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Messages - LukeZ

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Open Panzer Help / Re: Odd behavior
« on: Today at 12:49:01 PM »
If you have any idea what the original problem was, it might help to describe it so other people can avoid the same fate.

Open Panzer Help / Re: Odd behavior
« on: January 20, 2018, 01:39:02 AM »
Another thought, there is also a setting on the Driving tab called "Auto Stop Engine when idle for:"

You might want to make sure that isn't accidentally set to some very small number like 0.1 minutes, which would turn off the engine every time you stop for a few seconds. Unlikely, but worth checking.

Open Panzer Help / Re: Odd behavior
« on: January 20, 2018, 01:32:32 AM »
Reading a bit further into "Engine and Transmission Basics" it seems I need to have something start the engine and engage the transmission. I don't recall what settings I had there when it was working but I must have lucked into something that it worked... I'll set up some switches for this and let you know how it goes.
Yes that's correct, but the transmission is automatically engaged when you start the engine (or shortly thereafter depending on the Transmission Engage Delay), so you don't have to explicitly setup a function for that. The only reason to assign functions to the transmission is if you want to manually disengage/engage, and the only reason you might want to do that is to rev the "engine" sounds without the model moving, which is a cool feature but unnecessary unless you're showing off to your friends.

So for your tests you can ignore the transmission stuff and just assign a function to turn the engine on. 

Open Panzer Help / Re: Thoughts on the Sabertooth 2x12
« on: January 19, 2018, 05:54:38 PM »
Thanks Jerry for relating your experiences. I personally haven't tried the 2x12 but I'm glad to know it works.

I certainly have experienced the "no turn" phenomenon, especially on carpet. This is a serious problem with Taigen's newer gearboxes when used on heavier tanks with wide treads and lots of metal (Panther, King Tiger, Jagdtiger, etc...) The gearboxes have very little friction which in other applications would be considered a good thing but tanks rely on this friction for turning. What can happen as you found out is that you can command a turn, the motor on the inner track will be powered off, but the tank will keep going straight because the inner track just freewheels and the outer track has enough contact and friction with the ground due to weight and size to just keep plowing the model forward.

To be fair I don't think this is a problem with the IBU2. Your theory about the regenerative feature of the Sabertooth introducing friction is interesting and it may be correct. I've encountered the same failure to turn in my Jagdtiger with Taigen gearboxes using a Sabertooth 2x5, but it stands to reason the regenerative effect would be stronger in the 2x12. (The 2x5 is actually not quite powerful enough for the Jagdtiger generally so I don't recommend that setup but I was just doing some testing).

The Scout ESC has a feature to force drag the inner track by using brake commands to help overcome this turning problem but of course that doesn't do most people much good...

Anyway, I'm glad you're enjoying your TCB and thanks for the review!

Open Panzer Help / Re: Odd behavior
« on: January 19, 2018, 05:35:07 PM »
It sounds like there are several things going on, or that the symptoms are changing over time. Originally you didn't mention anything about the smoker. We need to narrow down the issue to one thing at a time.

It sounds like you have the radio setup correctly, so we'll assume that's fine.

If the TCB has detected your radio and you aren't moving, then the red and green LEDs on the board will be off. So that is normal. They only turn on if you are moving, or if the radio signal is lost, or if you are connected to the computer (here is the key).

You've tried the ESC in blinky and solid mode. That doesn't seem to be the problem either, so put them back to solid (crawler) mode and leave them that way.

Another very important thing when using XCar or any other hobby ESCs is to disable the BEC on the speed controller by removing the center pin from the servo leads that plug into the TCB AS SHOWN HERE. Make sure you've done that or you could damage your TCB or your speed controls!

If all that is good, let's start small and work our way up. Connect your TCB to your computer with the USB cable, and also power up your TCB with a battery at the same time. Connect the smoker to the TCB but leave the ESCs disconnected for now. Go to the Firmware tab of OP Config and connect to the TCB in Snoop mode. Can you turn on and off the engine from your transmitter? The TCB will print messages to the console window confirming that this has been done, if you don't see the messages then something is wrong. If it does say the engine has been turned on, does the smoker turn on? Does the smoker speed change with throttle? Do the green and red LEDs light up in forward and reverse respectively, as you would expect? Does the smoker stop when you turn the engine off?

If something doesn't work with those steps, we'll dig further. If they do work, we'll proceed to your ESCs.

