Oops I fried the Estes Pro Series II launch controller

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RocketSquirrel

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IT STARTED SMOKING! okay so i loaded a Lipo battery that was compatible with the system, or so i thought. It was 1100 mAh 3C 11.1v battery that fit and everything worked. View attachment 607138
I was launching an old composite F motor using an old copperhead lead. Checked continuity, 321 fire.. i held it down for a little too long. Ive held the botton on other launchers as long as 3-5 seconds. The ignitor finally poofs a little smoke then the controller started to smoke and smell funny. It no longer worked.

Im trying to learn from this, because ultimately i want to make my own system copying this one but just have way more sturdy connections all throughout, and able to hook up to a motorcycle battery or something.

Has anyone else frier their PS II Launch controller after switching to LiPo? Whats the max time you can hold down a switch on any controller?

Thanks everyone!
 
Because LiPos can deliever so much current, you probably need to consider putting a time-delay fuse (slow-blow fuse) in your circuit to prevent smoking. My launchers are pretty much old school (only a resistor to LED lights) and I use a garden tractor battery, so I don't have overheat issues.
 
IT STARTED SMOKING! okay so i loaded a Lipo battery that was compatible with the system, or so i thought. It was 1100 mAh 3C 11.1v battery that fit and everything worked. View attachment 607138
I was launching an old composite F motor using an old copperhead lead. Checked continuity, 321 fire.. i held it down for a little too long. Ive held the botton on other launchers as long as 3-5 seconds. The ignitor finally poofs a little smoke then the controller started to smoke and smell funny. It no longer worked.

Im trying to learn from this, because ultimately i want to make my own system copying this one but just have way more sturdy connections all throughout, and able to hook up to a motorcycle battery or something.

Has anyone else frier their PS II Launch controller after switching to LiPo? Whats the max time you can hold down a switch on any controller?

Thanks everyone!

I think the smoke came from the Battery Management System [BMS] PC board in the battery pack. Lucky you did not have a fire. Older LiPos did not have a BMS and fires from charging or shorting were very common concerns i the RC airplane hobby
 
The circuitry inside the PSII controller is not that heavy-duty. It's entirely conceivable to me that either a board trace or some of the actual point-to-point wiring could fail if you shorted an 1100 mAh battery across it.

An 1100 mAh battery for flying models won't have a protection circuit in it — or at least none of the batteries I have used since LiPolys first came to RC ~20 years ago now (!!) have them — including recent purchases. For some reason I don't have permission to view the attachment in the first post, so I can't be sure, though.
 
Because LiPos can deliever so much current, you probably need to consider putting a time-delay fuse (slow-blow fuse) in your circuit to prevent smoking. My launchers are pretty much old school (only a resistor to LED lights) and I use a garden tractor battery, so I don't have overheat issues.
Hindsight is 20/20... i didnt think it would have been an issue using the exact battery it said can be used on it. They even have the port for the lipo in th3 battery compartment. Oh well this is how i learn! Its always gotta be the hard way haha
 
Personally, I think the design choice to make that auxiliary battery connector one of those little orange two-pin JSTs was a mistake. They are only good for a few amps. But lingering on the button that long with the system shorted will fry something for sure.

If you take the battery door off, can you see any damage inside the controller? I know it takes a triangle driver to get the main case apart....
 
Hindsight is 20/20... i didnt think it would have been an issue using the exact battery it said can be used on it. They even have the port for the lipo in th3 battery compartment. Oh well this is how i learn! Its always gotta be the hard way haha
I have fried the traces on the PCB before using a lipo. open up the case and you may be able to repalce that trace with a heavier gauge wire. As Bernard said, the PCB is not really heavy duty.
 
I'm starting to think it would be smart to put my NIB Estes PSII controller on fleabay and reserve my hot rodding for the almost-free-in-a-launch-set-from-Hobby Lobby Electron Beam units. If I want more than I can do with an improved EB controller, building my own is likely to be almost as easy, maybe cheaper, and definitely more robust in the end than messing with the PSII.
 
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