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Old 08-23-2011, 09:27 PM   #1
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Default ESC Failure or motor failure?

Was out flying my T-41A today and after doing lots of touch and goes, the prop stopped responding after a short taxi. Now the prop just pulses slowly. I didn't hit the prop on the ground or even have a rough landing and I spent most of the flying time at half or quarter throttle mostly setting up landings.

The ESC is a 18 amp Turnigy and the motor is a Turnigy as well.
Battery is a 3S1600. prop is an APC 9X6E.

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...dProduct=12921

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...?idProduct=656



I don't have much in the way of test gear so I am curious what might have happened. If I can find an extra ESC in my parts box I will swap one in tonight.

I have had 3 ESC failures but none with this brand. 2 were E-Flite and I understand that is common and one was because I had a spektrum radio failure and the crash was a total and took out the ESC.

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:58 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by payne9999 View Post
Was out flying my T-41A today and after doing lots of touch and goes, the prop stopped responding after a short taxi. Now the prop just pulses slowly. I didn't hit the prop on the ground or even have a rough landing and I spent most of the flying time at half or quarter throttle mostly setting up landings.

The ESC is a 18 amp Turnigy and the motor is a Turnigy as well.
Battery is a 3S1600. prop is an APC 9X6E.


I don't have much in the way of test gear so I am curious what might have happened. If I can find an extra ESC in my parts box I will swap one in tonight.

I have had 3 ESC failures but none with this brand. 2 were E-Flite and I understand that is common and one was because I had a spektrum radio failure and the crash was a total and took out the ESC.

Thanks,

Dave
If you've had a motor failure, this might help:
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35216

As for the Spektrum radio failure, make certain that your receiver was not hit by a "Brownout" on its DC input that comes from the ESC's BEC (Battery Elimination Circuit) IMHO, at least a few cases where the radio quits, its because the BEC in the ESC got to hot (It's likely a "Linear" voltage regulator), shut it self off when it got to hot, in effect shutting off your receiver.

By the time you get to the model, that regulator has cooled off, and is working again.

One solution is to use one of those switching BEC's such as Castle Creations 10 Amp BEC. I've got a bunch of them, all work very well.

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Old 08-23-2011, 10:11 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by payne9999 View Post
Was out flying my T-41A today and after doing lots of touch and goes, the prop stopped responding after a short taxi. Now the prop just pulses slowly. I didn't hit the prop on the ground or even have a rough landing and I spent most of the flying time at half or quarter throttle mostly setting up landings.

The ESC is a 18 amp Turnigy and the motor is a Turnigy as well.
Battery is a 3S1600. prop is an APC 9X6E......
How many servos?
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:31 PM   #4
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6 HXT900 sub-micro servos.

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...?idProduct=662

I have not tested the current draw for these but some folks out there have and state they could draw 500ma worst case.

Dave
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:37 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kyleservicetech View Post
If you've had a motor failure, this might help:
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35216

As for the Spektrum radio failure, make certain that your receiver was not hit by a "Brownout" on its DC input that comes from the ESC's BEC (Battery Elimination Circuit) IMHO, at least a few cases where the radio quits, its because the BEC in the ESC got to hot (It's likely a "Linear" voltage regulator), shut it self off when it got to hot, in effect shutting off your receiver.

By the time you get to the model, that regulator has cooled off, and is working again.

One solution is to use one of those switching BEC's such as Castle Creations 10 Amp BEC. I've got a bunch of them, all work very well.
The original spektrum failure I had was earlier in the year and it was because of a documented firmware issue that was corrected by Horizon. I am however realizing that my six servo setup could overwhelm the BEC but I have not experienced any glitches in 20 plus hours of flight.

This plane is flown scale and I just don't ever have the need to excercise all the servos simultaneously. However, with the flaps extended using aileron and elevator that could be 2.5 amps for the servos. I don't know what the receiver draws.

I am considering using a seperate 3 amp BEC from now on because all my models are 5 channels.

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by payne9999 View Post
6 HXT900 sub-micro servos.....
As you have noted in your later post, 6 servos with a linear BEC on a 3S lipo will overload/overheat the BEC -- 4 servos is marginal, 3 servos is safe.

