I was intrigued by the seemingly endless stream of stories of woes with the DYS SN20A (eg RCTimer / DYS Mini SN20a / SN30a / SN40a esc), so I purchased one to see if they are all bad. Of course, impressions of a sample of size one are of somewhat limited value, but it seemed like an interesting thing to do.
Some reports of problems seem to relate to use of BLHeli on the ESCs, and it seems at least one beta release of BLHeli v14 had defects that resulted in serious damage in unprotected tests.
Discussion blames problems on front ends, flight controllers, wiring, motors, ESCs hardware, firmware, and bootloaders… but all these possible causes evident more so with this one ESC does not seem likely or logical. With the quest for more rapid FC loop response, there is a risk of instability and the drive may be working harder with oscillating demand, only logs from a flying craft will reveal what may be happening in that respect.
The test ESC
The DYS SN20A was purchased 14/06/2015 from RCTimer for about US$19 inc post. Not an inexpensive ESC by any means.
The DYS SN20A is described as an “opto” but I doubt it is optically coupled, it is probably just another instance of the fraud in terminology where opto refers to a BECless ESC. (If it were optically coupled, it would almost certainly not be a bidirectional servo interface and the SimonK bootloader would not work… but it did.)
The proposed design uses 11t of small coax wound in the Reisert ‘cross-over’ style.
The impedance of a single turn vs freq was used to predict the impedance of an 11t choke. Such a choke exhibits a self resonance that can be represented as due to an equivalent shunt capacitance. This equivalent capacitance is not easily estimated, and can best be determined by calibrating an analytical model of the choke for the same self resonance as exhibited by a real choke.
There seems a never ending stream of low end antenna analysers appearing.
The Mini60 antenna analyser is one in that vein, and is sure to prove popular because of its low price. As is common, there does not appear to be an English language user manual and the specifications in eBay ads are not very reliable (eg weight: 200kg).
I bought a USBTiny AVR programmer on eBay for about A$8 posted.
Above, the seller’s pic of the package.
It is almost always the case that the ISP headers on the programmer use the standard pinout published by Atmel, and in that case the supplied ISP cables need to be pinned pin for pin, ie pin 1 to pin 1 etc.
If you look carefully at the pic, the key is towards the top of the pic which means pin 1 on the right hand plug is towards the viewer and pin 1 on the left hand plug is away from the viewer. The cable does not connect pin 1 to pin 1, and as a consequence the package did not work.
There is more than one way to connect these plugs, and above is one way that does connect pin 1 to pin 1, and the cable and USBTiny work. Though the seller has been told of this defect, he continues to sell the item with the pic of the defective cable.
One wonders how many thousands of these things are and will be sold with this defect.
There are a number of USB-RS232 adapters available, among them Silabs, FTDI, Prolific and WCH.
The Silabs CP series adapters have been reliable but not very widely used.
The Prolific adapters are, well, prolific… but given their major compatibility problems and poisoned drivers, they are not a good choice.
FTDI was a good choice until they distributed through Microsoft Windows Update their device poisoning trick to disable chips they thought counterfeit… though they seemed to have backed away from that action.
The new kid on the block is an adapter by Chinese company WCH, chips that appearing in lots of low cost devices, eg Arduino Nano clones with WCH adapters instead of FTDI selling for around A$3+ on eBay whereas the FTDI equipped Nanos are more like A$12.
This article compares the WCH CH340G and FTDI FT232RL.
The Fox flasher MkII is designed to run directly from a 1S LiPo battery at 3.8-4.3V. The battery can be charged by a simple voltage limited charger to 4.1V with a small loss in capacity. This article describes a simple solar charger for such a battery.
The regulator uses a TL431 precision programmable reference in a simple shunt regulator.