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Author Topic: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice  (Read 7781 times)

taffybouy

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AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« on: February 24, 2021, 11:11:01 am »

Folks,


This is a long post so please be patient. I've included a wiring diagram of the existing setup and I'll try to give you the story and then the points I'd like help with.
I've done some homework already but there are a number of grey areas and I'm not just talking about my hair!!!


So, I have an AT Procat bait boat. It stopped working because the handset board was corroded. I took it to a model RC shop local to me on the Wirral and the guy really didn't want to touch it as he wasn't sure about opening it up. I convinced him saying that I'd seal it but didn't really know where to start with the internals.
He changed out the handset converting to 2.4 but here's where the issues start. Even though it now worked things were back to front. forward on the stick went backwards and left went right etc.. The reverse function on the handset did nothing to alter things.
At this point I wasn't bothered because at least I could use it.
During one early morning take and rebaiting or reboating as I like to call it, I wasn't entirely with it and steered it into shallow water getting the hopper door stuck and almost losing the boat.
This made me think of opening it up and getting things sorted and is where I am now.
Boat works but is back to front, underpowered on one motor and won't turn properly to one side.


Points for answering please:


Repair the existing:


1: Is there anything I can get to check the RPM of the motors to ensure they are both fine? Is there a measurement of resistance I can do with a fluke mutlimeter for example or something I can connect to the prop and let it rip to count their speed?
2: Looking at my wiring diagram, is there any way I can power the new handset from the power switch rather than directly from the battery? Is there a reason why it has to be direct from the battery may be a better question to ask?
3: VCC CH1 connects and works powering the motors and uses a 2 pin connection on one stick. VCC CH 2 only has 1 pin and doesn't seem to cut the motor when turned to the right whereas it does cut the motor when turned to the left. This confuses me to bogglement. There is space for a pin to be soldered onto the controller board which is what I'm tempted to do. Would you suggest this would resolve my issue or is not soldered there already because of a reason?


With the above being bespoke would you suggest replacing some parts for off the shelf products as per the below:


1: New esc's removing the function from the controller board?
2: My handset is a throttle left control stick and a steering right control stick. Can I still use this 2 channel handset keeping in mind that the hopper door releases when I go back and right on the control sticks?
3: If I need to remove the hopper control from the controller board too how can I open the hopper without an extra channel on the handset? The hopper seems to use a single wire which heats the wire pulling it tight and opening the hopper.
4: The main action of the controller board at this point would just be the LED lights which flash when its lost signal and go solid when signal is locked to the handset. Do I actually need it for this and is there another output from the new parts I could tap into for this function?




I appreciate I've given 2 scenarios here but this is logic I'm working from.
Repair or replace is the first question I need advice on then I need to work through the rest using your advice and experience.


I want the boat to be usable and hopefully not need to open it up again so something that will last. Money isn't the main driving force on this, function and reliability are, but in the same breath I'm not swimming in it so keeping costs reasonable would be great.





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taffybouy

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2021, 11:14:54 am »

Lets see if this pic attachment works better as the last went wonky for some reason



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radiojoe

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2021, 06:43:09 pm »

Hi Taffy,  glad you got the hang of posting photos, not having used a control board before I can't help with your problems, I use ESC's for motors and servos for any other functions, I know PCB boards in a wet or damp environment can have problems with the many tiny solder joints, I hope that some of the Bait Boat guys may be able to help.




Joe
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taffybouy

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2021, 09:41:29 pm »

Would you be able to shed any light on the replacement options then?


Ignore the controller board being part of the scenario and go with new reliable parts.
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HMS Invisible

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2021, 11:36:05 pm »

...Even though it now worked things were back to front. forward on the stick went backwards and left went right etc.. The reverse function on the handset did nothing to alter things.
...
There is probably an additional step in the instructions, like rebinding or resetting.
Quote
Points for answering please:


Repair the existing:


