Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bringing an Airhogs Aero-ace back to life Part 2

I received the new batteries today. They are labeled as 250mAh, but listed on amazon as 200mAh. The capacity wasn't really the major concern, it was the weight. These actually don't feel that much heavier than the original battery so I gave them a shot.

I decided to replace the lead wires coming from the board since the originals had been moved, soldered, and de-soldered so much.

Before I did this however, I did want to test that the battery voltage safety circuit that came with the new batteries would work with the aero-ace. Most of the circuits on these should be identical. They have a dedicated voltage monitor that will cut off the battery if the voltage drops below a certain threshold. It is  great feature for little aircraft like this where there is practically no risk of damage if the power cuts out mid flight.

Voltage output seemed good, the battery was at least stored correctly.

It was time to solder the new battery into the board and check it out!

Power switches turned on, throttle all the way up! ....nothing. Really? Damn.
Nothing was responding, the transmitter was inches from the airplane, antenna was connected, voltage on the board was correct and nothing looks immediately out of place or wrong.

I checked everything that I had touched, or come close to with my soldering iron 3 times. There is a fairly large diode on the board that is, as far as I could tell, reverse voltage protection, so even if my battery was backwards it shouldn't have damaged anything.

As a last ditch effort, I was actually able to dig through my old electronics drawers and find one of the "old" aero-ace receiver boards. (I think of myself as a high functioning hoarder, although I haven't come across many electronics engineers that aren't, so at least we have a community) It is identical to the "new" board, the channel selection pads are even configured the same (Channel C in this case).

Soldered in, everything double checked, all switches on, throttle up!  .....Double damn.

So it was a long shot, this board had been sitting in that drawer for 7+ years, and I have no idea what I did to it before it actually ended up in there. I was pretty discouraged at this point. The thought had crossed my mind several times at this point that the problem may actually be in the transmitter. I even went to try to view the output on my scope. Unfortunately, the display on my old analog scope isn't working.

Ill let it sit on my bench for a few days, and stew over it.


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