Super-Tuner Firmware Explained
Novak has been using multiple different colored LED lights and the speed control's push button to set-up and program the ESC for many years now, so how does the new Super-Tuner change this? This new firmware that's in our latest speed controls includes a new, updated, and reconfigured user-interface developed by working closely with pro racers, local fast guys, daily drivers, and casual bashers alike. The changes made provide you with even more extensive programming options and fine-tuning ability than ever before, and still with no external programming devices required.
More Options...Less Confusion
The Super-Tuner firmware features more adjustable speed control parameters than ever before, so the user-interface had to become simpler than ever. Adjustable ESC parameters have been re-ordered and grouped by type of adjustment, and the sequence that the LED lights go through has also been revamped and now the LEDs step across in a logical fashion that builds upon itself and is easy on the eyes.
Speed controls equipped with Super-Tuner also feature 5 completely independent and fully-customizable Profiles that can be user-saved and recalled at the touch of a button. Racers can make trackside adjustments to fine-tune for the conditions or use the profiles to switch between classes. The Profile settings are the first up in the Super-Tuner menu, so changes take only seconds.
The Super-Tuner's Adjustable Parameters
Lets take a look through the Super-Tuner's menu and explain what each setting does and how they can work for you. Note that not every Super-Tuner equipped ESC gets each and every one of these parameters and the number of settings within each parameter may differ.
- Throttle Profile -- blue/red/white LEDs -- 1 of 5 independently adjustable Profiles consisting of its own set of each of the different ESC parameters.
- Drag Brake -- blue LED -- 1 of 10 Drag Brake (Auto Brake, Nuetral Brake, or Coast Brake) settings that tells the ESC what percentage of maximum braking to apply when your transmitter is at neutral. Increasing this setting makes the motor slow down more without pushing the transmitter's trigger into the brake/reverse direction.
- Minimum Brake -- yellow LED -- 1 of 10 Minimum Brake settings that controls the amount of braking that is applied with the first pulse of transmitter braking information sent. Increasing this setting starts the braking at a stronger/higher level. This is useful to compensate for heavier vehicles that require more braking power to effectively slow the vehicle. This setting can be set the same or higher than the Drag Brake, but can not be set lower.
- Brake Frequency -- red LED -- 1 of 10 settings that change how the ESC's braking response feels with respect to the transmitter's trigger input. Increasing this setting increases the frequency and makes the brake response feel smoother, or softer, and more controllable.
- Timing Level / Tens (10's) -- green LED -- 1 of 3, 4, or 5 settings of ten degrees of Dynamic Timing Advance. This is the first digit, or "tens setting", of the maximum number of degrees of electronic timing advance that the ESC will apply to the motor. Increasing this setting raises the maximum amount of timing by a ten degree increment to a setting of either 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 degrees (depending on ESC). When this setting is changed the "ones" setting changes to zero (what we refer to as an "invisible zero"), regardless of what it was set to before. If the Timing setting (#15) is turned off, this setting will still change the saved value for the tens, but the timing will still remain turned off.
- Timing Level / Ones (1's) -- white LED -- 1 of 9 settings of one degree of Dynamic Timing Advance. This is the second digit, or "ones setting", of the maximum number of degrees of electronic timing advance that the ESC will apply to the motor. Increasing this setting raises the maximum amount of timing by one degree from what it was before. If you had the Tens setting on #4 and the Ones on #3 (43 degrees of timing) increasing this setting by one would change it to 44 degrees. THE INVISIBLE ZERO: Since we cannot flash the LED zero times, we automatically change the Ones setting to zero when the Tens setting is changed, which also acts as a system safety in that the timing goes to the lowest of the settings in that range of ten degrees. If you try to check the Ones setting you will see the LED blink once, however the setting will not change to 1 unless you push and hold the button to enter it--if you turn the ESC off instead, the setting will remain zero.
- Timing Start RPM -- blue/yellow LEDs -- 1 of 10 settings that tells the ESC the RPM trip point to start applying the Dynamic Timing Advance. Increasing this setting will increase the motor RPM at which the electronic motor timing begins coming on. There are anywhere from 40 to 60 possible RPMs for this setting pulled from built-in RPM tables that are user-selected in step #9.
- Timing Final RPM -- blue/red LEDs -- 1 of 10 settings that tells the ESC the RPM trip point to finish applying the Dynamic Timing Advance. Increasing this setting will increase the motor RPM at which the electronic motor timing stops coming on. Just as for the Start RPM, there are 40-60 possible settings that are again pulled from the RPM tables in step #9. Higher settings here are actually safer because they will help keep the heating minimized as the timing is being applied over a wider range.
- Timing RPM Range -- blue/green LEDs -- 1 of 4 to 6 settings that changes the RPM look-up table that the ESC uses to set the Timing Start & Final RPM trip points. Each type of racing has very different RPM needs, and this setting allows the Dynamic Timing Advance feature to be fine-tuned for all motors and set-ups.
