IQ Motor Module

The first drone motor with position sensing

Jan 16, 2019

Project update 11 of 21

Almost There

We wanted to give an update on your motors as we enter the new year!

Here’s a quick summary: a manufacturing mistake has caused delays, but the motors will be shipped in early February if all goes well.

Manufacturing Issues:

We got the first shipment of motors (about 100) in early December, but when we assembled and tested the first module, we realized the position sensor was not working. The manufacturer had put the wrong type of magnet in the shaft. They used an axial magnet instead of a diametric magnet. The magnet rotary encoder on our PCB can only get position information from a diametric magnet, so we had to inform the manufacturer of their mistake.


To fix this problem, we had two options:

  1. Have the motor manufacturer replace the magnets in the rotors
  2. Have the motor manufacturer make new rotors

The former option would have been quicker, but the process of pressing out the original magnet required us to break the aluminum end stop inside the shaft of the motor. We did this ourselves for the motors in the first shipment (so that we could test them), but the process was less than ideal. While breaking the end stop itself didn’t seem to cause a problem with motor performance, we introduced new issues like dust getting into the rotors upon disassembly. So, we decided that it was best to deliver modules with new, fully-intact rotors. Sadly, this meant delaying delivery time by another month.

How did this happen?:

As you can imagine, we were extremely frustrated when we discovered the manufacturer used the wrong type of magnet. After finalizing the design in November, we provided everything necessary for them to begin manufacturing, including a link to the exact supplier and type of magnet we wanted them to order for the shaft. Also, we have done several small production runs with them this past year as we’ve honed in our design, and they have always used the right type of magnet. In other words, this is the last thing we expected to go wrong.

Apparently, the supplier that we provided had run out of our particular part, so the motor manufacturer sourced magnets from a different supplier. The magnets they ended up ordering were of the proper size, but of the wrong type. They had the right intentions, but missed the diametric property. To their credit, they owned the mistake and agreed to remake the rotors.

Updated Delivery Time:

As I mentioned, we realized that the motors were unusable in early December. At that point, the manufacturer told us it would take several weeks to get the new rotors ready. More specifically, on December 13th, they told us the motors would be shipped by December 26th. Our frustration with them has continued over the past month because they have continuously delayed delivery. So far, we’ve only received around 400 modules (~200 Speed Modules and ~200 Position Modules), which is not enough to fulfill our Crowd Supply deliveries. As of January 15th, the manufacturer has said the remaining motors will be shipped the week of January 21st.

If the motors arrive later next week, we will aim to send the assembled modules by January 31st. With a quick turnaround from Crowd Supply, the motors should get to you by the second week of February.

Silver Lining:

Not having 1,000 motors to assemble and calibrate in December meant we had some extra time to improve firmware and user experience. So what did we add?

  1. Built out IQ GUI - users will be able to change all module settings in our GUI
  2. Connect to IQ GUI using FC as a passthrough with Betaflight - prior to this, you needed a USB to UART connector (FTDI chip) or Arduino to access the GUI
  3. Telemetry output
  4. DShot and PWM rewrite to make the module safer
  5. Change settings through special DShot messages
  6. Added safety features for current and temperature limiting
  7. Increased range (number of spins) for position module without losing accuracy. Tested over 100,000 turns without losing position!!
  8. User experience tester - ZoeFPV is testing some of the fixed motors. Her feedback will allow us to improve our instruction manual, GUI, and possibly some last minute firmware tweaks prior to launch

We really appreciate your support and patience as we make the final push to get you the best motors possible!

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