Saturday, April 23, 2016

Information specific to WLToys L969 truck/truggy

The WLToys L969 truggy is my favorite R/C so far.  However, nobody else seems to agree, since nobody talks about it much.

The L969 is almost identical to the L959 car, which is wildly popular.  But there are enough differences so that finding compatible parts can be a pill.  So, here is a page for other L969 owners out there.

L959 owners:  This page is not for you.  Go here now.  


L969 vs. L212

This post covers items specific to the L969, which is the brushed-motor version.

Given how WLToys made the L959/L202 cars, it makes sense that a L212 truggy will be a L969 truggy with the brushless parts from an L202.  I have no way to verify this and so cannot list such information here.


General Information

See L959/L969 post here.


Advantages and Disadvantages

Generally, the L969 and L959 have identical specs and performance (including top speed).  Traction is limited on all models, especially the brushless models.

Pros:
-  The L969 has much bigger tires and wheels than the L959, allowing it to:
  -  Have more traction, especially on the front end
  -  Have a higher ground clearance
  -  Handle bumps and obstacles better
  -  Jump and land better
  -  Absorb bumps, impacts and collisions much better, reducing frame and steering breakage
  -  Run the tires much longer before requiring replacement

-  The body shell is larger and projects out beyond the car frame, allowing it to:
  -  Function as something of a bumper, reducing the likelihood that the front end parts will become broken
  -  Better protect the body during rollovers
  -  Fit more wiring or other stuff under the shell of the car, where it will be protected
  -  Be taped up or patched easily if it breaks
  -  Be replaced easily when the time comes (as opposed to replacing broken frame parts, which is difficult)



Cons:

-  L969 might be a bit more expensive than the L959.

-  Fewer vendors pay attention to the L969; parts are harder to get, and not always compatible with the L959.

-  The larger wheels/tires may put additional strain on the motor, and may cause the motors to break somewhat faster than on the L959 car.

-  Some trucks seem to be assembled with 12-tooth (12T) motors, which are hard to find.  Using 14-tooth (14T) motors might work, but possibly not well.


User Manual

User manual (NO PARTS LISTS): Litehawk (Canada) (from Litehawk Brute), Wltoys.eu

User manual (WITH PARTS LIST):  Server 1 (big) 

Parts list ONLY:  Server 1 

Note:  The parts lists have been annotated with orange slashes to indicate parts specific to the L969.


Specifications

Public specifications

Scale: 1:12
Size:  395 mm x 260 mm
Wheel Base: 250 mm

Diameter of tire:95 mm
Width of front wheel: 55 mm
Width of rear wheel: 55 mm
Speed: 40 km/h (Brushless: 60 km/h)
Remote Distance: approximately 100 m
Charging Time:  approximately 3 hours
Car Battery: 7.4V 1500mAh
Transmitter Battery: 4 x AA (Not Included)
Car Weight: ?

Other specifications

Dimensions / size comparison:  See here

Battery connector:  T-plug.  (L959 has JST connector)

Transceiver IC: believed to be BK2423, same as WLtoys L959 and V2x3 quadcopter series
ESC FETs: believed to be CET 904 CEP83A3

Motor size:  380 (brushed models) / unknown (brushless models)

[For reference only:
540 motor has a diameter of ~36mm.
380 motor has a diameter ~28mm.
280 motor has a diameter of ~24mm.]

Motor shaft diameter: 2 mm


Part Compatibility

Conventional wisdom dictates that the L959 (car/buggy), L969 (truck/truggy) and L979 (rally car/rally truck/truggy) are the same except for wheels, bodies (covers) and axles, but this is not correct.  There are a number of parts specific to the L969.

It is true that the L959 and L969 are about 80% the same.  Anything not specifically called out here can be presumed to be identical to the L959, but you should check your parts guide to be sure.

Note that some of these parts may also be compatible with the L979, L202, L212 and L222.  I don't any of these and so cannot check this.


On Vendors

Few places carry items specific to the L969.

Worse, most vendors do not distinguish between parts for the L959 and L969.  This is fine when a L959 part fits the L969, but is not fine when the L959 part does NOT fit the L969!

Vendors even go so far as to confuse the L969 with the A969, which is a completely different model.  Or, at least, throw in whatever keywords they think will attract clicks, regardless of accuracy.  So, buyer beware!


