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Common ways of killing a BasicESC?


I was recently working on building a drone (aerial, not underwater) using a set of BasicESCs. They worked before this morning, and I confirmed that of them did work this afternoon, but after cutting off the spade connectors and soldering them to the proper ground/power plane connections of the drone chassis (a Holybro S500), I’m now not getting a response. I un-soldered them (including the one that was definitely working this morning) and have confirmed using a power supply (set to 12.20V) that I’m not getting the normal start-up sequence upon applying power (the doo-Doo-DOO that normally happens).

While I’m of course a little bummed about losing this set of ESCs, I’m more concerned about how I broke them–as far as I can tell, I haven’t done anything that I’d consider egregious (the soldering may have gotten the wire warm, but not so hot I couldn’t hold onto it). Are there any common failure modes that I might be able to check on to see what happened, and know about so as to hopefully prevent something like this from happening again in the future?

Hi Chris, welcome to the forum! :slight_smile:

Power supply sounds fine. The three beeps when power is supplied aren’t confirmation of power, they’re confirmations that each of the three phases of the motor is connected (as per Quick Start point 2 from the Basic ESC learn section). Assuming you haven’t connected a motor, your ESCs are likely all fine :slight_smile:

If you did have a motor connected however, the first possibility that comes to mind is if you’ve somehow applied the power supply directly to the input signal wires (which are supposed to be only 3.3-5V). The ESCs are generally pretty hardy, so unless they’re running while encased in something that doesn’t allow heat dissipation, or they’re being run outside their rated electrical range, they’re not likely to fail unexpectedly :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the welcome! Ah, I didn’t see that the beeps were related to the motor being attached. I had one on during the initial tests, but not during the subsequent power-ups when I had my “issues” so there’s a good chance that’s it (I definitely didn’t apply an overvoltage to the signal line, so that’s the most likely cause). I’ll give that another try and will report back if that makes a difference!

My pleasure :slight_smile:

Fair enough. Do you think there’s some way we could/should make that more obvious? I know about it because I’ve read it previously and thought it was noteworthy, but your experience indicates that reading that section or seeing/noting that part might not be a given.

Thanks for the update, and glad to hear it’s likely to be a non-issue. Keen for that confirmation, and of course happy to help if it turns out there is something else going on :slight_smile:

I guess it just didn’t connect in my head that it was necessarily talking about having the actual motor connected, rather than something on the ESC being the “connection” for the phases. Now that I know, it seems obvious that it was talking about the motor, but for some reason that didn’t connect in my head. Maybe adding a note on line 2 like the following could help?

2. Connect the red [...]. If the motor is not attached, these alert tones will not occur.  

I did try things out again this evening with the motors connected–everything is in fact in working order, so thanks again so much for the help!

Ahh alright, seems like an easy enough misconception. Thanks for the detail and the suggestion - definitely helps :slight_smile:
I’ve changed the line to say

  1. Connect the red power wire and black ground wire to a power source like a battery. With a motor connected, you will hear three beeps in rising pitch indicating all three phases are connected.

Hopefully that’s clear enough? :slight_smile:

Great to hear! :slight_smile: