"I would hope that Pulsar will be remembered as a really feisty little underdog, it's really small, and it's going to hit really hard!"
— Ellis Ware

Pulsar was a heavyweight robot which competed in Series 8 and 9 of Robot Wars, entered by Team Ranglebots.

In Series 8, Pulsar initially lost its Group Battle on a judges' decision after becoming immobilised on one side during the battle. However, it was reinstated after Chompalot was forced to withdraw, and Pulsar won its heat over Gabriel to reach the Grand Final, where it was defeated by TR2 and Thor. After this fifth-place finish, a new build of Pulsar returned for Series 9, reaching the Heat Final through a series of four consecutive battles without being defeated, before being eliminated here in its fifth encounter with Ironside3.

Pulsar was succeeded by Magnetar for Series 10, after Pulsar itself was not accepted into the series.


"With its signature siren-like sound, Pulsar featured the fastest drum flywheel weapon in Series 8, weighing 14.5kg and rotating at up to 9,000rpm (220mph). The robot has a number of 3D printed components and has a unique modern sensorless brushless electric drive system normally used in large model aircraft."
Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot on Pulsar in Series 8

Pulsar in Series 8

Pulsar S8

Pulsar enters the arena for its first battle in Series 8

Pulsar was a compact, two-wheel drive robot with a wide front wedge and armed with a 14.5kg spinning drum as its weapon, consisting of two single-tooth discs connected at either end. The drum originally spun at 9000rpm in Series 8 and was hugely powerful, capable of causing severe damage as well as throwing other robots into the air and overturning them.

"I was way the other end of this building when I heard this god-awful hum start, like it was like a fire alarm or something!"
Dara Ó Briain on Pulsar's drum
Pulsar 8

Pulsar's turntable shot in Series 8

Pulsar Arena

Pulsar in the arena after its Heat Final during Series 8

The robot featured a number of 3D printed parts, and its armour consisted of 8mm HARDOX wear-resistant steel on the front wedge and chassis, and 4.5mm ARMOX steel on the top and base plates. However, its wheels were exposed overhead due to it being invertible, and the back panel protecting the wheels was made only of plastic. Pulsar was powered by 16Ah 12s LiPo batteries, but its radio reception proved to be intermittent, and the robot was generally unreliable, breaking down in three of its five battles in Series 8.

"Pulsar was completely redesigned for Series 9, although keeping its original shape and theme. It featured an upgraded drum weapon, weighing 24kg with gearing for 8,700rpm. Improved geometry and greater mass of the weapon gave it more consistent bite on opponents, transferring more energy more often."
— Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot on Pulsar in Series 9

Pulsar in Series 9

Pulsar turntable

Pulsar's turntable shot in Series 9

For Series 9, Pulsar was completely rebuilt. In the process, it gained a rear self-righting mechanism in the form of a front-hinged arm, which easily put Pulsar back on its wheels. Its new drum was much bigger and weighed 23kg, now spinning at 8,700rpm, while the robot was driven by two sensor-less Rotomax brushless electric motors, on a custom two-stage reduction gearbox. Pulsar's armour demonstrated high durability, easily withstanding blows from spinners such as Ironside3, although the robot still suffered from internal unreliability, particularly after sustaining damage against Supernova.

"Hardened wear-plate steel. Frame, wedge and rear plate 8mm thick, with 6mm wheel-guards and 3.2mm top and bottom panels. Also patches of 6mm polycarbonate plastic to save weight and display the internals."
— Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot on Pulsar's armour in Series 9


Pulsar S9

Pulsar on the battleboards in Series 9

The name Pulsar was derived from a specific type of magnetised neutron star which radiates electromagnetic beams in space and is notable for its fast rotational speed. The latter connotations are further emphasised by the robot's spinning drum weapon, which set the record for the fastest weapon in UK Robot Wars at the time of Series 8.

