I have my trusty Traxxas XL10 ESC for a long time, eight years or so, if memory serves. Today it saw the last laps it ever would, but it went out with a bang and not a whimper; or more accurately, it went out in a ball of smoke and flame...
I have been dabbling in the dark seedy world of buggies for a few weeks now, bought a used roller for $60 on Craig's, sadly, not a Bandit, but I did search hard for a Bandit BE FOUR bought this one. Anyways, I'm planning on putting a ROAR legal speedo and 17.5 motor in it to compete in the local sportsman level, but I have a deployment looming right around the corner, so I grabbed my always faithful XL10 off of the shelf, along with a 12T Orion SV2 and installed both. Once I got the gearing right the XL10 and Orion motor served the buggy well. Last weekend everything was running great until the buggy started to loose power, taking the motor apart I found both brushes worn down to the wires; I also found the bearings on both sides of the can to be shot, off to the LHS.
Guess what... we are in the 'Brushless Age' which means finding brushes is very difficult. The LHS could order them, but wouldn't expect them in for three weeks! Plus, they were $10 a set! The bearings, they are a special size, and could not be found at all. For $20, I could get a NIB 11T Orion SV2, SOLD!!!
After having the motor home for two hours I had 6mm bullet plugs soldered on, the motor broken in (dry), cleaned, bearings lubed, and comm drops administered, the buggy was once again ready for the track.
Today I met up with some friends at the local indoor track. I dropped my freshly charged 2S 5000mha LiPo in, turned on my DX3R and hit the track.
Now, I know what you are thinking... "the XL10 doesn't have a LiPo cuttoff, gads!!! Is this man crazy?!?" Nope, these batteries power my 2x4 Slash for 30 - 35 minutes, and my 4x4 Slash for 20-25 minutes, I kept a timer running when I had the buggy on and would only run it for 20 minutes, I figured that was a very safe bet considering it weighs half of what my 2x4 Slash does.
On the track...
As expected, the XL10 was dutifully feeding the new motor power from the LiPo. Every 5 minutes or so (or, every time I rolled the thing on its lid) I would take temp readings on the motor and ESC, the motor never broke above 150 (I needed to gear now a little with one less turn), and the ESC never broke 110. Somewhere around minute 17 the truck suddenly seemed sluggish, like it was running on a drained NiMH pack, then it perked back up. I steered the truck from the chicane to the straightaway and order up full throttle from my DX3R, the buggy shot straight and true to the next turn, just before the turn I let off the throttle, then applied it again, that is when I noticed what looked like a puff of... smoke...? Naaaaaaa..... I let off the throttle again to get through the next corn, when I ordered up speed again smoke started poring from under the buggy body.
In no time at all I was down from the driver's stand and at my buggy, pullng the lid off, thankful it had velcro and not body clips holding it on. Clearing the smoke with my hand I found the connector-end of the XL10 arcing blue electric flame, I grabbed for both sides of the Deans connector and pulled, about the time the connector parted the negative lead on the ESC's board unsoldered itself.
I immediately checked the LiPo for any sign of damage, no puffing and was a cool 90 degs. The ESC and the motor on the other hand were nice and toasty, the ESC read 220 deg though the case, and the motor read 270!
After letting it cool down, I tore the XL10 apart, the two semicondictors closest to the negative terminal were chared and cracked, and heat damage was evident around them. The motor, don't know if it will still run, seems a little... stiff. Sadly, no pictures, I gave the burned out ESC board to the owner of the track.
I'm not sure what it was that made the old guy call it quits. I am guessing it was just its time to go, eight ESC years is like 500 human years. I'm guessing it was a combination of age, 40C LiPo power and that extra turn in the motor, together they pushed the XL10 to a point that it couldn't handle.
The Sunny Side:
The Wife: "Oh honey, that's terrible, sorry your truck burned up!"
Me: "Yeah, its a bummer" *sigh*
The Wife: "What are you going to do now?"
Me: "Dunno, more than likely just put it on the self." *sigh* (again)
The Wife: "Well, you just got it, seems like a shame to selve it, can't you fix it?"
Me: "Oh, sure, I can, but I'll have to buy a new speed control and motor..." (cue the sad puppy-dog eyes)
The Wife: "Well, you were talking about getting that stuff anyways, you might as well get them now."
Me: "Yeah, I guess you're right..." (trying REALLY hard to hide the grin)