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Why Won’t My Traxxas XL5 ESC Turn On?

If your Traxxas XL5 ESC will not turn on keep reading to learn why and what you can do about it. Also, learn if it can handle a LiPo battery. And finally, what the motor limit of this ESC is.

Why Won’t My Traxxas XL5 ESC Turn On?

Here are the most common reasons for this:

Battery Issues

One of the most common reasons for your Traxxas XL5 ESC not turning on could be battery-related. Here are some battery-related issues you might face:

  • Low Battery: Ensure that your batteries are fully charged. An undercharged or weak battery will not provide enough power for the ESC to turn on.
  • Battery Connections: Check if your battery connections are clean and secure. Corrosion or loose connections can interrupt the power supply to the ESC.
  • Faulty Battery: Over time, batteries can develop faults or fail. You might want to try another battery to see if the issue is battery-related.

Wiring Issues

Electrical problems, like poor wiring, can also cause your ESC to malfunction:

  • Loose Wires: Check all wire connections between the ESC and the battery, motor, and receiver. Any loose connections can prevent the ESC from turning on.
  • Damaged Wires: Inspect all the wires for any visible damage, such as frayed wires or cuts. Any kind of wire damage can interrupt the power supply.

ESC Issues

Sometimes, the problem may lie within the ESC itself:

  • Overheating: If your ESC has been working hard for an extended period, it might have overheated and entered a protective shutdown state. Allow it to cool down before trying to power it up again.
  • Water Damage: The Traxxas XL5 ESC is designed to be waterproof. However, if exposed to water for a prolonged time or in harsh conditions, it might still suffer damage. Make sure it’s thoroughly dried and cleaned after exposure to water.
  • Internal Faults: Like any electronic device, the ESC can develop internal faults over time. If none of the above solutions work, you may have a defective ESC that needs replacement.

Firmware or Calibration Issues

Lastly, firmware or calibration issues can prevent your ESC from turning on:

  • Outdated Firmware: Ensure your ESC firmware is up-to-date. Outdated firmware can cause compatibility issues that prevent the ESC from functioning correctly.
  • Incorrect Calibration: If your ESC is incorrectly calibrated, it may refuse to turn on. Refer to your user manual for instructions on how to correctly calibrate your ESC.

Can a Traxxas XL5 Handle LiPo?

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Yes, the Traxxas XL5 can handle LiPo batteries. But it’s essential to note that using a LiPo battery requires a slightly different approach compared to NiMH batteries.

The Traxxas XL5 ESC comes with a Low Voltage Detection (LVD) mode, which is essential for safely using LiPo batteries. When LiPo batteries are discharged too much, it can cause damage to the battery and reduce its lifespan.

The LVD mode on the XL5 is designed to prevent this from happening by reducing power to the motor when the LiPo battery voltage drops to a certain level, preventing the battery from being over-discharged.

It’s important to ensure that the LVD is activated when using LiPo batteries. If the LVD is off, the ESC will allow the LiPo battery to continue supplying power even when the voltage drops below a safe level. This can lead to an over-discharged LiPo battery, which can pose a safety risk.

Choosing the Right LiPo Battery

While the Traxxas XL5 can indeed handle LiPo batteries, not all LiPo batteries are the same. It’s crucial to choose the right one to ensure your vehicle performs optimally and safely.

Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Voltage: LiPo batteries are categorized by cell count (S). A single LiPo cell has a nominal voltage of 3.7V. The Traxxas XL5 can handle 2S LiPo batteries (7.4V) without any issue. However, it is not designed to handle higher voltage batteries such as 3S (11.1V) or more.
  • Capacity: The capacity of a LiPo battery is measured in milliamp hours (mAh). Higher mAh ratings mean that the battery will last longer before needing to be recharged. Just keep in mind that a higher capacity also means a larger and heavier battery, which can impact the vehicle’s performance.
  • Discharge rate: The discharge rate (C rating) is how fast a battery can provide power. A higher C rating provides more power, but it also drains the battery faster.

What is the Motor Limit on a Traxxas XL5 ESC?

The motor limit on an ESC refers to the maximum size or power of the motor that the ESC can safely control. For the Traxxas XL5 ESC, the motor limit specification is as follows:

  • Brushed motors: 12 turns or more
  • Brushless motors: Not applicable (The Traxxas XL5 ESC is not compatible with brushless motors)

The turn number of a motor refers to the number of wire windings, or ‘turns,’ around each of the motor’s armature. In simple terms, a lower turn number typically indicates a faster motor, while a higher turn number generally suggests a slower motor with more torque.

For brushed motors, the Traxxas XL5 can control motors with 12 turns or more. This specification makes it suitable for most general-use RC applications and is capable of delivering impressive speeds for your RC model.

However, it’s worth noting that the XL5 ESC is not designed to work with brushless motors. Brushless motors and brushed motors use different operating principles, and they require different types of ESCs.

Brushless motors are generally more efficient and more powerful than brushed motors, but they also require a more sophisticated and generally more expensive ESC.