The TeamEdit

Main article: Team Ranglebots
Pulsar with team

Pulsar with its team in Series 8

Team Ranglebots

Team Ranglebots in Series 9

Pulsar was entered into Series 8 and 9 by Team Ranglebots, named after the team captain's online business, Ranglebox. The captain was Ellis Ware, the lead builder, designer and driver of Pulsar, who was aged 20 in Series 9. He was joined on the team by his 59-year old father Peter, who was also involved with the maintenance and soldering of the machine, and his mother Tara, aged 55. The team would later enter Series 10 with Magnetar.


Pulsar S8 CAD

CAD of Pulsar used to qualify for Series 8

"Pulsar was built from scratch for the new series of Robot Wars. With only 9 weeks to plan, design and build an entry, CAD played a huge role in finishing the machine in time. I produced a detailed 3D model of Pulsar ahead of almost all purchases and construction, to streamline the build process as much as possible."
— Ellis Ware on Pulsar's creation for Series 8
Pulsar CAD

CAD of Series 9's Pulsar

Pulsar CAD internals

CAD of Pulsar's internals in Series 9

Nine weeks before filming took place for Series 8, Ellis Ware first conceptualised Pulsar, and created a CAD, which he used in his application form for Series 8. Even though Pulsar had not entered construction at this stage, it was accepted into the series, and completed on-site. Similarly, Ellis Ware created a new CAD of the upgraded version of Pulsar, which competed in Series 9, after it qualified in the same manner. However, when Ellis Ware applied to compete in Series 10, Pulsar was surprisingly rejected[1]. This required Ellis Ware to design Magnetar and send a CAD of the new machine to the BBC, qualifying for the series with the new machine only four weeks before filming took place.

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 8Edit

Pulsar appeared in Heat 5 where it fought three veterans, Chompalot, Ironside3 and Thermidor 2 in its first round melee. Pulsar was originally intended to compete in Heat 2, but withdrew due to technical issues. Pulsar was granted a second chance to compete, in the fifth heat, after Pod withdrew.

"We're gonna wreck everything, including the arena, there's no doubt!"
— Peter Ware
Chompalot vs Pulsar

An immobile Pulsar is pushed by Chompalot

Despite the team's confidence, Pulsar was incredibly passive in its first-round melee, after sustaining a big blow from Ironside3 in the opening stages, bending Pulsar's wheels. It avoided the action afterwards in order to spin up its drum, blowing away dirt on the arena floor, unable to move properly, eventually losing drive to one half of the machine, and was left driving circles in the centre of the arena. It caused damage to Chompalot when the dragon drove onto Pulsar's wedge, but after being pushed, Pulsar became completely immobile. The pit was depressed, and Chompalot edged Pulsar ever closer to it, although Pulsar did not go down, and survived until a Judges' decision, where a unanimous vote eliminated Pulsar.

Despite this early exit, Pulsar was given another chance to rejoin the competition when Chompalot withdrew due to a devastating loss where the robot caught fire. Given the choice between Thermidor 2 and Pulsar, the Judges chose to reinstate Pulsar.

"The only thing we could really look at was the fight in the arena, Thermidor 2 didn't really do much, we had to choose Pulsar."
Dr Lucy Rogers

Pulsar went into its head-to-head match with Beast on 0 points, due to Chompalot's earlier loss.

Beast vs pulsar 1

Capitalising on Beast's misfire

Pulsar remained stationary to spin up its drum, also struggling with its mobility again, while Beast missed with a flip. Pulsar used the chance to get underneath Beast, and attack its underbelly. Beast made little effort to move away, and Pulsar snuck around the side to throw it up with the drum, and hit it a second time upon landing. This double attack immobilised Beast, and Pulsar earned its three points very quickly.

Beast vs pulsar 2

Pulsar immobilises Beast

"Pulsar's beauty against the Beast, little machine, big heart!"
Jonathan Pearce

Pulsar went into its next head-to-head against the robot that immobilised it in the first round, Ironside3.

