1/50 Microz and Microz GT Review
NOTE: The Source CC (Circuit City) has these on Clearance for $9.99 with lots of parts and styles to choose so if interested act fast, also I think these are only available in Canada!
The main difference between the MicroZ and the MicroZ GT is that the The MicroZ GT are Digital Proportional for a more precise steering and they have functioning head and taillights. Both the MicroZ and the MicroZ GT feature a front spring suspension but GT with the Digital Proportional steering is a much better choice.
The remote control unit has a modular two-piece customizable pistol grip, perfect for left or right-handed drivers, simply snap the 'trigger' section on the other side for Left-handed users. Now Digital Proportional as touted by MicroZ GT is not really comparable to a Micro-T or a Xmod but it does offer decent steering control that is fairly responsive. I admit it lags a bit but considering the size of these MicroZ I'm amazed they can offer Digital Proportional steering period.
Here we have the FORD MUSTANG GT, the body styles available are quite varied and the detail is very good considering the small scale the MicroZ uses (1:50) One of the items I was impressed with was the use of small metal lug-nuts to hold the wheels to the axle.
Remember that at such a small scale the bodies are slightly off in scale as all body styles must fit a predetermined size, unlike an Xmod or Epoch you have no adjustments that can be made to the wheelbase.
Here you can see the top of the main PCB board, note the connector in the middle for the headlight/tail-lights this means we are looking at the MicroZ GT version. Towards the rear you can see the mini-motor that power the car it's a 'Pager' motor otherwise known as a 'Coreless' motor. Corless refers to the fact the windings themselves form the armature within the motor requiring no core as a traditional motor does. I'm not sure what Rpm the stock motor turns at but the red motor pictured is the upgrade motor and it's rated at 30,000Rpm and the gearing is a 9.58:1 ratio (motor turns 9.58 times for every 1 turn the wheel makes). As for speed suffice to say fast enough to make control difficult but slow compared to an Xmod.....
Another 'Coreless' motor powers the steering section and you can see the positioning encoder that determines the correct location the wheels should be at when you twist the steering control. Notice the springs located on the wheel control arms these are the front suspension mentioned earlier. The suspension is only on the front wheels and it helps keep the wheels on the ground but don't expect too much from the suspension as the rear has none and the rear also has no transmission which means both wheels propel the car forward.
Once we have the PCB board opened up it reveals the hidden power source a NiMh (Nickel-metal Hydride) rated at 2.4Volts and 120mah (mAh stands for Milliamp Hour, a technical term for how much power a particular battery will hold). This battery that can power the MicroZ for upwards of 20 minutes when you follow the charging instructions a little further down.
The photos below do not represent all the models available in fact they only show the limited selection I currently have so have a look and remember you can click on any photo to enlarge it.
I Wired a DC adapter to the controller through the battery terminal to charge the MicroZ and save on batteries. I have read that due to the high rate of charge it can cause the NimH cells to heat-up so to avoid issues they cut the charge time which results in a battery that is not 100% charged. If you allow a 5-8 minute cool down between charges you can charge multiple times the chart below shows the difference in run rime compared to the amount of charges used.
* I wired a 300mA DC adapter directly to the battery terminals to ensure battery life would not effect the tests and I have done them a few times and averaged the times to arrive at the table above.
Considering the size of these R/C cars they handle very well and the Digital Proportional steering is perhaps not up to the task of the larger R/C cars it does perform well enough. I did notice it suffers from a slight lag as the steering motor lacks some torque and relies on the heavy use of gearing to position the wheels. The throttle is not sensitive enough at slow speeds again due to a lack of torque, but once the motor hits a certain level of Rpm's the throttle is usable just don't expect a true full throttle control.
The last issue is Range and it's a mixed bag as some cars (or frequencies) seem to be fine and others seem to have a range only a few feet, it could be interference or poor design. MicroZ are designed as a sort of 'Table-top' racer so perhaps range was not supposed to be an issue if driving on a table. I found that effective range is around 9' which is enough to drive on the 4'x6' track I had made but it did mean you have to point your controller towards the car to keep the signal if you were not alone on the track. Realistically these are poor choices for a full blown race but they are quite fun to race as one of the challenges becomes trying to keep control of the car as it drives along the extreme edge of it's range resulting in all kinds of fun pointing the controller towards the car as it smacks into a barrier and stalls until you manage to reacquire the signal and drive off.
For the price I picked these up at I can't complain they are fun, fast, look good and with a run-time of over 20 minutes the fun lasts a long time. If you really want a true R/C racer then pass these by, if you want some fun in a small amount of space then MicroZ are just what the Doctor ordered (and you can both drive a Mercedes Benz SLK55).
I have created a little video of the MicroZ GT and various R/C cars running on my home-made track you can view a 640x480 or a 320x240 version by clicking the links below. I you would like to learn more about building a track of your own click Here
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