A 28-30 motor with a 9x6 prop can draw close to 18A with a 3S Lipo. Consider a larger ESC that provides 20% or more, extra capacity (e.g. a 25A ESC). Keep in mind that mfgrs. tend to overrate their ESCs.

Also keep in mind that the ESC has to handle wide-open-throttle current at all non-zero, throttle settings. Also, the ESC runs hotter at partial throttle. Max temp is reached around 50% throttle. The technical explanations get complicated, but it's reality.

Keep the total wire length between the battery and ESC as short as possible. Best to not exceed 10 inches. Extra long wiring can overload the filter capacitors in the ESC and can gradually destroy the ESC. The filter capacitors in a low-cost ESC may already be marginal.

Consider investing in a Wattmeter.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:31 PM   #7
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All Great Advice here is what I would do.

1. use a 30 AMP turnigy plush ESC, its bigger and will stay cooler and last longer. disconect the red bec wire at the receiver plug when using a UBEC.
2. use a 10 amp UBEC from Castle Creation, always use a ubec with 2.4 to prevent a brown out situation.
3. Make sure you have lots of cooling air flow to all of your electronics.

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Old 08-23-2011, 11:33 PM   #8
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If the BEC was the problem then the entire RC system would be down.. If all the servos work as normal and it's only the motor that's not running then you can be 100% sure that it's not a BEC problem.

It could be a toasted ESC or a burned coil on the motor or even a magnet come loose in the motor (far from unknown on Turnigy motors)... Does anything smell of burning or look scorched?.. Does the motor turn freely and smoothly by hand?

Could also be something minor like a poor connection on a bullet connector between ESC and motor.

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Old 08-24-2011, 02:37 AM   #9
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The HXT 900 pull almost 2x the current Hitec HS-55 do. Decent servos but 6 of them + Spektrum is looking for trouble, an extremely common 'mistake'.
As odd as it may sound using the ESC a low amp draw is actually worse than high amp draw. The BEC has to pull the voltage down to 5v for the servos. At low throttle the average voltage is higher making the BEC work harder (more heat on a linear BEC). At high throttle the voltage sag gives the BEC a bit more relief.

I suspect your prop may be too big.
Sure as hell your ESC is too small. IMHO TowerPro Mag8 are the runt of the litter. No way it could handle the demands you were putting on it. Get a better ESC with a MINIMUM 3A SWITCHMODE BEC/ESC or move to an add-on UBEC as Chellie suggests.

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Old 08-24-2011, 03:21 AM   #10
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Turns out the wires on the motor are very weak. The heat shrink was holding one of them on but it was cracked at the solder joint. I repaired all of them and put on new heat shrink.

I thought the Tower pro ESC's were OK but I am still learning about electric flight. The E-Flite ESC's I have had were very unreliable and cost $40-50.

I will probably go with a seperate BEC or a dedicated receiver pack. I am having a hard time understanding what use the BEC feature on a ESC is if it can't handle more than 2-3 sub-micro servos. The HXT900's may draw a lot of current but they are way faster, stronger (don't chatter), quicker and center way better that the Hi-Tec servos. I have had one Hi-Tec strip in flight and one ERc servo strip. There was no binding and it was slow scale parkflying. That is why I switched to the HXT900's.

Chellie,

Why do you remove the red wire on the stand alone BEC's?

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 08-24-2011, 03:35 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by payne9999 View Post
I will probably go with a seperate BEC or a dedicated receiver pack. I am having a hard time understanding what use the BEC feature on a ESC is if it can't handle more than 2-3 sub-micro servos. The HXT900's may draw a lot of current but they are way faster, stronger (don't chatter), quicker and center way better that the Hi-Tec servos. I have had one Hi-Tec strip in flight and one ERc servo strip. There was no binding and it was slow scale parkflying. That is why I switched to the HXT900's.

Chellie,

Why do you remove the red wire on the stand alone BEC's?

Thanks,

Dave
My luck with the HXT's are well different than yours. I bought 8, 2 never worked and 2 others had bad pots. I was NOT impressed.