"I'm a vertical spinner, so I spin up very quickly, and they're a horizontal, so what happens when those two collide is very difficult to predict. If I hit their bar as it comes round, they'll go up absolutely flying, but if they hit my drum, it could cause serious damage, emphasised by the fact this is going round."
— Ellis Ware
Pulsar vs ironside 3

Pulsar throws Ironside3 up

Pulsar and ironside 3 in the pit

Both robots are pitted

Both spinners got up to speed, and when the two collided, Pulsar won out, throwing Ironside3 into the air, and over. While Ironside3 tried to self-right, Pulsar caused more damage to its srimech using the drum, and pushed it into Sir Killalot. However, controversy struck, because Sir Killalot accidentally righted the struggling Ironside3, and Pulsar lost mobility on one side again. Pulsar could only turn in circles and spin its drum in self-defence, until it became completely immobile. Ironside3 pushed Pulsar into the pit, but fell in alongside it, so the battle was sent to the Judges. It was ruled by the Judges that because Ironside3 was immobile for over ten seconds during the fight, Pulsar would be awarded the full 3 points for a win via KO.

This placed Pulsar at the top of the leaderboard with six points, level with the other Heat Finalist, Gabriel, creating a Heat Final between two robots that had never fought each other before.

Gabriel vs pulsar 1

Pulsar tips Gabriel over

Gabriel vs pulsar 2

Pulsar is punished for inactivity

Gabriel rubber goes flying

Late damage from Pulsar helps the Judges' decision

Pulsar found it difficult to find parts of Gabriel to attack, but managed to throw it over by hitting the sword while it rode along the floor. Pulsar's small size also allowed it to dodge Gabriel's attacks, though it took a big blow to the wheels. Pulsar put a large bend in Gabriel's wheel, and threw it over with several slams. Despite being in the lead, Pulsar had a scare when it stopped moving near Sir Killalot. Gabriel prepared to attack, but Pulsar came back to life, and reversed away. Dodging further attacks, Pulsar flipped Gabriel onto its side, tearing rubber away, while the pit was opened. Pulsar drove underneath the axlebot, but once again stopped moving in the same position as before. Gabriel attacked the lifeless Pulsar, kickstarting its drive again, but Pulsar ceased for a third time shortly afterwards, where it sustained a barrage of blows from Gabriel. Pulsar revived once again, and ripped a piece of steel from Gabriel, throwing it towards a camera. Pulsar landed one final blow, and cease was called. The Judges unanimously declared Pulsar the winner, and it qualified for the Grand Final.

"It was an epic and truly bizarre fight - it looked like an angry ferret fighting a giraffe!"
— Dara Ó Briain

In the Grand Final, Pulsar faced TR2 and fellow reinstated qualifier, Thor. Team Ranglebots stated a particular fear of TR2 going into the battle, due to its low ground clearance. With Pulsar suffering from unreliable drive motors, Ellis Ware also hit his robot with a hammer repeatedly to see if the shock would have an effect on the robot's mobility.

"I don't like that hitting it with a hammer is the only way to move forwards, that doesn't feel very healthy."
— Ellis Ware
Tr2 vs thor vs pulsar 1

Pulsar is thrown by TR2

Shunt axes thor who axes pulsar

Pulsar is struck by Thor

Shunt axes pulsar

Pulsar is knocked out by Shunt

At the start of the battle, Pulsar drove into Thor, with a bigger slam ripping away one of Thor's wheel guards. Pulsar caused further damage to the wedges of Thor, but after being pushed into Shunt by TR2, Pulsar lost mobility. It regained life, but only on one side of the drive, reviving the recurring issue of Pulsar becoming immobile on one side. Pulsar was flipped over by TR2, and then axed by Thor and Shunt. Once again, Pulsar could not move, but was righted by Shunt, restoring partial mobility again, which was lost when lifted by TR2. Shunt attacked Pulsar with its axe, stopping the drum from spinning briefly, and confirming that Pulsar was immobilised by flipping it over.

