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I'm clearly stupid but ... how do ESC programming cards work?

Old 06-14-2016, 01:28 AM
  #1  
mclarkson
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Default I'm clearly stupid but ... how do ESC programming cards work?

I've tried to use ESC programming cards from time to time but I inevitably grow frustrated and give up, programming my ESC with the PITA transmitter/throttle/beeping method.

Today, I thought I'd try again.

I have a HobbyKing Turnigy Plush ESC.

I have a HobbyKing programming card.

I did my best to look up instructions for how to do this. They usually start by saying THIS IS EASY, before proceeding to confuse me.

After a lot of gibber-jabber about ESCs, BESCs, etc. the general gist seems to be:
  1. Unplug the ESC from the throttle channel on the Rx.
  2. Plug the ESC into the programming card (- / + / P).
  3. Make sure it's plugged in the right way 'round.
  4. Plug the ESC into the battery.
  5. The ESC will beep ONE TIME, letting you know it's programmed.

This ... never works. I do step 1 thru 4. Then the ESC beeps plaintively, forever, letting me know that it can't connect to my transmitter.

*beep* *beep* *beep* *beep* *beep* *beep* *beep*

I unplug the battery. I check the connection. I plug the battery in again.

*beep* *beep* *beep* *beep* *beep* *beep* *beep*

I unplug the battery. I curse. I throw the programming card back in its drawer and forget about it for six months.

What the am I getting wrong about this 'really simple' process? Do I need a different programming card for every make and model of ESC?
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Old 06-14-2016, 02:34 AM
  #2  
fhhuber
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There are a few different ones... depends on the brand.
Yes, different brands need different cards. But Turnigy card works for Dynam/Detrum (and possibly others) Can't guarantee any other cross compatibility though.

If you can change the tunes with the card... its going to work.

General practice:

Start out plugging the ESC into the card.
Connect the ESC to a motor without a prop.
Then (if the card has the plug) connect a 4 cell nicd RX battery or a 2 cell LiFe.
Then connect the motor power battery if the card hasn't lit up to indicate its working.
By this time the card should have some lights lit.

Then you can go through the ESC programming usually with arrow keys on the card... sometimes with buttons. for each selection.

There should be a button to push to say you are finished.

Unplug in reverse order.

*************

I'm fond of the Castlelink which adds a computer and you do the programming on the computer screen. Also Castle has free firmware updates.
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Old 06-14-2016, 03:27 AM
  #3  
mclarkson
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My card doesn't have any lights on it. Here's a snapshot. On the rear, it says "HobbyKing Programming Card."



My ESC is already in a plane, so it's already plugged into a motor (and an Rx.)

I unplug the ESC from the Rx.

I plug the cable from the ESC into the card where it is labeled (- + P).

I plug the battery into the ESC.

The motor says: *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* until I unplug the battery again.
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Old 06-14-2016, 03:39 AM
  #4  
pizzano
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Originally Posted by mclarkson View Post
I've tried to use ESC programming cards from time to time but I inevitably grow frustrated and give up, programming my ESC with the PITA transmitter/throttle/beeping method.

Today, I thought I'd try again.

I have a HobbyKing Turnigy Plush ESC.

I have a HobbyKing programming card.

I did my best to look up instructions for how to do this. They usually start by saying THIS IS EASY, before proceeding to confuse me.

After a lot of gibber-jabber about ESCs, BESCs, etc. the general gist seems to be:
  1. Unplug the ESC from the throttle channel on the Rx.
  2. Plug the ESC into the programming card (- / + / P).
  3. Make sure it's plugged in the right way 'round.
  4. Plug the ESC into the battery.
  5. The ESC will beep ONE TIME, letting you know it's programmed.

This ... never works. I do step 1 thru 4. Then the ESC beeps plaintively, forever, letting me know that it can't connect to my transmitter.

*beep* *beep* *beep* *beep* *beep* *beep* *beep*

I unplug the battery. I check the connection. I plug the battery in again.

*beep* *beep* *beep* *beep* *beep* *beep* *beep*

I unplug the battery. I curse. I throw the programming card back in its drawer and forget about it for six months.

What the am I getting wrong about this 'really simple' process? Do I need a different programming card for every make and model of ESC?
Mark.......

As you probably know, programming cards come "priority" branded by specific labeled "manufactures"........like ESC's.

In the past I have used HK's brand, Exceed's, E-Flite and Turnigy's due to also using their esc's.....It was a pain having so many cards for the different ESC's and trying to remember how each functioned.........Like Fred, when I finally moved onto Castle and Phoenix esc's, life became much more simplistic.......very good support vid's and also versatile programming options. You may need to upgrade your ESC's, but it's worth in the long run......!

http://www.castlecreations.com/products/field_link.html
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Old 06-14-2016, 03:52 AM
  #5  
pizzano
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Mark......yep, had a few of those fragile plug-in boards. Sorry, I can't be much help here, since I sh..t canned the two that cracked over time and the others were given away along with the matching esc's........did not bother to retain any "grey" matter on those once I got into Castle.....!
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Old 06-14-2016, 03:58 AM
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fhhuber
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The newest ESC I have that uses a jumper card like that Hobby King one is a Jeti ESC from appx 17 years ago... Not compatible with anything but that one ESC.
Won't even work with the 12 yr old Jeti ESC I have.