1: Is there anything I can get to check the RPM of the motors to ensure they are both fine? Is there a measurement of resistance I can do with a fluke mutlimeter for example or something I can connect to the prop and let it rip to count their speed?
An infra red tacho (from ebay) will confirm what you already know. The motors are probably fine. Look for the reason one motor is turning more slowly.
Quote
2: Looking at my wiring diagram, is there any way I can power the new handset from the power switch rather than directly from the battery? Is there a reason why it has to be direct from the battery may be a better question to ask?
To answer, I'd need a clearer mental picture.
Quote
3: VCC CH1 connects and works powering the motors and uses a 2 pin connection on one stick. VCC CH 2 only has 1 pin and doesn't seem to cut the motor when turned to the right whereas it does cut the motor when turned to the left. This confuses me to bogglement. There is space for a pin to be soldered onto the controller board which is what I'm tempted to do. Would you suggest this would resolve my issue or is not soldered there already because of a reason?
CH2 only needs a signal and nothing else.
You already have a 0volt reference in CH1. Your Fluke meter continuity will show that.
Adding a redundant wire creates a parallel path, which you don't want.
Quote

With the above being bespoke would you suggest replacing some parts for off the shelf products as per the below:


1: New esc's removing the function from the controller board?
2: My handset is a throttle left control stick and a steering right control stick. Can I still use this 2 channel handset keeping in mind that the hopper door releases when I go back and right on the control sticks?
3: If I need to remove the hopper control from the controller board too how can I open the hopper without an extra channel on the handset? The hopper seems to use a single wire which heats the wire pulling it tight and opening the hopper.
4: The main action of the controller board at this point would just be the LED lights which flash when its lost signal and go solid when signal is locked to the handset. Do I actually need it for this and is there another output from the new parts I could tap into for this function?
I assume it is only a 3 function transmitter and receiver you got from the shop.
You generate more & better suggestions from more people if you describe what you have. - photos, radio and boat make/model/revision, internet links etc.
I've seen some online photos of both sides the procat controller boards that matches your sketch on an old bait boat forum. I understand a lot from a photo but I don't know the common faults. I suggest tracing the circuit in more detail and continuity test any switch or relay contacts.

Quote



I appreciate I've given 2 scenarios here but this is logic I'm working from.
Repair or replace is the first question I need advice on then I need to work through the rest using your advice and experience.


I want the boat to be usable and hopefully not need to open it up again so something that will last. Money isn't the main driving force on this, function and reliability are, but in the same breath I'm not swimming in it so keeping costs reasonable would be great.
I have no hands on experience of bait boats. I've sourced parts for a bait boat maker and designed RC electrics.
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taffybouy

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2021, 08:26:58 am »

Even though it now worked things were back to front. forward on the stick went backwards and left went right etc.. The reverse function on the handset did nothing to alter things.

There is probably an additional step in the instructions, like rebinding or resetting.

There is definitely a step that I found yesterday whilst looking at the manual I finally found on the web. I have an Absima sr2s 2 ch HH with a R3FS receiver. It states there's a method of checking then correcting this.
Thanks for confirming this as I was wondering if it was worth a try.




3: VCC CH1 connects and works powering the motors and uses a 2 pin connection on one stick. VCC CH 2 only has 1 pin and doesn't seem to cut the motor when turned to the right whereas it does cut the motor when turned to the left. This confuses me to bogglement. There is space for a pin to be soldered onto the controller board which is what I'm tempted to do. Would you suggest this would resolve my issue or is not soldered there already because of a reason?

CH2 only needs a signal and nothing else.You already have a 0volt reference in CH1. Your Fluke meter continuity will show that.Adding a redundant wire creates a parallel path, which you don't want.

This is what I wanted to understand before messing with anything else. Even though it doesn't work properly I was unwilling to do anything else to the original parts without a little more understanding. Thanks very much.

I'll get a more detailed diagram of the controller board over later today. I know the board has 2 relays on it and they seem to be engaging but I haven't traced the paths using a fluke yet.

I'll leave the  points for replacing with off the shelf parts for now but I'd still like to revisit that just in case things go wrong in the future. Whilst I'm gaining understanding now I can detail the possibility and parts required and the method of creating the necessary components.
You've been really helpful and I appreciate you taking the time to sift through points for me.
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HMS Invisible

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2021, 08:56:12 am »

There should be three wires from CH 1 if only a signal wire from CH 2.
Two feed the low voltage power to 2.4GHz receiver and a third (as in CH 2) is pwm pulses from receiver to the procat board.That's the way they they were originally connected.

