Saturday, June 29, 2013

Can't get enough test equipment

After a long hiatus, I am finally submitting a new post.

Since my last post I have learned a lot about RC equipment and testing.  This has led me to realize that I need another servo tester, or power analyzer.  This one does not control the server under test, but reports on the servo voltage and current use.  This is very important in making sure that servos are up to the task at hand and that the battery or BEC circuit is capable as well.

You may have seen one of my previous posts about my big T28 Trojan and my crash.  I suspected that this crash was due to power issues but have had no way to test this.  With this servo power analyzer I will be able to find out what is going on with the servo/receiver power system.

What is needed for this tester is a way to measure amps and voltage used by a servo, and all the way up to all servos including the receiver.

These are the parts that will be used build my servo power analyzer.

The parts consist of an amp meter, volt meter, project box, small circuit board, connector pins, and some connector lugs.  Also needed but not shown is some wire to make all of the connections.

This is a closer view of the Amp and Volt meters I used.  The Amp meter is rated at 5A max and the Volt meter has a rating of 10 volts.  Most of these testers that I have seen are setup for 500mA and 6 volts.  I chose these values so that I could monitor a larger range of current and voltage.

Another view of the inexpensive (about $6 each including shipping!) meters I bought on eBay.  These are inexpensive, but they'll do just fine.

This is a better view of how the circuit board and pins will be used.  The pins can be snapped off in the number needed.  Since these will be used for servo connections, these will be broken off in 3s.  The circuit board will be cut in half and one half used for each end.

This is how the completed tester looks with the two meters mounted on the face.  The connectors are on each end.

These are the pins for the output or servo side.  I opted to provide two connectors here so I could hook up two servos at a time.  I could also use a splitter cable as well but this was easy enough to add.

This is the input side (sorry for the blurry photo).  There is no need for more than one input here.

This shows a typical setup for testing a servo.  With this setup I can monitor any voltage and current fluctuations while the servo is put through its paces.

The way I plan on using this to test my T28 setup, is to plug the BEC into the input side and the receiver with all of the servo connections into the output side.  Then I will monitor for voltage fluctuations (anything dropping much below 6V) and maximum amp flow.  Anything above the amp rating of the BEC will be a sign that it is not up to the task or I have a problem with a servo or two.

I realize that I did not include a circuit diagram and this would be very helpful for anyone wanting to make one of these.  It's really very basic and should be easy to duplicate.  So, here it is:

The positive voltage path flows through the Amp meter.  The voltage is measured the positive and negative voltage paths.  The servo signal wire passes straight through without interruption.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Please feel free to post comments, good or bad, and be sure to come back and check for future posts.

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Mr. Clean