The difference between 540 & 550 RC electric motors

Updated July 20, 2017

When it comes to electric motors, there are two main routes of performance: those for top speed that run high rotations-per-minute (RPM), and those that offer great acceleration. Understanding the differences between the 540 and 550 motor will help you identify the best motor for your vehicle. Learn how to distinguish a 540 and a 550 to ensure that you always achieve maximum performance with your radio-controlled (RC) vehicle.


The shaft is the portion of the motor that drives the mechanics of your vehicle's transmission. In 540 motors, the shaft is slightly shorter than that of the 550 motor. This allows for the longer length of the 550 motor, and provides more surface area along the shaft for bigger magnets, which generate the energy used by the device.


The commutator is a cylindrical section of metal mounted to one end of the motor shaft. The commutator is housed within the main body of the motor (called a can) and connects the metal brushes to the rotating armature. The 550 motor has a larger commutator than the 540, which provides more surface area and a stronger connection. This provides greater force, which translates into improved torque.


Torque is the force of rotation; in other words, the motor shaft spins with a certain level of force, and more torque provides quicker rotation and faster vehicle acceleration. A 550 motor has a greater amount of torque than its 540 counterpart, which is why it is usually found in larger vehicles with heavy wheels.


Any electric motor derives its mechanical force from magnetic fields inside the device. The larger the surface of the magnetic, the stronger the force it exerts on the rotating portion of the motor. Because of their longer length, 550 motors have longer magnets that afford greater mechanical force.

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About the Author

Matthew Cote started writing professionally in 2008. He has contributed to, as well as numerous Web sites with Collective Clicks, including Cote holds a B.A. in English with a concentration in language, writing and rhetoric from North Carolina State University.