by Bobby Barr
There were no lack of choices out there when it came to deciding which ESC to use for my SAB Goblin 500 review. Making decisions on quality versus price are often difficult for me, and this one was no different. Another thing that led my decision was the desire to try a flybarless unit with an external governor. Many have told me this helps on all models, but most notably when a model is under powered or batteries are getting weak.
With that desire in mind I decided on the iKon flybarless unit combined with the HobbyWing Platinum PRO 100A ESC. This combination seemed to be fairly potent according to others I spoke with and forum threads.
As you would expect most of the ESCs these days install about the same. So to install the HW ESC I first had to begin by putting my EC5 connector. Next I removed the red wire from a 3” extension because I used an external BEC due to the four digital servos that require so much power to operate. You want to be certain to do this because you can cause your BEC or ESC to fail if you leave the red wire connected. The Professional Program Box sure made the setup of the ESC a breeze. All you need to do is connect the ESC to the program box and power it with a 4.8V battery. After programming the ESC I set the throttle endpoints. Then I went back in the ESC to program it into governor mode. I wanted to try the internal governor in the HW ESC to compare that to using the external governor feature on the iKon. So with that soldered the two wires coming from the RPM Sensor to two of the motor wires coming from the ESC. The plug that comes on the RPM sensor is a standard servo plug. Unfortunately the iKon uses a Spektrum style plug, so I just made an adapter that went from a female servo plug to a male Spektrum plug.
With the setup I used on the Goblin 500 I knew that it would not be lacking in power. The Quantum 4120-1200KV motor combined with the Pulse Ultra 6s 4500mah 45C battery pack and the HW Platinum PRO 100A ESC was a power system designed for high headspeed and hard 3D flight. Using the 1200KV motor combined with the original gear ratio that came with the Goblin 500, the system was really optimized for the high headspeed flight. The HW governor did a really good job holding the desired 2700 rpm headspeed. Almost anyone would be more than happy with the performance. When dropping the headspeed down to 2450 rpm there was a noticeable change in rpm under hard maneuvers. There are two things working against the internal governor at that point.
- The gearing is just not optimized at that rpm. So it really has a lack of power to work with.
- The governor is trying to react to the change is rpm. So it is always a little behind.
With that said I believe that any beginner to intermediate pilot would be very happy with this setup. So if you are setting up a helicopter and not planning on running an extreme headspeed range without changing your pinion, then the internal HW governor will do just fine.
Performance with External Governor:
An external governor has one huge advantage over an internal governor. It knows when there is going to be a load on the power system before the ESC and motor. With this information it can begin applying power to the system prior to the load being felt. Imagine you are driving your truck pulling a trailer and you are approaching a steep grade. What you find yourself doing is speeding up and possibly downshifting prior to engaging the hill. This allows you to get the engine in its powerband and maintain your speed. This is how the external governor works. You can indepently feed in power with each cyclic, collective or pirouetting control. Although this does normally take some tweaking and tuning, the results are well worth the trouble. This allows you to be able to run a much lower headspeed than your power system is tuned for. Please understand it will still not be optimized at that headspeed so you will need to watch your temperatures on your ESC due to the extreme switching that will take place to get the lower headspeed.
Currently I am running my HW ESC with the iKon in this mode. I am using the slow spool up setting in the ESC which is really nice. It isn’t too slow, but not so fast that you have to worry about the helicopter spinning while spooling up on pavement. After that the ESC is being fed by the iKon through the HobbyWing RPM Sensor. The Platinum PRO does a fantastic job of delivering the power to the motor.
One of the things that has impressed me the most with this ESC is the low temperature it is able to maintain despite the fact that at times I am running it at very low throttle settings. HobbyWing has put together a great combination of these three items that I am certain to use on future projects. The Professional Program Box also works great at checking the voltages of my lipo batteries all the way up to 8s. For those of you that have surface vehicles like I do, you will also be happy to hear that it works with all of those ESCs as well. So through that program box you will be able to change all of the settings, as well as update software using the program box hooked up to your computer.Below are the features and specifications to the three HobbyWing items discussed.
HobbyWing Platinum PRO 100A ESC
- 1 Typical Applications
- 1.1 Super powerful for 550 class helicopter
- 1.2 Very powerful for 600 class helicopter
- 1.3 Very powerful for large scale aircraft
- 2.1 Output: Continuous 100A, burst 150A up to 10 seconds.
- 2.2 Input Voltage: 2-6 cells lithium battery or 5-18 cells NIMH battery.
