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Old 08-30-2019, 01:06 AM
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Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) for Drone: Types, Ratings, Factors to Consider

The electronic speed controller (ESC) is a powerful component on a drone used to connect the flight controller and the motor. Although some micro drones use brushed motors, mini drones or say quads, which are used in freestyle and racing, make use of brushless motors. Each of the brushless motors requires an ESC and therefore, in a quadcopter, you have to use four electronic speed controllers.

An ESC works by receiving a signal from the flight controller and power from the battery to make the brushless motor spin. Just as the name implies, brushless motor lacks contacts. Brushes in a motor, which act as the commutator, use physical contact of the motorís windings to rotate the motor.

Since a brushless motor doesnít have brushes, it uses a different way to convert direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). So, this conversion is performed externally with the use of an ESC.

If you are going to buy electronic speed controllers for drone, it is important to know how many types they are available in, what ratings they have, and what to consider while purchasing them. So, letís discuss all these concepts in brief.

Types of FPV Drone Electronic Speed Controller

The design and type of ESCs are continuously evolving to meet the demands of FPV (first-person view) drone pilots. They play a significant role in the performance of the drone. Therefore, improvements are continually being made in the ESCs hardware.

A few basic types of ESCs are available in the market named as:

  • BLHELI_32 ESC - pronounced as B L Heli 32 and also known as KISS. It is controlled by onboard 32-bit processors.
  • BLHELI_S ESC - it is equipped with the 8-bit processors.
  • 4-IN-1 ESC - all 4 ESCs are combined to form one circuit board
  • Individual ESC - just an individual unit

Ratings of FPV Drone Electronic Speed Controller

ESCs are rated based on the amount of current that can pass to motors. While larger motors require more current to operate, smaller motors need a small amount of current to spin. When it comes to voltages, most drone operators currently use 4S batteries that operate at 16.8 volts, however, the trend recently started to change as some race organizers are encouraging pilots to use 5S and 6S batteries.

So, apart from amperage, ESCs are also rated in their capacity of how much voltage they can handle. Check out How Rating of Electronic Speed Controllers for Drone is Determined

Choosing the Right FPV Drone Electronic Speed Controller

There are mainly three considerations that you need to know about.
  • Size of Motor: The motor size will help you know the amperage your ESC must be able to handle.
  • Propeller: It will also dictate how much amp rating your ESC should be. You should know how many propellers your drone will be spinning - 3, 4, 5, or 6, what kind of performance you are expecting, and what kind of propeller pitch you will use.
  • Battery: Are you using a 3-cell battery or 4, 5, or 6-cell battery? ESCs are rated for amperage along with battery cells too.

So, whenever you need to buy electronic speed controllers for drone, you need to consider all these factors to make the right choice.
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Last edited by oashobby; 08-30-2019 at 01:22 AM.
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