My intention is that this thread can be a discussion of all the issues of Castle Sensorless vs Sensored Controllers. Two obvious limitations of the Castle HV series is the 15s A123, 12s Lipo Voltage limitation and the high price so those issues probably don't require discussion.
The questions I have are the reliability of Hall Sensors and the advisability of resolving this issue with optical sensors, the low speed performance of Castle Sensorless Controllers and the relatively large size of Sensored Controllers. Feel free to raise any other questions or issues.
Some quotes and sources of information:
johnrobholmes wrote:The bike controllers are typically sensored, and also amperage controlled. RC controllers are voltage controlled and typically non sensored.
The Castle HV160 is the best RC type controller I have used so far. It even has data logging onboard, and the sync is hands down the best sensorless in the industry. There are issues with blowing caps however, as the typical bike setup has a lot of voltage/amp ripple going on and it is hard on low resistance equipment.
Not an issue with additional caps.
recumpence wrote:The new HV140 is a freakin BEAST! That may be the best thing running right now. I have two and a friend of mine is running a 3220 and a HV140. He is pulling 200 amps off that controller without problems!
Richard's comment on the HV110:
fechter wrote:I'll have to repeat that I am very impressed with the startup torque from a dead stop. Sensorless is definitely the way of the future and this thing proves that it can work well with the right algorithm.
recumpence wrote:I have a 10 pound drive unit sitting here (two Astro 3220s) that runs 28hp total (2,000 ounce inch torque at 14,000 rpm). RC motors are unparralelled in output power. But, the issue of startup is a frustrating one. On a light weight bicycle, this is not usually an issue. On something heavier (even a moped) it becomes problematic.
http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 30#p273140
liveforphysics wrote:You gotta give a sensored controller a shot yourself Matt. Those 2t motors you've got on your trike would be the perfect motors to find the RPM limits of the infinion. When you feel the buttery smooth low RPM operation with mega low-rpm smooth torque, you will forget you ever saw a sensorless controller.
D's Kona requires excellent low speed performance and I haven't heard him complain. OTOH Ypedal (whose bike should have more reduction) isn't happy with his Castle.
So how much worse are sensorless controllers on an Ebike? Is Luke's opinion partially due to not using a Castle esc?
Justin's Controller and comments (I'm quoting his complete list and putting the comments I are relevant to my questions in bold):
justin_le wrote:The Controller
There are a few things this controller does which have been IMO long overdue in the ebike scene:
1) Programmable limits: All of the controller parameters such as maximum battery current, maximum motor current, low voltage cutoff, max regen voltage etc. can be set to whatever value you like within the limits of the controller. With this 6 mosfet version, the battery current limit can be set from 0 - 30 amps, the motor current limit can be set from 0 - 45 amps.
2) Completely Waterproof: The entire controller is potted in epoxy so there is simply no possibility even of water damage. It can be run entirely submersed, in fact the controller would like that for the great heatsinking.
3) Small Size: This thing is about 1/10th the size of the Crystalyte 35A motor controllers so it can actually mount discretely on the bicycle.
4) Proportional Regen: When the regen switch is activated, then the throttle controls the intensity of the regen braking. The regenerative braking is motor current (hence torque) regulated, and you can set the maximum regen motor current in software.
5) Pulse by Pulse Current Limiting: You can short the output motor leads and run the controller full throttle and not blow a mosfet. Nice feature to have when the axle spins out and severs all the motor leads.
6) Current Throttle: The throttle input directly controls the battery current and hence the vehicle power. If you have the battery current limit programmed to say 20A, and ride half throttle, the controller will deliver 10A of power regardless of your speed.
7) Sensored and Sensorless: If there is a hall cable connected it will run as a sensored motor controller, if there are no hall signals present it operates sensorlessly. If the hall senor was initially connected, and then fails in the middle of your ride, the controller will detect this and switch over to sensorless mode without loosing a beat. I don't really need to say much more for people to know what this means for reliability!
8.) Overtemperature Protection: Rather than shutting down when the controller gets hot and leave you stranded on a hill, the controller automatically scales back the motor current limit value as the heatsink warms up, so it will protect itself from getting too hot while at the same time never cutting out completely.
What is the reliability of Hall sensors. Are Justin's reliability issues due to moisture exposure in hub motors or cheap hall sensors in Chinese hubs? Are optical sensors a better and more reliable solution?
What is the availability of relatively compact 60v/120a or 80v/150a sensorless controllers?
Maybe we need to lock Justin in his shop until he produces a perfect ebike controller .