It may not require a full circuit schematic to pinpoint a fault or misalignment.
The descriptive function of the relay and the mosfet transistors (metal tab & 3 pins) would suffice.

Are the motors supposed to be disabled or change direction as the relays click?
Perhaps youtube is where I saw procat boards so I'll have another look.
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taffybouy

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2021, 09:11:53 am »

I am unsure of whether the boat should cut the motor or spin in a different direction as I never really paid attention to it whilst it worked, only when it stopped working. When the new handset was in place I've had these issues so I have no real baseline to work from.


As for the CH1 connections, there are only 2 pins on the board whereas CH2 only has 1.
Again, I have no idea if it was like this prior to the handset replacement but it doesn't look like the extra pins were used to me, far too clean.
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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2021, 09:53:27 am »

...
As for the CH1 connections, there are only 2 pins on the board whereas CH2 only has 1.
Again, I have no idea if it was like this prior to the handset replacement but it doesn't look like the extra pins were used to me, far too clean.
I think it unlikely there is an omission if it was converted by the model shop. However your diagram seems to point to a missing CH 1.
If the procat controller reacts to CH1 on the transmitter then there must be a feed.Do you understand a need for two sbec power connections to the 2.4 GHz receiver plus digital pulses for every receiver channel used?

All the fault tracing you need can be done with the various Fluke meter functions.
Here it would be looking for supply voltage (five volts?) and CH1 & 2 changing between 0.1 to 0.2 volt as you move sticks on the 2.4GHz transmitter (or handset)
If the relay cases are of clear plastic you can eyeball the contacts, otherwise you have to trace faults with a meter.
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taffybouy

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2021, 07:03:16 pm »

Do you understand a need for two sbec power connections to the 2.4 GHz receiver plus digital pulses for every receiver channel used?


No sorry, I don't understand the need.


All the fault tracing you need can be done with the various Fluke meter functions.Here it would be looking for supply voltage (five volts?) and CH1 & 2 changing between 0.1 to 0.2 volt as you move sticks on the 2.4GHz transmitter (or handset)If the relay cases are of clear plastic you can eyeball the contacts, otherwise you have to trace faults with a meter.


I've tried this and can't see anything wrong. The relays are G2RL-2


Both relays work fine when the control sticks are used seperately. Use the control sticks together and thats where it seems to play up. This tells me there is something else at play here.
I also noticed the Normal/Reverse only works on one control stick, the one for steering rather than thrust.


I'll get some pictures uploaded of the board in a moment
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taffybouy

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2021, 07:30:19 pm »

Pics of the board
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taffybouy

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2021, 07:31:52 pm »

Pics of the board

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2021, 08:55:48 pm »

OK, I now understand the sbec output 2.5 volt and the red wires on the red plugs are the two channel signals.
That seems overkill when a resistor would do as good a job. I wonder if 2.5v is a touch too low for the procat board to read 2.5 v channel pulses.
Is that what you have written?

I'm at the limit of remote diagnosis ability without seeing the component side copper tracks
I would need to get a better picture a circuit schematic to know if there is actually a fault or misalignment.
It would seem quicker & easier to seek out someone local with RC electric knowledge. They don't need to have seen a bait boat.
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taffybouy

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2021, 09:45:13 pm »

Could you spare a moment to consider what new parts could be used instead of what I have?


I'm thinking a servo could replace the existing hopper door release.
1 channel needed for this.


I need 2 motors so I'd guess 2 esc's
2 more channels?


Something to control the lights.
Another channel.


4 channel handset and receiver.


Is there anything else to add?


Ideally I'd like to use the 7.2v batteries I already have.
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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2021, 09:58:35 am »

Hi taffboy, if you are using the motors for steering as I presume you are you will have to convert your transmitter
left or right stick depending on what mode the set is to ratchet instead of return spring.
You will as you say need a switcher to work your lights.
If the bait dropper works by a solenoid you could use a switcher for that also.
Hope this helps.


John
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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2021, 10:15:02 am »

Taffybouy, if it was me, with your present gear, I'd start by ordering a pack of 9g servos from Ebay & then consider future use of a usb to 2s lipo charger, 2s lipo batteries before buying another 2.4GHz set.Another thread on radio suggestions might save you some search time or headache from choosing. An indication of your use & budget with a catchy title will help.

