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Locked at full speed - out of control multiple motors with same shaft - PPM app issue over CANbus

Being following the thread and doing some testing with the beta versions I’m having some issues with PPM app.

I was thinking you guys might have a clue on this.


  • I have 4 motors all connected together to the same shaft and all are running FOC (190kv BLDC sensored, using 12s battery).

  • Control mode is DutyCycle (can’t use current control as we need to precise control speed with and without load)

  • I have them all connected with CANbus using 4x HW6 from flipsky.

  • Master setting is with PPM, slaves NO APP and they run OK using PPM receiver. FW version I tested 4.2, 5.0, 5.1 and beta 5.2


  • If I pass 90 to 100% of the throttle (that reflect in above 86% of duty cycle), I have this repeatable behavior of having the motors giving a boost in speed (usually the slaves) and then locked at full speed. Sometimes it stops at about 4 to 5 seconds, other times I need to unplug power to make this to stop.

  • This happened to me before while using HW4.12 but it was random. Now I can replicate it and I can’t figure out the issue.


  • If I have the motors disconnected from the shaft (not all spinning together / mechanically locked together) this behavior does not happen in duty cycle

  • If I have the motors disconnected from the shaft (not all spinning together / mechanically locked together) this behavior happen if PID speed control is used

  • HW have 3 phase shunts, switching frequency is at 25khz,

  • I’m not using “sample in V0 and V7” an “High Current Sampling Mode”.

  • Similar behavior 1:

  • Similar behavior 2:

I tried a lot of settings combination and I loosing hopes to solve it. Do you guys have some hints on how to solve this issue? Maybe some settings or you think it might be related with FW?

Thanks in advance


I think we all just want to see a picture of your setup :sweat_smile: What application is this for?


I think it might be a known bug.

In Motor_Settings>General>Advanced, change Duty Cycle Current Limit Start to 85% from 100%

If Duty Cycle Current Limit Start is higher than Maximum Duty Cycle then you get some wonky stuff happening. Those default to 95% and 100%, respectively, which might be the problem.


It’s a carrier to move loads, but the behavior is similar to a 4 wheel drive kart/sk8: if you take the wheels from the ground, no issues, as soon as you have all 4 wheels on the ground (locked motors together / common shaft) it happens.

I did describe it as locked motor shaft because it was the way I have to replicate the issues. It took me a while to understand why it only happens when the carrier was on the ground, as on the table, upside down, it never happens (as each motor can have their own rotation)


Thanks! We have it on default 95%.
I will give this a try and I think it might work (as it will mimic the duty cycle percentage when we limit throttle to 90%).

I just didn’t wanted to sacrifice that 10% on duty cycle, but if there is no other solution, we have to.

You think other settings can also help on avoiding this?

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I think you could consider using a different firmware version on the vesc? I don’t remember some older versions having this issue

OK, so here goes the resuming of relevant results after a full testing day:

Combo A: Reducing the max duty cycle from 95% to 85%

  • Boost in speed: solved
  • Locked at full speed: not solved

Combo B: keep Duty Cycle at 95 and using only maximum 90% of throttle

  • Boost in speed: solved (it represents about 85% duty cycle)
  • Locked at full speed: solved

Combo C: keep Duty Cycle at 95, lower the switching frequency from 25khz to 20khz

  • Boost in speed: no effect (its really a thing with the max duty cycle)
  • Locked at full speed: seems to be even worst

Combo D: keep Duty Cycle at 95, activate both “sample in V0 and V7” an “High Current Sampling Mode"

  • Boost in speed: no effect
  • Locked at full speed: solved if throttle is pressed forward, not solved / random if throttle is pressed backwards

So, I’m not the best to make this assumptions or conclusions, but looks like frequency had some impact on the “lock at full speed” and it looks like it’s something that happens if the throttle is pressed full and usually are the slaves that gives the error and everything gets locked at full speed. Maybe related with the PPM app or canbus communications?

I think if I interrupt the canbus communication, the slave motors will be locked at full speed. Might this be something to look at?

