in this video we’re going to talk about electronic speed controllers or II SCS this is a subject that I’ve been asked to do a video about from a couple of subscribers so this is a subscriber request so if you have asked for this this is for you ESC is and one of those topics that can appear very complicated but they actually do a little basic job in the models that we have the two basic jobs that they’re doing is running a motor but also in a lot of cases supplying the +5 volts that the flight controllers servos and other electronics in the craft need to operate in this video we’re going to talk about a couple of things and cover the main questions that I’m getting asked about and why we’re doing the video first of all we’re going to talk about how they actually work why there are three wires come out of them because normally you’d expect a black wire and a red wire we’ll talk about how they sense how they control everything we’ll talk about the standard bits and pieces that they have for set up things like brake throttle response and timing that you may hear about as well then we’ll talk about the firmware version there’s a lot of discussion about firmware and and recently with the introduction of multirotors we have lots of additional choices so there are specialized speed controllers now to run our motors that are built and programmed just to work with multirotors really well and you’ll hear about things like simon k or BL heli firmware and we’ll talk about what that is and why it’s different then we’ll do a little bit on throk and calibration about why that’s important and what it actually does on the speed controller and then finally we’ll cover a bit about becs as part the esc s so the electronic speed controller is the bit that runs the motor the B EC or the battery eliminator circuit is the part of the speed controller that provides that 5 volts that we talked about but there are lots of different options and some speed controllers don’t have that in it at all so we’ll cover this at a reasonably high level but hopefully for those of you that are little confused it will give you enough context to go and do your own research and read manuals and understand what it’s actually telling you so the first thing we’ll talk about then is how they actually work so a brushless motor is actually a three-phase motor so each of the wires actually connect to one of the three wires on the electronic speed controller so if we put a diagram up here here we have our little three wires on the right hand side these are our motor connections and we can connect them to any one of the three wires coming out of the motor and we have to make sure that all three are connected and we’ll explain why in a second on the other side of the speed controller then we have our classic black and red wires those would normally connect to the flight battery or to a Power Distribution board if it’s a multicopter and then we have another cable that comes out the side that’s actually supplying the +5 volts to the rest of the craft but also has a signal wire on it and the level on that signal wire is telling the ESC how much power to allow through to the motor so let’s talk about that three-phase thing and three wires because that’s a little confusing so here’s a diagram of our motor so the middle is going to turn around and we can see that each of these wires are connecting to each side of an electromagnet so those little gray bits in the walls at the nine o’clock 2 o’clock and 6 o’clock position are actually magnets so if we then apply power to the red wire and the yellow wire then it actually pushes electricity through the electromagnet at the two o’clock position and that then becomes energized and pulls the rotor the rotating bit of the motor towards it then the black wire and the yellow wire are powered up next and that then powers up the electromagnet at the bottom of the motor so that pulled the rotor down to that position then the black wire and the red wire are fired next and that then pulls the rotor round to that position and so on and what happens is the speed controller is actually firing these pairs of wires one after the other faster and faster faster and faster and that pulls the rotor round and that’s what the speed control is doing not only is the speed controller doing that it’s actually also listening to the feedback that it gets because as the permanent magnets that a part of the rotor are pulled around and past the electromagnets they also send back a little money pulse back to the speed controller which the speed controller then uses to sense where the rotor is so it knows where to fire the next

electromagnet so there’s a lot of really clever stuff going on inside the computer code running on the speed controller and what it’s doing is sensing the rotor and firing each of those electromagnets in turn and pulling it round in reality the inside of a motor if you’ve ever seen your side one it’s far more complicated with that with a lot more poles or being aligned at different amounts so the inside of the motor isn’t simple but hopefully that explains how it’s actually working that’s why you need the three wires that’s also why if you swap any two of those three wires around it actually reverses the direction of the motor now as we’ll look at in a second some of the more traditional speed controllers allow you to set the forward or reverse direction so you can tell it which of the phases you want swap round in software but if you’re playing with something like a Simon K or a BL heli or even a traditional firmware DSC and the motors going the wrong way the fastest and easiest way to do it you just swap any two of those three wires and you’ll reverse the rotation of the motor now you’ll see some words bandied around when we’re talking about traditional es CS and traditional settings include things like brake so when es CS were originally brought to market multirotors were a twinkle in the inventors eyes so we were using them on helicopters and planes also things like gliders and sometimes when you cut the throttle you wanted the propeller to stop rotating really quickly you wouldn’t want that on something like a helicopter because you want the blades to continue but on something like a glider where maybe the propellers fold in flat against the body for aerodynamics then absolutely as soon as you cut the throttle you’d