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If you have recently purchased a Traxxas RC car or are looking at them and trying to decide if you should buy one then knowing if they are waterproof is vital! Aftgerall, no one wants to purchase an RC car and ruin it by driving it through a puddle on the first day they own it!
No matter which RC car you ultimately buy (whether Traxxas or any other brand) you should be sure and know all of the limitations of the vehicle including whether it is safe to use them in water or not.
Traxxas motors whether brushed or brushless are generally labeled as waterproof but just because they are waterproof doesn’t mean you should throw your RC car in the lake! Normally it is only the motor and the ESC that is waterproof and there will be other electronics that will be damaged if you completely submerge your RC vehicle.
When an RC car says that certain parts of it are waterproof that should really be taken as them being more water resistant than proof. What I mean by that is that you can take your Traxxas RC car in wet grass, through puddles, or even out in the rain if the motor is waterproof but you shouldn’t drop it in your backyard pool and try and drive it underwater!
Both brushed and brushless Traxxas motors are generally labeled waterproof. Brushed motors, in particular, have a great capacity to withstand very wet situations while brushless motors are not as waterproof unless special steps are taken. However, the fact that brushed motors are capable of surviving wet conditions does not mean it is absolutely safe to submerge them in water either. If you submerge your Traxxas motor in water, you would have to carry out very thorough maintenance to relube and clean the bearings and would likely cause permanent damage to other parts of the system.
If you absolutely want to submerge your RC vehicle in water (for some reason) then you can do so but only after you waterproof the entire thing. You can watch the video below to see exactly how to do that.
Why are some RC parts marketed as waterproof?
A lot of factory-standard ‘RC-grade’ brushed motors use boron ferrite magnets, and as a result, these motors are referred to as ‘wet.’ Boron ferrite magnets can actually be dipped into water without having any issues.
Brushless motors, on the other hand, make use of neodymium magnets. These neodymium magnets can’t stand water, and it can be extremely unsafe for them to come in contact with water, especially when they are in use. Also, neodymium magnets are un-machinable, and what this means is that once they are damaged, they cannot be repaired.
You should also know that a lot of brushed motors make use of neodymium as well. These brushed motors that use neodymium should not be dipped in water either. The Venom Fireball, just like a lot of RC-grade brushed motors, makes use of boron ferrite magnets, and so, it will be safe when it passes through or gets dipped in water.
So what Traxxas and many other RC manufacturers do is they create a housing or something similar that is waterproof so that they can advertise their vehicles as having waterproof parts. One main issue with that is often those watertight seals will pop open during use making the RC vehicle much less waterproof than people think they are.
Another thing you should know is that a lot of the watery stuff your Traxxas car may have to race through on the streets or grass is not clean water. The water actually contains a lot of contaminants, which can greatly slow down the performance of the motor when it comes into contact with it. This is mostly because they could alter the magnet field. If you do not clean the motor or carry out regular maintenance, there could be a thin coat of the contaminants left on the magnets, and this could result in a drop in performance of your RC car.
As a result, most closed-end bell motors should be very strictly protected from mud or water unless they have solid waterproofing that has been done to them.
So, in general both your brushed and brushless Traxxas motors are best kept away from water unless you actually waterproof the entire RC vehicle. However, if you ever race your RC car through water, make sure that you take the time to clean it and carry out maintenance on the motor and other parts of the car.
How to Make Sure You’re Getting the Best of Your Traxxas Motor
Motor maintenance is very important because the motor of your RC car is the one thing that makes sure your RC car is in good condition to run. If the motor is faulty, then the car is faulty too. So, here are some things that you can do to keep it in good condition:
Remove the motor
To avoid losing anything, use a parts tray to keep all the parts organized. For starters, take the motor out of the vehicle. You may need to first remove the pinion gear from the motor shaft to remove the motor itself. Take it out and keep the gear and be careful to avoid breaking the plugs when you pull the wires apart.
You should also note the pattern of the wiring before disconnecting them so that you can put them back in their exact positions when you are done. Most motors are fastened with some screws and washers on them. Take those screws out and keep them safe and where you can find them again.
Use compressed air
If your motor is sealed, there’s a limit to how much you can clean it. Use a clean toothbrush to gently brush away grime and dirt from the bearings and be cautious not to push the dirt in further. Compressed air is another good option but use this only after you have gotten most of the dirt off the motor’s exterior.
You can use compressed air to blow dirt through the vent holes and out of the motor. You can also blow through the motor mounting holes if needed.
Give it a bath
To break in their hard compound brushes, sealed end bell motors have to run a lot. Having them run partially submerged in water enables quicker break-in. Water dipping can also help to clean the motors (only brushed motors).
Put enough water in a cup to submerge your brushed motor. Turn on your electronics and radio like you would when you want to run the car. Run the motor, and hold it while turning up the throttle trim until the motor is running steady. The motor should be neither too slow nor too quick. Let the motor run for 10 minutes while it is submerged in water, and the brushes will adjust to the shape of the commutator, helping the motor to produce more productive power in the vehicle.
When the time is up, remove it from the water and let it dry. Also, put some oil on the bearings and let it sit for a few hours before moving to the next step.
Put it back in its original place
Now that you’re done cleaning your motor, you will need to carry out the opposite of the process of taking out the motor to put it back in place. Put a piece of paper in-between the gears and fasten the motor. When you pull the paper out, the pinion gear’s teeth should slightly wiggle in the spur gear’s teeth. When you put back the motor, ensure that the vehicle is running quietly as this is a sign of your gear mesh’s condition. The mesh is too tight if the vehicle is loud, and you would have to reset the gear mesh. To avoid stripping the gears, also make sure the mesh isn’t too loose.
Now that you have a clean motor and your mesh set, you can get out and play again. How often you should clean your motor will largely depend on the type of terrain you’re racing on. But, in any case, your motor is very likely to run on even tough terrains now and at a really good speed.
Even if you have a waterproof Traxxas motor and electronics rarely will the entire vehicle be waterproof so avoid using your Traxxas RC car in a lot of water and you will save yourself a lot of headache and time on maintenance.