Anyone have an ideas on how this can be addressed so the solution can be reproduced by others?

Thanks guys.

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This is the point when I’d call for backup.

@Deodand do you know what could cause this?

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It sounds like he isn’t changing the correct setting you mentioned @b264. I think he is changing max_duty_cycle not duty_cycle_current_limit_start.


You are correct! I limited the max duty cycle, not the “duty_cycle_current_limit_start”.
I will give it a go later today and let you know the results by:

duty_cycle_current_limit_start = 85% / max_duty_cycle = 95%
duty_cycle_current_limit_start = 85% / max_duty_cycle = 85%

Just to add something to the discussing, this happens with or without load, so when unloaded, current is very low. For this reason, you think duty_cycle_current_limit_start might be a solution?

After reaching ‘Duty current limit start’ any current will be ramped-down to zero when ‘max duty cycle’ is reached. So yeah, that might be a solution.

(You can interpret the “max_duty_cycle” as “duty cycle current limit end”; After this value, any input will have zero output)


I did the tests with the duty_cycle_current_limit_start = 85%

If I disable the “sample in V0 and V7” and “High Current Sampling Mode”, I still get the motors locked at full speed

If enabled “sample in V0 and V7” and “High Current Sampling Mode”, it looks similar to have the duty_cycle_current_limit_start = 100%. It didn’t locked when going backwards (before it happens)

Looks like this locked at full speed is still not fully addresed. It might be interesting to see if other have same issue with different HW. I used HW4.12 and I can definitely see this happening as well (altough not so frequent).

Just to confirm I did all correct, here are the settings:


You tried bldc mode instead of foc, didn’t you?

HW4.12 is famous for it’s bad behavior if FOC, so, for example, I stick with the BLDC, since I prefer stability instead of additional features or efficiency (my face costs more for me :slight_smile: )

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Aren’t you driving your motors with duty cycle mode ?
If so, duty cycle current limit shouldn’t apply. It doesn’t really makes sense.
But its implementation is maybe general for all modes.
I’ll try to see in the code how it works (when I catch some spare time).


Thanks! I really would like to find the route cause of this, but I’m not able to look into codding.

Just as food for thought, if I disconnect or quick disconnect/connect quickly the canbus wire while in full speed, it gets locked in full speed (I have snug connection, so it is not vibrations causing this).

But Might it be something related with this? I mean, on the FW routines some are processed before or not in the correct time, making it loose connection and keeps locked at full?

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Hey guys! Any other ideas you might think that can help to solve this?

I’m still struggling to have this working without locking the machine at full speed and it seem I can’t find the setting that makes this work besides lower the duty cycle under 85%, as the diference to 95% makes a big difference in term of what we need.

Any comments or suggestion you might have will be really appreciated.
Thank you all again.

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What battery amps and motor amps do you use?

All i know is there was a weird fucky behaviour a while ago if you set battery amps higher than motor amps, but that was in current control mode (could be that they fixed current mode because people were complaining but didn’t look further)
Another theory is that at max erpm the esc is simply too queued up to respond to input changes, but that’s a loong stretch of imagination

Another thing to try is setting vescs at 30khz (adding v0/v7 at this point might be too much for the stm chip)
And cycling through can status message modes (default is 1_2_3_4) lower sends less info, so less to process. You find this in app config, general
Check the input, as well as measure the voltage the esc lets out in the 3.3v and 5v rails.
I’m out of ideas so far


@Deodand Am I wrong thinking that these are settings that should not be user defined at all?

How come these are not preset or pre limited from standard so it cannot be source of wheel lock at all?

Cheers up for your patience @Filcas

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That’s what I am wondering as well, especially as there are known settings like equal values of “max duty cycle” and “duty cycle current limit start” that cause reproducible and severe issues. Try it. The wheels lock up when they reach near max speed.

I understand that VESC gives the user a lot of freedom, but I would appreciate at least a warning from VESC tool.


I think I’ll pass on that