"Hacking" firmware of off the shelf ESP based products

lodestone

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Being very deep into home automation, and now re-entering the reef hobby, I've been thinking of ways to cross the two hobbies. I've come up with very little in my searching, but Google seems to pigeonhole you into whatever they want these days making it difficult to wander off the beaten path.

Has anyone explored reflashing off the shelf products with open source firmware such as Tasmota or Esphome? I've recently purchased a few of the newer M-series Jebao pumps/wavemakers. Cracked open the controller for my MDP-20000 and found an ESP8266 for wifi. I'm assuming the controllers for the two MLW-30's I just bought have the same or similar chips.

I'm working on re-tooling a dedicated Home Assistant server into what I'm dubbing "Reef Assistant". I've got a bunch of esp8266/esp32 boards monitoring and controlling basic functions, but am ready to start going a little deeper with this. Before I start bricking controllers, has anyone come across working instances of reflashed hardware? Pumps, wavemakers, automatic feeders, lights, etc etc.

I'm very hopeful for this project - my wife's ReefLED 50 is ESP based, my AI Hydra 26HD's seem to be ESP based, and I know there's ESP based automatic feeders on Amazon that I'm tempted to toy with, as well as the wifi Jebao stuff.

If no one has seen anything like this, but there's interest in it on the forum, I'm also considering starting a YouTube channel to document my journey and throw some tutorials out there for the community (and probably get some sternly worded C&D letters from some manufacturers).
Use different search engines. You are right they pigeon hole sreaches. Duckduckgo, yahoo, ect. I seem to get more accurate results with duckduckgo but their technology clickers ect bots that screw with results sometimes. Depends what your looking for, but jailbreaking and overriding should work in most searches.

Apex sales some cross platform boxes I think, but unsure if that is what your looking for.
 

jtm235

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Have you measured power consumption/water flow compared to the pumps original controller?

I have read about others using generic BLDC controllers but most seem to see diminished output from the pump. Presumably due to the controller parameters not being well matched to the specific pump. What is your experience? Any issues with controlling at low speed, stalling or motor heat?
I'm using those BLDC controllers I referenced on several of my pumps and haven't noticed any difference vs the OEM controllers. I also haven't done any flow tests either, but those amazon controllers are rated for 300W and each pump uses well under that. I'm not an electrical expert by any means...but from what I've gathered, the core circuitry in any 3-phase (hall-less) BLDC motor driver is all the same. They all have 6 mosfet looking transistors that alternate the voltage on each phase in an analog triggered fashion. Based on the reviews, those controllers get problematic when using them close to their full capacity, or if using the hall version (if anyone buys them- you most likely need the "hall-LESS" version). I also bought pumps well above the flow rates I needed. Running the Hygger 24V (2120 gph) as a sump pump at around 40%- the OEM controller for that pump looked pretty cheap, comparatively. Everything's so quiet I have to check to make sure it's on sometimes....I was even thinking of running two powerheads on 1 controller...I'll see how that works out.
 

lodestone

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You know more about the technical side of that then me for sure. Mosfet killer is typically heat related. You have to be pushing them pretty hard for that to happen. I am relating that to RC hobby voltage regulators that uses them. Only time I ran into an issue was pushing max amps/voltage.

Hope you find what your looking for.
 

All_talk

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I'm using those BLDC controllers I referenced on several of my pumps and haven't noticed any difference vs the OEM controllers. I also haven't done any flow tests either, but those amazon controllers are rated for 300W and each pump uses well under that. I'm not an electrical expert by any means...but from what I've gathered, the core circuitry in any 3-phase (hall-less) BLDC motor driver is all the same. They all have 6 mosfet looking transistors that alternate the voltage on each phase in an analog triggered fashion. Based on the reviews, those controllers get problematic when using them close to their full capacity, or if using the hall version (if anyone buys them- you most likely need the "hall-LESS" version). I also bought pumps well above the flow rates I needed. Running the Hygger 24V (2120 gph) as a sump pump at around 40%- the OEM controller for that pump looked pretty cheap, comparatively. Everything's so quiet I have to check to make sure it's on sometimes....I was even thinking of running two powerheads on 1 controller...I'll see how that works out.
Good to here the setup is working well.

I have some experience with BLDC controllers from another hobby and there are a list of driver parameters that can (and in some cases, must) be fine tuned for a given motor to preform efficiently in a specific application. I have thought about using one of those controllers with flow pumps. Based on your experience maybe control of flow pumps is not that demanding.
 

jtm235

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Good to here the setup is working well.

