rc servo troubleshooting

RC Servo Troubleshooting: 5 Common Servo Issues!

Being an RC car owner can be very frustrating. Because you have to deal with so many problems! Anything can just stop working without any warning, especially the servo.

While the servo issues can be daunting, they can be fixed! 

So, exactly how is the process of RC servo troubleshooting done?

The RC servo troubleshooting process begins with identifying if your RC servo is responding or not. After that, you need to look into other issues like not centering properly and not running smoothly. Some other problems that you may come across while troubleshooting is your RC servo jittering or twitching. 

Now, these were only the problems, right? You obviously want to know about the causes and solutions too!

So, without further ado, let’s start!

How to Tell if RC Servo is Bad or Broken

Before moving forward, you obviously need to identify if it is your servo that’s bad. Otherwise, you might be going in the wrong direction from the start. 

Source: learn.sparkfun.com

So, how can you check the condition of your servo? Well, it’s quite easy actually.

First, turn on your RC car and use the transmitter to check if the wheels respond. If they do, then you have to check the throttle. Is it not working? I think you’re already able to guess where this is going. 

But there is still something left to do.

Next, connect your steering servo to your throttle. Do turn off the power before you take out your throttle servo. Then, check the throttle and they should probably work just fine.

Now you know that your servo is the culprit! If you don’t want to go through the trouble, you can get a servo tester. They are quite cheap and extremely useful. 

Here are some top recommendations from my personal experience-

You can now replace your servo using this guide-

How to: Replacing a Steering Servo in your RC Car

As you are now aware of your servo condition, you might have concerns about servo issues. Fear not my dear friend! Because I’ll walk you through all the common issues with servos.

So, brace yourself because this will be a long ride!

Top 5 Common RC Servo Problems

I won’t drag the discussion too much because I know what you want. So, let’s start with five very frequently noticed problems among RC car users.

Problem 1: RC Servo Not Responding

It’s not uncommon for your servo to stop working without any particular reason. But in most cases, you will be able to identify the problem. If your RC servo stops responding to the transmitter, you can check it manually first.

Source: bc-robotics.com

Or, you can use the servo tester to check the condition. Usually, physical damage or faulty connection is the culprit behind the RC servo not responding.

Now, let’s get on to the solution to this issue.

Solution

Well, I don’t have any good news for you. I have to say that there’s not much you can do with a faulty servo. So, the only solution to this issue is to change your RC servo as soon as possible.

If you have any spare servo lying around, good for you. Otherwise, a servo replacement is what you’re looking for. 

Here are some of our tried and tested servo replacements that we swear by: 

Problem 2: RC Servo Not Centering

Are you facing any issues with your centering your RC servo? I know it’s quite annoying when it does not center perfectly. The centering problem is mainly caused by heavy crashes or damages.

If you recently faced any heavy landing or gearing problems, then you already know the cause. It explains why your wheels are not centering properly.

This problem can be seen in the steering servo as well. Sometimes, your steering servo won’t turn all the way. As a result, the steering servo needs troubleshooting. 

But the good thing is that the centering problem can be easily fixed! Let’s have a look at how to solve this issue.

Solution

When you’re sure that your servo is the culprit, you can use this troubleshooting process. First, take a servo tester, and connect your servo to it. Be careful to plug the wires the right way.

Then, take a battery and connect it to the servo tester. Again, check the connection well, and don’t put the battery wires in the servo section. 

Note that not all batteries are suitable for servos. For your convenience here’s a list of batteries with connector types for you to choose from: 

Now, you set the switch to neutral mode and center the servo. Put the cap on and see if it shows a 90-degree angle. Once you’re done with that, your servo is now perfectly centered!

However, check your gears too when you’re at it. Because they can get damaged too and you might have to replace servo gears.

Problem 3: RC Servo Not Smooth

A not-so-smooth RC servo can get on your nerves. Because the car sessions will be very shaky and rough. How long can you tolerate those jumpy mechanics?

Usually, a power-hungry servo is a reason behind the shaky experience. There can be other reasons too. But most of the time too much power intake creates this issue.

So, how to deal with such an overpowering issue? Let’s find out!

Solution

You can start solving this issue after you’ve confirmed some basic things. First, look for the voltage rate of your servo. If your servo can take voltage from 6V to 8.4V, then you can solve this issue in a snap!

The first way to make your servo smooth is by adding a cap on the receiver. It will help your servo to regulate the current pull more efficiently. 

The second method is to use a CC BEC only for your RC servo. It provides the perfect voltage rate to stop any kind of jumpy or jittery car traveling. You can check out the Share Goo Power Module Output for this. 

Problem 4: RC Servo Jittering

Jittering is another problem that can make your RC car experience hell! And most of the time, you can’t even identify what caused it!

So, what causes RC servo jitter?

When you accelerate or decelerate your servo roughly, it can cause such jittering issues. Similar to that, load inertia and faulty wiring can also be the culprit of RC car jitter.

Are you itching to know how to make your servo fine again? Then, move on to the solution segment.

Solution

First of all, your servo can be faulty or damaged because of overuse and crashes. So, before anything, check for any critical damages on your RC servo.

If there’s no damage, notice if the wiring has come loose. Because your servo may be suffering from not getting enough power due to the connection. Resolve the wiring and you’ll be good to go!

Problem 5: RC Servo Twitching

Frustrated with your servo because of continuous twitching? You must have tried various tests to know what’s the reason. But still could not figure it out! Because this is not the same case as the RC car steering servo twitching.

Now, you might be wondering, “Why does my RC servo twitch?”

The twitching can be the result of dust or dirt sinking into the servo. Also, moisture and water droplets can be the cause too!

Source: learn.sparkfun.com

But just learning about the reason is not enough, is it? Let’s find out how you can fix this issue.

Solution

The absolute killer way to solve this issue is to use a non-residue contact cleaner. Don’t have any? 

Here are some good-quality products that I can suggest with my eyes closed-

You can use this type of cleaner to clean the dust from the servo. But be careful when you unscrew the servo. Otherwise, you might damage the servo internally.

That’s all the servo problems and troubleshooting you’ll ever need to know!

FAQs

How Do You Center a Steering Servo?

To center the steering servo, you have to detach the servo from the RC car. Then, pick up your transmitter and check the alignment of the wheels. Notice the steering mechanism thoroughly. After you align the wheel properly, put the servo back on the car. Now, your steering servo is centered!

How Can I Test My Servo?

The best way to test your servo is to use a servo tester. You can get one at a very affordable price from any online or offline RC store. The servo tester lets you check the servo travel, any stripped gears, and so on. Along with those testing, you can use it to determine if the servo is bad.

What is A RC Servo Saver?

Servo savers are basically a protecting unit for your RC servos to avoid burnout. It is usually shaped like a horn or an arm. The design makes it unique and sturdy to resist any strong jolt of current. A U-shaped component inside the servo saver receives any large current or shock.

Endnote

At the end of the discussion, I hope you have found what you were looking for. We have tried to covered many RC servo troubleshooting methods for you!

You are now ready to solve any servo issue that comes your way. So, don’t be afraid and enjoy your car’s wild rides!

Best of luck!

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