I have used 60+ HS55's for many years now without one single failure.

No you don't want to remove the red wire from your stand alone BEC as that is where the power is coming from.

You do however take the red wire from your ESC and that will assure it is not trying to provide power along with your stand alone BEC (bad).

Linear BEC's are strange beasts. They are not very efficient and dropping the voltage and they waste the additional voltage as heat. So a linear 2amp BEC only produces that power level on the lowest voltage the ESC runs on. Perhaps as low as 6 or 7 volts. When you double that (3s LiPo) it may only output 1amp (likely less). That is 2 of your servos! Not even counting the power the receiver needs.

So you may not like Hitec but you can run 10 or 11 HS55's for the same power as your 6 XHT's take.

So you buy cheap ESC (may not be up to rating), cheap motor that fails, cheap servos that suck power and you get a crashed plane. Some planes are worth good stuff, IMHO.

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Old 08-24-2011, 04:24 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by payne9999 View Post
Turns out the wires on the motor are very weak. The heat shrink was holding one of them on but it was cracked at the solder joint. I repaired all of them and put on new heat shrink.

I thought the Tower pro ESC's were OK but I am still learning about electric flight. The E-Flite ESC's I have had were very unreliable and cost $40-50.

I will probably go with a seperate BEC or a dedicated receiver pack. I am having a hard time understanding what use the BEC feature on a ESC is if it can't handle more than 2-3 sub-micro servos. The HXT900's may draw a lot of current but they are way faster, stronger (don't chatter), quicker and center way better that the Hi-Tec servos. I have had one Hi-Tec strip in flight and one ERc servo strip. There was no binding and it was slow scale parkflying. That is why I switched to the HXT900's.

Chellie,

Why do you remove the red wire on the stand alone BEC's?

Thanks,

Dave
Those BEC's are an interesting item. So, how do they work Well, they are whats called a Linear Voltage Regulator in most of the lower cost ESC's. And what the heck is a linear voltage regulator? This is an integrated circuit that lowers its input voltage down to a regulated output voltage. All is well if you are not pulling any current on the load output of this regulator.

Take an example. Use a three cell Lipo, which will have about 12 volts DC output. And take a regular receiver and servos, which will normally operate at about 5.0 Volts DC.

Now, you've got 12 volts INTO that regulator, and 5 volts OUT OF that regulator. So the regulator itself has to account for that 7 volt difference. But, and this is a big but, if you start pulling current out of this regulator, it's going to get hot. These voltage regulators are designed to work with a heat sink. That's an aluminum thing with fins on it, not unlike the radiator on your car, in miniature. A proper heatsink for these ESC BEC regulators would be about 2 inches square and an inch high.

If you look at your ESC, there is NO HEAT SINK!!! So what happens? If you start pulling current through this regulator, say 1.5 amperes continuously, you have heat. The formula for the heat in watts is volts times amps. In this case that's 7 volts (the voltage difference between the 12 VDC in, and 5 VDC out) multiplied times the current of 1.5 amps. That is 7 X 1.5 or 10.5 watts. And without that heat sink, the little bitty regulator is going to heat up past 212F degrees in a few seconds.

Most of these regulators are designed to shut off when they get to hot, in effect shutting off your receiver. And you crash and blame the receiver. I've seen this happen at my club field three times so far this year.

So the options are to cut that regulator out of your ESC and bolt a 2 by 2 by 1 inch heat sink on it. Or, purchase a separate "Switching Power Supply" type of ESC and wire it in. Castle Creations makes a very good 10 Amp BEC. I've got a bunch of them, including one on a 3000 watt, 19 pound model airplane. All have been flawless.

Or, check into the $100 Castle Creations ICE series of ESC's that include a built in switching power supply BEC.

Switching power supplies are all over your home. They're used in your computer, printer, cell phone charger, TV, DVD players, and just about any other electronic devices that operate from your home 120 VAC.

