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Simple piston tank controller?

R/C Submarine modelers

Simple piston tank controller?

Postby Bob the Builder » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:16 am

Is there such a thing?

I have a friend with an Engel Akula, and the electronics are constantly glitchy. Hes no electronics expert, and is fairly new to subs. The simpler i can make it for jim, the more fun he'll actually have. Is there a simple controller that would allow forward and back control of the two tanks?

I was thinking about using a pair of ESC's or a Sabretooth ESC mixer. I'm just wondering if there is a commercially available product that perhaps accounts for the end switches too. Otherwise I think I need to get into a relay situation, and then we're almost back to the TAE board again anyway.

Any help would be appreciated!


Bob
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Re: Simple piston tank controller?

Postby Ramius-II » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:40 am

HI Bob,
Just a few thoughts for you. You may wish to send Greg at Engel a note and ask his advice. Maybe he will send you a new board on an exchange? Second, not knowing how how the wiring has been done one can only guess that maybe there are not enough or any .01 capacitors to filter the power and servo control lines. Glitching normally occurs when a motor in the system does not have a "triangle" of .01 capacitors. You probably already know that every motor should have a .01 from the + on the motor to it's case, from the - on the motor to the case, and from + to -. There have been situations where the capacitors have been installed and there was no ground wire from the motor case installed to the battery - , only the capacitors! Hope this helps.

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Re: Simple piston tank controller?

Postby JWLaRue » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:01 pm

Engel makes some excellent products, but I do not consider their electronics to be one of them. :) Way too finicky to get and keep working.

When I built my custom dive module, using an Engle piston, I used a piece of electronics that treats the piston like a servo. It uses a Hall effect sensor with magnets glued to the main drive gear to count revolutions and 'learns' where the two endpoints and mid point is. Once it learns, you just "dial a depth" using your transmitter control of choice. (I use a slider)

Unfortunately the gentleman who made my electronics module is no longer making them.

Since then I have made enqueries to see if I could get one of or SubCommittee members skilled at producing sub-related electronics to design and build us an equivalent. So far not a lot of progress......

Hopefully someone will step forward to take on this project?

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Re: Simple piston tank controller?

Postby Bob the Builder » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:00 pm

Gents,


Thanks for your input!

I can get it to work, but how long it stays working is the issue. My friend wants a simple, easy to use and easy to maintain system. I actually contemplated gutting the whole thing and just dropping in a simple gas system, but for the amount of work involved I figured I'd try simplifying the piston tanks first (which I actually like a lot).

I've played with "used" Engel systems and with my "new" Engel system, and in both cases it took an inordinate amount of tinkering to get it working. I'm worried that he'll get this home, take it out a few times and then bring it back to me for adjustment and tuning on a regular basis. A service center I am not...

That idea of the counter on the drive shaft is great! I wish there was something out there in that line of thought...
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Re: Simple piston tank controller?

Postby Sub culture » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:46 pm

Is Markus Rieger not building his encoder based piston tank boards any more? You got one of these a couple of years back, Bob, remember?

The Engel electronics use PIC microcontrollers with relay based H-bridges. Provided the relays are sufficiently rated, and I should think they are as Engel have been at this game a long time, this is a very rugged no-nonsense solution. Fault finding on relays is a lot easier than solid state components IMO. But they do take up rather more space.

If you look on the Engel website, you will see that they now offer two new boards for piston tank control. One is fully solid state- no relays,but isn't proportional (this board is supplied with the new 212 kit). The other uses a magnetic encoder to count spindle revolutions, and is proportional, but is relay based.

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Re: Simple piston tank controller?

Postby Skip Asay » Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:35 pm

Here's something I came up with which may be just what you're looking for.

viewtopic.php?f=21&t=7221&p=40829&hilit=poor+man%27s#p40829

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Re: Simple piston tank controller?

Postby Bob the Builder » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:49 pm

Skip,


This is really intriguing, but I'm not sure I completely understand how everything works together. Is there any way that you (or someone with more electrical knowledge than me) can doodle a wiring schematic so that I can see how all the components work together?

This could be exactly what I'm after...
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Re: Simple piston tank controller?

Postby fgroza » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:03 pm

Engel has a heavy duty choke to solder onto the back of the motor for noise problems. It consists of coils of wire and caps.
I'm fighting glitching/jitters on a project I'm working now. I am going to try rf chokes that you wrap the servo wires through to see if it helps.
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Re: Simple piston tank controller?

Postby Bigdave » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:56 pm

I might as well join in the fun. :roll:
I am having problems with glitching on my new 212. :cry:
It is one of the new tank mounted units.
They did say if I sent it back they would check it out. Which is about all they can do.
But it is not that the board is not working. It does work, sometimes. :roll:
First off you have to run a separate R/C battery. NO BEC!! :wink:
My system is totally glitch free until I plug in the ballast control board.
Then the servos start moving a small amount and making noises.
When you hit the switch for dive or surface the pump will start and stop, start stop, start stop!!
Sometimes it will calm down and work.
I am going to get and try an opto-coupler in between the board and R/X.
The pump motor does not have to be running for the noise the board is sending out.
I am going to run it by Don and his wife Patty which are both electrical engineers.
I am just a closet engineer. :lol: BD.
Last edited by Bigdave on Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Simple piston tank controller?

Postby Albion » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:36 pm

I've used a Engel BTS, no glitching
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Re: Simple piston tank controller?

Postby Sub culture » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:02 am

To be quite frank, with relays the power switching is about as isolated as you can get from the RX, so if you're experiencing problems I would be looking at the output you're getting from the receiver.

Without resorting to oscilloscopes to monitor the pulse being fed from the receiver, a simple test for this is to use a y-lead and connect a servo to that lead. If the pulse from the receiver is glitching, then the servo should operate erratically, if not then you may have a problem with the board itself.

In the case of the transistorized board, I'm not sure what the spec is there.
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Re: Simple piston tank controller?

Postby Wheelerdealer » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:51 pm

Have you tried a different RX to see if it still glitches? You can use a BEC with Engel gear if you like, couple of my subs have them- no problems at all. The switching BEC's are most efficient.
Engel sell a proportional piston tank controller now with magnests http://www.engel-modellbau.eu/catalog/p ... 4ca3o9hhhc
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Re: Simple piston tank controller?

Postby Bigdave » Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:22 pm

I have tried three different R/X.
They all do the same thing when the ballast board is plugged in.
I might just be a noisy board. BD.
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Re: Simple piston tank controller?

Postby Sub culture » Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:51 pm

Have you tried hooking the board up to another motor- see if that glitches?
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Re: Simple piston tank controller?

Postby Bigdave » Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:57 pm

No I did not do that. But the servos are noisy even when the motor is not running.
That is what is weird. They start to buzz and klick as soon as the board is plugged in.
They don't move a lot just a twitch, but it is not there when you remove the ballast board plug. :roll: BD.

BTW- Ramesh, I had seen the new prop ballast board and just ordered one to try.
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