Dynotest: Team Orion Formula SV2

Words: Steve Pond


Team Orionís new Formula SV2 series of budget machine-wound modified motors is an offshoot of its popularóand more expensiveóV2 series of hand-wound modified motors. With the V2 series, Orion introduced cylindrical brushes positioned at an angle to improve brush efficiency and to fully exploit the cooling properties of the aluminum endbells for maximum brush life. The new Formula SV2 (Sport V2) motors feature a similar brush shape and angle, but they feature molded-composite endbells. Will these new motors deliver the same advantages as full-blown modified motors? We dynoíd them to answer that very question.

ē Molded SV2 endbell.

ē Factory-installed capacitors.

ē Angled brush hoods to minimize brush bounce.

ē Bullet connectors for easy installation in RTRs.

ē Balanced armature for smooth running.

ē Cylindrical brushes.

BUSHINGS OR BEARINGS? SV2s are machine-wound, modified motors designed for budget-conscious racers and bashers. Team Orion created two lines: the Pro Bushing (Pro) and the Pro Ball Bearing (Pro BB). Pro motors are less expensive, but they give up features so they can be offered at the lower price. Besides using bushings to support their armatures, their endbells are fixed. Pro BB motors feature adjustable timing and removable endbells. Both versions come with bullet connectors installed, so their installation in most RTR vehicles doesnít require soldering.

ENDBELL. The SV2ís endbell is the motorís most significant feature. Its molded section is very similar to that of the endbells on Orionís Core motors, but the brush hoods that house their brushes and springs are stamped into a triangular shape. The brushes are inserted into the center of the brush hood and contact the commutator at a 45-degree angle. The top of each brush hood features an area where the brush shunt can be hooked. This feature allows the brushes to be pulled out of the way when you remove the endbell for maintenance. The brushes and the brush hood make less contact than the V2ís the round brush hoods, so the SV2ís brushes may not be supercooled as they are in the V2. The angled brush hoods reduce brush bounce just as they do in the V2.

Above: The SV2ís endbell is molded with stamped brush hoods. Thereís less contact between the brushes and brush hoods, so the brushes are cooled as much as they are in the aluminum endbell of the V2 motor. The angle on the brushes still prevents brush bounce.

Above: The motor can and magnets are common stock in the Orion and Peak motor lines. The can features vents in the gap between the magnets and in its base; they allow a good airflow when the motor is mounted against a flat plate.

Above: The wire on the Formula armature is machine-wound, so it isnít as pretty and as tightly wound as the armature on hand-wound high-dollar modified motor, but it costs much less.

Above: The armature is stamped for clear identification, and the unique cutouts in the polesí crowns are for balancing.

MOTOR CAN. The black motor can used for both types of SV2 motors is very similar to those on the V2 and Core motors. It features diagonal vents between the magnets and four pie-shaped vents in the bottom of the can. The vents allow air circulation even when the motor is mounted against a flat surface. A different can is used on the bushed Pro motors because they feature fixed timing. Their endbells donít have timing rings, so there arenít any ring retainers punched into the can; instead, they have an endbell thatís indexed to a slot in the motor can, and tabs secure the endbell. That fixes the motor timing, and that can be a good for beginners who arenít familiar with adjusting motor timing and want an inexpensive but faster motor; this motor couldnít be more ďplug and play.Ē The timing is set to a conservative 6 degrees, and that produces better performance than zero timing, but it still allows safe operation in reverse. The motor can in the Pro BB version is more typical of a standard modified motor. It accommodates a timing ring and allows quick endbell removal and installation and timing adjustment.

ARMATURE. SV2s use the same armature as those in Team Orionís Orbital modified motors. It features straight-stacked laminations with a full crown for maximum torque. The armatures are all balanced, even in the Pro versions, and they feature a unique method of balancing. Typically, you balance armatures that are not epoxy-balanced by drilling material from their crowns. When the armature needs a lot of material removed, the drill holes sometimes go deep into the web of the armature. If the drill holes arenít properly centered on the web, the crown section of the laminations can separate from the armature and damage the motor. Orion cut material away from the armature using the edge of a circular cutter to leave shallow, semicircular cuts in the crown instead of thin, deep holes. The result is a balanced armature with far less risk of motor damage caused by drilling a balancing hole that isnít quite in the center of the web.

The wire isnít wound on the armature as nicely as it is on the hand-wound modified motors. This isnít unique to these motors; most machine-wounds give up a little in the winding department. The wire is quite a bit thinner, and as a result, thereís a little more resistance through the windings. Thereís plenty of room for a wire of a heavier gauge that would bump up the ponies, but remember: these are machine-wound motors; using big, burly wire isnít an option.


