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ESC Hobbywing Problem?

Heliman450

Well-Known Member
Hi all,
Yesterday, my heli motor stopped with each of four different batteries at around 50% voltage. I landed immediately on hearing the motor slowing down. After checking the flight battery, I changed for a fresh one and the same thing happened. After powering down and then restarting, I was able to continue until I'd completed a normal flying time of 8 minutes.

My first thought is that it's a problem with the 'Low-voltage Cutoff Threshold'. The ESC is only around 6 months old so an option is to just go the supplier and hand it over for them to test. However, I'm always wanting to learn more and any feedback will be appreciated.

ESC - Hobbywing Platinum V3 (100A). Batteries 6S 5200 mAh.
 

Heliman450

Well-Known Member
Hi Randy,
Thanks for your link to a PDF of the manual. I scanned my original to get a copy that I can zoom in on. Of course, I read the manual and found the possible causes according to them. As yet, I haven't gone into the device itself. I was looking for any first-hand experience from members here.

Do you think that the unit is capable of 'losing' its settings? It has performed fine until 03.06.21. The manual doesn't provide better than 'Mid' as a setting so it should still be on this setting. I have no way of knowing what I've done by moving away from it as an experiment. I'm tempted to go to 'Low' as the first move so any light that you can throw on exactly what's been changed would help all of us.

I'll dig into the gizmo draw in my tool chest and find my interface box ready for some further investigation. Here comes more fun :banana:
 

Heliman450

Well-Known Member
I've started the process by reading up on Randy's PDF and have extracted some good stuff. The manual has to be the worst I've ever come across (especially for vision-challenged older people like me :bellyroll:). I now know what's meant by 'Mid'. Here is my translation:

For LiPo batteries - The unit automatically detects the number of cells. Low/Mid/High and is defined as 2.85V/3.15V/3.30V per cell.

For each value, calculate the setting by multiplying by the number of cells i.e. for a 6 cell battery (my pack), this results in 17.1V/18.9V/19.8V
 

Heliman450

Well-Known Member
Hi again,
I visited my local hobby shop where I've bought almost everything for my T-Rex 550E, which has become a real hybrid over the years thanks to my association with Rc-Help.com.

The main consensus seems to be that the motor is the most likely source of the problem rather than the ESC. Thomas gave me some really good pointers about how to investigate before deciding what to do. I think that I've reached the point of saying farewell to my oldest friend and going for something new. My approach is summarised below:

- Get the thumbs-up from 'she who must be obeyed' for the financing - THE most important step!
- Buy a kit and use those parts still with life left in them i.e. ESC, Gyro and receiver
- Buy everything new and put the good items away to be forgotten and probably never used in future :smug:
- Buy a new model as above but keep my 550E limiting it to only about 3.5 minutes of flight until such time as it dies of natural causes

Any other suggestions welcome
 

RandyDSok

Well-Known Member
Before giving me credit where it isn't due... I only found a vendor website selling the ESC and then provided a link to the PDF they had linked to... So I only found an existing document. So it isn't "my" PDF, just a link I provided.

Your translation about the LVC is correct and is in fact listed in the Features area on the PDF right after the number 1 item listing.

I would also doubt that the ESC is losing it's setting even if it is a slim possibility, in fact it's unlikely since the LVC default setting is Mid, that is what it would revert to had it lost them. On the other hand, the reason to check and verify the setting would be if the user had accidentally changed the setting thinking they were changing something else. Once that is verified to still be at a Mid setting, you have then eliminated one of the three possible known causes. I'll come back to a LVC issue in a bit but wanted to cover why I mentioned checking the setting first.

The "loss of throttle signal" ... I'd only see this as a possibility if the receiver lost a signal with the transmitter. That would also mean none of the other controls would work either. I've never heard of just a single channel being lost in a loss of signal situation, if you lose one, you lose them all. I would assume you would have noticed no controls working at all but I also could see being concerned enough over the loss of throttle that the loss of everything may get overlooked... again less likely and even almost doubtful but we are talking about possibilities here so it's covered just in a case. Oh... it may be worth your time to check that the servo connection at the receiver is good and hasn't worked loose. In fact, just unplug it and replug it a couple of times to make certain minor corrosion at that connection isn't an issue.

