Orion has jumped into the growing 19-turn spec
modified market with its new Element motor. Based on
the "TOP" can-and-endbell design that's used
for Orion's stock and modified motors, the Element
offers spec racers another option in this growing and
competitive racing class. The motor can be used for
any purpose, of course, and there are wilder
machine-wound modifieds in the same price range, but
the features of this particular one make it most
attractive to spec modified racers.
Tagged armature and special shaft for ease of
Factory-installed endbell capacitors
with laydown or standard brushes
color-coded brush heat sinks
• Timing fixed
at 24 degrees
This is the same endbell that introduced factory-installed
surface-mount capacitors. Two capacitors are mounted to the
endbell, so you don't have to solder them into place (at least
for applications that require two capacitors).
The Element's aluminum endbell heat sinks have been
anodized green to match the motor's label. At each end of the
brush hood there's a polarized, aluminum brush heat sink; one
is anodized red, and the other is black to show which is the
positive side and which is the negative side. Timing is fixed
at 24 degrees. The endbell is locked into place by a tab
that's indexed to the motor can. Last, but not least, the
Element is available with standard brushes or laydown brushes
and brush hoods; our test motor had laydown brushes.
The motor can's design is the same as is
used for Orion's other modified motors. It features diagonal
cooling slots in the sides and four triangular vents in the
bottom. This particular can, in keeping with the spirit of the
rules that regulate stock racing, has "spec19"
stamped into the bottom to prevent racers from can swapping
and the other tricks some might try to build a
"ringer" motor. Orion's G12 wet-pressed magnets are
affixed to the
The endbell tab that indexes to the motor can to fix
timing at 24 degrees has been shortened (shown above,
circled); it is shorter than the tab found on the
early TOP motors. Unlike in the original TOP motor,
the screws that fasten the endbell to the can do not
have to be completely removed when you want to take
off the endbell.
The endbell's built-in capacitors save you the
trouble of soldering them into place. The Element is
available with standard or laydown brushes and brush
hoods; it also has distinctive, unique green-anodized
brush-hood heat sinks.
As with all motor dyno tests for RC Car Action,
I tested the Element with a Robitronic Pro-Master dyno.
I set the dyno at 7.5 volts to simulate a 6-cell
battery pack, and I made sure that the motor was
properly broken in, the brushes and commutator were
clean and true, and the bearings were properly
The Element puts out numbers that are very
competitive in this class: 185.1 watts of power output
at peak. Not only does it have good power output, but
it also shows very strong torque numbers: it starts at
a 251.4 Nmm (Newton millimeters) and still pumps out
137.7 Nmm at peak power output. It falls off only when
at peak rpm. I expect lower peak rpm from a motor that
demonstrates higher than average torque, but if you
gear it as you would any other 19-turn motor, you
might reduce your vehicle's straightaway speeds. I
suggest that you gear up slightly to take advantage of
the Element's higher initial torque.
The Element's design is a hybrid of stock and
modified. It has the solid stacks (laminations) of a
modified motor and the armature tags and extended
motor shaft of a rebuildable stock motor.
19 turns of 19-gauge wire
Brushes: pro-stock serrated laydown
Springs: polarized; positive (red); negative
Comm. diameter: 0.295 in. (7.5mm)
Peak power (watts): 185.1
Peak torque (Nmm): 251.4
Torque C peak power (Nmm): 137.7
Peak efficiency: 76.5%
A full-rotor, modified armature is wrapped with 19 turns of
19-gauge wire; that's the emerging standard for spec-class
19-turn motors. The armature is also tagged to help tech
inspectors identify it as the proper one for the motor. As a
final means of identification, the top of the armature shaft
extends considerably beyond the bearing and has a unique taper
at the tip of its shaft.
The version of the Element I tested had
pro-stock serrated brushes. This type of brush balances
performance and longevity; Orion prefers to install these
instead of others that may run better but need to be replaced
frequently. The brushes include thick copper shunts to better
handle a heavy current, and the shunts have been soldered to
the brush hoods for a more solid, efficient connection.
The Element's polarized springs are
color-coded to identify the tension they'll provide. Springs
of different tension are used on the positive and negative
brushes; a slightly heavier spring is used on the positive
Element is a strong, very capable motor in the
emerging 19-turn spec class. Its excellent power
output leans a little more toward torque than toward
screaming-high rpm. Its total power output is as
strong as that of any other motor we've tested; it
just delivers its power a little differently.
Team Orion Inc. (714) 694-2812; team-orion.com.