What is a Electric Speed ​​​​Controller (electronic speed controller) or abbreviated - ESC for drone?

What Is a Electric Speed ​​​​Controller (Electronic Speed Controller) or Abbreviated — ESC for Drone?

What is a Electric Speed ​​​​Controller (electronic speed controller) or abbreviated - ESC for drone?

Definition

Speed ​​con­trollers — in the Eng­lish-speak­ing com­mu­ni­ty are called — Elec­tric Speed ​​​​Con­troller (elec­tron­ic speed con­troller) or abbre­vi­at­ed — ESC. The main task of the ESC is to trans­fer ener­gy from the bat­tery to the brush­less motor. The need for their use arose due to some fea­tures of the BC — motor. In short, the bat­tery sup­plies direct cur­rent, while the brush­less motor receives three-phase alter­nat­ing cur­rent.

What is a Electric Speed ​​​​Controller (electronic speed controller) or abbreviated - ESC for drone?

Principle of operation

Communication with other components of the multicopter.

The ESC input receives volt­age from the bat­tery and sig­nals from the flight con­troller, and the ESC out­puts con­trol volt­age for the actu­a­tor. Accord­ing­ly, the reg­u­la­tor must ensure:

  1. Flight con­troller com­pat­i­ble.
  2. Max­i­mum cur­rent for motor (cal­cu­lat­ed from motor and pro­peller spec­i­fi­ca­tions) plus 20 — 30%.
  3. The cur­rent con­sump­tion is less than the cur­rent sup­plied by the bat­tery divid­ed by the num­ber of ESCs.

What is a Electric Speed ​​​​Controller (electronic speed controller) or abbreviated - ESC for drone?

*Sim­ple wiring dia­gram.

What are the regulators?

BEC and UBEC

In addi­tion to the main func­tion, the ESCs can also sup­ply pow­er to oth­er com­po­nents of the drone: the flight con­troller, ser­vos, and so on. This is achieved by intro­duc­ing a Bat­tery Elim­i­na­tor Cir­cuit (here­inafter referred to as BEC) into the reg­u­la­tor.

The use of BEC great­ly sim­pli­fies the design of the drone, but this scheme has a num­ber of dis­ad­van­tages. The bat­tery exclu­sion unit may over­heat under large volt­age fluc­tu­a­tions and heavy loads. In addi­tion, ESCs with BEC tend to be more expen­sive than ESCs with­out an ECU.

Agree, it would be more log­i­cal and cheap­er to make a sep­a­rate ESC and a sep­a­rate BEC. There is such a solu­tion and it is called the Uni­ver­sal Bat­tery Elim­i­na­tor Cir­cuit, here­inafter referred to as UBEC.

Benefits of UBEC

What is a Electric Speed ​​​​Controller (electronic speed controller) or abbreviated - ESC for drone?

UBEC

— con­nects direct­ly to the bat­tery and pow­ers the desired node of the drone. The advan­tages of this approach are very sig­nif­i­cant:

  1. ESCs will over­heat less as BEC is removed from them
  2. UBECs are high­ly effi­cient
  3. There­fore, from the pre­vi­ous two points, UBEC is capa­ble of deliv­er­ing more cur­rent with less risk.
  4. No over­pay­ment for a few extra BECs locat­ed in the ESC. For some flight con­trollers it is strong­ly dis­cour­aged to con­nect more than one ESC BEC
  5. Less weight reg­u­la­tors

Types of BECs and their benefits

There are two types of BEC: lin­ear (LBEC) and pulsed (SBEC).

What is a Electric Speed ​​​​Controller (electronic speed controller) or abbreviated - ESC for drone?

  1. Lin­ear con­verts ener­gy into heat, and turns off when over­heat­ed. Which can lead to unpleas­ant results: at best, the copter will not be able to take off, and at worst, an uncon­trolled fall. In this con­nec­tion, it began to be used in assem­bly with ser­vo dri­ves, which, in turn, do not con­sume much cur­rent, pre­vent­ing the unit from over­heat­ing.
  2. Pulse reg­u­lates the volt­age by quick­ly turn­ing the pow­er on and off, this approach elim­i­nat­ed over­heat­ing, increased out­put pow­er, and made it pos­si­ble to achieve an effi­cien­cy of 90%, and pulsed BECs out­per­form lin­ear ones in weight. Inter­fer­ence that occurs in the cir­cuit, which adverse­ly affects the oper­a­tion of radio equip­ment, is elim­i­nat­ed by adding an LC fil­ter.

What is a Electric Speed ​​​​Controller (electronic speed controller) or abbreviated - ESC for drone?

Giv­en that many man­u­fac­tur­ers install fil­ters on their UBE­CLCs (and if there is still no fil­ter, then it can be bought cheap­ly and eas­i­ly installed), pro­fes­sion­als use SBEC reg­u­la­tors in their quad­copters.

ESC Software

Since the speed con­troller per­forms some con­ver­sions at a high fre­quen­cy and can be con­fig­ured for var­i­ous modes of oper­a­tion, a sep­a­rate soft­ware called firmware is writ­ten for it. This allows you to cor­rect past errors in con­trol algo­rithms, cre­ate more advanced firmware (and there­by, for exam­ple, reduce bat­tery con­sump­tion at medi­um throt­tle) and make flex­i­ble set­tings. In copters of well-known com­pa­nies such as DJI, the con­troller soft­ware is changed auto­mat­i­cal­ly using the flight con­troller.

Atten­tion! Over­writ­ing soft­ware for speed con­trollers can lead to var­i­ous kinds of dam­age to the drone, as well as removal from war­ran­ty ser­vice! Remem­ber that you are doing this at your own risk!

How to change software?

There are sev­er­al ways to change the con­troller soft­ware:

  1. Using a ded­i­cat­ed con­trol board
  2. Using the flight con­troller
  3. Using the ASP pro­gram­mer

The third option is sim­pler and is cur­rent­ly being active­ly intro­duced into new mod­els.

What is a Electric Speed ​​​​Controller (electronic speed controller) or abbreviated - ESC for drone?

Speed ​​controller selection

Based on all of the above, we can dis­tin­guish spe­cial cri­te­ria for choos­ing a speed con­troller for a drone:

  1. Flight con­troller com­pat­i­ble. The flight con­troller must sup­port BEC and ESC firmware.
  2. Com­pat­i­ble with motor and bat­tery spec­i­fi­ca­tions.
  3. Pres­ence or absence of BEC and its type (LBEC or SBEC).
  4. Heat dis­si­pa­tion and tight­ness.

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