Misadventures in power electronics


If you have a story, rant or suggestion about limitations of power products (power supplies, ESC, etc) on your UAV, post it in the comments below.  I am specifically interested in feedback or thoughts on shortcomings in the power products that we at 3DR make, so we can incorporate that feedback in the next generation of products.

A little bit about myself:

I came to 3DR in early May, from General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems.  While at GA, I worked on EMALS, AAG and the Railgun team.  I am a graduate of UC San Diego with a BS in electrical engineering (circuits and systems depth).  My current role at 3DR is in engineering, where I mostly work on research, development, and new product design.  

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  • Take my last order. It's $38 to send to Switzerland, for 3 cables worth a total of $8.
  • what shipping options are so out of wack? for me to order its $6.99 to $12.95 to canada ,much better than anywhere else other than ebay's china or hongkong sellers that ship free

    3DR could always charge more and offer free shipping ,would you be happy then?

  • @Justin, @Jeff,

    I was using Hyperion 3.5mm for the Rx connector.  The female halves of the connectors had slid forward too much, allowing reverse contact. Power was 2s LiPo. It was a momentary contact so it did not burn the airframe.  It did blow:

    Optima 9ch rx which had direct Rx battery power for monitoring

    6*Hyperion high voltage servo with direct LiPo power.

    Castle Creations 10A SBEC for thin wing servos

    UDB4 Autopilot - Either the linear reg is dead or the whole thing.  Either way it is junk.

    I now need to hack apart the fin to get at the nearly impossible to reach elevator servo.  Fortunately the four remaining servos in the wing tips are ok because they are powered from the dead SBEC.

    Lesson learned: I am now changing my whole Rx system to EC3.   Possibly add a self resetting fuse also.

    At least it is raining so I don't feel like going out flying.

  • ESC's are too sensitive to ambient temperature:

  • Euan Ramsay the non-technology corner...

    Sensible international postage prices/options
    I could not agree more!!!
  • Few things for me:
    1.  CAN bus (No PWM)
    2.  Low or zero power draw when no input signal (minimize power loss during GPS lock and autopilot fiddling, also perch and stare applications)

    3.  Object collision detection for safety (if prop hits something besides air ESC should shut down and send error back up CAN bus)
    4.  Modular no connector design (ESC socket, connectors like balance connectors on ARDrone 2.0 battery, obviously main power connectors would be large pads.  Pop new ESC in if old one dies, no soldering, no wires.  With this design ESC PCB would not have any connectors just varying size pads (2 small CAN bus, 2 large input DC, 3 large output to motor))

  • 6s capable power module please. also smaller 6s esc's. ie 20a

  • the problem with making things all-in-one as repairs get more expensive

    and what if someone wants it for a plane? two styles have to be made

    keeping things interchangable and compatable is much better than incorperating things together

  • @Jeff, if you include the power module into a PDB I'm sure that it could probably double or triple in size without causing too much impact.  I also imagine that if you created a PDB that would accept Deans connectors, big solder pads for by-passing a deans, or soldering another flavour of connector onto; this would solve a large number of issues here.

  • @ Charles That's a very good point. Looking around, I wasn't able to find a small switch that would take the current. 

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