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ESC Meltdowns

Old 06-07-2008, 08:07 PM
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Default ESC Meltdowns

I don't fly electrics, but Iv'e watched a couple electrics, both ducted fans crash due to the ESC overheating and burning up. The pilot of the firs really admitted he was "pushing it" His ESC was charred and the foam plane had smoke coming out and a hole about the size of a silver dollar when things got under control. The last resulted in a landing where a fly around would have been great, but not motor to accomplish it. Some damage to the plane and when he took the ESC out, it had gotten so hot the some if the IC chips had shiftend and there was solder bridges between the pins. No charing though.

My question is, does the shrink covering over the ESC's allow enogh air over cooling to keep them operational? From my few decades of electronic repair, it would seem to me that the shrink wrap is putting a blanket over the electronics and not allowing a good flow of air over the components.

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Old 06-07-2008, 09:37 PM
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Default RE: ESC Meltdowns

I like to use a larger than required ESC. Say, if you are pulling over 20 AMP's on a 25Amp ESC, I'd go to a 35 Amp ESC. They stay cooler. Right now I have an Ultra Stik 25E with an AXI 2820 motor pulling a 12x6E prop. It pulls over 20 AMP's. My ESC is a Castle Phoenix 35. After a flight, the motor is cool and so is the ESC. I know that you're talking about ducted fans and the discharge is high, but I think this is still valid. You're also right about cooling. Get some airflow over that ESC.
Old 06-07-2008, 09:51 PM
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Default RE: ESC Meltdowns

This is very common when flying electric Helis. Darn near a requirement Like he said best thing to do is get a larger than required ESC to be safe.
Old 06-07-2008, 10:23 PM
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Default RE: ESC Meltdowns

Would there be any advantage to skinning the ESC to allow better air flow over the components. I'm guessing you could use some balsa sticks and mount them in the air flow and keep anything from shorting out on the component shims. One other choice would be to heat sink the drivers. I have a small CNC mill that I put together and the stepper drives can almost double the amp handling if they are mounted on a heat sink, even one as simple as a flat piece of aluminum. Just curious here.

I've got a a mini Telestar I got from a club member, to put back into flying shape for my Grand Daughter. These two incidents at the field got me wondering about the ESC's.

Thanks for the info.

Don
Old 06-07-2008, 11:56 PM
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Default RE: ESC Meltdowns

I guess it could help but not much. Really more of an overload. When these things go bad, there is no question about it. Its going to smoke and burn up whatever is around it. Imean we had guys here flying helis in 10degrees burning them up.

I don't think you can place al lthe blame on the esc, its the setup and we're the ones who do it. Just like glow and gas. Install an underpowered motor on a plane in the summer at altitude. its going to run hard and hot. I think most of the problems are bad setups causing them to go bad

Mulligan is calling it right
Old 06-08-2008, 02:33 AM
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Default RE: ESC Meltdowns

Air flow and ESC quality, Airflow being the biggest single factor that will say whether your ESC lives or dies (as long as its working within its ratings) and quality is the second big thing.

I tested my new range of 40A esc's in an EDF model pulling 54A WOT, it took it and hit thermal cutout every time it overheated, cutting the throttle. I was able to reset and power back up instantly, and ride it out at half throttle for a minute then punch it again. I did this dozens of times and the ESC took it. Proved the claims of the factory that they make the best boards in Asia.

I had a range of TowerPro style esc's 2 yrs ago and if not well ventilated they would cook, I managed to melt one so that all the chips fell off the board and embeded themselves in the foam, some melting right through and dropping out! The esc board was cheap, the thermal cutout did not work period...

When the same cheap ESC was stuck behind the motor in the exhaust duct, I could run it on 4 cells at 350w (30A esc) and it stayed cool.
Old 06-08-2008, 02:09 PM
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Default RE: ESC Meltdowns

Juts get a watt meter first ... always have one for EPs. Nowadays, its not worth getting a 25A ESC anymore bearing in mind the price and size of something in the 30A-40A range. For all my 25A application I get a 40A ESC.

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