Lucien will be speaking at the InterDrone Conference in Las Vegas on September 9th and 10th.

It is September 8th, 2015 as I write this, and this day is important for 2 reasons.  First, It is my grandson Elijah’s 3rd birthday!  Time really flies, it seems like yesterday I saw him for the first time at the hospital and he is now 3 already!

Second reason, later today I will be heading up to Las Vegas to participate at the 2015 InterDrone Convention, which is hosted at the Rio Hotel September 9-11, 2015.  I look forward to meeting a bunch of new people, and also catching up with old friends from across the country.

This year I am one of the speakers at the event, and will be presenting 2 different workshops at the conference.  The first one, which is Wednesday September 9th, from 11:15 am to 12:15 pm, is titled Intro to Electric Power Systems.  In this workshop I will cover all the basics of electric power systems, as they are used in multirotors, and explain how each part of the system works.  I will also cover the special tools that are recommended to have to make testing and servicing a power system as easy as possible.

The second workshop, which will be held on Thursday September 10th, from 1:15 pm to 2:15 pm, is titled Advanced Power System Selection for Multirotors.  In this workshop, I cover a brief look at each of the components in a power system, and then show the step-by-step procedure for selecting a power system to maximize power, efficiency and run time.

I have made PDF versions of the PowerPoint slides used in each of these presentations for those that would like to have a copy after the event, or for those that cannot make it to InterDrone, and would like to get this information.

The Intro to Electric Power Systems slides can be downloaded at the following link.

The Advanced Power System Selection for Multirotor slides can be downloaded at this link.

Once I get back from the show, I will post an update with a few photos from the event.

Can you run the Cobra 2204 Multirotor motors on 4s?

Running the CM-2204-2300 motors on 4 cells can be done, but everything must be matched up perfectly, and you have to have an ESC that is capable of running at the higher speeds that this requires. Most of the ESC’s on the market cannot switch fast enough to keep up with a 14-pole motor that has a Kv value of 2300 running on 4 Li-Po cells.

A lot of the ESC’s on the market can switch up to about 220,000 to 230,000 cycles per minute. Some of the cheaper ones can only get up to about 180,000 to 200,000 cycles per minute. In a 3-phase motor, every time the ESC goes through one complete switching cycle, the motor rotates through 2 magnets. Because the Cobra CM-2204 motors use a 12-slot stator with 14 magnets, it takes 7 complete switching cycles of the ESC to make the motor go around 1 revolution. If you are running 4 cells, which put out about 15 volts under load, on a 2300 Kv motor, in a no-load situation the motor will try to spin at 15 x 2300 or 34,500 RPM. If we take this number and multiply it by 7 switching cycles per RPM, you get 241,500 switching cycles per minute.

This is why when we test the motors here in the lab, we cannot do a no-load test on 4 cells. The motor is trying to spin faster than the ESC can switch, and this leads to dropped pulses and mis-firing of the ESC. When the motor has a prop installed, it typically spins at 70% to 85% of the no-load speed, depending on the size of the prop that is used. If you have a normal size prop, the motor will try to spin at about 75% of the no-load speed, which in this case would be 25,875 RPM or about 181,000 cycles per minute at the ESC. In the air, when the motors unload, this can creep up to over 200,000 Cycles per minute, and this has you teetering right on the edge of operation for many ESC’s.

The other issue is with the size of the motor. Brushless ESC’s get their timing feedback from the motor itself. During each power pulse, Power is applied to two of the three ESC output leads, and the third lead becomes an input, waiting for a timing signal from the ESC. As the motor rotates, magnets pass over the stator poles attached to the third unused lead of the motor at that specific point in time. When this happens, a pulse gets generated and fed into the ESC. When the ESC detects this pulse, it knows that the motor has rotated far enough to switch power to the next phase pair in the power cycle.

On a small motor, like the 2204 size, there is not a lot of energy generated in the feedback pulse, so it can get overshadowed by noise or other glitches in the power cycle. When the motor is operating right up close to its maximum RPM limit, the ESC can occasionally mis-fire due to a missed feedback pulse, or noise from the motor. As motors get larger, the feedback pulses get stronger and more reliable when compared to smaller motors.

Pilots want to go fast in their 250 size FPV racing quads, so 4 cells is a great way to get extra motor speed. However, if you try to push the system too hard, you can get hiccups in your motors that can cause the quad to flip over and crash. We have addressed this issue by coming out with a new motor for the 250mm quads, the Cobra CM-2206-20, 2100Kv model. This motor is designed to run on 4 cells, with props up to the 6×4.5 size. We have had a few sets of these motors out in the field being tested by our team pilots, and they have won virtually every race they have entered with them. We should be getting our first shipment of these motors at the end of the month, and they would be an excellent choice for any 250mm racing quad.

Lucien Miller At AUVSI 2015

I attended the Unmanned Systems 2015 conference and tradeshow hosted by the AUVSI May 4-7th at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. My presentation, Advanced Power System Selection & Maximizing Efficiency in Multirotors, was well received by the thousands of attendees at the conference. Click on the link in the previous sentence to view the .pdf copy of my presentation.

                                    Speaking at the 2015 Unmanned  Systems conference in Atlanta, Georgia.                  Speaking at the 2015 Unmanned  Systems conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
                                                         Speaking at the 2015 Unmanned Systems conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Decoding Part Numbers On Cobra Motors

Here is how you decode the part number on a Cobra motor.

The last motor you listed below has the following part number: CB1501133193

The part number is broken up to the following groups: CB 15 01 13 3193

CB = Cobra Motor

15 = Made in the year 2015

01 = Made in January

13 = Made on the 13th day of the month

3193 = Serial number 3193 from this production run

The number is laser engraved on each motor after it is manufactured at the factory. If you are looking on a website, you cannot go by the serial number shown in the photo, because that could be any motor, and the serial number may have been PhotoShopped onto the photo.

On the box itself is also a date as shown in the photo below. In the lower left corner you see the date 01.04.2015, this date code would be read the 1st day of April, 2015, which is the date the motor was packaged. Normally this is the same date the motor was made, but it may be a day or two later on a very large production run.



How To Clean Your Cobra Motor

There are a couple ways you can clean out a motor. You can take it apart or leave it together, it is up to you. The bearings in the motor are full of grease, so even if you get the motor wet, little, if any, water will get inside the bearings. You can run the motor under warm to hot water in your kitchen sink and use the spray hose to spray water inside the motor to loosen everything up and knock out any remaining dirt. When you are done, shake as much water as you can from the inside of the motor, and then take a hair dryer and warm up the motor up to evaporate any remaining water that may be inside. If you have a bearing lubrication kit or other motor bearing oil that you like to use, you can add a couple drops of oil to each of the motor bearings to make sure that they are well lubricated.

If you do want to take the motor apart, you need to pop off the little C-Clip on the back side of the motor and then pull the motor apart. Take great care when removing the C-Clip, as they have a tendency to fly off to parts unknown, never to be seen again! You can put the motor inside a large gallon size zip-lock bag and work inside that when removing the C-Clip. That way the bag will capture it when it pops off and keep it from getting lost. Once the motor is apart, you can thoroughly clean the stator with warm water and a soft tooth brush to remove any embedded dirt and then dry off the motor as described above. If you do take the motor apart, you can pot a couple drops of oil on a paper towel and rub it into the stator to prevent any rusting from occurring later on. Our Scorpion Motor Lubrication Kit is a great product for this type of situation. This product not only contains a bearing oil, it also includes a moisture displacer and a corrosion inhibitor to ensure that the motor and bearings stay in top shape.

If you have any other questions, please email me.