Open Panzer Help / Re: Odd behavior
« on: January 18, 2018, 09:08:12 PM »
When using the XCar ESCs the other thing to make sure of is that the ESC is really in "crawler" mode, ie, the LED on the ESC is solid and not blinking, this is described in the Wiki. I'm sure you did but just mentioning it.

Otherwise I'm not sure what to say. In order to fix a problem we have to narrow down exactly what the cause is and right now that's unclear...

Open Panzer Help / Re: Odd behavior
« on: January 18, 2018, 05:53:19 PM »
What speed controller are you using? What kind of battery? Also what kind of receiver (brand and SBus/PPM)?

This isn't much to go on but I would say:
  • Double check your radio setup, make sure your throttle and turn channel min/max and center values are mapped correctly
  • Make sure you are using a fully-charged battery and that you don't have low voltage cutoff set too high
  • For the purposes of testing disable any acceleration/deceleration constraints, motor nudging, speed limits, etc...

Show and Tell / Re: 3D Printed T-35
« on: January 14, 2018, 04:03:59 PM »
The only thing I can say is to check the Misc tab of Benedini's Flash program and make sure your Prop 1 settings are as shown in the Wiki, that would confirm that the Mini is aware of the full throttle range.

The other thing you can do is temporarily attach a servo to the Prop 1 output of the TCB and see if it moves across the entire throttle range. It should, and if it does then the issue is with your Mini though I can't say what it would be. Perhaps try re-flashing the Mini, and reloading the sounds and the Prop Settings file as a first step.

I watched your video and the model looks great. However impractical in real life, I would not have wanted to be the soldier that had all three turrets pointed my way!

Show and Tell / Re: 3D Printed T-35
« on: January 14, 2018, 02:02:38 PM »
I am unable to use a 2 position switch assigned to start and stop, this still auto starts, but using the switch as a toggle command works.

Yes that is normal, I should probably put a note about this somewhere in the Wiki. The Mini is unlike other sound cards in that it doesn't have an explicit on and explicit off command, it only has "engine toggle." The TCB has on/off functions but when used with the Mini they each can only do the same thing, which is call the "toggle" command on the Mini. If you set on/off to a two position switch, on boot that switch will inevitably be in one or the other position, and therefore on boot the Mini will get toggled, which causes it to turn on.

Therefore when using the Mini it makes more sense to use the TCB's toggle command as well.

Only issues now are the throttle sounds rev up to full when my stick is about 60% up, and the turret sounds are a bit patchy, but this may be a TBS issue.

This could be, or else you might also want to re-check radio setup in OP Config to make sure you have your throttle range mapped correctly.

Show and Tell / Re: 3D Printed T-35
« on: January 13, 2018, 06:42:49 PM »
I replaced the fan motor and I now get a perfect speed at 10% output, however I can hear the board switching the voltage, its a piercing whine, which cuts through the engine noises noticeably. ...I doubt it is possible to fix this, but I figured I would let you know, because it seems you are doing your R&D with nice quiet LEDs.

Yes my test LEDs have indeed been very quiet! In fact it was possible at one time to have the Aux output operate at ultrasonic frequencies, the way the smoker and turret motor outputs still do. Then we added support for the Taigen sound card and I had to reconfigure one of the timer resources to generate the special pulses it requires, for reasons that are too boring to go into we used the same timer that was generating the Aux output PWM. Not really thinking about motor applications the frequency chosen at that time was quite low for convenience in the Taigen application.

Revisiting this code today I was able to increase the PWM frequency significantly while still maintaining the Taigen sound card functionality. What you have been hearing, and what your video illustrates quite effectively, is a 2 kHz PWM frequency. I have now bumped it up to 15.6 kHz. That is not quite ultrasonic (which would be >20 kHz) but I think you will find it probably eliminates all audible whine.

My more pressing issue is the engine startup sounds on the Mini. No matter the mode written to the sound card (auto or manual start) my engine sounds start when the boards do, and the TCB "engine" is off. Using the "toggle engine start" predictably flips this, I have drive but no sounds.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, this was in fact a bug. Looking back it was found to have been introduced in August of last year, so I guess that shows you how many people are using the Benedini Mini since then...  It is now corrected.

Both these changes are implemented in the new TCB firmware I have just posted (v0.92.19)

Open Panzer Help / Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« on: January 13, 2018, 01:43:05 PM »
Good analysis, I agree in this case the 2x5 will be plenty adequate. In the event of a stuck track I would be more concerned about protecting your expensive drivetrain than the controller, which as you say will take care of itself. But in this case since your stall current is close to the Sabertooth shutoff that works out to be fairly good protection right there.