- 2.3 BEC: Switching mode DC-DC regulator. 3A@5.25V or 3A@6V switchable by user programming.
- 2.4 Control Signal Transmission: Optically coupled system.
- 2.5 Max Speed: 210,000rpm for 2 Poles BLM, 70,000rpm for 6 poles BLM, 35,000rpm for 12 poles BLM. (BLM: Brushless Motor)
- 2.6 Size: 70mm (L) * 34mm (W) * 16mm (H).
- 2.7 Weight: 82g.
- 3.1 High performance microprocessor brings out the best compatibility with all kinds of motors and the highest driving efficiency.
- 3.2 Wide-open heat-sink design to get the best heat dissipation effect.
- 3.3 With 3 types of start mode: Normal / Soft / Very-Soft, compatible with aircraft and helicopter.
- 3.4 Smooth, linear, quick and precise throttle response.
- 3.5 The output voltage of the built-in BEC is switchable by user programming (5.25V or 6.0V).
- 3.6 Multiple protection features: Low-voltage cut-off protection / Over-heat protection / Throttle signal loss protection
- 3.7 Perfect governor mode for helicopter.
- 3.8 The firmware of the ESC can be updated through the USB adapter on the Professional LCD Program Box.
- 3.9 User programmable. Several kinds of program methods are supported: transmitter, digital LED program card, advanced professional LCD program box, PC software. Very easy to program the ESC at home or at the flying field.
HobbyWing Professional Program Box
- 1 Working Mode
- 1.1 Working as an individual device to set the ESC, the value of each parameter is displayed on its own LCD.
- 1.2 Working as an USB adapter to link the ESC with a PC, and the user can update the firmware of the ESC or set the ESC by the special application software on PC.
- 1.3 Works as a Lipo battery voltmeter to measure the voltage of the whole battery pack and each cell.
- 2.1 Size: 90mm (L) * 51mm (W) * 17mm (H)
- 2.2 Weight: 84g.
- 2.3 Input Voltage: 4.8-6V (If the ESC hasn’t a built-in BEC, you must use an additional battery pack to supply the program box)
3 Programmable Items:
This program card is suitable for the following ESCs:
- 1. PLATINUM Series Helicopter/Aircraft ESC
- 2. XERUN Series Car ESC (Version 3.0)
- 3. EZRUN Series Car ESC (Version 2.0)
A) The programmable items for the CAR ESC are:
- 3.1 Running Mode
- 3.2 Drag Brake Force
- 3.3 Low Voltage Cut-Off Threshold
- 3.4 Start Mode
- 3.5 Maximum Brake Force
- 3.6 Maximum Reverse Force
- 3.7 Initial Brake Force
- 3.8 Throttle Neutral Range
- 3.9 Timing
- 3.10 Over-Heat Protection
- 3.11 Motor Rotation
- 3.12 Lipo Cells
B) The programmable items for the AIRCRAFT AND HELICOPTER ESC are:
- 3.1 Brake Setting
- 3.2 Battery Type
- 3.3 Low Voltage Protection Mode (Cutoff Mode)
- 3.4 Low Voltage Protection Threshold (Cutoff Threshold)
- 3.5 Start Mode
- 3.6 Timing
- 3.7 Governor Mode
- 3.8 Motor Type
- 3.9 PWM Frequency
- 3.10 Built-In BEC Output
- 3.11 Motor Load
- 3.12 Lipo Cells
HobbyWing RPM Sensor
It detects the voltage changes at the wires of brushless motor, and then outputs the RPM signal. This RPM sensor can work with some speed control systems for helicopters. And one of its typical applications is to work as the RPM sensor for V-Bar system made by Mikado (www.mikado-heli.de).
- 1. Size: 23mm(L)*10mm(w)*2mm(H)
- 2. Weight: 6g (Input and output wires are included)
- 3. Working voltage: 3.5V to 8.4V(1S to 2S Lipo)
- 4. Current: 1 to 5mA
- 5. Voltage range of the motor wires: 2 to 14S Lipo
- 6. RPM range (for 2 poles brushless motor): 1000rpm to 300000rpm
- 7. Working temperature: 0 to 50 Celsius degree or 32 to 122 Fahrenheit degree
The lead A and lead B is connected to any 2 wires of the brushless motor (Do not need to consider about the polarity). The lead C is a three color wires with a connector at the end, the black wire is the ground wire, the red wire is connected to 3.3V or 5V to supply the sensor, and the white wire outputs RPM signal.