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550 Class Electric Helicopters 550 Class Electric Helicopters manufactured by Align, Tarot, SYMA, Airhog, Chaos, HK and similar.


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Old 01-07-2017, 11:28 PM   #1
sbnathan
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Default Issue with calibrating ESC with Trex 550X

I'm trying to calibrate the stock ESC in the 550x super-combo kit, and I'm not able to get it to behave as expected. The only non-stock thing is that I'm running the AR7210BX. Because that takes a while to boot I'm powering it with an external pack. The setup is:
- Throttle connector from ESC plugged into BeastX, with red wire disconnected
- All other connections between ESC and receiver removed
- Turn on external pack, wait for BeastX to init
- Throttle to full, no curves etc, I see 100 in monitor display
- Plug in battery to ESC

From there:
1. I get a quick series of 3 beeps (as expected).
2. Then about 1 or 2 seconds later I get 2 quick beeps (the manual says it should be 5 seconds later)
3. About 5 seconds later I get a nonstep series of beeps, about 2 per second that can only be stopped by removing power to the ESC

I have tried moving throttle to 0 after step 2 before 5 seconds elapse. When I do that:
1. 3 quick beeps
2. 2 quick beeps after a bit of a pause
3. I move throttle to 0 before 5 seconds elapse
4. 6 beeps
5. 1 beep

At this point the throttle makes the motor start, but only when it gets to about 20 on the throttle channel.

So I think the ESC isn't picking up that I'm trying to get into calibration mode, and it thinks 0 is around where the transmitter is sending 20.

Anyone have any pointers? I've spent a lot of time scouring the forums and looking at the manual. I'd get the programming box, but it doesn't appear to have anything useful for manually doing the calibration.

As an aside, is there anything difference between using governor mode in the BeastX vs the ESC?
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Old 01-07-2017, 11:54 PM   #2
nynextel88
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Ok so it seems that the ESC isn't accepting your minimum throttle position once you pull the stick down. Try and increase your low throttle endpoint in your radio, change 10 points at a time and try again.

For gov, I don't have experience with the FBL gov that's part of beast x, but the gov store option in the Align/HW has been working very well for my on my 130A in my 700X. You would need the programming box to set this up.
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Old 01-07-2017, 11:57 PM   #3
ic-racer
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For calibration you had full throttle when powering on, yes?
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbnathan View Post
From there:
1. I get a quick series of 3 beeps (as expected).
2. Then about 1 or 2 seconds later I get 2 quick beeps (the manual says it should be 5 seconds later)
You moved the throttle stick back to zero next, right?


Quote:
3. About 5 seconds later I get a nonstep series of beeps, about 2 per second that can only be stopped by removing power to the ESC
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Old 01-08-2017, 03:56 AM   #4
sbnathan
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Actually the ESC is reacting to my calibration attempts. I was confused by the manual stating that it would calibrate the top throttle position after 5 seconds. Actually, it should say that within 5 seconds you must transition to the bottom position or the ESC will refuse to take any further inputs until powered down. Additionally, it says there is a short beep on the transition to the bottom position, and then beeps indicating number of battery cells. Instead, it will beep the number of cells, without a beep to indicate the the bottom throttle position has been accepted.

That leaves me with the motor not turning for the first ~40% of the throttle range. The BeastX manual says that for governor setup "At Menu Point A you can verify ... [that] the motor should start to turn immediately if you move the stick just a little bit".

Is that true? Can the ESC even drive the motor at very low speeds? When I get to the -20 position on the monitor the motor starts spooling up. Within ~5 seconds it levels out at a steady state, and higher throttle positions make it go faster.

I can adjust the trim so I end up going to -150 and calibrate with that. This results in the motor spooling up sooner, but still not right away like the beastx manual suggests it should.

So is this actually just fine? Is my remaining "issue" just that the motor won't spool up until it crosses 40% throttle?
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Old 01-08-2017, 04:26 AM   #5
Grumpy_Old_Man
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Yes, as you discovered, you have to close the throttle immediately that you get the 'full throttle recognised' beeps.. good that you got that sorted.

The 550X ESC I think ships with 'Governor ELF' mode enabled. It's normal that with governor mode nothing happens until you pass about 50% throttle. When using governor you should be running 'flat line' idle up throttle curves and start/stop the motor with throttle hold.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:52 AM   #6
Steve Joblin
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I had a heck of time figuring out how to do it... I summarized my experience along with instructions on how I finally got it to work here: http://www.helifreak.com/showpost.ph...43&postcount=4
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Old 01-08-2017, 10:52 AM   #7
Grumpy_Old_Man
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Joblin View Post
I had a heck of time figuring out how to do it... I summarized my experience along with instructions on how I finally got it to work here: http://www.helifreak.com/showpost.ph...43&postcount=4
That's a good guide but not relevant to the 550X. The 550X (super combo) uses an Align labelled Hobbywing ESC, not a Castle Creations ESC. Throttle calibration and governor functions are entirely different.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:08 AM   #8
sbnathan
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I'm getting closer, but still have a few questions:

- The manual says not to go over 2700 RPM headspeed... so how do I figure out what throttle is 2700? I've tried several online programs (all at 75% throttle):
- http://calc.kfmconsulting.se/ says 2705 RPM
- http://www.dhrc.rchomepage.com/calcAdvanced.htm confuses me, but I think it says 2705
- http://www.myrclog.com/ecalc/ says 2571
- RC Heli Calc iPhone app says 2169 (actually low: 2032, average: 2169, high: 2306)

For all of them I tried setting:
- Throttle curve: 75%
- Main gear: 112
- Pinion: 16
- Motor KV: 960
- # Cells: 6

The manual specifically says that when pitch is at 0 degrees make sure to set throttle below 85%. The RC Heli Calc app says 85% is 2614 high, and 90% crosses over the 2700 max to 2768. That makes me think the app is the one I should go with, but it's numbers are way, way lower than the other calculators.

