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Sep 14, 2021, 11:22 AM
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Q-Boat Radio Issues?

I thought I would post here in search of answers before going back to the manufacturer. I am a hydrologic technician for the United States Geological Survey (USGS). On certain rivers we are not allow to run a line across (to pull instrumentation back and forth) due to river traffic (rafters, anglers, etc), so on these rivers we use a "Q-boat" to take measurements of river width, depth, temperature, and velocity/discharge.

The boat is remotely operated from shore using a Hitec Aurora 9 radio transmitter. The boat is a Teledyne Oceanscience Q-Boat 1800D, which utilizes dual props (Port and Starboard) to propel the boat. Unfortunately, when we took the boat to a local river to make a measurement last week, we encountered an issue. There seems to be some kind of disconnect between the radio and boat. The boat when turned on and talking to the radio results in a "neutral" position where the boat sits in the water waiting for throttle or steering to be applied as one would expect. If the boat loses connectivity with the radio then it goes into "Failsafe" mode where the Port motor goes to 30% throttle, the Starboard motor goes to 0% throttle and the steering stays straight, which causes a long gentle circle until it reaches one of the river banks.

During this last river measurement, the failsafe works fine, but for some unknown reason the boat goes into full reverse on both port and starboard motors with connectivity to the radio even though it should be in "neutral" position. If I turn off the radio transmitter, then the boat properly goes into "Failsafe" mode. With the radio on, I am able to adjust the trim for the steering and throttle and can see the minute changes, but the actual throttle and steering sticks return no response in boat operation.

I have double checked all the settings for throttle, steering, mode, etc and everything matches the original programmed settings from the manufacturer. My only thought is that there is a short in the Hitec Aurora 9 radio transmitter. We just had one of our batteries for the Hitec die and I'm wondering if the battery shorted something in the receiver or a component just went bad. I'm new to the RC world so I thought I would throw this question out there to see if someone has dealt with it before. Thoughts? Ideas? Resolutions? (w/o sending to manufacturer)
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Sep 15, 2021, 06:41 AM
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Full reverse with a normal boat ESC corresponds to the fail safe of aircraft. With aircraft, "failsafe" is minimum engine to bring it down. This is brought about either by the receiver not giving an output (the ESC goes to its failsafe) or the receiver going to its "failsafe". On a boat this should usually be a pulse length half way between full reverse and full ahead.
Others will correct me, but on a plane it might be desirable for another channel to cause the plane to drop, or circle, or both so that it doesn't stray too far from the point of signal loss.
A dying battery can never cause physical failures such as shorts inside the thing being powered. However, I have seen a few instances of radios losing binding due to the slowly sagging voltage putting the logic circuits out of their operating parameters - tied in with that they could just as easily lose any programming and revert to basics, which might not be what is wanted. But it is what you get.
Not necessarily accurate, since I don't possess your hardware, but the application of a little knowledge and logic. And philosophy.

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