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Motor & ESC/Centreboard inspection

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by willjf, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. willjf

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    In an unnecessary rush I've made a stupid error and killed my P3A - persistent ESC errors despite all the standard troubleshooting. The story is: after some routine maintenance I used the wrong screws (too long) to mount the motors, I assume the majority of the damage was done when trying to power up the motors (which is did more than once or twice....I know, colossally dumb) and they were jammed in place by the screws poking up into the housing.

    Anyways I'm looking at my options for repair & replacement and I've read that the P3A centreboard is integrated with the ESC's on the P3's - so if I can confirm that I've only destroyed the motors I could save myself some cash as full board replacement looks pretty pricey.

    Any advice out there for how to diagnose the extent of damage to the motors & ESC/centreboard? I assume visual inspection will be insufficient, where / what measurements can I use to confirm failure at different points?

    Thanks in advance - this forum (and the community at large) has been really useful so far!!
     
  2. MasterBlaster

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    I have done the same before. Did you do this to all 4 motors?
    If you unscrew the motors you can look in the bottom of them and see the damage to the windings.
    If all for show damage then you will need 4 new motors ($18 each). Make sure to get 2 clockwise and 2 counter clockwise). Also, depending on how old your advanced is, it might have the newer motors. Just make sure you order the right ones. You then will either have to solder the wires in place or use some type of connectors.
    Have you soldered before?
    I was lucky and only screwed one in before I realized they were the wrong screws. So I only had to replace 1.
    Depending on where you are, if in the US, You can look on here for hunch, he has a repair shop and is very good and very reasonable.
     
  3. willjf

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    Yeah all 4 were screwed in so I assume the damage will be fairly consistent, but I'll check them all carefully.

    Thanks for the info! I am hoping it's just the motors, it looks like a straightforward solder job (I'm fine with wires, bit scared of messing with PCB's)

    Any hints on how I can check whether the ESC's are still operational? I'm in the UK and strangely I can get a whole replacement aircraft (no cam/battery) a bit cheaper than just the centreboard, especially if I pay to get it fitted... Which I probably would.

    Cheers!!
     
  4. Vertigo

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    If your overly long screws shorted out the motor windings (been there, done that at least twice with my mini quads), chances are the ESC is toast as well. But you would likely see this on the PCB as burn marks. I dont think there is a way to actually test the ESCs without connecting a working motor, and you may even need 4 of them (not sure if the phantom reports esc errors individually for each motor?)
     
  5. MasterBlaster

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    Me personally, have not heard of anyone burning out the esc from long screws in the motor. I have seen many times where it does throw the error and it has always Ben resolved by a motor replacement. I'm not saying it hasn't happened, just saying I have not read about it.
    Maybe others can chime in on it.


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  6. hunch

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    ^^^ what MB said.
    in most cases when customers put back long screws in the motors threw ESC error, not the actual ESC.
    when you turn the bird on do all of them do the D-D-D-D sound?
    listen closely to all of them individually (yes turn the bird on / off 4 times).
    each motor should feel like a click when you hold it followed by the sound. if you have a motor or two not doing that start with replacing those.
     
  7. willjf

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    This is very interesting.
    Are you referring to a mechanical D-D-D-D sound on battery start up (as opposed to the speaker beeping), as opposed to trying to start up the engines? I've tried it with all four and I'm not getting any sound or change in feeling of rotation during or after startup - I also tried starting engines with no sound or feel change, just the ESC error on screen. As a note I currently have the gimbal and the outer part of the underside sensors unplugged, so I will try with them plugged back in, but can't imagine it making a difference....?

    I still haven't been able to get in as I don't have the smallest required torx key size! So that will have to wait until tomorrow. If I can confirm I just need the spare motors then that would be great, I'll inspect closely for any burn damage inside. I've not really maintained electric motors, what would the likely visual damage be on them from starting up obstructed?

    Thanks again for your help folks!!
     