want the engine to stop dead and those propellers to fold in so a brake used to be something that you had to disable for things like multirotors then you had something called soft start soft start is the ability to spin up the motor slowly so if you are a little bit aggressive on the throttle rather than the speed controller just pile all the energy into the motor and strip the cogs and gears that you had in your model it would slowly spin up the motor and once it was up to speed then it would have a much faster throttle response that was very useful in things like remote-control helicopters and still is because that way you can put the throttle to the level just below where you’re going to take off and the speed controller does the rest for you and my earliest helicopters they didn’t have things like soft start and you’re a little bit aggressive on the throttle you’d strip the cogs things like motor direction in the software you could actually set up things like reverse and forward as we’ve talked about and that could either be done within something like a programming card or you can actually use it through actual throttle position and sticks on the transmitter to go into a programming mode there were things like a low voltage alarm where if the voltage that it saw dropped below a certain level it actually started to reduce power to the motor again very handy if you’re in something like a plane less handy if you’re in something like a helicopter and something you absolutely don’t want if you have in a multi rotor then we’ve got things like response time so that was how quickly it would change the motor speed so if you said one second the motor needed to be at 60% throttle and the next instant it was 80% throttle then how quickly does it take the motor from 60 to 80 percent because what you’re dealing with here is a physical system and it takes a certain amount of time to increase the speed of all of that mass of the motor and the attached propeller and then finally had some called advanced and that is how far forward in advance of the rotor coming round you’d actually the next set of electromagnets and that depended on how fast the motor was turning on how much power you wanted and your individual setup getting advanced wrong would sometimes cause horrible noises and occasionally caused excess heat in the motor so that’s the kind of stuff that you’ll occasionally read in the traditional settings so if we talk about the firmware option there were three that you can commonly come across now when you’re looking at speed controllers and each of these are pretty interchangeable but you have to program and change them so a lot of speed controllers these days you can actually program them and put different firmwares on them tends to be that you tend to be able to go from traditional to Simon K and then Simon K to BL heli and BL heli – Simon K but it’s tricky to get back to the traditional code a lot of the vendors don’t tend to post that I’m not going to talk about exactly how you do that here I’m going to link in the description to my video showing how I program a speed controller with Simon K

you typically need a special cable and some software but if you buy a Simon K or BL heli speed controller that has something on it called a boot loader then by using a simple USB cable and a program you can then change the both the version of either Simon K or BL heli or actually change between Simon K + BL heli so it gets a lot easier so I’ll link to that video in the description if you want to have a look at that but we’ll go through each of these firmware options in turn and hopefully it will start to make a little bit more sense so traditional we’ve talked about already so it’s really one that came from plane and helicopter use it’s setup via the remote control itself or via a programming card Simon K one of the first variants of firmware to be specifically written for multirotors and it sets all of those settings that we’ve looked at it in the traditional ESC up for a multicopter in addition to that it also increases the response time so when the flight controller wants this change in speed to be pretty instant the Simon K speed controller will do it best to get it there as fast as it possibly can really really great for multirotors and a lot of my models here run on simon k firmware and that’s actually the version of the software that’s flashed on to my speed controllers in the video that I’ve talked about the third one then is BL heli and this is a little bit newer but it’s starting to appear in lots of different places and there’s very distinct camps some love Simon K some love BL heli and I think they’re both really good the advantage of BL heli over Simon K is that not only does it give you all of the benefits of Simon K in terms of the faster throttle response being set up for a multi rotor really well but it also then allows you via the BL suite of software to go and connect it to your PC via a USB cable and to change the settings and set it up how you want it to be so where Simon K your only option really is to flash the software and you have versions and different versions have slightly different characteristics with BL heli if you want to change something on it you can absolutely connect to it just like a traditional firmware you can change it to be the way you need there are instances I’ve read where BL heli is a little bit better with some of the larger low speed motors so if you’re using really big props and really low kV motors then BL heli can sometimes be a better option for you but as we talked about if you have a Simon K or a BL heli speed controller that already has a boot loader on it then you can get hold of one of the USB cables then you can actually start changing and swapping things around my personal advice would be I would actually get one or the other both in the majority of instances will work really well by ESC s that already come pre flashed with either Simon K or BL heli if you’re going to use it for a multi rotor make sure it has a bootloader installed and when you order your speed controllers I’d always recommend ordering a separate one anyway for spares and order whatever associated USB cable comes with it for programming and then if you find this a problem you can change your mind last thing we’ll talk about then is the one shot you’ll have heard about this and read it in places