The best source I know of for L969-specific parts  Litehawk (Canada).  They sell the Litehawk Brute, which is reportedly identical to the L969, and so carry all of the L969 parts in their Canadian store (list of all Litehawk Brute parts).  As a result, parts are virtually guaranteed to be correct for the L969.  (They also carry L959 parts in their Blast store.)


Others:
Banggood all L969 parts
Amazon (USA) all L969 parts
Amazon (Canada) all L969 parts
Newegg (USA) all L969 parts
Aliexpress all L969 parts
Mofars.dk (Denmark)


Note:  ALL of the vendors listed above (except Litehawk) typically do not properly distinguish between L959 parts and L969 parts.  So be careful what you order!


Unique Parts

According to the parts diagram, the following parts are unique to the L969.  Descriptions have been transliterated from the manual.

The "official" parts list does not use the "L" prefix (i.e. "L969-01") so neither does this list.  However, be aware that with the rise of other similar models, such as the A969, many vendors may use the "L" prefix for their parts listings.

More details on some of these are presented in the sections below; however, the specific differences are not known for all parts.

-  969-01:  Front tires (x2)
-  969-02:  Rear tires (x2)
-  969-03:  Car shell frame (x1)
-  969-04:  Front suspension bracket (x1)
-  969-05:  Rear shock plate (x1)
-  969-06:  Rearward shell column (x2)
-  969-07:  Rearward connection frame (x2)
-  969-08:  Forward shell scaffold (x1)
-  969-09:  Motor (x1)
-  969-10:  Motor gear (pinion gear) (x2)
-  969-11:  Rear axle (x2)
-  969-12:  Front axle (x2)
-  969-13:  Car shell / topper (Green) (x1)
-  969-14:  Car shell / topper (Red) (x1)
-  969-15:  Motor mounting bracket (x2)
-  969-16:  Lithium-iron battery (x1)
-  969-17:  Lithium-ion battery (x1)
-  969-18:  2.4 GHz receiver box (x1)

All of the other parts have L959 prefixes and are common to the L959 car model. 


Front Tires (969-01) / Rear Tires (969-02)

Tires are different between car and truggy.  Duh!

Front tires (969-01): Banggood, Litehawk (Canada) (from Brute)Amazon (Canada) (search), Amazon (USA) (search), Heli-PartsGoogle search 
Note:  Banggood has been known to sell rear tires as front tires.  Rear tires have a hex hub, front tires have a round hub with no hex.  Photos might be accurate but you may still get the wrong item.


Motor (969-09)

The L969 seems to use the same basic motor as the L959 but with a 12-tooth (12T) pinion (gear) attached.

The prevalence of the different gear types is unknown.  It is not known if all L969s use the 12-tooth gear or not, if this is a batch-by-batch thing, or if it was changed at any point in the past.

However, the L969 does have different pinion and motor part numbers.  So there is speculation that this is a model-specific difference between the L969 and L959, with all L959 cars using the 14-tooth gear and all L969 trucks using the 12-tooth gear.  This has not been confirmed.


The motor is the biggest PITA for L969 owners since nearly everyone sells the 14-tooth version, which might not be compatible with your truck.  See "Motor Pinion" below.

969-09 motor (believed to be 12-tooth / 12T):  Litehawk (Canada), Hobbyworx

959-33 motor (believed to be 14-tooth / 14T):  Banggood, Aliexpress, Heli-Parts, Litehawk (Canada)


Motor Pinion / Motor Gear (969-10)

The motor pinion is a different part number than the L959.  It is suspected that this is because the L969 truggy uses a 12-tooth (12T) gear, while the L959 car uses a 14-tooth (14T) gear.

Unfortunately, both the 12 and 14 tooth gears appear very similar on casual inspection, so always compare the new motor to your old one.

You can assemble the gearbox using the "wrong" pinion but it will feel stiff and require quite a bit of torque to get it to spin.  Using the incorrect pinion version may cause motors to wear out prematurely, causing the car to go through motors or gears quickly.  It may also cause the car to "stall" and stop working completely (both drive and steering) due to excessive current - this may be a feature of the receiver box.

Using a replacement speed reduction gear along with the new motor may correct the issue, or it may not.  It has not been verified if there are different speed reduction gears for the 12T pinion or 14T pinion.  In fact, the rationale between having a 12T version and 14T version is completely unknown.

