Reedy Blackbox 1000Z+

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For us old timers, the Reedy name is quite familiar. For those of you who only recognize Reedy on some of the products sitting in your pits, in your car, or on your local hobby shop shelf, I want to tell you that Mike Reedy was one of the early pioneers in the Radio Control industry.  REEDY_portrait_finalHis products, either directly or indirectly have led to 30 IFMAR World Championships. You could almost always find Mike tuning motors for the Team Drivers or even for people who asked for help, like me. While Mike himself has passed, the people he worked closely with have continued on with the same dedication and devotion that Mike had.

Over the last 4 years we have seen the Reedy product line expand to include competition level speed controls for brushless motors. The most recent competition speed control to wear the Reedy name is the Reedy Blackbox 1000Z+, #27003. This speed control provides you with two modes of operation, Forward and Brake or Forward, Brake, and Reverse. At the time of this writing, this is the current flagship model of the Reedy speed control line with the 410R currently unavailable.

The Specs

Out of the box, the speed control weighs ~55 grams. The on/off switch is built into the case and the button provides excellent feedback to know whether or not you pushed it. There is a heat-sink to keep the internal components cool along with a fan that is more than capable to facilitate keeping the speed control cool. Just like the other competition level speed controls from Reedy, there is an external capacitor soldered to the positive and negative terminals. Speaking of terminals, this model comes with 13 gauge wire already installed and they have color coded heat-shrink applied. If you have a confined space the 1000Z measures out at 40.2 x 31.0 x 21.9 and that doesn’t include the fan which pushes the height up from 21.9 to X millimeters.

Digging into the internal specifications, we will find that this particular speed control is rated for a 2S Voltage Input. It can handle up to 100 amps of continuous current. Of course, this continuous current doesn’t mean much if you have a high resistance component and this one is rated at 0.00014 ohm. You always have a motor limit with a speed control and this one is for motors 5.5 turns or higher. There is a “Motor Limit Warning” in the manual that you should pay close attention to if you plan on using a 5.5 turn motor. The Battery Eliminating Circuit, or BEC for short, is fixed at 6 volts and can handle 3 amps. This is important to keep in mind because this is what powers the receiver and servo. If you were to strip down the 1000Z, no wire or fan, it would weigh 40 grams.

In my opinion where this speed control really shines is in the software. Up until recently we didn’t have the option to adjust frequency for either the Brake or Forward Drive. I remember having this option back in the day with brushed motors but this was a feature I missed out for brushless motors. It is this frequency that helps determine whether you have smooth acceleration or braking. Sure we had Power Profiles where we set it to an arbitrary number but that was about it. So if you haven’t figured it out the 1000Z has the ability to set both the Brake and Drive Frequencies and some other important items.

I am going to run down some of the other options that you can tune.

Drag Brake 0-30% in 5% increments, in 7 Steps
Brake Frequency 1-4, 6KHz (5KHz is missing), in 5 Steps
Maximum Brake Strength 70-100% in 5% increments, in 7 Steps
Power Profile 5 Levels, in 5 Steps
Drive Frequency 2-16KHz in 2KHz increments, in 6 Steps
Timing 0-15 Degree in 3 Degree increments, in 6 Steps
Operation Mode Forward/Brake or Forward/Brake/Reverse
Available Settings

Available Settings

I want to talk about the Timing value. Remember back in the day before we had 0 degree timing speed control rules for spec classes? It was during this time we had Turbo and Boost as options and in fact some of the speed controls today still have that option. Well the 1000Z has done away with the Boost setting and only offers the equivalent to Turbo timing advance. What that means is this timing will kick in when you are at full throttle.

Ok, enough of the boring technical stuff let’s get down to the nitty gritty and talk about the operation of this speed control. The installation is pretty straight forward with the addition of the color coded heat shrink on the wires. Because the switch is built into the speed control case you don’t have to worry about finding a home for it but what you do have to worry about is finding a home for the capacitor bank. I found that the only smooth place on the capacitor bank to mount the double sided tape was on top of the capacitor’s themselves. So as you see in my picture it is upside down.

With the speed control installed in my Team Associated B6D it was time to solder up the wires to the motor. This process is pretty straight forward in that you will take the wire labeled as “A” and solder that to the “A” terminal on the motor and the same thing for “B” and “C”. All three of these wires are located together in the middle which means the positive and negative wires on are on the outside. The sensor port on the speed control is underneath the wires.

Radio Calibration Steps

Radio Calibration Steps

I know what you are thinking, really dude, isn’t it time to tell me how it runs? Not quite yet because I have to calibrate it to my radio. You should always perform the calibration whenever you upgrade the firmware or pair it with a new radio. Calibrating the 1000Z is easy to do. With your radio on and your endpoints maxed out (check your radio manual to verify/set these values), press the power button as defined in the instruction manual. You didn’t think I was going to walk you through the entire process here did you? If yes, I am sorry about that but sometimes you do need to read directions. It is really easy to calibrate so don’t panic.

With the calibration completed, I am finally ready to hit the track. Wanting to leave well enough alone I decided to leave the default values as is and see what it felt like. I have to be honest with you, it felt good. Sure I was only using a 17.5, even though the photos show a 7.5 in the car, I didn’t want to do something stupid since I hardly ever run modified. With the Drive Frequency set at 8KHz and the Power Profile at Level 3 when I pulled the throttle it felt very smooth and didn’t feel like someone was turning on and off a light switch.

Adjustability

Speed Control Adjustment Steps

Speed Control Adjustment Steps

Now I wanted to change some settings and here is where I ran into something that I personally didn’t like. I had to use the push button on the speed control to access these different options to set them. Unlike the 410R, there is no box to connect to change the settings. While this is a good thing because it means I didn’t have to buy another piece of equipment it was bad because I didn’t have the manual with me. But I was lucky enough that an Associated Factory Team Driver had one I could borrow. So now I have two copies that I carry along with me. One is in my radio bag and one is in with my tools. You just never know what will happen so for me two is better than one.

Having to use the buttons on the speed control I had to count the number of times the green led would blink so I knew what I was setting and then the red led to see what the current value is. Either the speed control or motor would chime at roughly the same time. I found this to be a little distracting because I was trying to count the blinks but sometimes I ended up counting the noise. After a few errors’ I finally focused myself to only worry about the led blinks and I was able to set it to the value that I wanted. If I ever did get lost I could unplug the speed control from the battery and then start the whole process over. So what did this little exercise just tell me? It would be nice to have a box to know what setting you are on and to set the value to what you want it set at but once you do it a few times it will become second nature to you.

Trouble_Shooting

Trouble Shooting Guide

In my opinion, most of us look for a feeling in how the power is put to the ground in our cars and once we set the value, or leave it at the default setting, we will most likely never have to change it. That means I don’t have to buy anything else to take full advantage of the 1000Z’s capabilities thus saving some money.

Feeling

I primarily messed around with the Drag Brake setting, Power Profile, and the Drive Frequency. I like my cars to slow down using the motor and in order to get it consistent every time I used the Drag Brake value of 10% rather than the default value of 0%. At my age I am not consistent enough on the push brake to get it the same each time so I have to rely on this value as my crutch.

The Drive Frequency provided me with the feeling that I was looking for when the car was already moving.

Speed Control Installed

Speed Control Installed

The higher the frequency the acceleration felt smooth but I did notice an increase of heat. The fan did keep the speed control cool. There did come a point where I felt like I lost touch or didn’t notice much of a difference when I started to increase the frequency.  I blame this on the fact that I went in 2 kHz increments. If I was going from one extreme to the other I could definitely tell the difference though. If you get to that point you may want to consider backing it down one value and see if it feels comfortable to you.

The Power Profile is like a governor in that it restricts how fast the power can be put down. As the manual states, if you are on a high bite track you can go to a higher value. Since I was using a 17.5 motor in a 2wd buggy on a medium to high bite track I decided to set it at 5 and leave it. One of the main reasons why I left at that is because I needed the punch to clear a jump that had a short run up to it. I could have changed the drive frequency but I felt I would have sacrificed the feeling on other parts of the track.

Drag brake is the amount of brakes being applied when the throttle is returned to neutral. This value will be determined by your driving style. I wish I could have fine-tuned this more because I felt the 5 % increment was too much for my driving style. In a perfect world you want your driving style to be consistent lap after lap and not have to change anything with it. I am probably being too picky because at the end of the day it didn’t bother me too much and it functioned as intended.

The last thing that I tried was the brake frequency.  Similar to the drive frequency, the higher the setting you open up the door to generate more heat. However, when you do increase the frequency you get a smooth feeling when applying the brake. It almost felt like I had anti-lock brakes enabled but in reality I didn’t.

I didn’t mess around with reverse to much because I used this speed control in my B6D (reverse is not allowed during racing), I will say that it is nice to have when messing around or even during practice. I say during practice because you never know when you will get stuck and you can just back out of it. Keep in mind that you should check to make sure traffic isn’t coming before you back out, just like you would in a real car.

Wrap Up

Overall I am very pleased with the speed control and what it can do.  The ability to make adjustments it without an external box is nice but I would still prefer to have a box or some sort of user interface type of device. With the 13 gauge wires already attached to the speed control you should have no trouble hooking it up to your motor. The included fan does increase the height of the speed control it serves its intended purpose.

So while my biggest gripe or complaint or whatever you want to call it is the lack of the box to set the values, I still went ahead and purchased a second one for my next project.  Maybe when they release the replacement to the 410R (510R?), if it has a box to set the values, it will be compatible with the 1000z but until then I will continue to count the blinking LED.

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About Author

I have been involved in R/C since the early 90’s. I have participated in dirt oval, carpet and paved oval, on-road and off-road racing. I have found ideas that work and ideas that seem to be good on paper but fail for one reason or another. I have been involved in the rules decision process and tech inspection for one of the largest indoor on-road only events held in the U.S.

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