Double check the wires going from the ESC to the motor as well. Like the connection from the throttle on the receiver... if you use bullet connectors ( or whatever type ) plug and unplug them a few times to ensure they are tight and also haven't developed some minor corrosion. If there is a poor connection now, this could result in it pulling too many amps which would drop the voltages and result in a LVC situation.

Your hobby shop has already covered the motor as another possible cause of high amp draw that could result in a LVC happening. Dirt in the bearings and other areas, minor damage that bends something in the motor would be the more likely causes for a motor issue.

Bindings in the other areas of the drivetrain would also be a possible cause of a high amp draw resulting in a LVC situation. So check the main rotor and the tail rotor for this as well.

So cables and connections would be my primary suspects and drivetrain issues my second... the last would be the ESC LVC setting but as I mentioned, it's the least likely but at the same time probably the easiest to check.
 

Heliman450

Well-Known Member
Hi again Randy,

I always give credit where it's due. Even if it is as simple as a link to a PDF that I didn't find some time ago when I looked.

The heli has functioned without problem since the installation of the ESC until the other day. However, the most original parts are now around 12+ years old, hence, the original owner (Thomas) suggesting the motor as the most likely source of the problem.

I'll go through your suggested checks before next flight. For the record, there was no loss of signal as I checked the telemetry in the Tx. and the Rx. voltage was unchanged at 6.0.

I'll start off with another test for 8 mins flight time after running through your checklist. Thanks for your feedback.
 

D.O.G.

Well-Known Member
Goblin 380 Supporter
I always give credit where it's due. Even if it is as simple as a link to a PDF that I didn't find some time ago when I looked.
I agree with you Heliman450. Also, I'm glad that I've been reading you two solving this hobbywing problem out. I'm learning something new just in case I run into this problem with my hobbywing 120a esc. I hope not but poop happens :).
 

RandyDSok

Well-Known Member
Just a quick run through... to simplify what I said earlier.

I check software and settings first only because they are the easiest to rule out, but usually don't find problems there. Before testing stuff, I think cables and connections are the most likely simply because that is what I usually find has gone bad but it's not alway it. The electronics itself is usually the toughest to prove when it takes time to fail or is intermittent, so even when I may suspect it the most, I check it last because of the additional time it takes to prove it as a culprit.
 

Heliman450

Well-Known Member
I usually check the physical stuff first, then comes the electronics and software/firmware. This is because I don't tinker as a routine and in this case the ESC is less than a year old and hasn't been changed from the default settings.

Our hobby room is not in the same building so anything to do with the laptop is normally on the island unit in the kitchen area. I have to admit that the PC just isn't my most loved thing in the process , maybe it's an age thing :bellyroll:

It looks like the weather is not good until Thursday for the next flight so I've got plenty of time. Longer term, I think that I'll just let it pass away naturally and not prolong its existence as the heli is so old and I'll just move up to my 700X as the most used model. Although a new SoXoS might be a temptation as a winter project.
 

Heliman450

Well-Known Member
Latest update is that I tried again after breaking and making the connections only to find that the problem persisted. In addition, it was a very hot day and the flight only lasted around three minutes. The motor was very warm so now I'm more convinced that the problem lies with the motor. A new one is on order and I'll return to the thread once I have fitted and tested the new unit.
 

Smoggie

Well-Known Member
Motors are very reliable things, there is really nothing to go wrong except the bearings, and this doesn't appear to be a bearings issue. It's quite normal for Align motors to run hot. Rule of thumb (pun intended) is that if you can hold a finger on the motor for 5 seconds without it burning you then it's ok.

It does sound like low voltage cut-off. Have you tried setting it to 'low' and see if it changes anything? If your batteries are all about the same age and type it's possible that they are all starting to show their age thus triggering the low voltage cut on the ESC.

The other thing that's always worth checking (which Randy mentioned already) is the connectors. Battery to ESC connectors wear over time and get damaged due to sparks. Wear, spark erosion and soot built up can increase resistance in the connector and cause problems, including triggering LVC.
 

Heliman450

Well-Known Member
Hi Steve, I've checked the connections and all are fine. I also have anti-spark XT90 connectors fitted. The batteries have done less than 40 flights and the ESC is only about 8 months old, too. However, the motor is older than 12 years and the last time I checked I didn't want to do any more than briefly touch the motor casing, certainly not as much as 5 seconds. I've decided to take a chance on the motor and will let you know the outcome asap.

Thanks for the feedback :arms:
 

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