Warning: Certain ESCs can destroy Sunnysky 2204 2300kv (and similar) motors - RC Groups
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Feb 15, 2014, 10:08 PM
Registered User
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Warning: Certain ESCs can destroy Sunnysky 2204 2300kv (and similar) motors


NOTE: See update at the bottom of this post for summary/insights from ongoing discussion.

Original post:

Hey all,

I've just had an interesting issue with one of my sunnysky 2204 2300kv motors behaving really weirdly, then getting incredibly hot to the point where sparks/smoke came out (fun stuff).

They'd just been installed in my mini-quad - I'd done a few small hover tests/etc, then waited until the next morning to try in earnest.

The first time I fired it up, one of the motors didn't start spinning when arming the quad - after giving it a little bit of throttle, it stuttered backwards/forwards and started to smell very bad.

I quickly stopped it and had a look - there was no obvious issues with it (shorts, wiring, etc).

I noticed when running this motor it stutters when running (all other motors are fine on the same ESCs - HK F10A + SimonK)

Results pictured:



Note the burnt pole in the stator - it really looks fatter/like it's touching the others. All the other poles in the stator seem fine.

All the other motors behave normally. I've also tried this motor on an entirely different ESC and it behaves the same way.

Anyone else experienced this/have theories as to what could cause it? Faulty ESC? Manufacturing defect in the motor?

Cheers!

UPDATE: Further evidence points to ESCs & firmware versions (see later posts & below).

NOTES AND CONCLUSIONS (Last updated: June 2015):
Wow, this thread has really become an amazingly rich source of knowledge - A lot has changed with major advances in ESCs and firmware since this was originally posted, I'll endeavour to keep the notes below updated as the tech progresses. So, overall:
  • Many ESCs cannot handle the high KV and will destroy these (and similar high-kv pancake) motors due to timing issues
  • Even on correct ESCs, some firmware versions will destroy these motors

Firmware
  • There are really only two firmwares you want to consider: SimonK and BLHeli
  • SimonK works on Atmel based ESCs only
  • BLHeli can run on both Atmel and Silab based ESCs
  • Many manufacturers are now shipping multirotor specific ESCs with these firmwares already installed
  • It is highly recommended you have the latest versions of either firmware - A lot has changed even in the last few months with advances in ESCs (active damping, etc) and the stock firmware you get on ESCs may well be out of date
  • The exact flashing procedure differs on a firmware/ESC basis but there's plenty of helpful Youtube vids around

Known good ESCs
  • Atmel
    • SN20a - These have recently gotten very popular as an alternative to the (more expensive) KISS ESCs (see below)
    • AfroESC 12A & 20A (programming tool) - Some people have experienced intermittent desync issues with AfroESCs on SimonK, which can be solved by adding a 100uF 16v capacitor across the input side of the ESC
    • Sunrise BLHeli 20A - These used to be Silabs based but were switched to an Atmel chipset in version 1.1.
  • Silab
  • KISS
    • KISS ESCs are a high-performance ESC designed from the ground-up for multirotors (and aim to solve many of the problems described in this thread)
    • They run their own custom firmware (not SimonK or BLHeli) and don't need to be configured
    • They come in 12A and 18A flavours

4S
4S has traditionally been very tricky on these motors due to the very high timing speeds required (remember 2300kv * 16.8v = 38640rpm!) however, advances in ESCs and firmware has recently made this a lot more reliable. The KISS, SN20a and Rotorgeeks ESCs have all been proven to work on 4S setups but be careful not to over-prop your motors!

Settings
BLHeli is generally more configurable than SimonK, which lets you tweak settings for your particular setup. The correct settings really depends on your exact combination of ESCs/motor/battery/props but a good place to start is: Motor timing: Medium-high, Demag compensation: off

If your hardware supports it, you can also turn on active damping (ie: regenerative breaking) which will generally give you much better stability/handling performance (at the potential cost of a little top end power).

Happy flying!
Last edited by bickie; May 31, 2015 at 07:26 PM. Reason: 4S updates.
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Feb 15, 2014, 10:34 PM
Industrial light wizard
panyator's Avatar
Got the same problem, an esc failed on me during a static test. It's like opening a flood gate, all the current will pour into the stator without control and will burn the winding... so your motor is dead, unless you are willing to rewind it. And throw away the esc, it may seem like it is working but you wouldnt want the risk to burn another motor.
Feb 15, 2014, 10:41 PM
Build,Fly,Crash,Repeat
I believe this is caused at the factory when they press the stator to the base. I have noticed that some of my SunnySky motors bought elsewhere have smashed windings. When the windings get smashed, The lamination is damaged and could cause the winding to short themselves out. I haven't had any issues with my SunnySky motors but I also didn't use the ones I noticed had smashed windings.

GG
Feb 16, 2014, 02:22 AM
Registered User
Ok, this just got more interesting.

