Hello all.

A few days ago I've made a big screw-up when I've connected by accident the battery to my hexa with the inverted polarity.

The Power Module almost melted instantly, and of course the hexa died at the moment. Nevertheless the APM still lives for I connected it to the mission planner by USB and it works fine like if nothing had happened. Blessed Power Module!

So I decided to buy a new 3DR Power Module. Unfortunatelly now it's only sold with XT-60, when my hexa came all with Deans, but I thought that was a minor setback that could be resolved with an adapter.

So when my new Power Module arrived, it came without being wrapped with the heat-shrinking tube and the comparison was inevitable.

Besides the evident differences on the plugs, and the bad PM being with the solder in bad conditions, I've found out a big missing part in the new PM.

Please watch the enclosed pictures, and tell me if the new PM (with the XT-60) is really incomplete and have to send it back to the seller, or if it's just a more recent model and everything is fine without the need of that part.

I say thank you in advance for your help.

Best regards,
António Cabral

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I've bought that new Power Module from here:
http://rc-innovations.es/Ardupilot-power-mudulo-amperimetro?filter_...

Is it possible that that missing part is intentional for more expert users instead of being a "complete" Power Module for "regular" users?

And I that thought that I was becoming an expert in drones, had to have this to show that I'm still a n00b in the matter. :-P

In your initial post you said you bought a new 3DR Power Module. You did not. That's not a 3DR Power Module. It's a clone, and a lousy one at that. There are a number of sellers with these units claiming they output 5 volts for the APM. However they lack the daughterboard which is the Texas Instruments PTH08080W Switching Regulator. Without this regulator board these cheap clone Power Modules can provide ONLY current and voltage measurements. They cannot 5 volts to  the APM.

That not true of all clones, but of a lot of them. You can tell by closely examining pictures of it. If you can't see a second board attached to it, or there are five empty through holes in the middle of the board (where the TI regulator board is soldered into place) do not buy it!

My Spanish is pretty poor, but in the link you provided it appears the seller is claiming this clone Power Module supplies 5 volts. If that is indeed the case, the seller is either incompetent, or worse, deliberately being fraudulent to make a sale. Either would be enough for me to take all my business elsewhere.

I am not surprised, because the APM wasn't connected to the PM due to the missing voltage regulator ;-)

So, bad luck (the missing part) was probably good luck in this case.

@Tom Mahood You're right, now I see that the product's page title doesn't explicitly say 3DR, but the board has it all written all over the board, which made it even more deceiveful. I think that this case is more like a counterfeit for the abusive name of 3DR in the board than just cloning, which is legal provided that they don't use the 3dr brand.

About the specs they are also in english, you just have to press the english flag and it'll appear. It's a copy paste from the 3DR PM page.

And now that I've seen again the specs in the store's product page, and compared it to the PM in the 3drobotics store I realise there's it's missing the part that should have said:

"Switching regulator outputs 5.3V and 2.25A max"

which is exactly the missing part, which makes selling this intentionally and not by mistake.

So I'm now definetly convinced that this is a fake product, and just hope that the retailer replies to my email to solve this problem, which is already taking longer than usual.

Seems to be a case where even a good reputation web store does not garantees you that you buy a good genuine product. :(

Anyway I thank you all for helping me in finding this was a counterfit after all. Too bad I can't change the title of this thread now.

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@ The Sun

The female Deans-type plugs have the metal contacts close to the surface of the plastic, while the male contacts stick all the way out. With a little fumbling and hard pushing (often necessary to plug these connectors together)  it's not difficult to make a momentary reverse connection. One of the mysteries of the R/C hobby is how these things ever became popular in the first place. 

In my honest opinion, soldering new connectors onto the batteries is the best way to prevent problems down the road, as well as the most safe and secure way to wire your power system. For those of you who are afraid/cautious to solder batteries, you are the smartest people here. If you aren't afraid, you should be. I have soldered nearly 40 batteries to date, and have a few simple tips thought that will help the process along safely. 

  1. Use helping hands or a holding rig. You'd be surprised at how many times I've seen people try to freehand solder batteries. Just don't do it.
  2. Strip only one wire at a time. Seems like an obvious thing to do, but I walked into the research lab I build planes in, to find an exploded battery sitting in front of my colleague because he shorted the poles while stripping the second one.
  3. Thin the wire gauge at the joint to meet the connector's connection point. What I mean here is, if you have an XT-60, for example, and you have 10 gauge wire, the full thickness of the wire will never fit all the way in the opening at the back of the connector. Using insulated wire cutters, cut away just enough of the thickness of the braided wire about 1/4" from the end of the wire so that the remaining wire thickness fits inside the connector, then when you solder the wire on, press the wire into the back of the connector until the thicker wire is pressing against the connector as well. This gives a solid connection between the wire and the connector inside connector, and the full thickness of the wire is still attached to the connector. It helps to twist the wire before soldering it, but you have to be extremely cautious about doing this. I use thick rubber gloves and twist them by hand, but you can use rubber handled pliers or even duct tape on your fingers in a pinch. 
  4. Cover every joint with more than just heatshrink. Heatshrink, even really high quality heatshrink, can slide off while disconnecting your batteries, and the results can hurt really badly. I use standard craft hotglue to coat around the entire back of the connector, which holds the heatshrink in place as well as makes the joints waterproof. Liquid rubber works exceptionally well for this task as well, just 

If you just use common sense, generally you'll be safe and fine soldering. Let me know how it goes! 

