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Thread: Improving DJI 30amp Opto ESCs

  1. #1
    Navigator RTRyder's Avatar
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    Improving DJI 30amp Opto ESCs

    My testbed frame is a basic DJI F450 frame with the DJI motors and 30amp opto ESCs. Its worked fine with a number of different flight controller boards on it, currently has a Multiwii Mega, but the high pitched whine from the motors was really annoying. To fix that problem I swapped the DJI ESCs for a set of old Atmel based Turnigy Plush reflashed with SimonK firmware, big improvement all around.

    Yesterday I was at the local electronics supermarket and picked up an Arduino Uno so I could also reflash Silabs based ESCs. Last evening I opened up the DJI Opto to see exactly what was in there and found the FET setup to be an exact match to the current Turnigy Plush 25amp so went for it and reflashed the DJI with BLHeli 9.4 firmware. This morning during my coffee break I went out and flew an entire pack in gusty wind using the newly reflashed DJI 30amp Optos with the rest of the setup exactly the same as I was flying it on the reflashed Turnigys. The annoying whine is gone and it flys great now, as good or better than it did with the Turnigys. I know one flight doesn't prove much of anything but it flys smooth and seems less bothered by gusty wind now with the big plus being there are a lot of configurable options available with the BLHeli firmware. When I did the reflash I soldered the end of a servo cable in place and ran it out under the new shrink wrap so all I need do is connect it to the Uno and run the BLHeli tool to update firmware and change the config, much easier to make changes than with the old Atmel based ESCs!

    You can pickup an Arduino Uno board for cheap $ and the software is open source and very easy to use, I would recommend anyone not entirely satisfied with the stock DJI 30 amp ESCs to give it a try. Next I'm going to open up the set of DJI 18amp ESCs I have and see if there's a version of BLHeli firmware that will work on those as well.

    Everything you need to know can be found here... http://www.olliw.eu/2012/owsilprog-tutorials/ make sure to click on the English button at the top right corner unless you're fluent in German.
    Last edited by RTRyder; 22nd February 2013 at 03:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Navigator tomg's Avatar
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    Up until now I thought the DJI ESCs couldn't be reflashed.
    Nice find RTRyder!

  3. #3
    Navigator RTRyder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomg View Post
    Up until now I thought the DJI ESCs couldn't be reflashed.
    Nice find RTRyder!
    Typical DJI they ground the chip identification off the top of the processor, no way to really hide the fact that its a Silabs and the ESC itself is a Hobbywing/Turnigy without the BEC circuit.

    I've had a few flights with the 30A set now and they work amazingly well with a Multiwii Mega flight controller, I have the board set with default settings in the M/W firmware and it flys really smooth, I don't think tweaking the PID settings for manual and stable modes could make much of an improvement. Does need a bit of tweaking on GPS position hold but not really what I use it for so sometime when I have nothing better to do I'll fix that. Altitude hold definitely works better than it did, the ESCs respond quicker with the new firmware so it doesn't do the yoyo thing in A/H.

    I unwrapped the 18A DJI and sure enough they're Hobbywing/Turnigy 18A under the cover so I reflashed them with BLHeli 9.4 Turnigy 18A code and they work just as well as the 30A set do now. This set I have hooked up to my F330 based TBS Discovery style FPV quad using a Naza controller with the basic and ATTI gains TX adjustable. With the reflashed DJI 18A ESCs I can run the gains across the entire range I have them set for and it still flys well even in gusty wind where previously with the stock firmware I had to play around with the settings to get it set so it flew well in the conditions at that moment. If I crank both sets of gains to the max I can see a slight amount of oscillation hovering in the wind but before if I cranked both of them that high it was vibrating hard enough to almost fall out of the sky so definite improvement there.

    I don't think I'd go out of my way to buy the DJI ESCs when you can likely buy the Hobbywing/Turnigy variants for less $ but its nice to know they can be used if you need a set quickly and that's all the LHS has available. In my case I had them sitting around from kits I bought last year having already replaced them with SimonK reflashed ESCs so I really had nothing to lose if it hadn't worked, now that it did I'm up two full sets of ESCs, time to rummage through the parts bins and build a couple more quads...
    Last edited by RTRyder; 22nd February 2013 at 03:15 PM.

  4. #4
    I have flashed my DJI ESC's, by the way this is my first time to flash any ESC's and all went well but I have a few questions that I wonder if you could help me with. I flashed with version 10.0 will this work or should I have used 9.4? Should i use the Turnigy Plush hex file or something different? Also could you help with the config settings? Should I use the default settings or modify them? I am using the 18 amp speed controls with the DJI motors with 3 cells on a DJI 330 with 8.5 DJI props to start with. I have some 30 amp and will flash them later for a TBS Discovery. Thanks again for your contribution.

    Mark

  5. #5
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    ah! this is the information i needed! i am getting ready to build the f450 kit and was thinking about not buying the kit and instead getting the separate components so i could get ESC that can be flashed. But now, after reading your post, i will just buy the kit.
    Can you please confirm the file (specific FW for the opto 30a ESC) that you used? wanna make sure i get the right file and dont toast the ESC

  6. #6
    Navigator RTRyder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pilot98 View Post
    I have flashed my DJI ESC's, by the way this is my first time to flash any ESC's and all went well but I have a few questions that I wonder if you could help me with. I flashed with version 10.0 will this work or should I have used 9.4? Should i use the Turnigy Plush hex file or something different? Also could you help with the config settings? Should I use the default settings or modify them? I am using the 18 amp speed controls with the DJI motors with 3 cells on a DJI 330 with 8.5 DJI props to start with. I have some 30 amp and will flash them later for a TBS Discovery. Thanks again for your contribution.

    Mark
    V10 should work as well or better than 9.4, I used 9.4 because 10 wasn't released when I flashed mine. Use the Turnigy Plush files on both version of the DJI ESCs, they will work fine with default settings as long as you choose Multi in the Mode box of the BLHeli tool. The best performance I've found so far is to flash the ESC then in the Setup Basic tab, change the Motor PWM Frequency to damped light and leave all other settings at default. Using these settings I've been able to fly an F450 frame with a Multiwii Mega board on default settings and it's smoother than the same frame flew with a Naza on it.

    As time and weather permit I'll be experimenting more with the settings to see if any other changes improve performance or flight time. So far this one change has made a very noticeable difference vs. the factory firmware.

  7. #7
    Thanks I appreciate the help. A friend of mine and I flashed his last night on his TBS, all went well. I will check the config tonight.

    Thanks Mark

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    Hello! Anybody have any pictures of the boards? Do they say "HW" on them anywhere? (Hobbywing OEM)

  9. #9
    Navigator tomg's Avatar
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    There is no "HW" markings on mine. Just "15 12.", no other markings.



    Hope this helps
    Tom

  10. #10
    So is this better than Simon-K?
    I can get an Arduino Uno easily, but I don't want to brink stuff. I've only ever flashed my Open Pilot Copter Control board.
    I'm going to build a big Hex and I was thinking of getting the Next Level ESCs with Flashed Simon-K.
    Would I be better to use the 30Amp DJI optos and flash them. This will be for a Pro Rig, so I don't want to be a Tester and then crash my rig unnecessarily.

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