Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

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MitchJi   1 GW

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Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by MitchJi » Nov 18 2008 3:59am

Hi,

I think anyone using an HV Series Castle Esc on an Ebike should seriously consider adding higher capacity caps. Most of the following information is posted in the "High power RC motor and drive unit production" thread but thought it should be posted in a separate thread to help make sure as many people as possible have the information necessary to avoid blowing HV Series Controllers.

I got the following from Matt's build description on the bottom of this page:
http://www.wisil.recumbents.com/wisil/s ... mbent2.htm
Last I removed two of the eight 180mf caps and added two 1,000mf caps in their place effectively increasing the capacitance from roughly 1,000mf to 3,000mf.
and:
I need to make it abundantly clear that this ESC issue is related to my use of the huge Plettenberg motor under hard acceleration. I have never run into anyone else blowing HV110s in bike use. So, please do not assume the HV110 is inadequate! I have merely been pulling 7,500 watts through a 5,500 watt controller. So, this is my solution.
Then I sent Castle this quote by Matt from another post in an email (excerpt):
I just spoke with Castle Creations. The SHV200 is being released soon, however, the entire first production run is sold out. Second run is scheduled for 3 to 4 months from now. That stinks. But, I have found the HV110 to be fantastically stable if added capacitors are used on the input side. So, for anyone looking for up to 4,000 watts at 50 volts or less, an HV110 (with input caps added) is the most cost effective choice anyway.
Even though I saw that and sent a copy to Castle I still had the impression the caps were required because he was running 7kw through the Esc. Then I received their response:
An HV110 will handle 2-3kw fine, but you would have to add extra caps as recommended. The ESC is meant to start an airplane motor...not a person on a bike. :)
When I posted the above Matt's response was:
I hve run the HV110 up at 4kw with my AXI and had no issues. But, at 4kw on my Pletti, I had issues after 200 miles. I wondered about that and asked Castle about it. They said there were a number of issues that contributed to my controller failures. When I asked about extra caps, they basically told me I would be masking a problem by adding caps. Hmm, if that is the case, why do these ESCs have caps to begin with? "Oh, good point, yes I guess extra caps would help...." So, since running extra caps, I have had no problems. I also experimented with my slipper clutch to keep from overamping the controller. However, I still blew one controller just limiting my amp pull to under 3kw max. The caps made all the difference. Maybe I will become a dealer and stock a few cap modded HV110s for EV use.
Best Wishes!

Mitch


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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by EVTodd » Nov 18 2008 8:18am

Sounds to me like you don't need to add extra caps unless you're using a motor rated over what the controller can handle.
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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by kfong » Nov 18 2008 10:05am

I think what might be happening is the controller is drawing more current at lower voltages without the caps to back up the inrush from the initial starts. Thanks for the heads up, I will certainly put caps on mine with my eventual rc ebike conversion.

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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by mcstar » Nov 18 2008 12:13pm

This is something I've experimented with this as well in general using PWM controllers. Basically, adding a cap to a PWM controller will increase the speed of the motor especially at lower power settings (vs one without any caps). This helps up to a certain size capacitor based on the motor. The capacitor sets up an oscillator with the motor's coils and smooths out the PWM energy to a level that interacts more efficiently with the motor's coils. Anytime you use a controller at more than it's rated power capacity, you can try adding more capacitance and just see if it helps. You should notice an increase in motor speed. It definitely won't hurt anything. And BTW, you can add them in parallel to existing capacitors or in parallel with the input of your motor controller if using a brush less motor and on the output side of your controller for brushed motors. Just make sure the capacitor is rated to a higher voltage than what you ever expect to be at.
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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by MitchJi » Nov 18 2008 12:27pm

EVTodd wrote:Sounds to me like you don't need to add extra caps unless you're using a motor rated over what the controller can handle.
Hi Todd,

Well this is what Castle Tech Support said (quoted from my original post):
An HV110 will handle 2-3kw fine, but you would have to add extra caps as recommended. The ESC is meant to start an airplane motor...not a person on a bike.
The HV110 is rated for 5kw but the issue is the rating is for "start[ing] an airplane motor...not a person on a bike".
Best Wishes!