Meanwhile I'd suggest you soldier on to solve technical problems & use the forum to find a local helper if the shop won't iron out niggles.My method with something unfamiliar is to generate a circuit schematic from the copper traces.
The motor rpm problem is probably down to the need for cleaning and lubricating.
What voltage does the sbec output?
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Shipmate60

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2021, 10:15:38 am »

Or use a steering mixer which will let you use both motors on 1 channel.


Bob
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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2021, 02:30:00 pm »

I am unsure of whether the boat should cut the motor or spin in a different direction as I never really paid attention to it whilst it worked, only when it stopped working. When the new handset was in place I've had these issues so I have no real baseline to work from...
Operating function can be determined from a circuit schematic.
The schematic forms a guide for problem tracing.

For example, I would start by testing corrosion or a welded relay contact by the Fluke meter continuity range. It can't be done from a click.

The mirrored board underside should match your sketch.Motors are wired to relay contact pairs numbered 3,6 so the relay therefore normally connects motors(3,6) to 2,7 then changes over to contact pair 4,5 when energised.

If 4,5 terminals are not connected to anything by copper tracks then the relay function would be to disable the motor.If contacts 2,5 are wired together by copper tracks (also 4,7) the function of each relay is to reverse the motor.
That's a start! :}
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taffybouy

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2021, 05:36:32 pm »

Operating function can be determined from a circuit schematic.
The schematic forms a guide for problem tracing.

For example, I would start by testing corrosion or a welded relay contact by the Fluke meter continuity range. It can't be done from a click.

The mirrored board underside should match your sketch.Motors are wired to relay contact pairs numbered 3,6 so the relay therefore normally connects motors(3,6) to 2,7 then changes over to contact pair 4,5 when energised.

If 4,5 terminals are not connected to anything by copper tracks then the relay function would be to disable the motor.If contacts 2,5 are wired together by copper tracks (also 4,7) the function of each relay is to reverse the motor.
That's a start! :}


Right.
Lets start with 4 and 5. These don't appear to be connected to anything by copper tracks.
I used the multimeter and 2/5 pin out to each other and 4/7 pin out to each other.
The above makes me believe it reverses one side as you describe.


I've then moved to basics and put some paper in the prop to confirm this works and the above is correct.


The only time the one motor cuts off is when the thrust stick is being used. Keep in mind that if I was to reverse and use the steering stick to either side it activates the hopper. I wonder if this is different to how it was previously done hence the issues?


I've enjoyed this and am very grateful for your help.
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taffybouy

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2021, 05:39:20 pm »

OK, I now understand the sbec output 2.5 volt and the red wires on the red plugs are the two channel signals.
That seems overkill when a resistor would do as good a job. I wonder if 2.5v is a touch too low for the procat board to read 2.5 v channel pulses.
Is that what you have written?

I'm at the limit of remote diagnosis ability without seeing the component side copper tracks
I would need to get a better picture a circuit schematic to know if there is actually a fault or misalignment.
It would seem quicker & easier to seek out someone local with RC electric knowledge. They don't need to have seen a bait boat.


The SBEC is a 5 or 6v output. I've checked and it's set with a jumper to 5v. I've tested this and it is indeed outputting 5.14v.
It does say its a 8 to 24v input and although I'm only using a 7.2v battery pack it.s still staying with the same output.
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taffybouy

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2021, 05:40:39 pm »

Hi taffboy, if you are using the motors for steering as I presume you are you will have to convert your transmitter
left or right stick depending on what mode the set is to ratchet instead of return spring.
You will as you say need a switcher to work your lights.
If the bait dropper works by a solenoid you could use a switcher for that also.
Hope this helps.


John


Cheers for this, it will give me some options if the repair fails.
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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2021, 06:21:47 pm »

I've been trawling the interweb and youtube videos for anyone with a procat so I can see their original handsets and how the steering was done and it looks like it's the same as mine. Left stick for forward/reverse and right stock for steering.


