Why are Brushless motors and accys expensive?

Ok folks,
Here is a question that has been bugging me. You should hear some of the
answers I get.
Why are the brushless model motors and speed controllers so darned
Look at the Razor 300 series, 80-90 bucks for the motor and another 60-90
bucks for the controller. The Razor looks handmade. Not real impressive for
the money.
I think we (those of us that buy them) are getting ripped off big time.
Consider all of the manufacturers out there that make motors.
These can and most likely are made in mass quantities. These are NOT a high
tech item. There is not a lot of R&D that goes into them and the materials
are dirt cheap.
Look at the motors, these can be mass produced by modern equipment at a
very low cost. The speed controllers that I have seen are mostly surface
mount technology. With that in mind there is little hands on labor. The pc
boards cost pennies when purchased in bulk. The components even less in
I come from a high volume manufacturing background. I know what the savings
are when manufacturing goes into high volume production.
Did you know that the inkjet cartridge that you purchase for your HP printer
costs about 5.00 or less dollars to manufacture? What are you paying for a
new one? 30-40 dollars? That's one hell of a markup!! That of course depends
on which model printer you have. The point is, high volume = low cost.
Keep in mind that the profit there is spent on R&D for the next projects and
for the cost of starting up that high volume production line. Initally, that
same cartridge when first released was about 170.00 dollars to manufacture.
My point here is there isn't any real breakthrough technology coming out of
the brushless motor world. Therefore, they don't have a lot of R&D to pay
So why are they so darned expensive? I have to keep from choking when a kit
costs 80.00 dollars and the motor, controller and batteries will cost nearly
250.00 dollars. That's more than the average 4 channel radio gear! Which is
much more high tech.
Something just isn't right here.
To me, I feel like there is much more value to buying that 4 stroke 40 or
60 gas engine for 120 bucks. At least I feel like I bought a real piece of
I'm not advocating gas over electric here. I prefer electric flying 5-1. But
the cost for electrics is very prohibitive.
As long as we keep buying these high priced electrics they'll keep gouging
Thanks for taking the time to read my whining post.
I'm looking forward to the responses. Please respond to the group and not my
email address.
Reply to
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I agree with you but I think you answered your own question. Model electric stuff is not HIGH volume. compared to say, Mobile Phones. Most electric stuff is very low volume. That's why it costs!!.
Reply to
Most, if not all brushless motors need to be handwound.
We are not a 'high volume' market.
The brushless controlers leave a lot to be desired compared to commercial applications they are still way more complex than 'normal' controllers.
We are not a 'high volume' market.
remove my-wife to reply :-)
Reply to
Thi is not strictly true, except that for the small volumes and complexity of design, and small sies, the machines to do volume production would be even more expensive. However outrunners in which teh coil9s) are wound more like a conventional armature can be auto wound on normal machines. They are therefire cheaper.
One of teh things that deceives, is theavailability of relatively cheap motors made by Mabuchi: These things are used everywhere, especially in te auto market. They are spat out in millions, and use cheap ferrite magnets. They are not very efficeint - they dn't have to be - and they are very cheap. Crude brushes, plain bearings, soft shafts, and throwaway technology.
A DEC$NT BRUSHED motor with neodynium magnets, ball bearings, proper brushes and a hard steel shaft will cost you up to $100..and so will a decent OS engine. Frankly brushless MOTORS are not that expensive compared to anything else.
And teh price ARE comingh down fast as manufacture shofts from teh desinger countries - USA and Germany mostly - to producer countries - Taiwan, Czechoslovakia, China etc. You can get a small brushless now for $70. They will get even cheaper I suspect, tho $50 provbably represensts a floor until magents get better.
As far as the controllers go, they are relatively complex - at the minium a sensorless controller needs some analog filtering on the sensors, a PIC or other microprocesor, and a minimum of 6 power FETS, plus a few things like a voltage regulator for teh BEC and some RF interference suppression. Until and unless someone e.g. puts teh 6 FET's into a single pack (HUGE tooling costs) and chips up the rest of the bits to reduce parts count, its likely that $40-$50 will remain the floor on pricing.
HOWEVER volume is everything. It may turn out that e.g. the power tool industry and automorove - where we got our cheap bits from originally - will 'discover' brushless. Mass voulme would really help...and if that happened, better chipsets for the controllers would result.
The batteries will still be very expensive tho :-)
I don't think anyone is being ripped off. A few manufacturers are making decent profits - but teh rest are just staying in business, and may go out of business when teh far east wakes up and starts shiftng volume.
Reply to
The Natural Philosopher
The Ink Cartridge division was the most profitable one for HP last year. ("Profitable" meaning best margins or ROI, not necessairly the largest gross. I'll bet that distinction goes to the division that makes the graphing calculators that every high school student seems to have these days.)
Mass producing an item for niche market seems like a sure path to bankrupcy!
By the way, my Father in law is in the CD business, claims that the cost to make a mass produced CD (disk, case, standard inserts, decent print job on disk) is about 40 cents, and 25 cents goes to Phillips for the right to use the music data format. Any one able to comfirm or deny any of this?
Reply to
My first four channel digital proportional R/C system cost me $300. At the time, I was clearing $327 per month while working for the Dupont Co. In today's dollars, that would be over $1,200. The year was 1969.
Ed Cregger
Reply to
Ed Cregger
So true! Consumer products period make the hobby market look like a bake sale.