- Drive Frequency -- blue/white LEDs -- 1 of 10 settings that controls the frequency at which the ESC operates the motor for forward drive. Increasing this setting increases the frequency, which makes the throttle response (or punch) feel smoother and more controllable. Higher frequencies tend to also run slightly more RPM, however maximum frequency is often too soft and you may need to increase the Minimum Drive to compensate for this "softness".
- Dead Band -- blue/yellow/red LEDs -- 1 of 5 settings that are a percentage of full-throttle and are the "width" or free trigger space between Minimum Brake & Minimum Drive. Increasing this setting increases the distance that the transmitter's trigger must move away from the Neutral center point before actual forward drive or braking/reverse information is sent to the motor. This setting is useful for transmitters with worn pots or neutral point centering problems and also for Drag Brake problems where you don't always seem to get drag braking when you believe that the transmitter's trigger is at neutral.
- Minimum Drive -- blue/yellow/green LEDs -- 1 of 10 settings that controls the amount of forward drive that is applied with the first pulse of transmitter drive information sent. Increasing this setting starts the forward drive at a stronger/higher level. This is useful to compensate for heavier vehicles and will reduce the amount of "dead trigger" throw that is required before enough power is effectively applied to get them moving. High-grip conditions also allow you to run higher Minimum Drive settings without encountering wheel spin. Spec class application also tend to use higher settings.
- Reverse -- blue/yellow/white LEDs -- This feature enables or disables the ESC's reversing functionality, after all reverse ins't allowed during the race, but practice is a whole different story. Turning this parameter off turns the speed control into a forward and brake only ESC. This is the first of the ON/OFF type of ESC parameters that are available for the user to work with, and they are grouped together at the end of the menu because most people want to set them and forget them.
- Voltage Cut-Off Circuitry -- blue/yellow/red/green LEDs -- This feature enables or disables the ESC's voltage cut-off circuitry that allows users to safely use LiPo battery packs without letting their voltage drop below the critical safe level at which point internal cell damage occurs and can result in catastrophic failure. The voltage cut-off circuitry can be turned off for 1S racing or use of older NiMH type batteries. On speed controls that can operate on 2, 3, or even 4S, this feature automatically detects the number of cells in the battery pack and adjusts its voltage cut-off point accordingly.
- Xtra-Timing -- all 5 LEDs -- This setting enables/adjusts the rate at which the ESC's Xtra-Timing feature advances the electronic motor timing to the maximum amount possible when the transmitter's trigger is held at full-throttle. Xtra-Timing is Novak's 2nd level of electronic motor timing that is applied "on top" of the Dynamic Timing Advance. Xtra-Timing only engages when the ESC determines that certain conditions have been met, such as throttle position, throttle time, motor acceleration, and a few other top secret factors. When these conditions have been met, the ESC applies all the remaining timing at the rate you select here for insane motor RPMs. Setting #1 is OFF, setting #2 is the mildest of the enabled choices, and setting #8 is the most aggressive application of Xtra-Timing. This feature is not recommended for normal conditions or if you are not a very-experienced racer. Xtra-Timing should only be used on wide open tracks with big sweepers or long back straights--things happen fast with Xtra-Timing and huge current demands are put on your battery pack & ESC resulting in lots of extra heat production. Xtra-Timing can quickly damage ESCs, motors, and battery packs if you are not careful. Use with EXTREME CAUTION. (Not all ESCs with Super-Tuner have this feature)
- Timing -- yellow/red LEDs -- This feature enables or disables the ESC's Dynamic Timing Advance parameters. When the feature is turned OFF, the Timing Level Tens, Ones, Start RPM, Final RPM, RPM range, and Xtra-Timing settings are inactive. The various timing parameters can have their values modified while the timing is turned off, and the ESC will remember the changes for when the timing is turned back on.
- Data Reset -- yellow/green LEDs -- This feature resets the ESC's adjustable parameters to the factory default values for all throttle profiles. Performing the One-Touch Programming on ESCs equipped with Super-Tuner firmware no longer resets the ESC parameters, so this feature was added to allow the user control over the resetting of the speed control.
- Thermal Protection -- yellow/white LEDs -- This feature enables or disables the ESC's Temperature Overload Protection Circuitry. With the high demands put on a speed control's BEC with today's high-power servos and very-high motor gearing & timing, often times the ESC's thermal protection circuitry will be falsely triggered by the BEC's regulator emitting excessive heat. When this happens, the ESC shuts down the throttle output, and you could lose the race! This parameter allows the user to takes things into their own hands and push their electronics as far as possible by turning off the ESC's last protective feature. You do this AT YOUR OWN RISK. We encourage you to always make sure there is not something else causing you to have ESC shut-down problems (possibly BEC shut-down due to steering end points set too high or a faulty servo).
- Hall Sensor Test -- blinking blue LED -- This is a diagnostic test feature that allows users to check the brushless system's motor sensors, sensor harness, and sensor harness connections to trouble-shoot problems right there at the track. The sensor test feature lets you turn the motor over by hand and watch as the blue, yellow, & red LEDs confirm that each sensor is firing correctly and the ESC is receiving that signal.
Article Viewed 937 Times - Last Updated 2013-04-08
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