"Pulsar, soon to head for a black hole!"
Jonathan Pearce

Pulsar had once again fallen prey to its own faulty motors, and was eliminated from the competition.

Series 9Edit

Pulsar competed in Heat 4, where it once again faced Ironside3, alongside veterans Crushtacean and Team Terrafonics' bar spinner Apex.

Dara Ó Briain: "You've made changes for this year, though?"
Ellis Ware: "It's a brand new robot!"
Dara Ó Briain: "Really?"
Ellis Ware: "It's a completely new build. Looks very similar, same idea, it's got a big drum"
— Dara Ó Briain's surprise at Pulsar's improvements
Pulsar vs Apex

Pulsar throws Apex up

Pulsar, in its efforts to get its drum up to speed, made some initial driving errors, slamming into the arena wall, and driving over the floor flipper, which flicked it up. However, Crushtacean had already been immobilised by Ironside3, and Pulsar crashed straight into Apex, slipping underneath its bar spinner to throw it up into the air, and secure a knockout. Pulsar had earned a place in the second round very quickly, but regardless it charged into Ironside3, causing damage to the fellow victor. Cease was then called, confirming the victory.

"It's really fast, we've fixed the drive, and it's got really little grip because it's got so much power, so it's power-sliding everywhere"
— Ellis Ware on his driving errors

After Pulsar's group battle, one of its weapon belts had seized, which needed to be repaired ahead of its head-to-head with Ironside3. Another problem was incurred when Peter Ware made a mistake when recharging Pulsar, breaking a speed controller which then had to be replaced before entering the arena.

Pulsar vs Ironside3 S9

Pulsar throws Ironside3 into the air

Pulsar vs Ironside 3 S9

Pulsar pushes Ironside3 around

The battle began, and Pulsar pressured Ironside3 from afar, causing it to make driving errors before attacking the back end of Ironside3 near the Arena Tyre, which lowered the pit. After this attack, Ellis Ware elected to disable Pulsar's drum to stop the robot from overheating, and Pulsar slammed into Ironside3 using its wedge, although it drove into Sir Killalot afterwards. With both spinners disabled, Pulsar drifted around the arena and bashed Ironside3 repeatedly, edging it towards the pit.

"He's got no weapon and you're the aggressor so far"
— Tara Ware to Ellis Ware
Sir Killalot vs Pulsar

Pulsar is dropped by Sir Killalot

Pulsar pushed Ironside3 again, but after driving into the wall, one side of Pulsar's drive stopped working, leaving it only able to turn in circles. Pulsar was picked up by Sir Killalot and held over the fire, while Ironside3 got its bar up to speed again. Pulsar was dropped onto its back, but it quickly self-righted. Pulsar struggled to drive off the fire, but eventually broke free, and took a hit from Ironside3. Its drive issues were becoming more apparent, and a countdown timer was started to see if Pulsar was immobile. Pulsar cancelled this count by attacking Ironside3 with its wedge, but the count was not cancelled in Team Outlaw's booth, leading that team to believe Pulsar was defeated by knockout. Pulsar's drum was restarted, allowing it to display limited movement around the arena by 'gyro-dancing' using the force of the drum and one wheel. It continued to move in this fashion, unchallenged by Ironside3, until 'cease' was called, sending the battle to a Judges' decision.

Pulsar Gyrodance

Pulsar's gyro-dance that maintained its mobility

"Pulsar were able to come in and shove Ironside3 around, I think one of their motors burns out there, you can see the smoke, that will count against them, but... Pulsar was still active there, though."
— Jonathan Pearce

Not shown on television, the Judges came to a unanimous decision, and it was declared that Pulsar had won the battle, earning two points for the victory. However, it was at this stage Team Outlaw revealed the miscommunication of their countdown timer, and once the Judges were made aware of Ironside3's perceived victory, Pulsar's victory was negated, and instead two points were awarded to both robots, with no official victor.