Wise words!
These 4 commandments for soldering batteries should be carved in stone! :)

I can't emphasize everything Austin said enough. This is a single point of failure, and messing it up could result in:

1) Your UAV falling out of the sky

2) Your house burning down

3) You or others getting hurt due #1 or #2

Take measures to keep the battery lead you're not working on well protected and isolated from slips and drips from the one you are working on.  Visually inspect and tug on each one when you're done and it has cooled.  If it looks ugly, it is ugly.  Ugly solder joints break off.  And that is not going to end well at 399ft over your complaining neighbor's BBQ.  In my opinion, a bunch of stacked up adapters is just as bad as a bunch of bad soldering jobs to avoid the adapters. Heat shrink everything and make sure the heatshrink is not going to slide off.  A dab of superglue under it, or some hot glue above it will lock it in place.

So do it right, do it tight, and enjoy the flight (c) 2014, Pedals2Paddles. Ha ha. I made a rhyme.

Olá António

Hi António

I've recently bought the PixHawk that had the original 3DR Power Module, and also from Spain but from ElectronicaRC.com. If you have any questions or need a High resolution picture of it just tell.

Best regards from Cascais :)

Olá Luís!

I have an APM 2.5 from an ARF hexa kit bought directly to 3DRobotics from December 2012.

Even though initially it had many accidents, I consider it was a total success, having in mind that when it came to my hands I was a total noob in anything related to this hobby/business and I've learned so much that when the accident related to this topic happened I've decided to give a second life to this APM before starting soon the adventure of making a brand new hexa with PixHawk.

I've bought a DJI F550 Flamewheel frame and the Power Module to those guys at RC-Innovations. I liked this store because in less than an hour after I made the order it was already mailed, and arrived very soon. Too bad that the PM was a worthless counterfeit because it's a clone and used the 3DR brand in the board, and they say that it's open source so they can sell this "kind" of copies provided they don't say 3DR in the product page. I think they don't get the point on the limits of open source and registered trademark.

Anyway, I know also ElectronicaRC. I've bought them last month a fatshark predator v2 kit that came with a RTF small FPV plane included. The transport was cheap and very fast, having arrived in about 24h. The problem was that it only arrived the plane. They were unreachable for about 48 hours, but in the end the goggles arrived one week later. The 2nd package was equally fast from the moment they've mailed it and I wasn't charged for that transportation.

So my experience with spanish webstores has been this bittersweet. It's ALMOST perfect, but there's always something screwing up. I've sent back the counterfeit back to rcinnovations (more expenses) with the promise of refund. Let's see what happens now.

I think that I'll try now buying the power module to buildyourowndrone. It's more expensive and it's in pounds, but I think at least they will sell the real thing.

And how about you? How's your pixhawk doing? Is it still worth buying it yet or is it buggy? I hope they can make it now as stable as the dji flight controllers. I've seen them flying and I like them, but the fact they don't give as much freedom as "our" drones and are very limited with waypoints, makes me believe that we can still have a lot of future with our flight controllers.

Well, enough with talking!


Cheers from Porto, Portugal! :-)

P.S. - Please do send us your pictures of the Power Module!

Olá

The PixHawk is astonishing. I'm finishing up setting everything, but the few tests I've done are very encouraging. The only downside to this is the excess of information and the occasional contradictory information on the same subject.

My Hexa is a F550 frame with the new E300 propulsion kit, and the hexa flies like a small Hubsan X4....:)

I've already set up trimming, but I haven't decided yet what kind of battery power to use, I'm testing with 3S 2200mAh packs I had available with excellent results I might add.

Preliminary results with the 2200mAh are great but to be taken with extreme caution

http://youtu.be/PbGLYscUaX4

http://youtu.be/ec6srDAq2EE

I'm adding pics of the 3DR Power Module:



Very nice.

I've been using, and will use 4S 5000mAh turningy nano-tech batteries. With the old frame they reached easily 15 minutes. With the new frame I intend to have the same, I hope!

How have you installed the PixHawk in the F550? Directly over the frame's PDB? Have you used that PDB? I've heard that the F550 board creates too much electromagnetic interference, and right now it's my main preocupation, but I'll know that perhaps Monday with the new (genuine, I hope) Power Module arrives.

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