Available winds

Available Formula SV2
Pro Winds

ORI21035: 10x2
ORI21036: 11x2
ORI21037: 12x2
ORI21038: 13x2
ORI21039: 14x2
ORI21040: 15x2
ORI21041: 17x2
ORI21043: 19x2
ORI21044: 21x2
ORI21045: 23x2

Available Formula SV2
Pro BB Winds

ORI22031: 10x1
ORI22032: 10x2
ORI22033: 11x2
ORI22034: 12x1
ORI22035: 12x2
ORI22036: 13x3
ORI22037: 14x2
ORI22038: 15x2
ORI22039: 17x2
ORI22040: 19x2

Available brushes
ORI41330: SV2 brush (41092)/spring (41392) assembly with eyelet
ORI41910: round, Enduro-compound
ORI41091: round, Sprint-compound
ORI41092: Edge Enduro-compound ORI41093: Edge Sprint-compound brushes

Available springs
ORI41390: soft, 11-coil, 0.30mm
ORI41391: medium, 10-coil, 0.30mm
ORI41392: medium/hard, 9-coil, 0.30mm
ORI41393: hard, 8-coil, 0.30mm
ORI41386: 10-coil, 0.35mm
ORI41387: 9-coil, 0.35mm


Peak rpm: 45.561

Peak power (watts): 185.3

Peak torque (Nmm): 152.6

Torque @ peak power

Peak efficiency: 69.1%


Peak rpm: 49,001

Peak power (watts): 221.1

Peak torque (Nmm): 174.8

Torque @ peak power

Peak efficiency: 74.5%


Peak rpm: 37,854

Peak power (watts): 211.6

Peak torque (Nmm): 209.2

Torque @ peak power (Nmm): 107.4

Peak efficiency: 80.2%

Left: Enduro-compound Edge brushes are standard in all Formula Pro motors. Theyíre flat on each side to give a slightly better throttle response than fully round brushes. Left: The unique brush springs are wound to taper down towards the brush. The large coil diameter at the top helps to prevent the springs from coming out through the top of the brush hood.

BRUSHES. SV2 motors come standard with SV2 brush/spring assembliesóEnduro-compound Edge brushes and medium/hard springs. As the name implies, the Enduro-compound brushes last longer than others in the V2 brush lineup. According to Team Orion motor guru Cliff Black, the Edge brush configuration features flat sides instead of being completely round like a standard brush, so Formula motors have a little more punch than they would if they had standard brushes. According to Black, the blunt face of the brushes energizes the segments of the commutator more quickly, and that gives the motor a little extra snap.

BRUSH SPRINGS. Round brush springs are part of what makes the V2 and SV2 motors unique. The springs latch into the triangular brush hoods and apply straight, even pressure on the brushes for more consistent contact with the commutator. I did have trouble with one of the brush springs that didnít want to be installed securely; it kept springing out of the top of the brush hood. As it turned out, its top coil had been wound a little too tightly; a little tweak with needle-nose pliers enlarged the top coil enough to keep it engaged with the brush hood. The angle of the brush hoods makes it harder for the brushes to bounce off the commutator at high speed, so the SV2 uses less spring tension than a conventional brush spring. That could translate into less commutator and brush wear.

I tested the Formula modified motors on our Robitronic Pro-Master dyno. The dyno is set to a standard 7.5 volts to simulate a 6-cell battery pack; then I run the motors. I allow sufficient time between tests to ensure that the motor is at ambient temperature at the start of each test.

With just a little TLC, Formula motors can be strong. On average, the 10-turn, Pro BB pumped out 185 watts of power; thatís strong but not 10-turn strong. I gave the motors a little bit more time to break in, and then I adjusted the timing and applied just a little bearing oil and comm lube. The 10-turn then peaked at 221 watts, and torque shot up by more than 20 percent. Both versions come with a little advanced timing that increases performance, but the Pro BB is fully adjustable.

I turned the 10-turn motor up to about 15 degrees of timing, and that seemed to be the sweet spot for this motor.

Surprisingly, the Pro motors ran as well as or better than the Pro BBs. A 10-turn, double-wind Pro pulled off a pass at just over 225 watts with stronger torque. It just shows that when theyíre fresh, motors with bushings can run as well as those with ball bearings. Over time, the bearings offer a clear advantage, but there isnít any doubt that you can be fast with a bushing-equipped Formula Pro.

A little commutator lube and increased timing bump up the power in Formula Pro motorsóby about 20 percent in some cases. This 10-turn Formula Pro budget bearing motor produces very good power for a motor of this price. Its power is within just a few percent of a full-blown V2 hand-wound modifiedís.

Wind: 10-turn single Pro-Bearing

Brushes: Edge Enduro-compound brush

Springs: medium/hard, 9-coil, 0.30mm

Comm diameter: 0.296 in. (7.52mm)