Is buying a used RC worth it if you're new to the hobby? We bought a used Traxxas E-Revo 2.0 and here's the story.
There's a ton of used RC's out there for sale. But how do you know if you're picking a winner? Read on to see what our experience was buying a used Traxxas E-Revo 2.0 from Facebook Marketplace.
We picked up this neglected Traxxas E-Revo 2.0 at a pretty good deal for what was all included. The seller had bought it for their 10 year old's first RC vehicle. (Mistake #1) It came with the Traxxas EZ-Peak Live dual charger as well as a pair of 2s and 3s battery packs. (3s batteries for 6s total was mistake #2 for someone new to the hobby) Also it came with the original box and the manuals & included tool bag (which had never been opened, mistake #3). They stated in their ad that the 4 wheel drive had quit working and they were tired of having to have it fixed by Traxxas (Mistake #4 in that they didn't want to try to fix it themselves). We picked up everything as shown for $350 total.
Here's how we received it:
Fixing the 4wd:
When I was looking it over before purchase, I could feel the diffs were fine, and the front drive was working. It was somewhere between the transmission and rear differential that had failed. Easy enough of a fix I figured.
Getting it back to the workbench, after pulling the center cover I had found a rock had gotten inside and the driveshaft rubbed on it until it had cut in two. A $4 part from Traxxas (#8655) and I was back in business.
The elephant in the room:
My main complaint with Traxxas RTR models are the crappy plastic geared servos they include with them. They strip out way too easy even with the servo saver's that Traxxas uses causing a poor customer experience. This truck was no different. The installed servos both were stripped (Not disclosed by the seller but I planned on replacing them from the get go so not a big deal), and there were 2 more servos in the box which were also stripped so this had been a previous issue for the previous owner.
I removed them and rummaged around my spare parts bin to see what I had available. I found a pair of ProTek 170SBL's that had been retired from 1/8 racing duty. They are quite overkill at 458 in/oz at 6 volts (stock ESC BEC output) compared to the 125 in/oz of the stock 2075 servos but who doesn't like more power! There's no need to run dual servos of this level, and I am sure in the future it will be converted to just a single 170SBL servo when I need a servo for another project but in the meantime I'm going to enjoy steering overkill.
Stock 2075 Specs: 125 oz-in torque; Transit time 0.17 sec/60° (x2)
ProTek 170SBL Specs: 0.09 transit speed, and 458 oz-in of torque @ 6.0V (x2)
Lipo Care, or lack there-of.
Traxxas is the best IMHO when it comes to Lipo batteries and chargers for someone new to the hobby to use. (Heck, even for me I think they are a killer setup with the ID connectors and no separate balance plug to worry about) Basically they are plug and play with only one battery connector. No more balance connector to have to plug in to get the charger to recognize what type of battery is plugged into it.
The problem comes from people who do not understand that after a Lipo battery has reached low voltage cutoff from use that it needs to be charged some before being put away. Of the 4 batteries that were included with this truck, 3 of them had cells that were as low as 0.7 volts! Luckily they were not puffed and a few minutes on a different charger in Ni-MH mode brought the battery pack voltages up enough that the Traxxas charger could take over and bring the battery packs to life. All 4 batteries balanced back out perfectly and charged without any issues. I'm impressed, both with the quality of the Traxxas batteries as well as their charger. It was nice to be able to check on my phone how the batteries were doing. As soon as you plugged a battery pack into the charger, it knew exactly what pack it was. From the battery type to the capacity rating and the cell count. This makes for worry free charging.
Please Note: This is a trick that only experienced hobbyists should perform as there is a danger of the battery pack actually catching fire. Any battery pack that is questionable (usually they will get puffy when they are going bad) should be replaced. The store Batteries Plus will recycle old batteries If you need to dispose of your old Lipo battery.
Is buying a used RC for your first RC a good idea?
The pictures and price of this truck made it really appealing but If someone new to the hobby would have bought this truck it would have been a nightmare for them. The truck was broken. The servos were stripped. The batteries would not take a charge. These are all things that are an easy fix for a seasoned hobbyist but something that could leave a sour taste for someone who wanted to get into the hobby. Most importantly, they had no way to test it all or even know what to test or look for as they were new to the hobby. And taking it to the local hobby shop or sending it to Traxxas for repair would have been a pretty big bill.
Our suggestion for someone new to the hobby that is looking to buy a used RC for their first one is to find one you can power on and drive before purchasing. If you know someone that is already in the hobby that can give you their opinion on the purchase that is even better. Also, a truck like this is on the advanced level both for repair-ability and for drive-ability. I would never recommend this truck for someone just starting out, it's just too much truck for someone just getting into it.
- Start out with something that has a simple and easy to work on chassis.
- Find something that parts are easily available for. You're going to need them. Parts break and parts wear out so you want them easy to get.
- Do some research. Find out if that model vehicle has had a lot of problems. Are people happy with it? Would they recommend it?
- Last, avoid anything old and discontinued. Hunting for parts isn't any fun when you're new to the hobby.
A Traxxas Rustler 4x4 would have been a great first vehicle over this Traxxas E-Revo for someone who wanted a truck like this. It's a simpler design to work on and maintain while still being an absolute riot. Also, it only requires one battery instead of two.
What's next for our new used Traxxas E-Revo 2.0?
First, we are going to have some fun with it. This will allow us to do a shake down and look for any other potential problems or things that need to be addressed. Then we will do a full tear down and install one of our rubber sealed bearing kits as well as replacing the differential oil and just give the truck a full one-over. Any parts that are worn (such as the rear outdrives) will be replaced. Traxxas has a really nice truck with the new version of the E-Revo so there's not much that we feel needs to be upgraded or replaced besides the steering servos that we have already taken care of.