Thanks for making the measurement and posting it, that will be good info for others. It aligns with the measurements I have made of a handful of models, 5 amps is usually just adequate for metal-tracked models in normal conditions but sometimes just a bit shy of what might be preferable. It's a shame the 2x12 is so expensive and worse, so massive. For that reason I prefer the Pololu Qik 2s12v10 or the Scout if the Sabertooth 2x5 is not enough. A controller in the 10 amp range is about the sweet spot for heavy 1/16th models, but most including your Hooben will be fine with 5 amps unless you plan to pull a sled through mud.

Open Panzer Help / Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« on: January 09, 2018, 11:50:59 PM »
And the loss of all those PWM cables would be nice in the panther, but the modules are pricey (more than the radio), but perhaps there will be a sale?

You must have got a good deal on your 9x since you can get an XJT for about $38. That doesn't include a receiver but you have to get a receiver anyway, plus you save an extra ten bucks by avoiding the PWM/PPM device.

I'm currently putting my second Hooben T55A together, this time with the metal gearboxes, and wondering if the 5 amp sabertooth would be okay in this one?

I don't have personal experience with that model so I could only hazard a guess. Erratic driving with a TK22 may not have had anything to do with current draw, it could have been any number of things. People are probably getting tired of hearing me say it, but there is only one way to know what ESC rating you need - measure the current draw on your model. I use a Watts Up meter, Hobby King has a slightly cheaper one here that is just as good, there are generic knock-offs on eBay and Amazon for less than $15, and many people already have a general purpose multimeter in their toolbox that will measure current just as well, though maybe not so conveniently because they don't come with hobby connectors. Even the cheapo 5 dollar Harbor Freight multimeter will measure up to 10 amps. Or if you are using a telemetry-capable radio system like the FrSky module on your 9x, or those with the inexpensive FlySky transmitters, you can get a small current sensor that will attach to your receiver and relay real-time current data right to the screen on your transmitter.

This will tell you exactly where you stand. In my experience most models draw far less current than we might imagine. Maybe you will find that your T55 draws less than 5A most of the time, with a spike to 8 amps if the track gets stalled. In that case the Sabertooth 2x5 is more than adequate (it can handle peaks to 10A). Or maybe you find that it runs at 7 amps continuous in a straight line on flat ground. Ok then, you need something bigger. But at least you know, and you're not making a wild guess.

If I had to make a wild guess I'd say the 2x5 is plenty for most applications. But better to know for sure.

Show and Tell / Re: 3D Printed T-35
« on: January 09, 2018, 07:41:46 PM »
I have also added a tiny computer fan into the actual fan of the t35, works great and I plan on wiring it to the AUX output. Is there a way to tie the value of the AUX voltage to the throttle to simulate the fan spinning faster with engine demand? not critical but I think it would be neat.

Hi Dean, I've added this feature finally, you will need to update OP Config and then flash the latest version of TCB firmware (both will be 0.92.18).

You will see three new analog (variable) triggers that can be assigned to analog functions, such as "Aux Output - Set Level." They are Throttle Command, Engine Speed and Vehicle Speed. Throttle command is essentially your throttle stick (but only active when the engine is on), engine speed is close to that but has some padding to prevent sudden sharp changes (this is essentially the signal that gets fed to the smoker and sound cards, so we want a smooth response). Both of those are active whenever the engine is on, whether the transmission is engaged or not. Vehicle speed of course requires the vehicle to be moving and will reflect the actual speed as constrained by acceleration and deceleration presets, etc... So take your pick.

One problem with this for your application however is that all three of these triggers have outputs of Zero when the vehicle is stopped or when the throttle is at rest ("idle"). Presumably you would like your fan to be blowing some minimum amount at all times rather than stopping completely. That is the way the smoker output works, because it provides the option of setting a minimum smoker speed to be maintained at "idle." But these other signals are actually literally 0 at rest so that is what will be reflected on any output to which you link them.

For that reason I reiterate that the smoker output would probably be preferable for your purposes. And I'm not sure exactly what these new triggers will be useful for, but maybe now they're there someone will think of something. In testing I just put LEDs on the Aux output and I get a dimming effect as the throttle is advanced or the vehicle begins to move. Cool I guess, and useful for visualizing what accel/decel constraints do, but not ultimately of much practical purpose.

