Confession time... - RC Groups
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May 03, 2014, 03:57 AM
zippogeek's Avatar

Confession time...

Okay people...I've got a secret to share. It's been gnawing at me for the past year and I just have to get it off my back. This is a "body in the crawlspace" revelation; that moment during the movie when the character you thought was decent ends up being the axe murderer. Or a soccer fan.

My first season of flying was fifteen years ago. It was also the first time I soldered a Dean's Ultra plug. And damn it, I soldered it poorly. So poorly that it was, in fact, backwards. I never bothered to read the package. Nor did I look for those faint, though ubiquitous plus and minus symbols. No sir, I soldered that charge lead MY way: black wire on the positive tab and the red wire on negative.

A one-time mistake, you say. Just fix it and move on...right?

Oh, if it was only that simple.

You see, I didn't realize at the time that it was backwards. I figured I was allowed to solder it however I wanted, so long as the corresponding battery lead was soldered in the same fashion. So that night, I soldered 4 batteries to match my happy little charge lead. My skills with the iron were rather poor, but I plugged away nonetheless like a determined little RCer.

I went flying many times that first year. There were no problems. My speed controller worked fine, every time. Ignorance was bliss! By the end of my second year, I had three planes flying and roughly a dozen batteries. And every damn one of them was soldered the same way.

I had to figure it out at some point...right?

Fourteen blessed years later (and easily a hundred Frankenstein battery packs), my world would came crashing down. Last year, I sold a speed controller on eBay. The buyer contacted me upon receipt with a concern: "Hey, thanks for the fast shipping. But how do I know this thing is okay? The Dean's plug is backwards." I was confused. "Backwards? How the hell can you solder a Dean's backwards?! This guy is on crack!"

I politely told him he was mistaken. And he politely persisted. "You've got the red wire on the negative, and vice versa." I was flummoxed. "But there ARE no negative and positive symbols on a Dean's," I thought. "Or ARE there?" I ran downstairs, grabbed a Dean's and took a long, close look. "HOLY SH##!" The color ran from my face. It was Luke Skywalker finding out Darth Vader was his dad. "NO! It's not possible. Fourteen years of flying. So many backwards leads!! WHY AM I THE LAST TO KNOW??!"

A year later, I still don't know what the hell I'm going to do. I've got almost 20 packs right now, and every damn one is backwards. Am I really going to sit there for hours, re-soldering all of them?! Is this my penance? I know, I know: everything works just fine because I've been soldering my ESCs backwards too. But the problem is, now I know everything is backwards. And it's driving me INSANE.

Please help, gentle reader. What would you do?
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May 03, 2014, 04:08 AM
Sloping off....
leccyflyer's Avatar
Top post - that really gave me a chuckle

If it were me, I'm afraid that I would have to redo all of those connections, because they are, as you say, backwards. In reality it makes no difference to your own operations, it's just when you come up against the rest of the world. There have been folks who have taught themselves to fly with reversed throttle and, even more incredibly, reversed elevator controls.

I use 4mm bullet connectors and have a convention that the male pin is on the battery positive. The number of folks who tell me that the male pin should be on the negative when they see those packs is not small.

The thing is that they are operating on a different basis than when the original convention was conceived amongst the group of RC car racers that my pal who used to make up the packs was operating. In those days, before even NiMhs were heard of, most folks charged with their charger connected to their car battery. The cars were predominantly negative earth wired. So, the critical lead to avoid having a male pin fitted to, which could contact the car body and form a circuit, was the positive charging lead. The male on the battery positive lead convention that we used came from there.

I did have a brief dalliance with Deans connectors on my smaller packs a few years ago, but found them to be a pain to pull apart in confined spaces and switched them all out again.
May 03, 2014, 05:39 AM
Registered User
micka80ella's Avatar
I did exactly the same thing, then sold a plane with esc etc and was later told by the buyer he fried the the esc. I felt really bad, but he was cool with it. I have since scrapped all my deans connectors and changed to xt60's. Thing is i realised at some point but kept going with that way, it was fine with me but as with you i forgot about the normal person who does things properly.
May 03, 2014, 07:31 AM
Registered User
Never used Dean's connectors, but I was a user of Sermos/APP connectors for many, many years. I had one guy get upset because I didn't have my connectors "correct"; seems the folks in his club used the "over and under" arrangement for battery connections and "side-by-side" for motors (most of these were brushed motors in those days). Mine were the exact reverse, so he felt I should change to match the "correct" configuration.

