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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

yesterday my Soliton Junior stopped working :-/
After breaking some kind of harder and released the break half a second after that, the car was only rolling.

Looking at the controller, I recognized that something isn't working right.
So I took a laptop and looked at the controller homepage: "Desaturation Error"
Cleared the error list, but every time I step on the paddel, the next line "Desaturation Error" appeared.

I read the manual, "short circuit" was a possible issue.
Hooked to my garage, I disconnected the output side of the soliton and started again: error list cleared, everything seems to look good, accelerate, no motor spinning, only a new error line.

So there is no short circuit on the outside, the input voltage ist 180V.
The settings are used some month (years) now, so that could not be the problem.

Opened the Soliton (no guarantee any more, bought 2013) to look at obvious damages, but everything looks good.

What could I try to make it work again?
Could you please help me troubleshoot this?

regards,
Michael
 

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It's possible the hard stop moved something or tweaked something. If the controller is happy with the controller to motor wiring removed then I would start chasing problems there. Shorts, motor issues, etc...
 

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Gotcha. I misunderstood your first post. I took your pointing out the fact that it was a hard stop to mean that it was unusual and might have caused a problem. It's either in the controller, the wiring, the battery, or the motor. Isolating and testing each of those would be where I would start.

Could you please describe this process step by step so we can see what you have done to evaluate things:

Hooked to my garage, I disconnected the output side of the soliton and started again: error list cleared, everything seems to look good, accelerate, no motor spinning, only a new error line.
Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sure:

- input 180V connected
- output to motor
- potentiometer connected
- 12V connected

- logged on juniors home screen
- cleared all errors (one per try).
- disconnected 12V
- connected 12V
- waited, until green diode comes on and no red light (ready to drive)
- pulled the potentiometer (accelerator)
- immediately red light goes on
- no motor turn
- logged on juniors home screen
- new error logged

same procedure with output screwed of (no lines connected)
same expiration

Michael
 

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No one had this Problem before?
Anyone out of the old Evnetics crew here?
:(
Well, I know nothing about the evnetics controller but that won't stop me from asking a few questions to see if it helps. ;)

Do you know what desaturation is? This is found only on IGBTs not mosfets. Desaturation is when the IGBT (big power transistor) is called upon to source so much current that it can't send quite that much current through without dropping additional voltage. Usually IGBTs have a constant voltage drop. It could be 2V, 3V, whatever. But, whether you pull 20A or 200A you get that drop. When you overcome the IGBT it starts to drop more voltage. This is desaturation. Motor controllers have circuitry to monitor the voltage drop and trigger a fault if it suddenly increases to a certain threshold (I believe usually around 7v). So, your controller is saying that there is excessive voltage drop on the IGBT when it is turned on. There are many reasons this could be. For one, the IGBT could be blown. I don't know if your controller uses one big brick or many little IGBTs but either way one or more could be cooked. Another possibility is that the desat circuitry has gone faulty. I'd suspect that this isn't quite as likely as blowing the IGBTs. That's a kind of popular controller failure, especially if you like to really step on the accelerator. You said it quit after a hard stop which still could be an IGBT or something else getting a cracked solder joint or something.

Sorry, I can't be of more help. It sounds to me like your issue is something that will need to be resolved on the bench by someone with the equipment to test the various portions and see where the fault lies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Rather than trroubleshooting here, I'd work directly with Evnetics. They still fully support thier legacy product line.

There is a phone number at the top of the page on their website. I won't post it here, but its easy to spot.

http://www.evnetics.com/legacy-products/#1458228630706-5319476a-8fdd
Hi Michael,
the support form isn't working correct and the support e-mail out of the manual I had mailed to, without answer so far.
Thought there could be someone here who could help.

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, I know nothing about the evnetics controller but that won't stop me from asking a few questions to see if it helps. ;)

Do you know what desaturation is? This is found only on IGBTs not mosfets. Desaturation is when the IGBT (big power transistor) is called upon to source so much current that it can't send quite that much current through without dropping additional voltage. Usually IGBTs have a constant voltage drop. It could be 2V, 3V, whatever. But, whether you pull 20A or 200A you get that drop. When you overcome the IGBT it starts to drop more voltage. This is desaturation. Motor controllers have circuitry to monitor the voltage drop and trigger a fault if it suddenly increases to a certain threshold (I believe usually around 7v). So, your controller is saying that there is excessive voltage drop on the IGBT when it is turned on. There are many reasons this could be. For one, the IGBT could be blown. I don't know if your controller uses one big brick or many little IGBTs but either way one or more could be cooked. Another possibility is that the desat circuitry has gone faulty. I'd suspect that this isn't quite as likely as blowing the IGBTs. That's a kind of popular controller failure, especially if you like to really step on the accelerator. You said it quit after a hard stop which still could be an IGBT or something else getting a cracked solder joint or something.

Sorry, I can't be of more help. It sounds to me like your issue is something that will need to be resolved on the bench by someone with the equipment to test the various portions and see where the fault lies.
Hi Collin,
I would love to check it myself, but my knowledge isn't good enough :-/
If anyone could locate the problem I could change resistors, capacitors or IGBTs, but I couldn't point the failure :-/

Unfortunately there is no-one I could ask near by to take a look inside the controller :-/

A loosened connection I would exclude. It wasn't such a hard break and there is not so much to loosen in this controller.

So the more plausible issue I think could be a broken driver board for the IGBT or the IGBT itself is broken?.

If I would disassemble the controller, would you be able to explain a IGBT test to me?
If it's "only" the IGBT it sounds like a feasible repair.
 

