Servo, 1/8th scale comp buggy

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Q. I'm looking for a steering servo for my TEKNO EB48 2.0 and am hoping for a recommendation to run it on 6VDC. If you're not familiar with it, it's a fast and fairly large 1/8 electric buggy. Thank you in advance.

A. It's hard to say what's best for a comp buggy like an EB48 2.0 because everybody drives one differently. Since 1/8th scale buggies are fun and versatile, they lend themselves to lots of uses beyond just racing. Speaking of racing, Dustin Sparks shared this end of race day at the track photo of his, which he equipped with a DS630 servo and if it doesn't get the juices flowing, nothing will.


Choices, choices, choices!

First off, TEKNO call for (300oz-in), and we offer 5 servos that exceed this on 6V (but have seven servos in the lineup if you update your system so you can run 8.4V). And, if you not interested in spending for a new radio system capable of using 8.4V then we also have a simple low-buck hack for using 6V in your rig while at the same time, powering the servo with 8.4V – clicking this link opens another tab with a brief article that explains. Anyway, these are the ProModeler servos for your 1/8th scale comp buggy.

  1. DS355CLHV - fast light, requires M2S adapter plate - 265oz-in on 6V
  2. DS360DLHV – cheapest, 270oz-in on 6V, good budget choice
  3. DS385CLHV - better because it's also bigger, faster, and has steel gears
  4. DS555BLHV - best because it's fast and has a bullet proof all-alloy case
  5. DS630BLHV – even better because it's 2X recommended torque
  6. DS930BLHV – 3X recommended torque because . . . mo betta!
  7. DS1155BLHV - best for bashing because of a ginormous steel gear train!

DS355CLHV - is a mini-size servo. This means you'll also need a mini2standard adapter plate to fit the rig. Why a mini? Because it shaves an ounce off gross weight. If I need to explain this it's not the right servo for you.

Who needs it? Only an expert driver. Be honest with yourself before buying this to save weight because everybody else is better off with a standard size servo. Why? It's because of the physically larger gear train of a standard size servo (more durable) as compared to the mini gear train that's physically smaller won't survive in the hands of a wannbe. Anyway, don't buy this, tear it up and then come whinging to us because the gears broke.

Speaking of gears breaking, let's address this right now. We don't make any unbreakable servos. None! The gears in the mini-class servo will break around 450oz-in - considerably higher than the servo rating - but 'not' more than you can backfeed back into it. Point being, these gears - like any gear train - can be broken, and it doesn't mean they're defective just that they can be broken, capice?

Like I said, this mini is an interesting choice, but only for top racers, but probably not a good choice for local hotshoes interested in running a mini to save weight. Then again, it's your money, do whatever you want - just don't say we didn't warn you, OK?


DS360DLHV - honestly, even if money were tight we'd recommend saving up before using this one. Yes, it's a good solid servo. Yes, it's equipped with dual ball bearings. Yes, it's got all metal gears. Yes, it's a 'good' choice and it'll work fine – but - in all honestly, an 1/8th scale comp buggy deserves better.

Straight up, the only thing that recommends this servo is the price. Is it better than some no-name import on Amazon? Well sure! But do yourself a favor and save up. We have better servos for a comp buggy, trust us.

Are you shocked we'd say this? You shouldn't be because you asked our advice and while it's worth every penny you paid, it also means you're getting the unvarnished truth, e.g. the good, the bad, and the ugly. Bottom line? We're not going to blow smoke up your skirt just to sell a lousy servo! Not who we are.

Look, any ProModeler servo is built better than a typical Asian import whether you scored it off Amazon or a hobby shop. Heck, you don't need to be an engineer to figure it out, you just need a set of eyes.

Basically, a lot of little details add up to make for better value. Eyeball this image comparing our DS630 to a well regarded competitor, the SAVOX SB-2290SG to get a feel for how our servos are made versus the other guys because one thing is certain, if we don't show you the guts, e.g. what's hidden inside . . . they won't!

So there are many little things like our using 13 o-rings, plus Allen head bolts instead of Phillips, and not just a 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum alloy center case, but one that's been CNC- machined with cooling fins instead of being cheaply extruded that make the difference in quality. BUT, you have to read the adverts carefully because that's where they hide what's important, e.g. it's what they don't say, understand? Anyway, along with all the other details, we also apply monkey snot on the PCB, which is a pain in the ass but better protects your investment against shock and vibration.