Not sure if that helps at all but it's a little more info
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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2021, 07:38:20 pm »


The SBEC is a 5 or 6v output. I've checked and it's set with a jumper to 5v. I've tested this and it is indeed outputting 5.14v.
It does say its a 8 to 24v input and although I'm only using a 7.2v battery pack it.s still staying with the same output.
Sbec set at 5volt is enough to use a channel-3 servo. The s3fs receiver is ok down to 4.0 volt so could otherwise tap off the procat board at one of the red CH1,2 plugs and use a resistor for filtering.


An underperforming or part drained six cell Nickel battery can drop below 6.0 volt when you throttle up and sbecs @ 5v output will drop out @ 6 volt input. That is something to consider in future upgrades.
Remedies are regular pulse charging of the existing battery or migrating to 2s, 7.4V Lipo packs or two individual 18650 (2 powerbank) cells.
Look up 2s or 7.4v bargraph module and and also Lipo alarm. They are inexpensive and very useful indicators which will show this beyond dispute.

I wonder if the procat board supports different turning modes or if a low battery gives you a problem with loosing reverse. Can you trace what supplies juice to the relay coils? (pins 1,8) That helps with reverse problem diagnosis!
 If relay coil power is from a regulated 5v, 1 amp line it would also be possible for receiver to dispense with the sbec and tap off from a red plug, as indicated above. The sbec would be provision for servo in conjunction with 8.4v-24v drive battery.
The power resistor might be a dropper to power 5v relay coils straight from the battery.
p.s. R3FS receiver PDF 790kb
I take it the gyro function is disabled and the trismitter sticks are at 100% throw setting.
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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2021, 09:59:24 pm »

I see why more rc channels was in the offing. Transmitter pdf 8.72 MB is 2-channel with a 3-channel Rx


...I also noticed the Normal/Reverse only works on one control stick, the one for steering rather than thrust...
The parts to do that are there. The same bits are used to turn left/right via the steering channel (2 x 2pole relays & 2 x throttle drive transistors).

Turning can done in two other ways:-
  • WW1 tank style, by forward or reverse on one side only, other side stopped. (by transistor: off)
  • By spinning on the spot by opposite rotation (both left & right transistors: on & one relay energised).
So is it also supposed to do as you described? The parts must be in full working order if 2. can be done. Otherwise, you have to test continuity of 3>4 & 5>6 in the energised position.
Logical though that is, it would mean you have to do something extra to dispense bait without moving off station.

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taffybouy

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Re: AT Procat bait boat problems and advice
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2021, 08:09:40 pm »

Sbec set at 5volt is enough to use a channel-3 servo. The s3fs receiver is ok down to 4.0 volt so could otherwise tap off the procat board at one of the red CH1,2 plugs and use a resistor for filtering.


An underperforming or part drained six cell Nickel battery can drop below 6.0 volt when you throttle up and sbecs @ 5v output will drop out @ 6 volt input. That is something to consider in future upgrades.


Remedies are regular pulse charging of the existing battery or migrating to 2s, 7.4V Lipo packs or two individual 18650 (2 powerbank) cells.
Look up 2s or 7.4v bargraph module and and also Lipo alarm. They are inexpensive and very useful indicators which will show this beyond dispute.


I'll check out your suggestions, thanks for this as it helps my understanding.

I wonder if the procat board supports different turning modes or if a low battery gives you a problem with loosing reverse. Can you trace what supplies juice to the relay coils? (pins 1,8) That helps with reverse problem diagnosis!


If relay coil power is from a regulated 5v, 1 amp line it would also be possible for receiver to dispense with the sbec and tap off from a red plug, as indicated above. The sbec would be provision for servo in conjunction with 8.4v-24v drive battery.
The power resistor might be a dropper to power 5v relay coils straight from the battery.
p.s. R3FS receiver PDF 790kb
I take it the gyro function is disabled and the trismitter sticks are at 100% throw setting.

I've got 6 batteries in total. I've found 2 of them are faulty and drop drastically on load so these have been sidelined, not binned yet. The others are fine and hold solid with 2 being new because I was informed some time ago that this is often the most common cause of issues.

Theres a cap just before it (relay) linking into the common ground. Both relays have one UF105.

The rest of this sails above me right now but I'll try to google things and expand my understanding from what you've said. Thanks again for your patience.
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