find specs for the 180SH 3534, only the PH 3534. Same winding just supposedly different magnets (although both are supposed to be anisotropic/rare earth magnets).

Again, my main concern with the Falcons is that their torque output is around half that of the 3240. From what I've seen they'll probably serve well in Stryfes and low RoF RSs but might struggle in more insane RS builds.

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Trust me, I'm an engineer! Very Happy

Antonius wrote:
Compoooter bits make shiny Nerf blaster go whoosh!
Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:29 pm View user's profile Send private message
torukmakto4
Junior Member


Joined: 29 Sep 2013
Posts: 39
Fav. Blaster: RS Tacmod
Location: Florida, USA



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My tm2.1 3240 failure was a pusher motor and it died because the pusher hit the feed lips on a bad mag and drew stall current for an extended period.

Any motor is vulnerable to a pusher crash. I have motor protection planned for future builds.



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The Dart Zone

http://torukmakto4.blogspot.com/
Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:35 pm View user's profile Send private message
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