Recently we’ve been involved with a few electric vehicle projects where we have needed to work out the gearing and wheel diameter required to achieve a target speed from an electric motor where we know its maximum rpm. This gearing calculator helps work it out.
Earlier this year Steve at Team Chicken asked us if we could do something to give them an edge in the Greenpower kitcar series. It took a lot of nagging on his part but we finally got our butt in gear and created the Porter 10XXX. Did it work I hear you ask? You bet, here they are en-route to winning the kitcar final at the weekend!
These guys are masters of marginal improvements, they’ve gone right back to basics and followed the Lotus maxim of “add lightness and simplicate”.
We’re chuffed to have been able to help.
Team Chicken now style themselves the Kitcar Final Champions [KFC], I suppose that’s just about better than the Vindaloo Victors, or the Madras Medalists, or the….
For a while now we’ve been pondering how best to help customers diagnose problems with their controller installations. Our troubleshooting page and checklists have proved popular and effective but we still felt that something was missing. It’s a fact that well over half of all controllers that are sent back to us have nothing wrong with them. So to help track down wiring issues we’ve created this multi-purpose controller test board. It works by temporarily taking the place of the normal control wiring, and helps to identify and isolate problems.
It works with the 4QD, Porter, DNO, and Pro ranges.
It will be appearing in the accessories pages soon. We’ll be making one available free of charge to all model loco clubs [club reps please request yours by email].
4QD were delighted to attend this years Train Mountain Triennial in Oregon. For those who haven’t heard of it, the scale of this model loco event is simply staggering, 37 miles of 7″ track with around 400 models from 8 countries. All hosted by the most amazingly friendly volunteers. Here is just a small selection of the many, many pictures we took…
We like this overhead shot of 3 teams from the recent Greenpower Goodwood event. We’re particularly proud of the Team Chicken car from Bromsgrove School at the bottom of the frame, these guys kindly ran one of our prototype Porter 10XXX units, I’ll let them take up the story of how it went……
“Firstly, we were able to complete approximately another lap further than the xx. And this then leads me onto the best factor we had from the xxx. The tail off seemed to be much, much, much slower. Before we would go strong, slow a little and then very slow for the last lap or so. The xxx allowed us to keep pushing at a far faster pace with only losing a few seconds per lap (over a 2.4 mile Goodwood lap) during the last few laps. This then allowed us to gear up and get the Kitcar to an average 26.5MPH over a race. Your controller did not heat up at all. The only cooling we had on it was a computer heatsink with thermal paste. We came first Kitcar by several laps, and 8th/11th overall out of 100 teams (43 Kitcars). It was so impressive that we are looking at gearing right up next season if tests continue to be successful.”
As keen sailors we love getting involved with nautical projects. The owner of this magnificent ketch wanted to get smoother control over the operation of the mainsail outhaul which is powered by a hydraulic ram with the pump being driven by an electric motor. Our marinised Porter 10XX fitted the bill nicely.
We’re getting a lot of interest in our Pro-160 that is in development so we thought we’d share some good news…..
Admittedly these are rev 1 boards, and the software still has a way to go but it makes a motor run forwards and backwards, and we’re seeing sensible current readings on the display.
A lot of effort has gone into getting the internal power supply able to operate between 12V and 100V which gives us the foundation for a very flexible range of controllers. We’ve also got a water cooled heatsink designed which will allow this baby to handle some big numbers.
The rev 2 gerbers are going to the factory next week so we’re expecting what should be sample ready hardware in May.
Nico has done a great job on the schematics and layout, now it’s over to Erica for some software magic.
Here’s a preview of our update to our BCM-524 battery meter. The old analogue model has been extremely popular and features in many designs. However battery technology marches on and we wanted something that would give more accurate results with lithium batteries and other types with flat discharge curves. We’ve used an ATtiny micro to produce a programmable replacement that can work with the small voltage changes these batteries give. Other features include temperature compensation, and a switchable output that can be used for a low voltage cut-off. Oh, and it still has the same hole spacings so it’s a direct physical replacement in most applications.
The first model will be suitable for 12V – 24V, we’ll produce some standard voltage curves for the common battery technologies, but if you want something custom please let us know.
Drum roll………. 4QD are pleased to introduce to the world our new baby – the SST-31.