Speaking of the manual, it says to set pitch curves (3D flight is a V, 100%, 85% at 0 pitch, back to 100%). It doesn't make sense to me to mix a governor with changes to the throttle. This would mean that when executing changes in pitch the ESC/motor would be fighting to maintain head speed from the extra drag from the blade pitch, while simultaneously fighting to increase the head speed. That'll be a big load on the ESC/motor, and a big load for the tail rotors to fight against. This seems wrong, but if I'm not following the manual I want to check that I'm not doing something stupid.

Last questions are on governor mode. Governor elf mode in the ESC manual says that it will do its speed standardization every time it starts up, vs store mode which does it only the first time and then remembers that:
1. I believe the standardization is for the motor to figure out what RPM it gets from a given throttle position at flat pitch. Then it probably does some math to figure out what RPM it should hold for an arbitrary throttle position, and then tries to hold that regardless of what the pitch/load on the motor is. Is that correct?
2. Elsewhere on helifreak I've seen lots of videos and howtos talking about how to setup store mode on various ESCs. They say you have to let it spool up and then sit there for >11 seconds. Does that mean I should wait around before taking off for a while if I'm using elf mode? The manual doesn't talk about the 11 second wait at all, so I think this just means don't lift off until I'm sure it's finished spooling up.
3. Is it worth buying a programming box for the ESC?
4. The manual talks about a "Brake Type" setting, which is Proportional Brake by default in elf mode. Can someone confirm that this means that when the throttle drops from 20% down to 0% then the ESC will drive the motor to actively slow down? I don't know how powerful that brake is though. This seems like it could cause 2 problems if I set throttle hold to 0: 1, an autorotation triggered by throttle hold would result in a crash because the blades wouldn't be able to spin up, and 2, hitting throttle hold after landing could torque the heli around and possibly crash (especially because of the raked angle of the skids). No one has talked about this that I've been able to see though, so... what am I not understanding here?

Oh, and what does the elf mean in governor elf mode?

Thanks a lot if you even read this far, and thanks even more if you can answer any of my questions. There is no way I could get this thing into the air without the help I've been getting.
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:02 AM   #9
Grumpy_Old_Man
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbnathan View Post
1. I believe the standardization is for the motor to figure out what RPM it gets from a given throttle position at flat pitch. Then it probably does some math to figure out what RPM it should hold for an arbitrary throttle position, and then tries to hold that regardless of what the pitch/load on the motor is. Is that correct?
.
perfect description, spot on.


Quote:
2. Elsewhere on helifreak I've seen lots of videos and howtos talking about how to setup store mode on various ESCs. They say you have to let it spool up and then sit there for >11 seconds. Does that mean I should wait around before taking off for a while if I'm using elf mode? The manual doesn't talk about the 11 second wait at all, so I think this just means don't lift off until I'm sure it's finished spooling up.
No, in 'ELF' mode you just spool up and as soon as a staeady RPM is achieved the governor 'locks', it's quite easy to detect audibly, then you fly right away.


Quote:
3. Is it worth buying a programming box for the ESC?
IMHO, yes, you can then set the governor to Gov store and you can install any future software updates etc.


Quote:
4. The manual talks about a "Brake Type" setting, which is Proportional Brake by default in elf mode. Can someone confirm that this means that when the throttle drops from 20% down to 0% then the ESC will drive the motor to actively slow down? I don't know how powerful that brake is though. This seems like it could cause 2 problems if I set throttle hold to 0: 1, an autorotation triggered by throttle hold would result in a crash because the blades wouldn't be able to spin up, and 2, hitting throttle hold after landing could torque the heli around and possibly crash (especially because of the raked angle of the skids). No one has talked about this that I've been able to see though, so... what am I not understanding here?
I believe that the manual is incorrect, AFAIK the default setting and the setting you would normally use on a heli is brake 'off'. However using a 'soft' brake doesn't do any harm because the heli has a one way bearing, so the rotor freewheels even when the motor has stopped turning. You shouldn't use a hard break though as that will jerk the motor to a stop almost instantly which can cause damage.Even with the brake disabled the motor still stops and the rotor freewheels on the OWB, you will see this clearly on spooldown after landing.


Quote:
Oh, and what does the elf mean in governor elf mode?
I've not a clue what the 'ELF' actually stands for, sorry!
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:22 AM   #10
ic-racer
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Maybe there was a time in helicopter ESC history when a governor could only be set to a single speed.

The governor in the HobbyWing/Align ESC responds to transmitter input. So the governor set point RPM can be altered by your transmitter input after it is 'calibrated.' So you can feed it whatever throttle curve you want. The 'calibration' can take place once in GOV STORE mode and be saved in the ESC memory, or needs to be done at the beginning of each flight, as in ELF mode.


Your profile might not be up to date, and maybe you are a proficient 3D pilot. But if you are still on the learning curve, and the 550X is your biggest heli, you might consider running it in non-governor mode, to simplify your maiden flight.
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550 Class Electric Helicopters 550 Class Electric Helicopters manufactured by Align, Tarot, SYMA, Airhog, Chaos, HK and similar.

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