Some years ago I worked at a (the) major model rocket company and had a concept for a gift season promotion for starter sets, where the package itself would be shrinkwrapped complete with a small adhesive and paint set, and batteries for the launch controller - i.e. everything you need in one package for a deal. Well, to do this needed batteries. Guess what - 1/4 to1/2 million AA batteries at a time? Boring, nobody would even look at it for direct purchase. Scrap that idea. Get into the next order of magnitude and the conversations begin.
I get defensive when people ("real modelers".. ha! I've been building stick 'n' tissue since the 60's too..) start trashing ARF's, foam park flyers, toy aircraft, or any consumer hobby product etc. - where the heck do some people think some of the sales volume comes from that keeps this industry cooking, allows us to buy the amazing R/C equipment we do for what is really a bargain price, and allows manufacturers the capital to invest in R&D that results in cheap 5 gram micro servos etc. that a few years ago were.. lo and behold.. hand made garage outfit products costing $150 apiece? Sure we have a reasonable size market, but it's squat compared to the consumer market, and as such we will pay a few percent more for our "toys". Fact of life.
Of course, brushless motors may not be the ticket for the cordless tool manufacturer keen on the planned attrition concept. One manufacturer I know of designs tools to last for four hours running time. If you think about it, that's not a lot, but it would take the average consumer a fair amount of time to reach that total with intermittent handyman use. Certainly it would get most people past the warranty period.
Mike D.
Reply to
M Dennett
I must have been having a senior moment. For the life of me, I have no idea why I wrote the post below. Of course, my electric scooter came today. Maybe the sudden acceleration...
Ed Cregger
Reply to
Ed Cregger
My first Kraft digital proportional radio cost me $800 and it was a piece of crap compared to today's $150 systems!
Reply to
It should be noted that battery technology made electric flight possible, not motors!
-- Ron H ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Posted from the RCGroups.com Discussion Forums. Visit us at
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Reply to
Ron H
Wow Don, you really hit a chord here didn't you?
I've been in the industial tech field since the '70s and have used "brushless" motors for many years in various applications. These motors have always been on the pricey side because they are super reliable and the manufacturer doesn't get to sell you a new one every few months.
However, these industrial motors are not at all like the motors used in rc. They don't handle high amperage and the rpm ratings are very slow compared to a Jeti or Hacker.
I really don't know if rc motors are made in the neighbor's garage or in a high tech plant, but whatever the case IMHO they are not unreasonably priced. Phat
-- phat23 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Posted from the RCGroups.com Discussion Forums. Visit us at
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Reply to
I tghink you mean that the last link in the chain was decent battery technology really.
I challenge you to fly an electric plane withiut a motor :-)
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Reply to
The Natural Philosopher
Yeah, I sure did.
I was curious of the general consensus. It would appear by all of the messages that everyone is more than happy to spend the amount of money that they are spending on these things. I guess folks have more money budgeted for hobbies than I do. I'll be the first to admit that I'm extremely cheap. You can almost hear me squeak when I walk. Interesting feedback.
Thanks everyone! Don.
Reply to
I dismantled a 3W, bicycle dynamo(generator) last night and discovered that it was brushless. The rotor is a permanent magnet and the stator is wire wound. this dynamo costs US 1.5 in Malaysia, made in china.
It set me off in day dreams of designing a controller for this brushless dynamo that can be converted into a motor to help me cycle easier. ...
No they are much simpler than microprocessor chips, and RC chips which costs peanuts nowadays.
I bought an electric 3 ch plane at the cost of RM130 which is US35. The radio alones costs much more than this but this is no ordinary radio. This is a micro radio mass produced using standard RC chipsets.
I am hoping for this to occur but the pioneers are reaping the benefits at the moment but they will transfer that techniques to the IC manufacturers to mass produce the brushless motor controllers which are just frequency synthesizers.
Lithiou Ion batteries for the Nokia 3310 costs RM25 here, US 6.5. Lithium Ion is much lighter than NiMh.
I am surprised that the kits sold in the internet still use NiC 900MaH wheres my cheap chinese RC planes are equipped with 900mAH batteries and chargers, RTF costing less than US40.
I am waiting for the chinese industry to mass produce the Lithium Ion batteries for the air RC which will reduce aircraft weight considerably.
They are just learning. Give them time. We, users, must be patient.
Reply to
ir. hj. othman bin hj. ahmad
Electric flight is getting alot cheaper in comparison to 5 years ago.. thing really got moving the past 12 months when Mega got in the act...and now China is bringing out the complete range... Esc is still expensive because of the complexity and the components used. Charger is dropping in price. Lipo cells in another year or so will be very cheap...from infor read here the material going into Lipo is nothing much. Everybody will be making them soon.
Give it another 2-3 years Eflight cost will be comparable to nitro flyers...even in performanace and duration.
Reply to
Possibly you're referring to the 'outside rotor' brushless motors? While physically bigger in diameter they need no gearing to swing a big prop. Bill (oc)
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Reply to
Bill Sheppard
I'm back from another biz trip and I found an answer to the brushless motor price problem. I just picked up an MP Jet brushless motor with 4.1:1 gearbox for 49.00 dollars. This is the cheapest brushless I've seen so far. I just hope it performs. I'm told that it is a replacement for the speed 400 motor. I need to find an airplane to put it in now. I guess it's a Czech made motor.
Reply to
There is a guy on the Yahoo Wingo-RC group who bought the same MP- Jet setup and seems quite happy with it. He uses his Wingo to carry a seven ounces camera to impressing heights. There is a movie showing a take off with is MP-Jet motorised Wingo on his personal website.
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-- Glowboy
"Don" a écrit dans le message de news: %gRab.602$ snipped-for-privacy@newssvr29.news.prodigy.com...
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