I have the following configuration:
I have configured the ESCs manually - they spin fine when connected directly to the receiver but when attached to the APM1 they only twitch every second. I can arm (solid green led) and dis-arm the system via the radio and chXin and chXout parameters appear to have reasonable responses to the radio (increase in ch3in results in equal increases in ch1out, ch2out, ch3out, and ch4out) - but motors won't spin up. LiPo plugged in, trimmed down 8 clicks, the only mode available is Stabilize, CLI switch is forward for flight.
I have re-configured and RTFM'd until I am blue in the face.
I have ordered a Turnigy radio...
Am I doing something stupid?
Is it very cold? I have similar setup (APM1, rctimer motors and escs) and it works fine in warm weather but the escs seem to go crazy in the cold (e.g. -4 centigrade).
I would check the bullet connectors on the ESC. I had a similar issue with just one engine not turning reliably and that was the cause. I resoldered them and it was fine...of course maybe your issue is different.
If you replace the ESC with a servo (i.e. plug a servo in to where the esc is plugged into the APM1) does the servo move correctly? Note that you may need to provide 5V power to that rail on the APM1 (it depends upon how old it is)...i..e the bottom pin on the back of the APM1 should be GND, the middle pins should be 5v..the top pins are the pwm signals (in and out).
Can you provide detailed photos of your connections ? PDB, ESC wires to the APM, motor connection to the ESC ? Are the ESCs connected to the PDB ? If so, try to connect them to the APM directlly. Fully connect the ESC nr 1 servo cable to APM's OUT 1 ( signal top pin , red 5v to mid pin and black ground on bottom pin) and the other ESCs, use only the white signal wire connected to the top pin of each OUT.
Best thing to do is start over and reload the SW.
I had a similar problem and I realized I accidentally put the plane firmware on. The I put the AC firmware back on and didn't realize the parameters were all screwed up. Each time I tried to start up the ESC beeped like crazy.
Starting from scratch only took 5 min and fixed everything.
I know this is probably too obvious, but Futaba throttle is reversed from all the other brands.
If the ESC just keep beeping every second they may be program mode.
Have you tried reversing the throttle?
Starting with the basics:
How have you powered the RX system on the copter?
When you have the beeping sound and the motors are twitching is the light on the RX showing it's powered and it binds with the TX?
How did you calibrate the ESC's?
If you take one of the ESC's / motors and give it power without the radio switched on what beeping do you get? (Please do this without props on!!) I expect this to be the same as you have now.
What is the manual on the ESC saying about the beeps? They normally list the beeps and meanings, 1 beep for, 2 beeps for etc.
Most ESC's I have used will always beep slow / twitch the motor(s) when they don't have a signal from the TX, they normally beep very fast to warn that the throttle is not closed. As said above this could also be the “min” throttle setting not being correct.
I agree with Mike about needing to reverse the throttle, every copter / plane I have built with the Futaba radios has needed this.
First of all, thanks to everyone for their thoughtful response. I will try to respond to each in this one posting.
Chris: No, it is not cold indoors or outdoors. Not in Atlanta. In July.
Randy: The motors turn fine during configuration so I don't think the bullet connectors are a problem.
When I replaced the output to ESC with a servo as you suggested, the servo did power up (stiffen) and I was able to control it via channel 3 (throttle).
Rui: I will provide pics if all else fails. Is there a way to export a snapshot of stats?
JasonShort: I did reinstall everything (again). No luck. I know when the ESCs get an invalid value - they beep very fast. That is not a problem here.
Mike: Yes, I had already reversed channel 3 (throttle). The APM1 is able to recognize arm and disarm commands so I think I've got that part right. I do not think that the ESCs are in program mode because they do not exhibit the 12345 tones of RC Timer ESCs in program mode. I am able to configure them for control throws.
MartinT: The RX is powered from the APM1 board to the channel 8/Battery connection. Since I am able to see chXin values change, I believe the RX is working correctly.
I did calibrate the ESCs (several times) manually per RC Timer manual. They do spin up fine when connected to the RX.
You said, "As said above this could also be the “min” throttle setting not being correct." If so, how do I determine this? I tried setting trim down 8 clicks on throttle and yaw but no luck.
Once again, thanks for all your comments (and don't stop now).
More parameters: APM shows a voltage of 4.35V. Is that nominal? I tried a duplicate Turnigy 2200 mAh battery and got similar results.
APM1 PPM blue led is flashing indicating that PPM is working. My radio is PCM. Am I missing something here?
Yellow MUX led is solid.
Would I be better off with a simpler ESC? Turnigy Plush? Suggestions?
Do you have power from all ESCs going to the APM, or have you removed the power line of three of them? (or removed power line of 4 of them, and power the APM direct from the battery, etc). Parallel BECs (on ESCs) can make each other unhappy.
You know, I've heard varying comments about whether having multiple BECs all providing power to the same circuit is a problem or not. I now believe (based on the experience of the guy who told me) that it's ok to have multiple ESCs providing power but because they all operate at *slightly* different voltages, only the top voltage will end up providing any real power. So load balancing won't really work (i.e. you'll only get the power from one ESC) but it won't actually cause any problems.
Depending on the circuit design of the ESC this may or may not be a good idea.
Just sharing my experience.
I had a brand new Turnigy spit it's grey smoke out the moment it was connected to a battery in a Tricopter where all 3 BEC's were connected.
But 2 were OK.
Personally I always opt for a separate BEC to power the electronics, or split the BEC to separate ares in multi servo installations, but never connect the power sources together.
I have heard the "current only flows through the one with the top voltage" story with regard to parallel linear regulators, and know it's true because I confirmed it with my own experiments with some LDO regulators.
But there is certainly a "conventional wisdom" (old wives' tale?) going round that says not to do it, but maybe I'm promulgating a superstition. I remember something about parallel switched mode regulators interacting badly due to beating when the frequencies are not exactly matched. I don't know if that's true, but guess it's probably related to the conventional wisdom. Maybe it's one of those "don't do it" things with the "(unless you know what you are doing, or are lucky, or test things carefully)" caveat.
Actually I don't know what kind of regulators are in my ESCs, I never thought to look. Maybe some ESCs use linear regulators (low voltage and low BEC current types?) and some use switching supplies (HV or high current BEC types?). I'll have a look at the 30A rctimers ESCs tonight and see if I can figure it out.
Tom, those esc's work fine for me an APM1 and ArduCopter software (versions 2.3, 2.5 and 2.6). I think it's unlikely that your problem is the type of ESC. In my configuration, 3 of the 4 ESCs have their red wire disconnected (perhaps needlessly).
P.S. bullet connectors are terrible. They might not be causing your symptoms right now, but when you fall from the sky for no reason remember "I told you so" :)
CG>>In my configuration, 3 of the 4 ESCs have their red wire disconnected (perhaps needlessly).
Mean the red wire in the BEC, right? If so, why not just disconnect 3 of the 4 BEC connectors?