Drone ESC's for your Aeroplane

Bit more of a technical post - So you ask hobby shops for ESC for your plane and they will supply you with a huge brick saying "Aeroplane ESC" with lots of 1990 confidence and knowledge.

Times have moved on and so did ESC's .... DO NOT USE AEROPLANE ESC's anymore ... , that is for up to 70A esc's , at this time of writing I have not seen bigger for "Drones"

I hate the word Drone but that is the term people use :( such a military connection.

So one of the first things you will hear is that Drone ESC's don't have a BEC (Battery Eliminating Circuit) , what it comes down to is that on the ESC there is circuitry that will put out 5/6V to power your Receiver and Servos, thus eliminating the need for a separate battery to drive these. Correct, Drone ESC's dont have these circuits because Drone's dont have servos and the Receiver gets its power from the Flight controller.

No worries , use the Drone ESC with a UBEC (Universal Battery Eliminator Circuit). JA, I KNOW RIGHT, Abbreviations ! .... the UBEC replace the BEC circuitry on the ESC. Read here for ESC vs UBec vs Bec ....

So now we using two devices and not one you say .... ahhh , let's talk about benefits you get from this setup.

WEIGHT ! Yes two devices are half or less the weight of one Aeroplane ESC's and you get the redundancy that the BEC does not go through the ESC which means should the ESC burn there will still be power on the Servos and Receiver.

The UBEC is 11Gram and the ESC is 8Gram with cables , that is 19 gram vs 41Grams for 50A Skywalker esc. ! Less weight and higher Amperage from the Drone ESC.

Here is a Size Comparison , Skywalker 50 Amp vs 65Amp Tekko ..

Multicopter ESCs are generally smaller and much lighter than corresponding airplane ESCs .

Also , the two devices together will be a third cheaper , yes that's right you will pay less than what you pay for the brick.

The multirotor ESC will respond more quickly to throttle commands , and trust me this is AWESOME , you will feel this !

Pins On Arduino - GND to GND and Signal to D3 .
Inside BLHeli Software- Select BLHeli 32 Interface and 4 Way Option - Make Interfaces - Arduino Board select the Nano 328 - Pick right Com port - Select Arduino 4 Way Interface - Click Ok - Select Multiv(yourVersion) - Open and Yes .....Wait ... Arduino Flashed Successfully. Back to Setup and Connect - Use right Com Port - Now Plug Battery in - Ok ... All should work.

Multiroter esc's run WAY cooler that airplane ESC , isn't that cool ? In fact a lot of them do not even have heat sinks , saying that they are generally right under the prop wash , ahhh , but the metal Mosfet ones do run colder as in the TEKKO listed here..

Using BLHeli Suite 32 you WILL have LVC ( Low Voltage Cut Off) , you will have adjustable Brake (use by glider guys) Soft Start , Plane locator (ESC beeps loudly if no Receiver signal) and many more , oh also you will get your option of loading start up music ...Geeky but cool. (get it ? cool as in ESC runs cool , okay , sorry I'm being to geeky here) Want to know more about startup Music , check THIS out .... and I am playing this one on mine (AC/DC Highway to Hell)

Right notice how I slipped BLHeli in there ...What is that you ask ?

Well basically the Firmware/Software running on the ESC. These ESC has a 32Bit micro controller on them (F3) , think of the CPU , the brain of a PC. Now this brain can be programmed with BLHeli / SimonK and others ... BLHELI rules at the moment and is the one you will use ...

The thing is the ESC come to you set up for Multiroters ...notice how I slipped in Multiroters and not drones :) . If you fly planes and or Gliders you will need to set it up...

and heck no , I'm not going to tell you how to do this ...(no spoon feeding here , come on ! you're a RC expert)

Here , go to Your Tube (Youtube) , Here , Here , Here and many more...

You will need BLHeli32Suite or you can read more here ...

This is the ESC I used ...http://www.holybro.com/product/tekko32-f3-metal-esc-65a/ a Tekko F3 Metal 65A. Try BangGood , Mine was here in 9 days ! through Buffalo logistics Couriers (China to Africa couriers Good !). It features "Metal Capped" MOSFET's that have superior cooling ability, with an incredible 65A continuous current rating.

  • Continours Current: 65A

  • Burst Current: 80A

  • Supports Input Voltage 3S to 6S LiPo

  • STM32 F3 MCU

  • BLHeli32 Firmware

  • Built-in WS2812B LED

  • Supports ESC Telemetry

  • MOSFET: IRF7480M

  • MOSFET Gate Driver: Fortior FD6288

  • “New” Current Sensor (shunt resistor) with supposedly even lower resistance and higher efficiency

  • Size: 18×27 mm (single ESC)

  • Weight: 4.3g (single ESC)

The Arduino I got from https://neotronics.co.za/ - Quick shipping and good price.

If you have issues with your device not being seen use ZADIG to sort your USB.

My Settings for my Nan XPlorer 3.5m Glider:

  • Ramp Up Power : 90%
    ( Will move this to 80% just to get smoother power up as I am using a 3 way switch . Off/50%/100% power settings)

  • Demag Compensation : OFF

  • Low RPM Power Protect : Off

  • LVC : 3.10V

  • Brake ON 100%
    (Edit: Had mine set to 75% but that was not enough , Now going to use 100%)

  • Motor Timimg : Auto

Don't be a parrot , set it as you need it , this is just my suggestions...

Few issues I had ... you must be connected to the Internet , It Seems the ESC + Software phone home to check if royalties to BLHeli has been paid ...if your ESC is "legal" Install and program will work.

I used a Arduino Nano , got a Sync 500 something error , turned out I have to move the Baud rate up to 115000 when making the image.

Now - for the non geeky guys - this is really surprisingly easier than what it sounds and trust me the benefits are awesome and definitely worth the effort.

So next time you hear you need a plane ESC and that the new type multiroter ESC's wont work ... Just look at them and say .."OK"

Edited : 22/08/2020