Mitch


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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by etard » Nov 18 2008 2:15pm

Is there a source for quality Caps that would work well with the HV-110? Are all Caps created equal?
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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by fechter » Nov 18 2008 5:06pm

mcstar wrote: And BTW, you can add them in parallel to existing capacitors or in parallel with the input of your motor controller if using a brush less motor and on the output side of your controller for brushed motors. Just make sure the capacitor is rated to a higher voltage than what you ever expect to be at.
I think you'd want to add the capacitors to the input side of a brushed controller too. If you put the cap across the motor, you can't use the motor windings as an inductor for the PWM.
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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by mcstar » Nov 18 2008 5:22pm

I defer to your knowledge fetcher as I may be mistaken.
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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by recumpence » Nov 18 2008 6:05pm

The issue seems to be large motors and startup much more than total amperage drawn. Again, added caps cured my issues.

I use Panasonic capacitors from Digikey part number P12393-ND

I added two of these to my controller and cured my issues.

Matt
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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by MitchJi » Nov 18 2008 7:28pm

Hi,

http://parts.digikey.com/1/parts/49534- ... 1h102.html

Only $1.30 each.

A no brainer if it might save a $250 esc!
Best Wishes!

Mitch


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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by Mathurin » Nov 19 2008 3:33am

Yeah, while researching HV85 for hub motor use I've read about keeping motor leads short and adding low esr caps battery side for running the HV85 near limits, but what's this about adding the caps motor side for bl motor?
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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by erth64net » Nov 19 2008 8:58am

Mathurin wrote:Yeah, while researching HV85 for hub motor use I've read about keeping motor leads short and adding low esr caps battery side for running the HV85 near limits, but what's this about adding the caps motor side for bl motor?
I"ve got an HV85, so now I too am wondering if extra caps are necessary. It's coupled to a Scorpion 4025-16 (max 2KW@ ~26V w/ LiFePO4)...except I'm not drag racing my bike like Matt is (yet :wink: ).

I guess some extra caps for ~$10 (including shipping) is pretty much a non-brainer for a $200 ESC. It sounds like Castle is great about service/returns of even modified units?
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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by mcstar » Nov 19 2008 9:35am

Mathurin wrote:, but what's this about adding the caps motor side for bl motor?
Fetcher corrected me on this. They need to be added on the battery side of the controller. This gives the controller a bit of extra "punch" when driving motors at higher power levels than the controller was designed for.
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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by MitchJi » Nov 19 2008 2:36pm

erth64net wrote:
Mathurin wrote:Yeah, while researching HV85 for hub motor use I've read about keeping motor leads short and adding low esr caps battery side for running the HV85 near limits, but what's this about adding the caps motor side for bl motor?
I"ve got an HV85, so now I too am wondering if extra caps are necessary. It's coupled to a Scorpion 4025-16 (max 2KW@ ~26V w/ LiFePO4)...except I'm not drag racing my bike like Matt is (yet :wink: ).

I guess some extra caps for ~$10 (including shipping) is pretty much a non-brainer for a $200 ESC. It sounds like Castle is great about service/returns of even modified units?
Hi,

According to Castle Tech Support the issue isn't a high power. Its the power required to start a bike vs a model. Matt increased the capacitance by replacing two of the existing caps with larger caps so I think replacing some existing caps is what you need to do. Note: he reworked a Hydra into what he said is essentially an HV160 (non-existent model) but you can see the larger (replacement) caps in the photo:
Image
Last I removed two of the eight 180mf caps and added two 1,000mf caps in their place effectively increasing the capacitance from roughly 1,000mf to 3,000mf.
Best Wishes!

Mitch


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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by recumpence » Nov 19 2008 3:21pm

I am currently running a stock HV110 with two caps added to the input leads about an inch away from the board. That works well too. Don't panic and assume you have to invade the board. :wink:

Castle is good about repairing controllers for EV use. But, it voids their warrantee. They have a flat $90 fee for repair/replacement of HV110 controllers.

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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by vanilla ice » Nov 19 2008 3:32pm

The resistor slow cap charge setup applies right? To avoid frying switches..

