As today, and in my humble opinion, this is the actual king of all aftermarket and stock RC tank electronics. It covers most, if not all of our needs as RC tank commander. Why is it that good? Let’s start taking a closer look at the board!
As you can see, it has all the connections you might need. It is pretty much plug and play with Heng Long/Taigen/Torro tanks, and also with Tamiya tanks if you buy (or build) the small turret adaptor. I specially like the battery and motor connectors because they are very robust and high current capable. I also like the pin connectors for the aditional lights because of their small size and the fit. Much better than the Jst connectors you can find in most of the tank electronics.
As all the aftermarket boards, it completelly replaces your old electronics. Yep, you have to remove your Heng Long or Tamiya innards and replace them with this. Don’t worry, it is very easy to do and it is really well worth it.
For squeezing all the juice from the board and triggering all functions, a hobby grade radio with an 8 channel receiver is required. Sorry guys, no Heng Long or 4 channel Tamiya/Futaba radios here. In my case channel 1 is for throttle, 2 for steering, 3 for barrel elevation, 4 for turret rotation, and 5, 6, 7 and 8 are for the extra functions like toggling on and off lights, adjusting the volume with a knob in your radio, switching the smoke machine and triggering the function I love most: the user sounds.
It also comes with an external volume knob and some extra wiring for making the instalation easier.
But my tank already moves and sounds, why do I need it?
Good question that has plenty of answers:
1) It lets you use of your own true hobby grade radio. Just because of that, it is already well worth it.
2) Much better control: The board provides much better control than the stock electronics. Now you can crawl at super slow speeds and also to have a full controll of your vehicle when full throttle.
3) To fit the correct sound in your tank: Tamiya has very repetitive, syntethic and fake sounds on their tanks, and Heng Long used to have the same sound on every model… So if you have a modern tank, like the Leopard, it would be great to have it running with a turbine sound instead of an ancient diesel engine, right? With the Elmod board you can do it. It comes with loads of different sound sets ready to be selected, or you if you are creative and skilled enough, you can create your own sound sets.
4) More lights: Headlighs, auxliary lights, two independent machine guns, main gun flash, brake light and even blinkers can be activated at your will. Cool for the night missions!
5) Easy use of servos. For recoil, turret rotation and turret elevation, that let you easily replace the stock (and sometimes not good) parts in your model with servos.
6) My favorite; user sounds! Up to 24 user sounds where you can play whatever you might need. From your tank commander giving orders to the rest of the platoon to music, marches, radio chatter, artillery strikes, horn… Limit is only your imagination! I absolutelly love this, and it is the biggest dealbreaker with other boards for me.
7) Ultra deep customization of the model with the Elmod apps, where you can make your toy feel and behave like a real tank. Momentum, inertias, gear changing… Hundreds of parameters to keep you busy and enjoying.
In summary, you need it for being able to do things like this:
It might not be very evident, but I am making the tank commander give orders to the rest of the crew; the driver, the gunner, the radio operator… So I am playing the sound orders first, and then I make it happen. In the video there are only like 10 sounds played or so, but I am currently using the 24 user sounds. I do really LOVE that feature and at this very moment there are no other available aftermarket electronics letting you do that.
All of the sounds are played pressing some buttons in the back of the radio, so no crazy ninja stick movements are required, thanks to God. In the following video I show how I trigger most of the Elmod functions:
The board comes with two nicely printed color manuals, one in english, the other in german, that can also be free downloaded from the website. I found the manual to be quite complete and covers most of the rookie’s doubts. It explains what is the use of every port, what to plug here and there, and also how to start controlling your model. From there, you have to read the different options in the Elmod app that will let you fine tune the model.
The Elmod software:
As I already wrote, the board has plenty of functions… But how to program them? Some other boards require you to use a remote tv controller, so you don’t really see what you are doing. Fortunately it is not the case of the Elmod board, because it has his own PC and phone software. You connect your board to the computer with the provided USB wire, and you can start toying with the options. I am not going to explain the use of every one of the options because they are already well described inside the software, but what I can tell you is you can make your super light and nimble vehicle feel and behave like that, or your sluggish King Tiger move like it was really weighting tons. There are so many options that you can, for mentioning two, even adjust the power output of the headlights, or how fast the machine gun blinks. Crazy, isn’t it?