CC makes many ESC's one of them is their Thunderbird line. And IMHO CC makes good stuff.

http://www.castlecreations.com/produ...nderbirds.html


Oh, BTW, why do you disconnect the red wire from the ESC when using an external BEC? Because some of these external BEC's can have problems when they are parallel connected to the internal BEC on the ESC. So it's best to disconnect the red wire from the ESC to disable its internal BEC. Don't cut the wire, just lift the plastic locking tab on the servo connector, and slide out the red wire. Cover it with a piece of shrink tubing. That way, it's simple to put it back if ever desired.
Hope that helps.

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Old 08-24-2011, 04:25 AM   #13
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You hear repeatedly in these groups "you get what you pay for". Often true. Not true when it comes to eFlite ESC, premium price for an unreliable, difficult to program ESC. Failure reports are excessively high for the cost and reputation.
GWS and Electrifly are 2 other brand name ESC to stay away from. Check the LVC specs and run away.
TowerPro I'll only use as a bench ESC for suspect motors I think may burn out the ESC. I used them early on when I didn't know any better. I'd put them slightly ahead of GWS but not better than the other 2.

I also like the HXT 900 better than HS-55, BUT you gotta know their drawbacks, especially if you fly Spektrum (can you say Brown Out!).

The BEC, Battery Eliminator Circuit, was designed to take the place of the RX battery commonly used in nitro planes. Since an electric had a battery, why carry another one. But, voltage had to come DOWN to 5v. Linear BEC do that by making heat, which is bad. The higher the pack voltage, the more the heat, the less servos it can handle.
Switchmode BEC use electronics to lower the voltage. No heat, better reliability. Some higher end ESC use a 3-5A switchmode BEC. Add-on BEC are all switchmode and pretty much start out a 3A and go up from there.
Back when the technology was developed NiMh was common and a BEC with high amp handling ability was not very necessary. The overall power train evolution has literally run away from the lowly and poorly understood ESC/BEC. A LOT of them have just not kept up. A few lousy ones should be boycotted out of existence.

The debate on good servos, good ESC, and good motors is never ending.

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Old 08-24-2011, 04:54 AM   #14
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Thaks all for your suggestions and comments.

When I tore into the plane tonight I decided to take out the ESC but when I removed it I found it was a Jedi Advanced with a 2 amp switcher in it. I forgot which ESC was in it. Oh well with a bad memory every day is new and exciting. Maybe the Jedi ESC is why I have not suffered the brownout problem but I am still concerned and feel I should have a solid 3 amp or better BEC.

However, my Tritle Super Cub has the 18A Tower Pro ESC in it and I have the most hours on it and no brownout behavior whatsoever. It has 5 servos but again it is a scale parkflyer and no more than 4 servos are active at any time. I know with a high performance aerobatic or 3d it is quite common to run all the servos hard simultaneously.

I have a Castle 36 amp with 3 amp switching BEC in the shop that was reserved for a heavier faster plane but I may use it until I can get better devices for the receiver/servos (whether it is a better ESC or seperate BEC).

It is confusing sometimes regarding "you get what you pay for". I do like Castle though and I may just standardize on that brand. Part of the problem I have been seeing is specifications vs. real performance.

I think a lot of these components suffer from "marketing" numbers on the spec sheets.

I don't specifically buy on price but there are several examples where less expensive parts actually perform better but I know everyone has their favorite brands.

So far the only crashes (2 and one was rebuild-able) I had this year were due to the Spektrum firmware issue but I have to say Horizon made it right in a big way so I have nothing but good things to say about their service. I just choose to not use their E-Flite ESC's for now.

P.S. I put a wattmeter on it tonight and at full throttle it is drawing about 13.5 amps with the 9X6E APC prop. I have an 8X6E but it looks like the 9" prop is fine. I can't be drawing much current on average cause I am getting 30 minute flights with 12% capacity left on the battery pack. The plane only weighs 26 oz. all up ready to roll.

Dave
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:05 AM   #15
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Sounds like your setup is fine. It's easy to jump to conclusions like a faulty BEC, and in many cases that is true, but in yours where only the motor was not working and the servos still worked ok that could never have been the problem.