You can move the original 12-tooth pinion to a new motor, but only if you have a good-quality 1.5mm hex wrench handy to remove the set screw from the pinion. You can also buy new 12T/14T pinions separately, but be careful you're getting the right ones.
 
Sources for 12-tooth (12T) pinion:  Litehawk (Canada)Hobbyworx (USA), RC Planet (unverified)

Sources for 14-tooth (14T) pinion:  WL-Toys.com, Litehawk (Canada)

Note:  RC Planet has the 12T version listed here, but the photo is clearly of the 14T version.  Similarly, Hobbyworx has the 12T here, also with photos of the 14T.


Front Axles (969-12) / Rear Axles (969-11)

Longer, to accommodate the fatter truggy tires.

Front axles (969-12): Litehawk (Canada), Heli-Parts, RC Planet, Hobbyworx

Rear axles (969-11)Litehawk (Canada), Heli-Parts, RC Planet, Banggood, Kinglton



Motor Mount / Mounting Bracket (L969-15)

The L969 is listed with a different motor mount.  
This actually makes no sense since:
-  The motor body is (supposedly) the same as the L959 car - it just seems to have a different pinion installed; and
-   Photographs seem to indicate the car and truck mounts are identical, and
-  14-tooth L959 motors seem to fit on the stock L969 mount 
So it is possible the L969 and L959 motor mounts are actually the same part.  This has not been confirmed.



Motor Heat Sinks

It seems that most, if not all, L969 trucks come with heat sinks.  This may be because the bigger tires are expected to strain the motor more.

Note that many receiver boxes do not actually have any spare connectors.  If you get a heat sink with a fan, expect to have to splice in the fan yourself.  If connected directly to the battery, the fan will run even when the receiver box is OFF; there are pros and cons to this.

Heat sinks reported working on L959/L969 (not personally confirmed):
-  Passive:  Banggood 1, Banggood 2   
-  Active (with fan):  Banggood 1 (update: confirmed to fit/work)
Not reported working: Aliexpress search, Futaba (Aliexpress)    

 Note:  many of the heat sinks that include fans are for 540-size motors, not 380-size motors.  They also obviously require power and the fans are subject to breakdown.


Battery (969-17)

The L969 uses a T-plug (B1 on this diagram) on the battery.  A T-plug is also called a Deans style connector.

Not all batteries are created equal: they seem to range from 1500 mAh to 1800 mAh.  Whether these specifications are real, or not, is up for debate.

It is theoretically possible to swap in the 959-38 receiver with the JST connector (B3 on this diagram) in order to make it compatible with the L959.  You would probably only do this if you had a lot of JST batteries and didn't want to modify or replace them for your L969.

Some may be uncomfortable with the lower current rating of the JST, but in all honesty it will probably work just fine. The brushed motor, at least, doesn't pull enough current long enough for the connector to appreciably heat.

Of bigger concern is the fact that since the receiver box is a different part number, it may have differences other than the external connector.  There is no way to know for sure except to try it for yourself.

Sources:  BanggoodWL-Toys.com, Heli-Parts

Note:  RC Planet has the L969-17 listed here, but the photo is clearly of the JST plug version for the L959.  Same for Hobbyworx, shown here.


Receiver (L969-18)

The receiver uses a T-plug connector to match the battery.

It is possible that low-battery or motor-overcurrent protection limits are different in the truggy reciever; this has not been confirmed.

Sources:  Litehawk (Canada) (from Brute), Aliexpress (search) , Wl-Toys.com, RC Planet,

Notes:
 -  Many vendors confuse the JST receiver with the T-plug receiver.  Or, at least, use "reference" pictures that show the JST model, making it hard to know if you're going to get the T-plug model or not.

 -  Older receivers were not waterproofed.  Newer ones are mostly waterproofed by being filled with glue, but there are gaps in the coverage, so water still might kill them.

 -  Replacement waterproofed receivers may have glue in the plugs that needs to be cleaned out with a needle or X-Acto knife.

-  Some references indicate the receiver has spare plugs able to provide power for accessories, but actual receivers may not have these.  If they are present, they might be blocked with waterproofing silicone or glue.  So don't plan to plug anything in to the receiver aside from the stock servo and motor.


 

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