Open Panzer Help / Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« on: January 09, 2018, 07:24:54 PM »

I'm using Tanker9x firmware on my 9x, with the original module/receiver (RF9Xv2/9X8Cv2) with the PWM/PMM converter by HK.  All 8 channel wires go into the converter, and only one is a pass thru, the volume servo/pot I have made, which is on channel 7.

I checked your OPZ file and see nothing amiss. I'm going to go out on a limb and say almost certainly the issue you have is related to your radio setup, which is slightly unconventional, though nothing wrong with that.

One piece of advice that is unrelated to this topic, but just in general, is to dispense with Tanker9x unless you are really wedded to it for some reason. I suggest this not because Tanker9x is no good or doesn't work, but because it is unnecessary and to use some economics language, the opportunity cost of using it is very high. There is nothing Tanker9x can do that every other 9x firmware can't also do, but plenty the other way around. I don't believe Tanker9x is even being actively developed so it is not keeping up with all the updates that are being made to this day with er9x and variants. By getting familiar with er9x you will then be comfortable with a firmware that can run on the Taranis, the QX7, and probably other transmitters in the future, so you are learning something very useful and adaptable. Tanker9x is with all respect to the author unfortunately a dead-end.

In time another good upgrade will be to ditch the janky PWM-PPM converter and install a system with native SBus like the FrSky XJT. Combined with er9x you will get 16 channels on a single cable. But that can be done later. Having a 9x as your transmitter is a good choice because it gives you lots of options in the future.

If you look at Page 12 on the IBU2 manual, it shows the flash I'm not that bright to think of something new.....but thanks for the thought.

Ok, I see you are looking at the IBU2 manual and I was looking at the IBU2 "Ultimate" manual, whatever that is. Importantly I see he's not even consistent with the flashing across his own products, so I won't feel bad that I'm not consistent with him.

I've posted a new firmware update that adds a double-blink to the Apple LEDs when the cannon reload is complete. I think two quick blinks is more likely to be seen than a single one. 

I've set the voltage at 6.1 volts for the cutoff....a little low for LiPo but since I've been using NiMH mostly lately, it is a little conservative. 

So I ran the battery down again, and this time it all worked as you said.  The tank started bucking, like a car running out of gas, and then all the lights started blinking, which slowly diminished to nothing.....very nice.

Glad to know that's working. Since you are using NiMH (presumably a 6-cell) you may want to increase your low voltage cutoff level to something a bit higher, so you get the blinking notification before your model starts to sputter. The bucking is not a feature of the TCB, but rather indicates that your Sabertooth is beginning to fade out. NiMH batteries have a very flat discharge curve, meaning they maintain their voltage until nearly fully discharged (1.2 nominal per cell). By the time your NiMH reads 6.1 volts, that thing is pretty much dead, and more to the point the processors on both the Sabertooth and the TCB themselves are both probably beginning to brown out.

Open Panzer Help / Re: Settings for Airsoft and IR on one tank
« on: January 08, 2018, 08:45:44 PM »
Ok then, my theory doesn't explain your issue, though the change I made doesn't hurt anything so I will leave it in.

To conclude I'm stumped as to why you have to cycle your switch before the setting sticks, and I can't replicate that on my end. The only other thing to check is that you don't accidentally have some other trigger also modifying the airsoft enable since it is possible to assign multiple triggers to the same function (and vice-versa). But I'm sure you haven't done that so that's unlikely. You could post your OPZ file for me to examine if you want, though I'm not sure it will tell us much.

For now I'm going to conclude this is just as likely to be something odd with your radio as anything to do with the TCB. I'm sorry if I missed it, you say you're using a 9x but what firmware are you running? And what module and receiver?

As for the LED indicator that is a good idea. In fact the TCB will already indicate low voltage quite distinctly using every possible light attached to the board (as well as those on the board) in a blinking pattern that starts fast and slows down, then repeats (the opposite of the repair blink pattern).

But the cannon reload indicator is a good idea that is worth implementing. When I look at the IBU2 manual on page 9 I actually don't even see the cannon reload option, so perhaps you have thought of something not even they have. I will add that feature when I next have some time.

Note that when used with the Open Panzer Sound Card (unobtainium I know) you can also have an audible indicator of cannon reloaded, using whatever sound file you want.

Note that when used with the Scout ESC the Scout will itself provide indicators for over-current/over-heat and other conditions. When used with other types of speed controls like the Sabertooth or whatever obviously that is not possible since we don't know what they are thinking. The IBU has an advantage in the sense that everything is integrated into one board so it always knows what every component is doing.

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