about one shot es si s now one shot is a relatively new thing so if you’re watching this in 2017 and it probably doesn’t feel very new but right now it kind of is one shot is a new synchronous way that you can get the updates from the flight controller for how fast the motor needs to run by default it’s a 1 megahertz signal coming from the flight controller using pulse width modulation and actually changing the speed of the motor the way one shot works is increases that update speed to 8 megahertz and uses a synchronous connection so that as soon as the flight controller needs a change in the speed of the motor then that is sent once which is why I think it’s called one shot up to the speed controller to change that speed so it’s an awful lot faster and it’s a lot more instant you have to of course not only have one shot es es you also need to have flight controllers that also understand one shot as well so let’s quickly talk about throttle calibration throttle calibration is the process that you use to make sure that the throttle range on the speed controller it matches the throttle range on either your radio or your flight controller when you come into the hobby it’s a bit confusing to think that there’s no standards for what the throttle range is but in reality everyone has their own slightly different version and different radios output different throttle ranges different flight controllers can be set up to have different possible ranges so

you have to tune and setup the ESC so it understands where high and where low throttle is you can also find the esc s from the same manufacturer might have slightly different settings so if you have a quadcopter you might find that when you arm the quadcopter and increase the throttle three of the motors will start and one of them will be lazy until you get to about 10% trottle and that’ll start running that’s because you haven’t done esc calibration so what esc calibration does is teaches the esc where the high-low point is and you could always do that as part of your setup some of the firmwares like the simon k firmwares are predefined high and low points and that’s one of the values of having a multicopter specific firmware but I would always recommend it’s worthwhile going through it anyway if you want to know more about ESC calibration I’ll put a link in the description to one of my videos where I actually show the process which is a guaranteed way to make sure it works every time so the last thing we’ll talk about then are battery eliminator circuits becs so a lot of esc s will come with a battery eliminator circuit on them and the battery eliminator circuit or becs job is to provide the +5 volts that run your flight controller the servos and everything else on the model so let’s go through each of these in turn and the first one we’ll talk about is linear linear is a really simple circuit it reduces the voltage by getting rid of the excess voltage as heat so it tends to get quite warm because of this inefficiency only really supports what kind of 4s lipo batteries and they tend to be lower current capacity as well the nice thing with linear becs is that you can plug multiple ones into a flight controller side-by-side and you don’t need to worry about it switched becs are a lot cleverer they are a little circuit that breaks up the voltage into little pulses and then smooth that into the +5 volts that you need much much more efficient isn’t wasting any power as heat also tends to support much larger batteries like five six seven eight nine s the thing you have to be careful over the switch to be ec is it should only really install one at once because it has some advanced electronics that’s actually sensing the output voltage and trying to accommodate that output voltage and maybe have a little bit more power a little bit less as it sees the +5 volts go up or down if you have two or three connected together they can fight each other so with these if you’re going to have for electronic speed controllers in the quadcopter and they have switched becs then you need to pop off three of the four red wires on the way in and just use one B EC from one of the ESC s to power everything if you’ve got swear Optio Optio is an interesting one it doesn’t actually provide the +5 volts to the flight controllers and everything else it provides optical isolation between the power system and the signaling system which is a good idea thing you have to be careful of here if you’re getting up to your speed controllers you need another battery eliminator circuit a separate little one that you buy and you power the model from that the thing you have to be careful with Optio is that a lot of them will only power on and run if they see that +5 volts on the output rail and the last one is some of the really large high-power speed controllers for the big motors don’t have any done at all they’re not interested in providing the +5 volts that you need for your model so you have to completely sort that out yourself so it’s kind of like Optio in that respect so very quickly if it’s linear you plug everything in dead easy dead simple can get a bit warm so just don’t use them on more than 4s switched more efficient don’t only plug one red wire in at once Optio don’t provide +5 volts at all so use something else to provide the power and none well you know what you’re going to have to sort that out yourself so we’ve been going for a little while now we’re coming up on the 20 minute mark hopefully that explains some of the concepts and how ESC s worked we’ve talked about how the three-phase motor works the power how they send some of the standard settings on traditional firmware then we’ve looked at firmware itself how we kind of program them we’ve talked about three of the most common ones that you’ll come across we’ve talked about B each season esc s and we’ve also talked about throttle programming thank you for taking the time to watch that video there are lots of other videos on the channel and they’re carefully ordered into playlists so you may find that there are other videos on this same subject that you can go and watch so I would recommend going into the playlist area of painless 360 YouTube channel and looking around and seeing what there is you never know what you might find thanks for watching please like subscribe and happy flying

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