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Old 10-13-2012, 11:03 PM   #1
emdeex
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Default Bixler - motor or ESC won't work ?

Hi All.

This is my first RC plane. I've bought :

Bixler
HK 20A ESC
Turnigy 9x and receiver
Turnigy 2200mah 3S battery
XT60 plugs and bullet connectors

I've wired everything up. The receiver light comes on, and I can control the aileron servos. But the throttle does nothing, and there are no 'beeps' or melodies at power up, no noise at all.

I learnt from the internet, that its the motor that emits the melodies, under control of the ESC, not the ESC itself. So the ESC won't make beeps without the motor attached.

I tried putting a multimeter on the red/black leads of the motor (I know its three phase) just to see if it shows anything. And on power up I do get some signals, like perhaps the ESC is trying to play the melodies. So although I thought it must be the ESC, maybe its the motor?

Can anyone gives me some tips as to what to test next?

I can send the ESC back, or buy another, but that will take a week or so, and maybe its the motor anyway !?
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:20 PM   #2
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You got the throttle stick all the way down when turning on the transmitter?

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Old 10-13-2012, 11:21 PM   #3
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It could be a couple of different things. First, check to see that the motor is connected into channel 3 on the receiver. Do you have elevator and rudder control? Next, Did you calibrate the esc? Finally, Is the TX set to a 4 channel set up?

If everything seems correct from those standpoints, it could be a bad solder connection in the bullet connectors on either the esc or motor. Or it could be a bad motor or esc. Lots of things to go wrong!

All of my landings are three point landings if you count the spinner, too
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Old 10-14-2012, 02:44 AM   #4
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I've tried with the throttle all the way down, even the trims down. Tried throttle reversed. Tried with throttle at neutral position. Viewed the "display" mode on the 9x to verify the throttle is down. Got it plugged into channel3.

The key seems to be it doesn't make any beeps. Doesn't it normally make a beep when you connect the power, even if your throttle is up (and then it beeps continuously).

The motor is hot-glued into place and I can't see it's motor-side terminals, so I'm thinking of melting it out, to check the continuity along the leads.

Seems unlikely though to have a break in the lead, as its straight out of the box.

Is there a way to hook up a multimeter to the ESC to see if it's working properly?
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:53 AM   #5
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The best thing to do would be to swap out the ESC. Since this is your first plane, you probably don't have a spare but maybe you could borrow one. If you could borrow another motor and try that that would be good too. I assume you've checked the power leads and they are connected correctly. Did you connect the power leads backward at some point? That can fry an ESC. You could try plugging the ESC into the aileron channel (since you know it works) to see if you can get a response (do this with the prop off!) I don't run the stock firmware on my 9x so I'm not sure if this is the case but with upgraded firmware it's possible to get the throttle programmed onto the wrong stick if the mode is set wrong.

Another thing to check is the lead from your receiver to the ESC. Check the connector where it goes into the receiver for breaks. Feel the wire near the connector to make sure there isn't a break inside the insulation. Make sure it's still soldered to the ESC board. The same goes for the power leads. You can check the resistance for each pair of motor leads with a volt meter (disconnect the motor from the ESC) the three combinations (1-2, 2-3, and 3-1) should be equal.

It's not unheard of that components in RTF/ARF planes, especially inexpensive ones like the Bixler, are bad right out of the box. That low price didn't include much QA.

The Bixler is a pretty good airframe for the money. I built one from a kit and used my own electronics and it's a fun plane to fly and very durable. Not my first choice for a trainer because it handles differently when gliding than it does under power but not bad. When you do get it running, don't launch it under full power, give it maybe half throttle, chuck it, and then add power slowly.

It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
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Old 10-14-2012, 12:11 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. I'll order in another ESC, and hopefully that is what's wrong.
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Old 10-14-2012, 01:23 PM   #7
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I think it may be a bit premature to be ordering new ESC's..

Usually no arming beeps is because the ESC isn't receiving a 'throttle closed' signal. This is a safety feature to prevent the ESC powering up at full throttle.
You need to be 100% sure that the ESC to receiver wire is plugged into the throttle channel on the ESC so it can receive the signal. You could check this by plugging the ESC to Rx connector into the Bind/battery port on the Rx.. Now try plugging a servo into each of the channels until you find which one works when you operate the throttle on the Tx. If the servo works when you move the throttle you know for sure you have found the throttle channel output on the Rx. Now plug the ESC wire into that channel.

Once you know you are plugged into the right channel double check that the plug is in the right way round (must be if ailerons were working). Make sure the throttle is closing fully, try closing the trims and try reversing the throttle channel.

And by the way, very important, do all of this with the prop removed because if it does start up at high throttle then bad things can happen.

One other thing to check....Is the battery charged? A low battery will operate the servos but may not be enough to allow the ESC to power the motor.
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:02 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by JetPlaneFlyer View Post
I think it may be a bit premature to be ordering new ESC's..

Usually no arming beeps is because the ESC isn't receiving a 'throttle closed' signal. This is a safety feature to prevent the ESC powering up at full throttle.
Thanks, but won't the ESC even beep once, even if the throttle is up? I don't get any beeps.

I've tried your troubleshooting tips though, thanks. All the servo channels work well, and channel 3 is certainly the throttle, a servo plugged in to ch3 will go all the way to one side, and throttle will move it through its motion.

I've checked the motor leads again, and they seem fine, unless the break is right near the motor, which is hot glued in place and I can't get the multimeter onto its terminals.

