Stryke Force Beta Testing of the Falcon 500:
Special thank you to Marissa, Mark, and Jerry for leading the efforts to get this beta testing done!!
Stryke Force was lucky enough to be a beta test team for the Falcon 500 motor/control. We requested and received 6 beta Falcons. We planned to do extensive bench testing with two of the motors and put the other four on a swerve chassis bot.
During initial bench testing, we discovered two issues.
Certain aggressive operation modes could (and did) permanently damage a Falcon 500 and render it non functional.
With normal use, the temperature shutdown protection system would engage and shut the system down long before a match would end.
These issues were documented and reported to VEX and CTR immediately.
The response from VEX and CTR was VERY impressive on both fronts! We should all feel good about how committed both companies are to ensuring teams have a rock solid product when we take a Falcon out of the box.
Problem 1 listed above could only be addressed by manufacturing new parts. VEX did exactly that. Our understanding is that VEX completed similar testing to Stryke Force’s testing of the Falcon 500 where Stryke Force observed damage.
Problem 2 listed above appeared to be the result of conservative temperature shutdown thresholds. Based on some personal experience in the mentor’s day jobs, Stryke Force believed the thermal package built into the Falcon was capable of absorbing the heat from even an aggressive match; we concluded that the issue could likely be addressed with a few firmware tweaks. CTR responded very quickly and provided a proto version of firmware with increased temperature thresholds and will be referred to as “Proto 110c firmware” for the duration of this post. The original firmware was set to shut down at 85c; the new firmware would shut down at 110c. Our initial tests with the Proto 110c firmware were very encouraging. We believed there was more thermal margin in the Falcon Package. Stryke Force then conducted a very aggressive pushing test with 4 Falcons on a swerve test chassis using the Proto 110c firmware. Video of the event is provided here as well as a graph of amp draw and reported Falcon temperature. The results were very encouraging. We did manage to get to temp shutdown in 85 seconds but the workload on the Falcons was likely beyond what you would see in a match. CTR then made a few more tweaks to the firmware and formally released as Ver 18.104.22.168. Stryke Force then conducted a comprehensive bench test to confirm that latest firmware would allow the Falcon 500 to perform at max output for the entire match without reaching temperature shutdown or damage any internal components. Based on the test results, Stryke Force has concluded that it is highly unlikely that a Falcon 500 will ever reach temperature shutdown in a match and it appears virtually impossible that there would be thermal damage to the entire assembly. The formal test write up is attached.
Stryke Force is very grateful for being selected as a Falcon 500 beta test team and we have been very impressed with both VEX’s and CTR’s response to reported issues.
Video of push test: The pushing robot weights 120lbs. The pushed robot weights 140lbs.
PDF of our findings.
Falcon 500 max load temperature test 1-1-2020.pdf (1.5 MB)