Always a good idea to eliminate the simle and cheap to fix problems like bad connections and broken wires before launching in and buying new hardware

As for external BEC's... I don't have the electric experience of some others here but i'd only look at an external BEC on large models. For small and medium stuff a decent ESC with a suitably rated built in Switching BEC should do the job just fine IMHO.

I guess the advantage of an external BEC is that should the ESC completely toast itself there is still a chance ('if' the battery wasn't taken out with the ESC) that you might retain radio control and be able to land... There again the external BEC adds a bunch of new connections and wires all of which (as you found) have a chance of failing.
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:49 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by payne9999 View Post
Turns out the wires on the motor are very weak. The heat shrink was holding one of them on but it was cracked at the solder joint. I repaired all of them and put on new heat shrink.

I thought the Tower pro ESC's were OK but I am still learning about electric flight. The E-Flite ESC's I have had were very unreliable and cost $40-50.

I will probably go with a seperate BEC or a dedicated receiver pack. I am having a hard time understanding what use the BEC feature on a ESC is if it can't handle more than 2-3 sub-micro servos. The HXT900's may draw a lot of current but they are way faster, stronger (don't chatter), quicker and center way better that the Hi-Tec servos. I have had one Hi-Tec strip in flight and one ERc servo strip. There was no binding and it was slow scale parkflying. That is why I switched to the HXT900's.

Chellie,

Why do you remove the red wire on the stand alone BEC's?

Thanks,

Dave
Hi Dave you remove the RED wire ONLY if your going to use a external UBEC, if you dont, the UBEC and the ESC BEC will fight each other and may very well burn up the ESC/BES assy. I have had great luck with the 9 gram HXT servos, but they are power hungry but very strong, and you need to get good strong current to them, because these servos are a little power hungry, its best to use a UBEC, and if your using a 2.4 Radio system, a UBEC is a must, to ensure reliable voltage, and prevent a Receiver from a low voltage Brown out situation, a UBEC is CHEAP INSURANCE, Hope that helps, Take care and have fun, Chellie

http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/show...t=ubec+chellie

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Old 08-24-2011, 04:00 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by payne9999 View Post
When I tore into the plane tonight I decided to take out the ESC but when I removed it I found it was a Jedi Advanced with a 2 amp switcher in it. I forgot which ESC was in it. Oh well with a bad memory every day is new and exciting. Maybe the Jedi ESC is why I have not suffered the brownout problem but I am still concerned and feel I should have a solid 3 amp or better BEC.
Jeti Advanced ESC's DO NOT HAVE switch mode BEC's they are linear. The only one they make with switch mode is the "spin" type.

So again - they are NOT very efficient.

Originally Posted by payne9999 View Post
I have a Castle 36 amp with 3 amp switching BEC in the shop that was reserved for a heavier faster plane but I may use it until I can get better devices for the receiver/servos (whether it is a better ESC or seperate BEC).

Dave
Again Castle Thunderbird is NOT a switch mode BEC - it is linear! Not very efficient as we point out.

Another note - the Horizon E-Flite ESC's you are all not so fond of are made by Hobbywing - they same type you swear by when you are buying Turnigy and Volcano etc.

Mike
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Old 08-24-2011, 05:17 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by rcers View Post

Another note - the Horizon E-Flite ESC's you are all not so fond of are made by Hobbywing - they same type you swear by when you are buying Turnigy and Volcano etc.

Mike
Calling you out on that statement. Want proof.

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Old 08-24-2011, 05:40 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by flydiver View Post
Calling you out on that statement. Want proof.
Don't have proof, do you that they don't?

I don't think we have a vast number of ESC makers in the world. Just like LiPo cells there are coming from a few places.

This is what the common concesus seems to be:
Castle
(they make their own stuff obviously)

Hobbywing Pentium
Brands:
Turnigy Plush
Turnigy Sentilon (larger esc's in the 100amp and up range)
Exceed Volcano (now known as the Proton)
FlightPower Flight Tech
Dualsky
Thunderpower Higrade
RobotBird (UK company/reseller)
EMAX
OEMRC
A couple of the smaller SKY-Holic esc's are hobbywing Pentiums.