Soda caps FTW!
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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by ron van sommeren » Dec 20 2008 10:55am

Battery wire inductance is the main cause of problem, not wire resistance. The wire-inductance causes spikes on the power input. Long motor wires is not a problem. If you have to use long battery wires, install extra caps on the brushless controller. Reasons, explanation, methods, manuals, suggestions for installing
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=952523
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=952523

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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by johnrobholmes » Dec 20 2008 11:00am

Good to see you here Ron!

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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by recumpence » Dec 20 2008 11:35am

I am not an electronics engineer. However, I find it odd that Castle Creations argued with me about this very issue. I had blown 3 HV110s in my bike. I asked them (John and Bernie) about adding caps to eliminate the inductance issue that was blowing the FETs. What they told me is that I would merely be masking the problem not curing anything. To that I asked why they use caps on the input of their ESCs, then. At that point they said, "Fine, I guess you could increase capacitance and it MAY help....."

Since I added caps (2,000 mf added to the original 1,000 mf) I have not had a ESC issue.

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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by GGoodrum » Dec 20 2008 1:22pm

recumpence wrote:I am not an electronics engineer. However, I find it odd that Castle Creations argued with me about this very issue. I had blown 3 HV110s in my bike. I asked them (John and Bernie) about adding caps to eliminate the inductance issue that was blowing the FETs. What they told me is that I would merely be masking the problem not curing anything. To that I asked why they use caps on the input of their ESCs, then. At that point they said, "Fine, I guess you could increase capacitance and it MAY help....."

Since I added caps (2,000 mf added to the original 1,000 mf) I have not had a ESC issue.

Matt
I don't know a John at CC, but I do know Bernie, and he's not a EE either. The real person to ask is Patrick, which I did some time ago, but I can't frickin' remember what the hell he told me. :oops: At the time, I was looking to try and use a 20s/66V a123 setup. I seem to remember something about the FETS being 63V parts, but something else was a problem. John Holmes said the caps are only good to 55V, or so, but that he has run one an an 18s a123 setup. Anyway, if I replace these with higher voltage caps, I hope I won't have a long-term issue with a 16s a123 setup.

I do now remember the note that Schulze put in their instructions to add caps for battery runs longer than about 12".

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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by johnrobholmes » Dec 20 2008 4:22pm

The caps are 50v rated, so giving a 10% tolerance lets us assume 55v. I wouldn't suggest using them at that voltage however. If you are using anything above 50v hot from the charger, 75v caps are a better bet.

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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by fechter » Dec 21 2008 12:30am

recumpence wrote:.... At that point they said, "Fine, I guess you could increase capacitance and it MAY help....."

Since I added caps (2,000 mf added to the original 1,000 mf) I have not had a ESC issue.

Matt
Sounds like you have some actual test results there. Like I always say....

Good, low ESR caps are a must too. Cheap caps can dissipate quite a bit of heat and fail as a result. Multiple smaller caps in parallel tend to have a better ESR than one big one.
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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by ron van sommeren » Dec 21 2008 8:22am

GGoodrum wrote:... I don't know a John at CC, but I do know Bernie, and he's not a EE either. The real person to ask is Patrick ...
His comments in this thread:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=952523

All RC controllers with block or trapezoid commutation need extra caps
, not only Castle. Also Schulze, Yge, Jeti, Shock, Markus, Scorpion and the Chinese OEM manufacturers. That leaves us one controller that doesn't need extra caps, http://www.sinusleistungssteller.de . You guessed it of course, that controller uses sinussoidal commutation, therefore less/no harmonic frequencies. They tested the SLS-60-100 for one hour with a 70m (seventy meter) battery cable at 1500Watt load. One of the developers, Rolf Zimmermann, is user RogerZ at RCGroups. Some people in Japan are working on a RC sinussoidal controller too.

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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by ron van sommeren » Dec 21 2008 8:31am

Off_topic
Which subforum is suited best for posting information about building standard brushless outrunner motors and about diy 'flat' high-torque motors (direct drive helicopter motors)

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Re: Castle HV Controllers - Use Extra Caps!

Post by Miles » Dec 21 2008 8:39am

Welcome, Ron.

This one, I'd say.

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