Smoking Robots

At 11:30 today our little robot couldn’t handle his stressful little robot life and he erupted into tiny flames. A motor controller powering our transmission shorted, but was connected directly to a power expander and exploded. I’m just curious how often this has happened to other teams and to whoever else had the convenience of their robot going up in flames days before competition! IMG_2816.JPG

Haven’t personally seen it, but happens sometimes.

If you haven’t already, definitely replace or repair the motor that was connected to the MC29 so it won’t fry any more. A lot of times this happens it seems to be that where the wire enters the motor housing the insulation wears off and shorts.

We have had problems with motors and the wires completely disconnecting from the board on the back of the motor inside the motor, if that make any sense.

See the interesting part is immediately post fire, we took apart the gear box and removed the motor which caused the fire. Strangely enough everything in the motor seemed intact after taking it apart and inspecting. We’re not using it in competition anymore but it didn’t seem to be the point of failure. Just a trophy for our innovations;)

It could have been the MC 29 itself

Similar things have happened on our team. For instance we have had purple smoke come out of a motor controller. Or have the innards of our cortex set fire and smoke… the day before state.

Thats not good at all!

We have had many things pop/sizzle/smolder - including battery shorting out during Worlds, a couple of Cortex, and a myriad of motor controllers. All due to shorts :frowning:

Yeah we had to replace it, download new firmware, and redo wiring.

Its never happened to us but our teacher has been building robots for a while and he said thats only happened to him one time and it took the team that it happened to the whole block to fix it (85 mins.).

Had a motor start running out of control whenever the robot was switched on. Output stage of the MC29 shorted in the on state and made a nice little puff of magic smoke. The cause was an intermittent short on the motor wires right where they entered the housing.

Check the wires on your motors for breaks in the insulation. It is really brittle and can even fail in this way while the strain relief grommet is intact, and thus remain hidden.
Motor controller 29 burnout.JPG

Yea, that will blow things up!:slight_smile:

Definitely have had motor controllers start smoking before. Also, one time a motor controller shorted and fried a cortex

Our motor controller started smoking out of nowhere and almost caught on fire at a competition out of nowhere, so I am saying that this is the Motor Controller.

If your robot is smoking, put it on the patch.

In all seriousness, this sounds like the mc29 was the issue. We have had more than one fry without any issue with the motor. Frankly, I think it is a QC issue at the manufacturer.

I won’t deny the things are fragile. When they cost so little and have feeble built in protection, there are bound to be ones that just can’t handle normal usage. Haven’t had any more blow up so far, but have found supposedly “working” units that were completely dead and others that would only supply power in one direction.

Just yesterday one our teams set a cortex on fire when they turned it on… And yes we have also set fire to moter controllers.

Were you able to see exposed wire at the point where the wire comes out on the motor? If you could, that is why the motor controller burned up.

Was it modeled after the note 7? Bu dum tttttt…

Too soon…