These details are all part of what makes a ProModeler servo better (and probably why you're looking at us for your next servo). Nevertheless, the DS360 wouldn't be our first choice if this were our rig. Sure, at 6V it makes about 270oz-in (close enough to meets the spirit of TEKNO's 300oz-in specs), and obviously, if you run it on 8.4V it makes 360oz-in, which is more than they recommend, but while it's the first standard size servo on the list, it's a good choice, it's not our first choice. There's a difference. Understand?


DS385CLHV - straight up, the DS385CL is waaaay faster the DS360 (click this link to read an article explaining about motors because we cut apart three different type of motors and explain what makes them different). This servo also has steel gears, which are a much smarter choice for a rig. Bottom line? This is a 'better' choice for a comp buggy like the EB48 2.0 - especially for competitive drivers.

Yes, it's also a little more pricey than a DS360 but this can't be helped. And due to using a hybrid case, it's reasonably light, too. This is our first recommendation for an 1/8th scale buggy for racing and probably what I would select for my personal use if I were a pretty good driver. However, I'm not a very good driver so honestly, I'd be better off with a tougher design, one sporting an all-alloy case. But guess what? That's more money! Se let's look at what I'd probably pick, the next servo, the DS555.


DS555BLHV - the DS555 is probably the 'best' choice for most drivers. While it's fast like the DS385 (and speed is what racers seek because it makes it easier to beat the other guy when you're diving for the apex of a corner), it's also got a more durable motor. Brushless motors are the best. Full stop. But what makes it the best choice is the bronze-reinforced all-alloy case.

So add in an all-alloy case, and not an ordinary aircraft aluminum case but one that's been bronze reinforced at the factory. This makes it nearly bulletproof. Costs more money, again but it really is the sweet-spot in the ProModeler lineup for 1/8th scale buggy racers. This is our best choice, but we have more options available. Next up is a beefier servo, the DS630.


DS630BLHV has a lot more torque that TEKNO call for, more than 2X as much. Is it worth the added price over a DS555? Dunno, depends. After all, there's a time and a place when twice the recommended torque comes in handy. Believe me, plenty of 1/8th scale comp buggies are running around with the DS630 and these folks are quite happy and take note, if you really are hamstrung with a 6V system, this servo is still making 445oz-in, which is still 50% more than TEKNO call for. It's the kind of stump pullin' torque that wins races when you're digging deep into a corner and beating the other guy by the hundredths of a second that sometimes make the difference between winning and also ran.


DS930BLHV - now you're getting into extreme performance territory. Rated at more than 3X the manufacturer's minimum spec, this servo is simply awesome. Even on 6V it's making north of 700oz-in and this is a gracious plenty by 'any' definition! Do you want silly amounts of torque? This is it.


DS1155BLHV - honestly, this servo is the answer to a basher's wet dream because while the case isn't any bigger than other standard size servos, the dog-leg design of the transmission lets us fit bigger gears. How much bigger? About twice the surface area of a conventional standard size servo with the transmission section. Bigger gears reduces working pressures by half, shock loads also cut in half. Result? More durable gears!

Simply put, the larger gears are the defining mechanical characteristics between the DS1155 and pretty much anything else available to the market at any price and the DS1155 is - without question - the best standard size servo we know how to make.

Yeah, some people will look at the difference in price between good, better, and best, then see how much this puppy costs and blink. We understand because there's no two ways about it, it's pricey, but then again, it's the best in the world. But guess what? You can still break the gears because nothing on this planet is unbreakable! This is our best. Period.


Summary

So for an 1/8th scale comp buggy on the race course, our DS385 or DS555 are really great choices. If you're bashing you're going to want more torque but then you need to reach deeper into your wallet. Is what it is.

We'll close with this observation. Re-read what Dustin Sparks said in passing about the DS630 in his EB48 and take note he mentioned having used the servo in other rigs. The important thing to take away from this is a simple lesson being shared by an experienced racer; your servos are a capital investment so instead of one-and-done, they can be repurposed as your interests change.

Our advice? Take his words of wisdom into account because it's the defining difference between wannabes and pros. Pros are always thinking ahead, whether it's for gaining an advantage entering the next corner or thinking about what may be coming down the pike rig-wise in future. Ultimately, the Boy Scouts had it right with . . . be prepared.

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