The old Eflite stuff appears to be Sky Holic esc's. They are JUNK.

The Hobbwing Platinum PRO (their latest and best esc's) class is also found under the following rebranded names:

Turnigy K-Force
Exceed Momentum
Compass Models

ZTWOEM speed controllers, otherwise known as ZTW are found under MANY different brands but to name a couple:

Hacker X "pro"
Hacker/jeti Master spin (the larger ones like the 99 Opto). Not sure on ALL of them
SonicElectric
Older Hyperion esc's
Mystery Blue Board esc
The larger square shaped Electrifly esc's
The larger amp Jeti Spin's are manufactured by ZTW to Jeti specs

Hard to get proof they don;t want you to know who makes them.

I don't have proof but the pics sure seem suspect - don't you agree?

I have NEVER had a single issue with the newer Eflite Pro ESC's. They are excellent.

Some pics for you to ponder.

Mike


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Old 08-24-2011, 06:02 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by rcers View Post
Don't have proof, do you that they don't?

I don't think we have a vast number of ESC makers in the world. Just like LiPo cells there are coming from a few places.

This is what the common concesus seems to be:
Castle
(they make their own stuff obviously)
Interesting:
A few years back, I had an Astroflight brushless ESC that worked OK, but no matter what I did, could not turn off the electronic brake function. That brake was so powerful, it unscrewed the propeller!

Contacted Astroflight on how to fix it. Astro's response??? Send it to Castle Creations, they were the OEM supplier!

I did, and CC fixed it by replacing the microcontroller for $15! Still got it.

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Old 08-24-2011, 06:18 PM   #21
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I use Castle and E-flite ESC in my planes and have had zero issues with them. What I do do is to make sure I have the correct ESC for the amount of servo s I will use and the Motor prop combination fits the ESC specs.
I have used HX900 with no ill affect, however I allways upgrade my ESC to handle a bit more watts than needed. I use Hitec equipment and they have a option to connect the battery directly to the reciever. The does eliminate brown outs, BUT here again good batteries are paramount.

Question, how can you tell the difference in old or new ESC from E-filte?
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:26 PM   #22
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Wonderful listing. Thank you. I am pretty familiar with most of the 'usual' re-brands on that list. Much of the time you can ID an unknown by the programming card used.

eFlite does not use a programming card, one MAJOR strike against them in my book. I hate programming them (I can, I have). Why pay a premium price for a PITA?

The newer eFlite version you are showing is not one I am familiar with. I don't think the older, smaller amp eFlites are HW. Not impossible but I'd think there would be a programming card then. That's my basis for being skeptical.

Checking the ones you pictured > the HW does have an LED programming card available.
For the eFlite you either stick program or get a PC-link [Optional RS232 Serial Link and software available for
PC programming]
Why did they have to do THAT if a card is actually available? Protect the source ID?

Addendum - reading farther I see that HW LED card is also PC programmable. There does not appear to be a program card for the eFlite though.

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Old 08-24-2011, 07:38 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by flydiver View Post
eFlite does not use a programming card, one MAJOR strike against them in my book. I hate programming them (I can, I have). Why pay a premium price for a PITA?

The newer eFlite version you are showing is not one I am familiar with. I don't think the older, smaller amp eFlites are HW. Not impossible but I'd think there would be a programming card then. That's my basis for being skeptical.
It appears you have not looked at the newer EFlite stuff - they have some really good ESC's now.

I use the RS232 cable and software, so no issues for me.

As I point out the old ones are made by Sky Holic and they are junk IMHO. (see above).

Mike
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:41 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by lucas45 View Post

Question, how can you tell the difference in old or new ESC from E-filte?
These are the "old" ones:

http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products...rodID=EFLA311B
http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products...rodID=EFLA312B

Stick with the "Pro" versions to get the latest stuff. And as a bonus they include switch mode BEC's not linear (excludes the 10amp).

Mike
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:46 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by flydiver View Post
Calling you out on that statement. Want proof.
it would be very simple to prove that... grab a turnigy program card, and see if it works on an eflite esc...LOL

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