As I said to that guy, you set your gear up for your use. If you aren't sharing gear with others, all that matters is that you're consistent within your modeling configuration.

My recommendation would be to leave things alone, as you know all works well. If you sell something, swap the wiring, and, if you want to be able to swap in the field with others, make up a set or two of converters (as I have for EC30 <-> Deans). If you're planning on revamping your connectors, then I think it makes sense to do all of them at one shot (as I did when I swapped from APP/Sermos to EC3).

Before anyone starts arguing which connector is better, please, let's not turn this thread into a "mine is better" tangent. Everyone has reasons for using what they do.

May 03, 2014, 08:23 AM
Drone offender FA377YHFNC
Friends don't let friends use Deans! EC3 or that Hobby King EC3 wannabe all the way. Easier to soldier. Easier to use. Good for more current. Could STILL be soldiered backwards if you try! XT60, yeah, that's the ticket! I don't use 'em but they're pretty good and Hobby King sells 'em. They sell EC3s too and they work fine.

Hey, can't be better in EVERY sense........ And there is that sniggling point that neither connector was available when you started soldiering connectors on your batteries and ESCs. Other than that they're the perfect solution! Bring your own time machine.
Last edited by Rockin Robbins; May 03, 2014 at 09:09 AM.
May 03, 2014, 09:20 AM
Not gonna fuel the connector war, but soldering them "correctly" means you won't fry things if you every want/need to borrow someone's battery or they borrow yours.
May 03, 2014, 09:56 AM
Registered User
vonJaerschky's Avatar
Originally Posted by zippogeek
Please help, gentle reader. What would you do?
Get in line and conform, dammit! A couple of guys have mentioned switching to XT60 connectors. Look at this as a great opportunity to get rid of those PIA Deans connectors. And, it will be pretty easy. The Deans will be very easy to remove, and the XT60s are much easier to solder than Deans. I switched about 4 years ago and have never looked back. Oh, and pay attention to the polarity markings!
May 03, 2014, 10:04 AM
Registered User
E-Challenged's Avatar
You can short solder tabs together with iron tip or solder blob and still get the Darwin award.
May 03, 2014, 01:37 PM
Night Flying
Ron H's Avatar
Good story ZG. When I read it this morning, I thought that I would leave everything as is if in the same situation. It's the +&- that matters, not the wire color.
Clearly the packs have been charged and used, so the wiring isn't backward, just the wrong color.
What if both leads were black or red? No change, it will only plug in one way.
May 03, 2014, 01:44 PM
zippogeek's Avatar
Originally Posted by E-Challenged
You can short solder tabs together with iron tip or solder blob and still get the Darwin award.
LOL, thanks for that!
May 03, 2014, 03:56 PM
Registered User
ggcrandall1's Avatar

You can change or not, it's your call. I wouldn't mind changing the deans on that many batteries but it's the ESC's that are in planes that would frustrate me. However what I cannot understand is, in all that time you never bought a battery that already had a Deans on it. Using one that was wired "correctly" would have gotten your attention in a hurry.

BTW the XT60 folks could make the same mistake. They aren't marked all that well either.

May 03, 2014, 04:55 PM
zippogeek's Avatar
Originally Posted by ggcrandall1
in all that time you never bought a battery that already had a Deans on it. Using one that was wired "correctly" would have gotten your attention in a hurry.
You ain't kiddin!
May 03, 2014, 05:40 PM
Registered User
You said your soldering skills are poor. I can relate to that ... only I bet mine are worse.
My RC mentor was a ham radio guy as well as an EE and he used only Anderson Power Poles. I have only used them and since they are a really solid crimp there is no bad/cold/sloppy solder joint to worry about. AND the casings are red and black. AND they always click solid yet pull apart easily.
And you really have no other option than to spend a few minutes every single day getting your + and - fixed ..... all of them.

May 03, 2014, 09:18 PM
Registered User
Soldered an XT60 in reverse on a new esc today and killed it... and almost the batt aswell. I just started using them today getting, rid of my deans.
May 04, 2014, 07:29 AM
zippogeek's Avatar
Originally Posted by paladinflyer
Soldered an XT60 in reverse on a new esc today and killed it..
Sorry for your loss!

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