  8. MasterBlaster

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    On the motors you should be able to see where the screws were driven into the motor windings from underneath (when you get the motors unscrewed so you can look in the bottom). I had to use a flashlight but I could see where the damage was done. Then, what hunch is referring to is when you first power the battery. The bird makes a loud D-D-D-D and each motor (on a healthy bird) will click while holding them, no props, right before the D D D D .
    Let us know


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  9. MasterBlaster

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    Also, again, make sure you order the right motors. There are 2 different ones. You will be able to tell the difference of the spokes on the top of the motor.
    Can you post a pic of your motors?


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  10. hunch

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    i am talking about the D-D-D-D that you hear every time you start the bird.
    there is no speaker there, that sound is coming from the actual motor and if one or more motors are not making that sound
    something is either wrong with the motor or ESC is not powering up the motor at startup to make that beeping noise .
     
  11. hunch

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    correct,

    either they look like this
    dji_cp_pt_000193_2312_motor_for_phantom_1435613877000_1148803.jpg

    or like this
    dji_cp_pt_000278_2312a_motor_for_phantom_1446750515000_1185287.jpg

    make sure you get two CW (black tip) and two CCW (silver tip)
     
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  12. With The Birds

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    The damage was done before you tried to power up. You know the motors are mechamically damaged so the question is do you need motors and ESC or just motors. You have a good chance its just.motors so replace them first. If you need the main board also no money easted as the motors are also needed.

    Hope you are flying again soon...
     
  13. willjf

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    Okay! I got into the aircraft and have had a good poke around. Here are some pictures - there is some really obvious damage in some of the motor winding and one I think has even had the wire damage by the screw, I have attached some photos but I'm fairly sure they all have, to some extent, been damaged.
    Onto the electronics: I can't see any burn damage around the ESC's or the wires, or anywhere else on the board for that matter (again, photos attached, although they're not great - I can take better quality if anybody thinks they see anything!)
    Should I remove the centre board to look at the underside, or would any component damage be visible on the top side anyways?

    If I can't spot any I suppose I can go ahead with just getting the replacement motors - I don't really want to mess with the sealant job on the ESC's so would there be any problem with me just cutting the wires and connecting mid-wire? (for reference they are all of the bottom sort of the two types pictured above)

    Cheers
    W

     
  14. hunch

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    NO, DO NOT cut the wires, the copper wires have heavy duty sealant coat on them and you can't just solder the wires together.
    unsolder the motors at their joint points on the main board.
    and there is no reason to take the main board out.
    your motors look like they are damaged by longer screws so most likely the motors are your culprit
     
  15. With The Birds

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    You need to replace the motors, no question. Do not proceed with the likely unnecessary step of taking the main board out. The various connectors are fragile and you may end up with more problems.

    If your not flash with solderimg cutting and joining the wires is your best option. Make sure the joints are mechamically sound as well as electrically good. Stagger the joins to make it easier to fit in the shell and individually insulate with heat shrink tube.
     
  16. hunch

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    Cutting and joining the wires won't work because there is an insulation on top of copper so it has to be stripped off first and I'm not talking about black, red and yellow insulation. There is another layer on actual copper motor wires.
     
  17. With The Birds

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    Thank you for the clarification.

    Ok.... so the motor windings have been extended out into the fly leads rather than joined to conventional stranded wire at the motor. Makes it a more fiddly proposition however the enamel on the motor wire could still be removed with a stanley knife blade. I make my own inductors and have performed thousands of reliable connections between winding wire and stranded without issue. I have a tool that spins blades around the wnd of the wire to remove the enamel or i dip the wnd of the wire into molten solder.

    It would be a lot simpler to solder at the original mainboard connections in this case however.
     
  18. hunch

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    i absolutely agree with you but not a lot of people know that out there and yes you can scrape
    the enamel off with a knife but i've gotten birds in my shop where owners tried to do that and they just cut the wires,
    stranded them together (no soldering) and used electrical tape to isolate. well there was no connection there
    to begin with. :)
     
  19. willjf

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    Thanks for the heads up guys! I definitely don't have the confidence to start manually stripping coated winding wire so will deal with the joints on the board - luckily they look top quality so should be simple to just swap up. Never worked with the sealant before so will check up some videos on how best to free the wires and reseal the new ones, any top tips I need to bear in mind?
     
  20. willjf

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    Tonights the night, got four new motors... Gonna swap them up, and hope that fixes it! Will let you know how it pans out
     
    hunch likes this.