The bluetooth module:
Yep, you don’t like computers at all. Or maybe you have a strange operating system. Or it is a pain to open your tank without damaging your nicely done paint job… Or maybe you are at the tank meeting and you left your laptop at home… Don’t worry, that is why the bluetooth module is there! Just plug it inside of your model, and all of the functions of the computer App will be in your mobile phone!
If you have several Elmod boards, it is well worth to have at least one bluetooth module, because it lets you adjust the parameters on the fly. When fine tunning the model, it can be a real pain to keep connecting the tank to the computer after every change you do, but with the bluetooth module you can easily change every parameter with no hassle. I also use it for seeing how much battery is left in the tank. Some young guys who love phones and not radios can use the phone for actualy driving their tanks, because the phone app also lets you do that! Not something I will ever use, but the possibility is there.
The technical support:
When I needed it, I always comunicated with Thomas via email. He does speak english and german and the answer is usually fast. He also keeps updating the software with new features or correcting bugs so it is also well worth to keep checking the website, in case there is something new.
What can be improved:
There is always room for improvements… The main one is the price. The boards might be (I don’t know) made in Europe, but the price is impossible to digest for many of us, mere poor mortals. If the boards were cheaper, they would be way more popular outside Germany, as the Clark boards are, which are everywhere even when they are a bad joke of board when compared with the Elmod.
But if we pay what we pay, I expect the board to come with a plastic enclosure. If I leave the naked board on a metal tank, I can short circuit and create the lovely and expensive smoke of magic. Considering the price we pay, it should come with a propper case! The super cool metal box? that we don’t need! Thomas, if you read me, please save the dough you spent in those metal boxes and spend the cash in a nice enclosure for the board. No problem if it is 3D printed as long as it keeps our electronics safe from short circuiting.
And there is also room for some other improvements that I am feeling the absence and I am sure they will come with time, as a natural evolution of the board and those might include more lights outputs, the use of 16 channel Sbus receivers and better quality sounds. At this very moment the board is able to play sounds at 22khz, and that, even when they are OK, can be better. For a next revision I’d love to be able to play CD quality (44khz sounds) as some other boards do. Considering the board is using a SD card for storing the sounds, space is never a problem.
Even with those final drawbacks, at this very moment, and always under my humble opinion as an experienced RC tanker and a massive functions freak, and also as I already wrote, there is nothing nowhere near in the market neither in quality, neither in options to the Elmod Fusion Pro board. If you have the money, go for it. At least your flag tank should have one!
If you want one, you can order it at https://elmod.eu/
Disclaimer: That is not a referal link, I don’t get anything neither for the review, nor for the boards you might buy.
EDIT: Hey! I am in the Elmod’s website!
Well, sometimes is good to revise things with the perspective that only the time and extensive use can bring you.
I have been using the board inside of my flagship tank, the Panzer IV, with regular basis. It works flawlessly and in that time, firmware has also been updated regularly, but not many new functions though. The super good feelings I had at the beginning, faded quite a lot after having other boards in my hand, like the Beier SFR-1D, mainly because of two reasons:
Sound quality: Definitelly there is a big difference when playing sounds when next to other of my tanks, but well, I can live with it, but the next point is what is killing me:
Inertia: This is the deal breaker for me. I do love realistic driving and I can’t stand with how the people drives their tanks at places like Danvile, but being unable to disable the inertia has caused us a lot of serious issues. No matter what people in German forum says, when driving it takes a good meter to brake the tank, causing expensive crashes when driving with more people around.
It also is a massive issue while driving over rough surfaces because you have almost no control over the vehicle. It takes time to begin to move and then it launches itself like a rocket, but when you try to brake it, it takes another meter. Can’t count the number of crashes we had just because Mr. Elmod does not want to let us drive the tank the way we want. Surprisingly I have seen this issue in the italian IBU2 Ultimate board. Not sure why the developers don’t want to listen to the customers.
I do like inertia and I would like to keep using it, but at the other hand, I NEED to be able to deactivate under some circumstances, which are more often than I though. Due to I cannot drive the tank the way we need to, I decided, with tears in my eyes, to replace the electronics.