I wish I could have another brushless motor to test the ESC with. Or another ESC. I think I have to order in a new ESC.
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:23 AM   #9
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Check the solder joints on the bullet connectors you may have to peel the shrink tubing off or perhaps PUSH on them to see if you can get the ESC to arm. It could also be that the ESC IS arming but the connection to the motor is faulty. also my first bixler had a faulty motor that CAME with one of the wire connections to the actual windings in the motor broken loose. in other words i had power to everything BUT the motor itself.
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:08 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by warmfreeze View Post
also my first bixler had a faulty motor that CAME with one of the wire connections to the actual windings in the motor broken loose. in other words i had power to everything BUT the motor itself.
Oh no, thats my nightmare scenario. Could you fix the motor?

I've ordered the new ESC's in, but I do understand that it could be the motor...arrg!

Did you have order in a new motor? Which one would I order if I needed to do that?
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:06 AM   #11
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You can check the motor windings if you have a multimeter. Measure between every combination of two out of the three wires for continuity. The resistance should be tiny, a few milliOhms, probably show as zero on most multimeters.
Also check resistance between the wires and the motor stator, there should be no continuity.

Steve
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:11 AM   #12
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"The motor is hot glued in"
I assume you installed the motor.
I too have a habit of building things in - motor, servo, radio - but

Test everything before you start and then re test as soon as you build anything in - even the wires and cables.

That way you will know exactly what bit has stopped working.

With no beeps of any kind to the motor (and it is plugged into the right Rx channel) I suspect you either have no motor circuit at all (ie 2 of the 3 wires are dead) or the Speed Controller is faulty but not its BEC as the radio lights up & the servos move.
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:02 PM   #13
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Subscribed!!

I just got to know the outcome!!

Jimmy
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:51 PM   #14
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The motor was hot glued in already, it was a PNP version.

I've got the motor out with the help of a hair dryer.

I've played around trying to test the continuity on the wires, but they are heat shrunk wrapped in pretty good, I might have to cut the heat shrink back.

I wonder how you would test the AC signal coming off the ESC, would that need an oscilloscope?
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:43 PM   #15
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Are the motor leads soldered directly to ESC or just the connectors insulated? Either way, you'll have to disconnect the motor to test your motor leads for continuity/resistance.

It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
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Old 10-20-2012, 03:32 AM   #16
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OK, so I've done this to try to benchtest the motor:

Put the shaft into a variable speed electric drill, attached two of the motor leads to a digital autor-range multimeter on AC mode ... ran the drill and looked for voltage.

And nothing... no voltage, on any of the lead combinations.

I think that's not good. But what does it mean? Can I diagnose it further or fix it?
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Old 10-20-2012, 04:02 AM   #17
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you do realize that brushless motors are AC and NOT DC right? you would probably need to hook the motor up to the ESC and set a field meter next to it and see if any EMF comes off of it. however field meters are upwards of $2000. another thing you could do is hook up the ESC and put a volt meter on the actual windings of the motor and see if you get any voltage..i apolagize if this doesn't make any sense. it is Friday and i am slightly under the influence. LOL
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Old 10-20-2012, 04:05 AM   #18
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Measure the resistance on all wire pairs. If they are the same, the motor is probably good.

It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
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Old 10-20-2012, 04:48 AM   #19
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Thumbs up Eureka!

Wow, so persistence has paid off, I've got it to work, and the cause was surprising but also simple.

When I got the model, I'd read that the motor leads were generally too short, and for ease of use, one should extend them by a few inches. So I cut them off, stripped the wires, twisted and soldered new extensions in. Heat shrunk the joints. Standard procedure I thought and the joints were good.

I'd looked at the joints a few times during the troubleshooting, but they looked good, solder was spread nicely, and testing continuity from the end of the leads to the solder-joint was good. The motor was still in the plane so I assumed the continuity must be reaching up to the motor.

The problem turns out, that the thin gauge wires within the motor leads, are individually coated with a kind of resin, which is not conductive. So I'd twisted and soldered the leads together, but the resin coating had insulated the joint. Dough! None of my existing wiring has had that coating, or at least if it has, its burnt off when soldering. This coating is tuff.

I've now sanded the coating off with sandpaper, and re-soldered, and voila!

The motor is indeed what makes the melody from the ESC, as its now chirping away, and applying throttle, it all spins up like a demon. Wicked!

Thanks to all those who supplied handy tips along the way, sometimes you find the cause straight away, other times you just need to keep looking at it, and scratching your head, and eventually the cause becomes clear.

So long story short - sandpaper your leads before soldering.

BTW. I did try burning the coating with a butane torch, but the coating did not come off easily, sandpapering gets most of it off, but still its a bit tough to get each strand completely clean.
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Old 10-20-2012, 08:48 AM   #20
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Ahhh.. If you had said that you had cut the motor wires then the cause would have been pretty clear. NEVER cut the motor wires. They are usually extensions of the motor armature winding wires and as such they are coated with insulating resin (as you now know). Because the wires in most mass-production motors are about as fine as hair it's very difficult to impossible to get the resin off all of the wires. Even if you do get the motor working there is still a high probability that some of the wires aren't connected meaning the motor will be more likely to burn out.

Hopefully you have got it sorted properly, fingers crossed!. In the future if you want to extend the wires do it on the ESC wires, they don't have any coating.
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:59 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by JetPlaneFlyer View Post
NEVER cut the motor wires.
Now, you tell me! (joking). It's a lesson I'll never forget. I'd not encountered those wires before. I was wondering how they attached to the motor, now I see they are just extensions of the motor windings themselves.

Wonders never cease, thanks for all the help.
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Old 10-20-2012, 03:11 PM   #22
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Glad you got it sorted out. Having a spare ESC around is not a bad thing. Happy flying!

It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
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