I had a spare motor, so thought I'd just move on and replace it.

New motor in - multiple static tests (without props), all working beautifully.

Added some props for a test hover and on the first attempt, the front right motor did the same thing (oscillating back and forward). I stopped it quickly enough and tested it - sure enough it felt quite warm.

The key is - this was a different motor on a different ESC exhibiting the exact symptoms.

Current operating theory is that certain ESCs with certain firmwares (I'm pretty sure I'm running Simon K BS.hex - 2013-09-20) can fry these motors.
Feb 16, 2014, 06:49 PM
Professional UAV Services
Redemptioner's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bickie
Ok, this just got more interesting.

I had a spare motor, so thought I'd just move on and replace it.

New motor in - multiple static tests (without props), all working beautifully.

Added some props for a test hover and on the first attempt, the front right motor did the same thing (oscillating back and forward). I stopped it quickly enough and tested it - sure enough it felt quite warm.

The key is - this was a different motor on a different ESC exhibiting the exact symptoms.

Current operating theory is that certain ESCs with certain firmwares (I'm pretty sure I'm running Simon K BS.hex - 2013-09-20) can fry these motors.
Your issue is the Firmware you are using not the motors, this is a common problem with pancake motors and SimonK (hundreds of users had the problems), use the 5-15-2013 firmware and you will be fine with the sunnyskys and Tigers. Anything with high pole counts you don't want to use simonK with at all, you need to go to a ESC specifically made for multirotors motors with high pole counts in mind such as the hobbywing platinum pro series (up to 40 poles).

In short DO NOT use SimonK with pancake motors with a pole count above 12 poles.
Feb 17, 2014, 06:16 AM
quadiger
Had the same thing happen to one of my sunnysky motors after my mini crashed onto the road and the esc burst into flames. When I touched the motor it was burning hot. It was definitely the esc's fault.
Feb 17, 2014, 11:03 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redemptioner
Your issue is the Firmware you are using not the motors, this is a common problem with pancake motors and SimonK

...

In short DO NOT use SimonK with pancake motors with a pole count above 12 poles.
Hey Redemptioner, that's really helpful, thanks.

You've ended up on the Blue Series 12A with the May-2013 SimonK, yeah?

I've seen on some of the OpenPilot threads that people are having more success with these (and other high kv/pole count pancakes) on the SiLabs based ESCs (ie: Plush) and Blheli. Any experience/thoughts?
Feb 17, 2014, 11:14 PM
VIDEOMAN3
VIDEOMAN3's Avatar
Same thing happen to me. My HK 10amp with simonk burned one of my new s2204 motor. I just saw the smoke coming from the motor ans the esc. So be advice HK 10amp and certain simonk firmware with this motor could be a disaster. I lost two escs burned into flame.
Last edited by VIDEOMAN3; Feb 17, 2014 at 11:22 PM.
Feb 17, 2014, 11:42 PM
Registered User
So far that's all I have run with my Sunnys HK Blue 12a SK 5-15-13 for 2.5 months maybe..no problems yet, knock on wood. I also don't use bullets and run 3s 1300 on a metal head h.
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Feb 18, 2014, 12:34 AM
quadiger
I've always used 5-15-13 as well. Next mini I'm going to use the one before that as I've heard it runs even better for the sunnyskys.
Its 33c outside and just took my mini for a fly. One of the escs feels alot hotter than the others and its not even the one supplying bec to the fc. Hopefully that doesn't mean a failure is impending.
Feb 18, 2014, 01:18 AM
Professional UAV Services
Redemptioner's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bimdas
I've always used 5-15-13 as well. Next mini I'm going to use the one before that as I've heard it runs even better for the sunnyskys.
Its 33c outside and just took my mini for a fly. One of the escs feels alot hotter than the others and its not even the one supplying bec to the fc. Hopefully that doesn't mean a failure is impending.
Usually an indicator of the the CG being out.
Feb 18, 2014, 01:26 AM
quadiger
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redemptioner
Usually an indicator of the the CG being out.
I was lifting a 200g battery on the rd230 so it was back heavy but wouldn't that cause both of the back escs to run hot?
Feb 26, 2014, 05:07 AM
:)
Another vote for firmware being the cause of the issue.

Stick with SimonK 2013-05-15.

I recently tested even this firmware on 4S with the X2204 2300KV and the loss of sync caused huge currents to be sent to the motor.
Feb 26, 2014, 06:03 AM
Jason
jasonmbiggs's Avatar
I ordered the Luminier ESCs for my Sunny Skys. Do I dare even try it?
Feb 26, 2014, 06:05 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonmbiggs
I ordered the Luminier ESCs for my Sunny Skys. Do I dare even try it?
I'd be interested to hear how they go ... but I'm dubious as they're tiny, and these little motors can pull some serious amps (as Soma has proven).


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