Tekin RS Speed Control and HotWire – part 1

September 27th, 2009 by Trevor Coult

Recently I decided that I ought to start preparing myself for the move to LiPo in 12th scale, as and when I can afford the parts. the first thing I decided to get was a new speed control as I can use it with the rest of my current set up. I wanted one with 1S LiPo cut off and also was updatable as the rate of speed control development is astonishing at the moment. After looking at many posts on forums, talking to drivers and browsing web sites I decided to buy the Tekin RS speed control along with the HotWire computer interface.

Fusion Hobbies had both the RS and HotWire in stock at a really good price. I have used them previously and their service has been really good in the past so I had no hesitation in ordering from them. That and the fact you get a free packet of Starmix Sweets with every order! I had the choice between buying the RS or RS Pro version of the speed control but as I’m likely to only be using it with a 10.5 brushless motor I decided to buy the RS version saving me £40 in the process. This is good down to a 5 turn brushless so I’m not likely to going anywhere near it’s limits. Tekin are distributed by Much More Racing in the UK, so most good model shops should be able to supply them.


A couple of days later both RS and HotWire were on the desk in front of me along with an empty Starmix packet! Both the Tekin RS and HotWire come very in very well presented packaging as you can see in the pictures below.

The Tekin RS and RS Pro both come in the same packaging. Besides looking at the speed control itself you can tell which is inside by looking on the end of the box.

On opening the RS box I found that the speed control was extremely well stuck to the cardboard packaging, taking some effort to remove. This certainly stops it from being bashed about and damaged in transit though. Inside the box is the speed control itself, instructions, stickers, 12g wire, power capacitor, insulation for the capacitor, servo tape and tie wraps. No sensor cable is supplied. The 12g wire is also much too thick for use in a 12th scale so I put it to one side for use in my son’s touring car. It is perfectly suited to these or for off road. The manual takes a bit of reading, it is so packed full of information. Everything in there is very useful though so it is worth taking a bit of time out and going through it all properly before doing anything else.

I opened up the HotWire box next. This was also stuck to the cardboard in the same way. Inside the box you get the HotWire box, USB cable, mini sized CD with the software and installation instructions and a sheet with basic instructions. I wasn’t sure whether the mini sized CD would work on the slot loading drive on my laptop, mainly because I hadn’t tried one before, but there were no problems.

Full instructions on how to install the HotWire software and drivers are in a file called TekinHotWireInstall.pdf on the CD. These are much more comprehensive than the paper ones, so make sure you have a .pdf file reader on your computer (almost everyone does) and follow these to the letter. There should be no problems if you do. Note that the software also requires .NET 2.0, MDAC 2.8 and the latest version of Windows Installer on your computer, but the install program takes care of these for you.

Depending on whether you want the very latest version of the HotWire software and RS firmware you can download it from the Tekin web site and install this instead.

I installed the software and plugged the HotWire into the computer. The drivers installed automatically and everything was ready to go! When plugging everything together remember to plug the speed control into the HotWire before connecting everything to the computer, it won’t work otherwise. I found that my RS had version 180 of the speed control firmware installed. I immediately upgraded this to the version 200 that had been supplied to me by the ever helpful Tekin Team Manager, Randy Pike.

Before installing the RS into the car, I weighed it without any motor or power wires attached. It came in at 23.8g, which is comparable with the other lighter brushless speed controllers on the market.

Time to install the speed control now.

If you want a neat and well working installation it is essential to plan where the speed control is going to be positioned in the car and where all the wires will go. I wanted to position the RS so that the power capacitor fitted next to the roll mast behind the steering servo. To make it fit properly there and still have the RS itself where I wanted it, the capacitor had to be positioned as in the picture below.

I put a small piece of servo tape on the edge of the circuit board where the capacitor lies against it just to cushion the two and to hold the capacitor in place while soldering. Make sure you get the capacitor the correct way round as is shown in the instruction manual.

Then I soldered the motor and power wires to the RS as positioned below. The soldering instructions in the Tekin RS manual are very good, and should be followed. I have used CRC 16g wire, it is good quality and extremely flexible. The positioning of the wire looks strange in the photos below but it will all make sense when it is installed in the car. The solder posts on the RS make this job pretty easy.

I am still using NiMh cells with Corally tubes soldered onto them at the moment, so after cutting the power wires to the correct length I have soldered male Corally connectors onto them at a 90 degree angle as shown below. This keeps the wires low and out of the way of the shock.

I have also heatshrinked the motor wires part of the way along their length to keep them together. They will go above the T bar  so they need to be kept neat. Too much heatshink would stop the wire flexing with the pod though, so be careful with this.

After this it is time to servo tape the RS into the car, cut the motor wires to length and solder them.

Here is the RS installed in the car.

See where the power capacitor has gone. It is in the gap between the servo and the T bar next to the roll mast. There is just enough room to do this and fix the RS as close to the centre of the car as possible to help the side to side balance of the car.

The direction of the wires should be more obvious now too. The motor wires are directed over the T bar. The power wires have been soldered in the direction of the position of the tubes. All of the wires have been soldered to keep them as low as possible too.

The motor wires have been run along the top of the motor keeping a large enough gap not to snag the damper plate.

I run the wires to the motor between the damper plate and the cross brace. It is possible to run them below the cross brace but I feel that the wires have a more natural movement positioned between the two.

I have also used a CRC super soft sensor cable. I have also run this above the T bar. It is soft enough to not affect the T bar or the movement of the pod in any way.

Here is my routing of the sensor cable to the motor.

The switch cable is just the right length to run across the car so this is what I have done.

Here are a couple of pictures of the overall wiring layout of the car. Neat and functional without anything snagging or tweaking the pod, and nothing to catch on the body shell.

Also remember that to use the HotWire you will be unplugging the RS from the receiver, so make sure there is enough room to do this easily.

That’s the RS installed in my Hot Bodies 12X. The next thing is to set it up and run it.

I plugged in a set of cells and went through the transmitter set up procedure. All happened the way it is explained in the manual, except that I had to have throttle set to reverse to get it to work! I use a KO Universe 2.4G system and I’m guessing that KO’s reverse is everyone else’s normal!

I’m quite impressed with the RS and HotWire so far. It has a quality feel, is easy to program and its size makes it easy to fit. The real proof is in running and tuning it though. That will all be done in part 2.

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 27th, 2009 at 2:32 pm and is filed under Reviews, Technical articles, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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