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Hi Michael,
the support form isn't working correct and the support e-mail out of the manual I had mailed to, without answer so far.
Thought there could be someone here who could help.

Michael
If you tried that direct support email that is best. You could also PM Tesseract here since he seems to be here regularly. I hope you get it resolved and back on the road. Best Wishes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you tried that direct support email that is best. You could also PM Tesseract here since he seems to be here regularly. I hope you get it resolved and back on the road. Best Wishes.
Unfortunately Tesseract has switched off his PMs, at least for me ;-)
Hope he gets aware of this thread.
 

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Hi Collin,
I would love to check it myself, but my knowledge isn't good enough :-/
If anyone could locate the problem I could change resistors, capacitors or IGBTs, but I couldn't point the failure :-/

Unfortunately there is no-one I could ask near by to take a look inside the controller :-/

So the more plausible issue I think could be a broken driver board for the IGBT or the IGBT itself is broken?.

If I would disassemble the controller, would you be able to explain a IGBT test to me?
If it's "only" the IGBT it sounds like a feasible repair.
Well, maybe but we're talking about a very high power controller and some of the parts are very static sensitive. Also, a lot of the testing ends up in the realm of oscilloscopes and logic analyzers and not too many people have those things laying around. If it were an IGBT brick then it is possible you could purchase a replacement and install it but you'd have to be super careful. You really can blow a $600 IGBT brick in a heartbeat with a little excess static electricity. So, if you can help it you really want Evnetics to take a look at it for you. I know that's kind of a pain being that it involves thousands of miles/kilometers of shipping and much waiting as this is not their real business anymore. But, I'm not sure I could suggest that you take the thing apart.

I hope you're able to get a hold of Evnetics. Try calling the number as someone else suggested. They are something like 6 hours behind you but if you call in the late afternoon your time they ought to be around.
 

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A desat fault is very bad as the IGBT I think only can survive about 100 desat events. So, I wonder if they require a special way to clear the fault, so it won't happen again. Alternatively, if it keeps saying desat fault, I would check the driver section. The default for a disconnected collector wire is "desat fault", at least for the FOD8316 and several other desat detection chips behave that way. So, maybe the high voltage diode failed open, the current limiting resistor that's in line with the high voltage diode failed open, or something else entirely! haha
 

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This is a DC controller. If your IGBT was shorted, you'd have constant full power to your motor. If your fuse isn't blown and your contactor is closed, then the IGBT isn't shorted.

You can also verify this by measuring the anti-parallel diode at the terminals with a multimeter. Set the meter to diode mode and touch the red lead to the battery negative terminal and the black lead to the motor negative terminal (this is assuming the Soliton uses an IGBT on the low side like most DC controllers). You should read around 0.3-0.5V.

You can also check the freewheeling diode in a similar way. Put the red lead on the motor negative terminal and the black lead on the motor positive terminal. The reading should be similar.

My guess is that one of two things is the cause:
1. Something is keeping the IGBT gate from turning on. This will cause a desaturation fault because the voltage across the IGBT will not fall as commanded. This could be a problem with the gate drive power supply, though most gate drive ICs have a separate detection of a power supply failure and this would show up as a different fault. It could also be blown bond wires in the IGBT package. If you read an open circuit during the IGBT diode check, this is probably the case.
2. Something in the desaturation detection circuit is open circuit. The desaturation circuit normally consists of a blocking diode and sometimes a series resistor. If the diode opens, it will cause a desat fault. If the diode shorts, it will cause the resistor to fuse which will also cause a desat fault. It could also be a bad solder joint, though I would have expected that to have shown up earlier than 6yrs of use.

Regardless, hopefully the manufacturer can support you in actually getting it repaired. You really have to know your way around these sort of circuits by feel to be able to make the repairs yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
After a call and some e-mails, the Soliton will return to Florida.
Steve from Evnetics told me, that they will repair it on my costs.
Hope it won't be the worst case of about $800 plus shipping :-/
Fingers crossed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Since may 9th the controller is at evnetics and should be repaired.
Unfortunately communications are tough and the controller is not repaired until now :-/

I'm still waiting for updates with more content then:"Still not repaired. Don't know when it's done."

Very frustrating :-(

Michael
 

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sorry to hear that. I just sent in an email to the support address. I'm hoping they'll respond soon.

keep me updated on your progress. I suspect I'll have to decide soon whether to send the controller to be serviced or just start looking for a new one.

The pickings are kind of slim for new DC controllers these days too though...
 

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Without giving too much inside information that the less-scrupulous among you will use against me/us, the main reason repair has slowed down precipitously is that our former assembly/repair tech who had been coming in a couple days a month on a subcontract basis to do repairs suddenly decided not to bother anymore. This means *I* have to diagnose/repair controllers.

Given that I argued for terminating Soliton production back in 2013, rather than let it linger on, extremely unprofitably, until March of 2015, I am none too pleased at having to deal with this nonsense now.

And yes, I turned off my PMs because too many people here messaged me for technical support (and, I should note, a disturbing number of those inquiries were covered in the manual - I marvel that more of you haven't electrocuted yourselves already...).

I will attempt to catch up on the backlog of repair work this week so please stop harassing Steve until the following week.

And if your controller has suffered a desaturation event, for the love of Bob stop operating it, you'll only increase the repair bill (damage from the first couple of desat events is usually limited to the IGBT module; after that goes the gate driver board; after that potentially everything else goes from rampant arcing inside the enclosure - bus plates, capacitors, wiring harness, main control board, contactor(s), etc.).
 
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