Pulsar moved on to face Supernova in its next battle, after replacing yet more speed controllers.

"For Team Pulsar, the race to be ready in time means they're heading into a crucial battle untested and unprepared"
— Dara Ó Briain
Supernova Pulsar 1

Pulsar's gigantic hit on Supernova

Supernova Pulsar

Pulsar uses its srimech in celebration

After getting its drum up to speed, Pulsar was not hesitant, and drove directly into Supernova's disc for a brutal weapon-to-weapon collision. Pulsar ceased movement after this hit, but Supernova was sent spiralling into the arena wall, also unable to move freely. Pulsar surprisingly revived itself, and repeatedly drove into Supernova to remove any remaining signs of life in the veteran robot. Pulsar waved its self-righting mechanism in celebration, and collected three points for a win by knockout.

"Drum against spinning blade! Nothing humdrum about that drum!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Upon arriving in the pits, Team Ranglebots discovered the severity of the damage sustained by Pulsar. Its drum was gashed, and would seize when operating. The drum was fixed, but the intensiveness of Pulsar's brushless drive had burnt out more components which needed to be replaced. Team Ranglebots were in danger of withdrawing, at which point their next opponent Wyrm would have earned three points for a knockout win, but Pulsar made it to the arena with a functional drive and weapon.

Wyrm vs Pulsar

Pulsar emits copious amounts of smoke

Pulsar vs Wyrm

Pulsar knocks out Wyrm by bending its scoop down

Pulsar spun up its weapon and drifted around the arena, but smoke quickly poured out of Pulsar, immediately posing problems. Pulsar needed to dispose of Wyrm quickly, so it slammed Memento Mori's robot into the arena wall, and then pushed its lifting wedge under the main body of Wyrm, keeping its two wheels off the arena floor. Pulsar kept Wyrm in the grips of Dead Metal, and over the fire, but then lost drive to one side yet again. Pulsar waved its srimech at Wyrm, but the robot was otherwise fully immobile, and even the srimech stopped working.

"They're counting down, you keep moving Ellis!"
— Tara Ware gives instructions
Pulsar srimech

The immobile Pulsar demonstrates its srimech

Cease was called, and Team Ranglebots were fully aware of their immobilised machine, but Wyrm had luckily been immobilised first, as it could not power its wedge to free itself, and Pulsar was awarded three points. It qualified for the Heat Final having not lost a single match so far, where it would meet Ironside3 for the fifth time. However, Pulsar faced further difficulty, as the team had completely run out of working speed controllers, with no spares available. It looked as though the team would have to withdraw, but a last-minute idea saw the self-righting arm's motor repurposed as the robot's drive motor, and Pulsar was ready to fight, albeit without a spinning drum.

"Ellis is a very good driver. If anyone can make it work, Ellis can do that."
— Tara Ware
Ironside3 vs Pulsar

The knockout blow on Pulsar

Ironside3 vs Pulsar S9

The helpless Pulsar takes more damage

Pulsar was slow in exiting its starting position, and after the first charge from Ironside3, Pulsar had seemingly lost drive on one side once again. Ironside3 held off to charge its spinner when Pulsar's drive returned, but after Pulsar's effort to push Ironside3, it was deflected by the spinning bar, and fully immobilised. As Ironside3 landed further blows, Pulsar was counted out, and 'cease' was called on its series campaign. The defeated Pulsar was gripped by Sir Killalot and axed by Shunt.

Pulsar axed

Shunt axes the beaten Pulsar

Dara Ó Briain: "Oh Pulsar, I feel that we saw the best of you earlier in the show."
Ellis Ware: "Definitely."
Dara Ó Briain: "What was the fight that really took it out of you?"
Ellis Ware: "Supernova, several fights back. We never recovered, really."
— Ellis Ware reveals the biggest contributing factor to Pulsar's defeat

As a Heat Finalist, Pulsar remained in contention for the wildcard position in the Grand Final, and although it had reached the Heat Final with more points than the other candidates, the Judges ultimately decided to reinstate the reigning champion Apollo, eliminating Pulsar from the competition.