It’s a small but perfectly formed, very clever, single direction controller for 12-35V and up to 30A.
It’s built around a Picaxe microcontroller, so as well as providing basic motor speed control, it can accept multiple control inputs and also has spare outputs for controlling ancillary equipment.
It’s ideal for the smaller motor control project, particularly those that need some element of customisation. We’ve made the software open source, and the Picaxe development system makes writing your own programs easy.
One of the best things about running 4QD is seeing all the projects that our customers are involved in. This picture is from the Warsash Superyacht Academy and shows their fleet of training vessels. Featuring our Pro-120s and DNO-10s
Here’s a sneak preview of our soon to be launched Softstart. This is a small motor controller stripped down to the basics that gives a progressive start-up ramp to eliminate the large torque spikes that occur if a motor is switched on instantly via a relay or switch. We’ve designed this using a small microprocessor which means that the ramp time is configurable, and also given it a couple of other inputs so that it can be used for a variety of other simple switching tasks. We’ll be making the code available to allow [encourage?] experimentation.
Here’s a prototype electric trials bike that a customer brought in today. Really powerful and very light, it’s using a Lynch motor and one of our 4QD-300s which we are modifying to give the required throttle response.
Here’s one of our Pro-150s driving the turret ring gear on a pretty serious looking Humvee. It’s a challenging application as it has to change direction rapidly, and the EMI and physical environments are hostile.
I’ve just got to share this clip of Scarletts Ferrari, it’s using one of our DNO-10s and looks absolutely stunning. I guess that’s what happens when your Dad restores cars for a living – not that I’m jealous – oh no!
Follow the links to see some of the other fantastic cars he’s made.
Steve W sent us this picture of his Robot Wars contestant Gyrobot. It’s using one of our Porter 10XXs to control what must surely be one of the most powerful rotating energy weapons we’ve seen so far. We’ve made some mods for him to allow the current limit to be adjusted, and he’s also trying out a prototype heatsink arrangement to cope with the rather unusual power profile.
Here’s a picture of our embryonic test set up for the soon to be launched water cooled 4QD-300. On the left is our current air cooled load cell, ammeter, and data logger. Front right is the 4QD-300 fitted with the water cooled heatsink. Right rear is the control and pump for the water. We’ve left space for a second pump which will be needed when our water cooled load cell is ready. Can’t wait to run this lot and see what results we get.
Here’s a sneak peak at our uprated 4QD-300X. We’ve had a custom heatsink made which really improves it’s ability to handle high currents for extended times. During testing it melted our test rig and was still only warm to the touch! Full details will be announced once we’ve built a new test rig.
The heatsink itself will also be available as an aftermarket upgrade.
We’ve also got a water cooled version coming soon that will take things even further, and be particularly suitable for electric boats.
Patsy brought a couple of PDQ Powertrikes to us with broken control boxes. We fitted one with a Porter 5, and one with a DNO-05 to see if we could get reverse, however we discovered that the motor has a one way clutch that prevents reverse from driving. The standard twist grips were swapped for our Magura throttles, and we fitted one of our key switches to the DNO for security.
Two weeks later Patsy sent us this picture of the neat bag she made to tidy it all up
And the verdict:….
"The power box is working briliantly, so speedy that I tend to do wheelies
unless I am careful. The battery is lasting longer too........
Thanks again for doing a great job on the trike."
A big thank you to the Electric Boat Association for inviting us along on their trip around St Ives / Earith.
In the foreground is Cedric Lynch’s remarkable electric canoe. It has no batteries [apart from a very small one to “get under bridges”], uses a small Lynch motor, a model aircraft propellor, and one of our old 1QD controllers. Goes jolly fast it does too!
We hope you like the new look. We’ve tried to make it easier to find the controller and accessories that you need, whilst still keeping all the interesting information and technical support articles in a new knowledge base that makes it easier to find what you’re looking for.
In our new knowledge base we’ve sorted all of our old articles into some clear categories. All of the information about our old controllers is there, and a lot of background information about motor speed controllers. Our sister site 4qdtec.com still has all the reference and circuit information.
We’ve also added some application areas that show just a few of the areas that 4QD controllers are being used in.
We’d like to say a big thank you to Adam from Cambridge web solutions for his excellent work in creating the new site.