Too lazy to build a smoke stopper? RaceDayQuads and BengineeringLabs have you covered with their “plug and play” solid state smoke inhibitor. It gives you peace of mind when testing new mini quad builds and minimizes the chance of hardware damage due to electrical shorts.
They offer two versions of different connectors, though the specs look to be identical.
How does it work?
The RDQ smoke stopper is basically a PPTC resettable fuse with an LED indicator. Simply use this device in between your battery and mini quad, it’s supposed to stop large current surge from hitting your electronics on the quadcopter.
The PPTC fuse trips when the current reaches 2.2A for longer than 0.5s. The fuse is then reset automatically once it’s cooled down (unplug for 10 seconds).
Contrary to the bulb version smoke stopper, the LED on the PPTC version turns on when it’s okay, and it turns off when there is a short (or too much current passing through).
A Handy Tool !
I haven’t extensively tested this tool. But RaceDayQuads told me that they haven’t received any reports of their smoke stopper failing the purpose. They added, “the only place it would fail is if someone wires a 16V power source to a 5V system, nothing will save that.”
Unlike the DIY light bulb smoke stopper which is rated for 3S LiPo, the RDQ one supports up to 24V (5S). I actually tested it on 6S briefly and it seemed to work just fine. But it’s probably safer to use an empty 6S pack that has a voltage below 24V.
The cost is about the same as building your own using a light bulb, and you don’t have to go through all the trouble with DIY.
And it’s so much more compact and portable! See the size comparison.
The original creator of Smoke Stopper doesn’t seem to be very happy with this product because of the use of the name. He also pointed out the imperfection with PPTC:
It (Solid-State Smoke Stopper Inhibitor from RDQ) allows excessive current to flow for far too long before tripping… It permits much higher inrush current than the bulb and for much longer… Furthermore, this action of the PPTC pretty much eliminates one of the best features of the SmokeStopper™ (bulb version): use as a diagnostic tool for locating the source of the short if it DOES light up.
You can find out more about his claim here: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showpost.php?p=39132360
If you have the RDQ Smoke Stopper, what’s your experience? Let me know in the comment below.
I am giving these away to my Patreon supporters: https://www.patreon.com/oscarliang.