I would strongly suspect that is an outdated card and not compatible with the ESC.

The modern Turnigy/Dynam compatible card is backward compatible about to that old thing, but not quite.

I have a collection of programmer cards...
They either work fine with any particular ESC or not at all. Never caused damage trying the wrong card, but its theoretically possible.

I have BOTH the Turnigy and the Dynam and they look the same (because they are the same)
https://www.motionrc.com/collections/esc-programmers/products/dynam-esc-programming-card?variant=19069668358


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Old 06-14-2016, 06:07 AM
  #7  
JetPlaneFlyer
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Originally Posted by mclarkson View Post
My card doesn't have any lights on it. Here's a snapshot. On the rear, it says "HobbyKing Programming Card."
That's the wrong card. Hobbyking sell many different types of ESC made by different manufacturers. The Turnigy Plush is a Hobbywing ESC and needs a Hobbywing programming card or programming box (or the Turnigy labeled version)

The Hobbywing card looks like this:



The card you have is a ZTW programming card with a Hobbywing label, ZTW is a totally different ESC manufacturer and the card is not compatible with Hobbywing ESC's.
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Old 06-14-2016, 11:23 AM
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JetPlaneFlyer
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Here is the Turnigy labelled version of the Hobbywing programming card.. to be fair to Hobbyking they do clearly state which ESC's are compatible with which cards:

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...idProduct=2169

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Old 06-14-2016, 12:05 PM
  #9  
solentlife
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Originally Posted by mclarkson View Post
My card doesn't have any lights on it. Here's a snapshot. On the rear, it says "HobbyKing Programming Card."



My ESC is already in a plane, so it's already plugged into a motor (and an Rx.)

I unplug the ESC from the Rx.

I plug the cable from the ESC into the card where it is labeled (- + P).

I plug the battery into the ESC.

The motor says: *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* until I unplug the battery again.
That card is only for Blue Series ESC's as HK says ...

Nigel
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Old 06-14-2016, 12:47 PM
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JetPlaneFlyer
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
That card is only for Blue Series ESC's as HK says ...

Nigel
Yes, the Hobbyking 'Blue series' are just re-labelled ZTW brand.

Here's the same card with the ZTW label on:
https://www.motionrc.com/products/zt...-rochobby-escs
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Old 06-14-2016, 07:51 PM
  #11  
mclarkson
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Alright. So it's a different programming card for every make and model of ESC. Looks like I'm back to programming via Tx.

Thanks, everybody.
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Old 06-14-2016, 08:09 PM
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JetPlaneFlyer
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Originally Posted by mclarkson View Post
Alright. So it's a different programming card for every make and model of ESC.
No, it's a different card for each manufacturer but as a rule the same card will work over the range of ESC's that manufacturer produces.

Bear in mind that neither 'Turnigy' or Hobbyking are ESC manufacturers. They just buy in ESC's made for them by others with the Turnigy/Hobbyking label on them. For this reason there are several actual manufacturers of Turnigy and Hobbyking branded ESC's and each require the programming card specific to the actual manufacturer that made the ESC.

The cards are pretty cheap. The correct one for your Hobbywing/Plush ESC is $6.95, so not a huge investment.
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Old 06-14-2016, 08:11 PM
  #13  
solentlife
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I want to buy all the common brand cards ... but everytime I start loading up cart ... half are backorder !

Nigel
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Old 06-14-2016, 08:28 PM
  #14  
fhhuber
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I stick with ESCs that just use the Turnigy/Dynam card and the Castle.

If I buy a particular rating ESC on purpose its Castle.

The way I control which ESCs I get in ARFs is by selecting the brand (and checking which programmer card is current for that brand)

At this point... its rare for me to need to order a Castle ESC. I have quite a few handy.
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Old 06-14-2016, 08:29 PM
  #15  
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when I went to 48" planes I started using the cards for my Turnigy plush...makes it "stupid simple" which is a good thing in my case.
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Old 06-14-2016, 08:52 PM
  #16  
JetPlaneFlyer
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The Hobbywing '4 in 1' programming box is the best I've come accross. It has a LCD display to tells you in words what setting you are adjusting and what value you have it set to, it's very intuitive and foolproof. Plus it acts as a USB link so you can connect the ESC to your computer and use the PC software to adjust settings which is even easier to use than the box, plus you can download firmware updates etc... very slick!

But the cards are perfectly ok for standard ESC's, much better than trying to interpret beep codes and wiggling the throttle sticks.
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