Piaggio-EV down and out... venting with flames.....

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My Piaggio hit the dust a few weeks ago. I went to school with no problems and was on my way back when I heard a loud pop, lost power, and an acrid smoke started pouring out of the ESC/electronics components.

I finally got around to taking the electronics out this weekend. It looked like the Phoenix HV-110A hit the dust.

I was using 2S Pb (SLA) and my max watts were under 100A the entire time (according to my wattmeter). The HV-110 burst into flames when the moped was being driven under relatively light load. This is despite it being force cooled and the ambient temp here relatively cool. Also, the system was under a 90A circuit breaker which didn't trip.

I've contacted Castle Creations and hopefully they'll let me know what happened in more detail and perhaps help me towards a (beefier?) replacement.

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How long and what gauge were your battery leads when the meltdown happened? What voltage exactly, what RPM? Had you added extra capacitors to the HV 110? Also at what voltage is the 90A breaker rated?

Recumpence, an ES user who has pioneered RC motors on regular bikes, has blown several controllers in a similar matter as you have. He found that paralleling extra capacitors on the input solved the problem. It's thought on the forums that this is probably due to heating issues on the internal part of the capacitor and that the capacitor blows and it's game over. Did measure the input capacitors to see if they might have been at fault? It's currently thought that paralleling extra input capacitors decreases the total capacitors' ESR in the same way as you can imagine paralleling extra resistors - as such, the total amount of system's heat would decrease and the heat also would be shared among more components. It might also have something to do with voltage fluctuations and the increased capacitance decreases that, but I think liveforphysics found the current capacitance is more than good enough on that front.

By the way, I have a HV-85 that I'm using to drive a motor that's above half as powerful as yours and I did have 2000 extra uF on it, but one of the capacitor's leads broke off so it's effectively 1500 extra uF at the moment. I may be redoing that circuit in a more... "sturdy" manner.

Yes, that's what the folks at Castle Creations told me. They also very very graciously gave me a replacement unit for free, with a stern admonition to put extra caps inline as well as get the highest 'C' rating battery that I can.

Due to lack of funds, I'm stuck with lead-acid batteries through the end of the year, but I'm paralleling as many caps as I can.

I also agree with Recumpence's diagnosis. My batteries were running low when the ESC blew. I think what is happening is that when the batteries go low, their ability to deliver full amps goes down, that causes the caps to have to "pump" more to deliver to the ESC, that overheats them, they blow and then the rest of the system.

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This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on April 12, 2009 5:20 PM.

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