What? Gemfan RT2205-2300kv Motors & Maverick 24A 32Bit ESC's
When? Testing began around June/July
Why? Free testing to those who are selected.
Gemfan decided to run a user-based review process on RCGroups where around 20 people would be lucky enough to get sent some free products on the understanding that they post a minimum 100 word review. After looking at what was on offer it was an easy decision to try and get in on the reviews. I'd seen Ryan's tests on the RT2205 2300kv and so I wanted to get a set myself to see how they are, and if they were worth replacing the ZMX. Thrust tests give some indication of how they perform in comparison to other motors, but build quality, durability and general usage often vary greatly. I also had the opportunity to test their new 32-bit ESC's, this was also a no-brainer because I had been a big fan of the KISS 24RE esc's, so having something remotely similar and to compare to seemed like a great idea. Even with BLHeli_S around the corner, there were still very few esc's with hardware PWM so I really wanted to see how they compared to the KISS for smoothness in flying.
Let's get onto the unboxing..
Nice and clean, but relatively large boxes are used to secure the motors. You'd struggle to damage these in transit. Over the past few months motors such as T-Motor, Emax and other variants have been stepping up their game with packaging. Some would call it overkill, but it does seem to help.
Inside we can see there's some very specific foam cuts that entirely protect the motor in transport and they look great. For those "in the know", you'll know these are RCInPower rebranded motors which are meant to be of high quality as it is, so it should be no different with regards to these.
With the motors out of the box we can see we get a few accessories with it. We get the usual prop adapter, and screws (these look to be titanium or are just very nicely anodized) which is a nice touch. You'll also notice we get 2 nyloc nuts, of which are slightly different. We have a low profile flanged nut but also a heavier duty normal size nyloc. This is a nice feature and means you have both a spare, but if you want to remove some of that rotating mass you can opt for the lighter (but presumably weaker) nuts.
The motors feel of high quality with nicely machined aluminium and have silky smooth bearings. I can't wait to see how these perform on a quad!
While the screws look super nice, they are not long enough to be ran on frames with 4mm arms, a bit of an oversight here in my opinion. One of the motors also came with a miss-machined nyloc nut (the low profile one), meaning I had no choice but to run the heavier ones. I did contact Gemfan and actually got a reply, but they merely said to get one from a local shop.
With the motors having been unboxed lets move onto the ESC's.
Most ESC's run without any sort of nice packaging nowadays so some proper retail packaging makes a change. We also get some wire with it, but more importantly they come unsoldered, meaning we can use what's provided or something else.
Outside of the packaging we can look at the ESC in all it's glory. Lots of big caps and some very shiny gold pads make up a great looking ESC. Compared to some other ESC's in the market nowadays the pads should be effortless to solder to.
Here's the money shots, both the ESC and Motor together.
Unlike the KISS esc's, there's a whole host of configuration options for this 32-bit ESC, just like you'd get with a BLHeli/BLHeli_S setup. I'll give a quick rundown of what options we have available. The ESC's are being talked to via the normal flight controller passthrough system, no extra bits and bobs are required.
With the application started we can already see that the ESC's are detected via AutoDetect which is a plus. No crazy amount of different esc connection type like we would see in BLHeliSuite.
Once connected to the ESC we can see a base configuration page listing ESC firmware version and some basic motor parameters. At current all of these are blank.
By clicking on the change parameter we are given a host of motors that will optimize all of the advanced configuration parameters for the Gemfan motors. We can see here it looks like all of Gemfans current motor lineup is listed here. That's perfect as we're going to run the RT2205 2300kv.
With parameters set, we can see we can also change rotation, whether or not the quad is 3d and the response time of the motor.
On the parameters page we get the 'advanced' configuration which has many parameters just like BLHeliSuite, but also with some extra ones it would seem. The ESC's from the bat look great, we can customize every parameter imaginable to suit our needs.
Real World Testing
With that being said, let's get into some real world testing. I put these on a TSX 200 prototype frame paired with an OpenPilot Revo, so I was running RaceFlight for the ultimate smoothness. The setup ran well, it seemed perhaps a little down on power compared to my quad with KISS 24RE and Cobra Champions, but I'm not entirely sure why as the specs are not far from being very similar. You can also see in the thrust tests below the motors are basically identical in performance:
However, my testing was cut short due to a lot of issues I started getting with the ESC's. Running them at a practice day at LHC they were going great until the ESC's "lost" their settings and everything was returned to default. This wasn't great as I run different min/max points compared to stock so it wasn't until I got home that I realised this was just the issue (if I had added some throttle they would have spun up). Out in the field I could not seem to get the motors to spin. I fixed the ESC's but putting the settings back to how they were, but it happened again a day later.
After sending a PM to the Gemfan user on RCGroups, posting in the RCGroups thread, and contacting Gemfan via email I had to give up testing them. I got no replies to any of my communication methods, and it was not worth it to invest any more time in fixing them.
The results from Ryans ESC tests also show they are a little down on power compared to other BLHeli/S esc's, very similar to how the KISS runs. At the time they were running they were very smooth on Raceflight.
So overall, the motors felt nice, but seemingly felt like a lack of power (not sure why this was in the end), and the ESC's also seemed great until I got the reset issue. Would I buy them in the future? Certainly not. If there is no after sales support at all and issues like this occur on test units, I dread to think what would happen if they were purchased. I would not be happy at all. So for me, a bit of a small and dull review, but I felt this had to go out there still.