Series 8
Series 8 - UK Championship
Grand Final, Round 1
Heat 5, Group Battle vs. Chompalot, Ironside3, Thermidor 2 Eliminated
NOTE: After the first Head-to-Head battle, Chompalot was forced to withdraw and Pulsar was reinstated.
Heat 5, Head-to-Heads vs. Beast Won via KO (3 points)
Heat 5, Head-to-Heads vs. Ironside3 Won via KO (3 points)
Heat 5, Heat Final vs. Gabriel Won
Grand Final, Group Battle vs. Thor, TR2 Eliminated
Series 9
Series 9 - UK Championship
Heat Final
Heat 4, Group Battle vs. Apex, Crushtacean, Ironside3 Qualified
Heat 4, Head-to-Heads vs. Ironside3 No winner declared (2 points)
Heat 4, Head-to-Heads vs. Supernova Won by KO (3 points)
Heat 4, Head-to-Heads vs. Wyrm Won by KO (3 points)
Heat 4, Heat Final vs. Ironside3 Lost


  • Wins: 6
  • Losses: 3
  • Draws: 1

Series RecordEdit

Pulsar Heat Final

Pulsar after its Heat Final in Series 8

Series Pulsar Series Record
Series 1-7 Did not enter
Series 8 Grand Final, Round 1
Series 9 Heat Final
Series 10 Not selected
Entered with Magnetar

NOTE: Ellis Ware also competed in Battle of the Stars as the mentor of Kadeena Machina.

Outside Robot WarsEdit

Although Pulsar never competed outside of Robot Wars, Team Ranglebots have competed with various robots of lower weight classes. For more information, see Team Ranglebots.


Carbide and Pulsar

Pulsar in the pits with Carbide during Series 8

  • Pulsar and its successor Magnetar are the only Grand Finalists across the three revived series that never battled Carbide at some point.
  • At 9000rpm, Pulsar had the fastest spinning weapon ever to appear on a competing robot in UK Robot Wars at the time of Series 8-9.
    • At the time of Series 7, Sabretooth matched this 9000rpm record, but withdrew from the series after being told to tone down the power of the disc to which the team were unable to comply in time. Series 6 non-qualifier Mutant Mousetrap could reportedly spin its drum at 10,000rpm, but this cannot be verified.
    • The only Robot Wars competitor to exceed 9000rpm was US Grand Finalist Conquering Clown 2, boasting a reported 10,000rpm.
    • The record would be broken in Series 10 by Crackers 'n' Smash, boasting a top speed of 11,000rpm on Smash's drum.
  • Pulsar is the only robot to win a heat after losing its first battle of the same series.
  • Pulsar is one of the few former Grand Finalists to be rejected from a future series, alongside Killertron and TR2 (excluding successors to former finalists such as Griffon, S.H.A.R.O.N. and the follow-up to Ironside3).
  • Across Series 8 and 9, Pulsar and Ironside3 fought together five times; Pulsar lost its Group Battle in Series 8 to Ironside3, but defeated it in a head-to-head battle later in the heat. Pulsar and Ironside3 qualified out of the same Group Battle in Series 9, and no official winner was declared for their next Head-to-Head battle, but Ironside3 proved victorious in their fifth and final encounter.
  • According to Ellis Ware, his favourite Pulsar battle was the fight with Supernova, with the Heat Final against Gabriel coming second.
"Because when it all works, that's what Pulsar promises."
— Ellis Ware on choosing Supernova as his favourite fight[2]

References Edit

  1. Magnetar & Pulsar - Robot Wars Facebook post
  2. Private correspondence between User:Toon Ganondorf and Ellis Ware

External LinksEdit

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