I have some experience with BLDC controllers from another hobby and there are a list of driver parameters that can (and in some cases, must) be fine tuned for a given motor to preform efficiently in a specific application. I have thought about using one of those controllers with flow pumps. Based on your experience maybe control of flow pumps is not that demanding.
Interesting...i'll have to keep an eye on their performance...so far so good though
 

theatrus

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Good to here the setup is working well.

I have some experience with BLDC controllers from another hobby and there are a list of driver parameters that can (and in some cases, must) be fine tuned for a given motor to preform efficiently in a specific application. I have thought about using one of those controllers with flow pumps. Based on your experience maybe control of flow pumps is not that demanding.

Yes, this.

I experimented replacing the drive controller using a self-container Allegro BLDC driver years ago, and there was a ton of tuning to even get commutation stable at all speeds (or any speed).

I suspect a lot of pumps are very similarly wound and built in the import market, so its more likely to be successful, but its very much not the case you can have a top performing (or even barely working) generic BLDC driver across the range of motors.
 

jtm235

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Yes, this.

I experimented replacing the drive controller using a self-container Allegro BLDC driver years ago, and there was a ton of tuning to even get commutation stable at all speeds (or any speed).

I suspect a lot of pumps are very similarly wound and built in the import market, so its more likely to be successful, but its very much not the case you can have a top performing (or even barely working) generic BLDC driver across the range of motors.
I was doing some general research on BLDC drivers and found that some "hall-less" drivers use "back EMF" to monitor position and regulate drive. I think some of the params you are referring to involve that back EMF feedback/control...but it seems like this is mostly for high power and precision BLDC applications. I have no idea of the Amazon controllers I referenced use this...but I'm leaning towards no...In any case, I am running 5 of those controllers on these pumps and powerheads without any issues whatsoever...and barely any heat dissipation on the controllers:

Jebao SOW-8 Wavemaker (x2)
Jebao DCP-2500
hygger 2120
Reef Octopus OCTO Regal 150

I may be crazy but the Jebao pumps actually seem to run quieter with the Amazon controllers. I did just set my system up so time will tell in terms of long-term reliability...but like I said before these controllers look higher quality than what's inside of any of the OEM controllers.
 

theatrus

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I was doing some general research on BLDC drivers and found that some "hall-less" drivers use "back EMF" to monitor position and regulate drive. I think some of the params you are referring to involve that back EMF feedback/control...but it seems like this is mostly for high power and precision BLDC applications. I have no idea of the Amazon controllers I referenced use this...but I'm leaning towards no...In any case, I am running 5 of those controllers on these pumps and powerheads without any issues whatsoever...and barely any heat dissipation on the controllers:

Jebao SOW-8 Wavemaker (x2)
Jebao DCP-2500
hygger 2120
Reef Octopus OCTO Regal 150

I may be crazy but the Jebao pumps actually seem to run quieter with the Amazon controllers. I did just set my system up so time will tell in terms of long-term reliability...but like I said before these controllers look higher quality than what's inside of any of the OEM controllers.


BLDC drivers are either hall-sensor or back EMF. You can’t reliably commutate a motor without knowing what it’s doing.

I expect the Amazon drivers are all tested across the common aquarium pump blocks and have been tuned roughly for them. And yes, it’s possible the third party controllers did it better than the stock ones - those were probably built to be as cheap as possible.
 

iggy2k

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Hi, any chance you could link the controller you used? There's loads on amazon, and im not completely sure what im looking for.
 

hwinkel

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I'm using those BLDC controllers I referenced on several of my pumps and haven't noticed any difference vs the OEM controllers. I also haven't done any flow tests either, but those amazon controllers are rated for 300W and each pump uses well under that. I'm not an electrical expert by any means...but from what I've gathered, the core circuitry in any 3-phase (hall-less) BLDC motor driver is all the same. They all have 6 mosfet looking transistors that alternate the voltage on each phase in an analog triggered fashion. Based on the reviews, those controllers get problematic when using them close to their full capacity, or if using the hall version (if anyone buys them- you most likely need the "hall-LESS" version). I also bought pumps well above the flow rates I needed. Running the Hygger 24V (2120 gph) as a sump pump at around 40%- the OEM controller for that pump looked pretty cheap, comparatively. Everything's so quiet I have to check to make sure it's on sometimes....I was even thinking of running two powerheads on 1 controller...I'll see how that works out.
The links to the controllers seems broken, can you reshare them ?
 
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snackpack

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The links to the controllers seems broken, can you reshare them ?
I just got this one delivered yesterday. I probably won't get back on the project any time soon, but I'll update once it's working!

Edit: Amazon link won't post.

RioRand 300W 5-50V PWM DC Brushless Electric Motor Speed Controller with Hall-Less​

 

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