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ThermalBoy

UPDATED - THE FUTURE OF ESC’s for F5J ?

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ThermalBoy

Some months ago I started to get interested in whether Drone ESC’s could be a practical alternative to the fixed wing type of ESC’s we currently use.  The sheer size of the drone market compared to the RC Model Aircraft market has benefitted Drone ESC’s in terms of the technological advances we now see in them.  The potential benefit of using Drone ESC’s in F5J fuselages are many fold including that they are very small, very thin, weigh only 4-8g including wires, have extensive programmability capability using readily available software that can be downloaded from the web and last but not least they are relatively cheap.

I knew nothing about Drones or their ESC’s so it was a bit of a learning curve to start off with. I decided after a bit of investigation and Youtubing that I would use the latest incarnation of Drone ESC’s, i.e.  the BL-Heli 32 type. This version is billed as supporting LVC (Low Voltage Cutoff) but as I was to later find out you cant take this for granted although for F5J where we are doing a max motor run of 30 seconds it’s probably not essential anyway, particularly if you use a lightweight 1 Lipo Cell back-up switch.

I decided to buy several makes of drone ESC’s for testing ranging in price from £9 - £23. They are so small and light that you may as well just use the 60-70Amp ones (60A one in Pics below) which would cover the vast majority of F5J motor set-up’s.  One thing to remember is that 99% of Drone ESC’s do not have a built in BEC so a separate BEC or other way to power the servo’s and radio is required. Many people already use a separate BEC so they are able to carry on as before.  If you are using all High Voltage servo’s some pilots are directly tapping 2 cells off the motor lipo balance lead but I have never attempted this so cant comment. I’m currently testing another solution to provide power to the Rx and servo’s (both LV & HV) but have not yet done sufficient testing to be 100% certain it is as good as a solution as the initial indications suggest.

Testing of all the Drone ESC’s I bought has now finished. To speed up testing I also roped in Kevin Beale and John Hovel to test one of the higher end Drone ESC’s in their own planes (DYS70A about £19). Following extensive real world stress testing of these ESC’s including diving with full crow brakes on for 200m+ vertically repeatedly* along with other ridiculous stress tests , all of us have come to the conclusion that Drone ESC’s are a good fit/solution for F5J. One thing that is very noticeable with this type of ESC is that they stay more or less completely cool to the touch. Even after static testing by running them at full power at around 60A for one minute they remain cool. Another benefit seen is the super smooth throttle response across the entire range of control.
* More to do with the device to power the Rx/Servo's than the ESC

To give you some idea of the actual size of a typical high Amp Drone ESC compared to a normal fixed wing ESC, have a look at the picture below.

If there is sufficient interest in this subject I will put together and post some “How To Do It” notes.

Colin

 image1.thumb.jpeg.15fa11654f2cbd9fe8b9e2cb3ad286b0.jpeg

image2.jpeg

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Tony

Very interested please carry on

Tony

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Harry Peberdy

Very interesting would like to read more about your findings

Harry

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Bob Dickenson

Great stuff Colin, it's time that drone technology proved more beneficial to us  rather then harmful.

There appears to be a lot of useful aspects from this to be had.

 

Bob

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SteveH

Great work. I would be interested in some how to do it instructions.

Steve

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JFreeman

That’s a great piece of work. I’m certainly very interested in your “how to notes”

John

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Ville56

Thank you Colin! Very interesting. Looking forward to your continued job and happy to see a "How To Do It" notes.
/Ville 😀👍

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DaveH

An interesting topic..       In the 2m class e-glider, many that run on 2s use an "Opto" Esc (no BEC).    In my case, i wanted to get flying my latest 2m glider as soon as possible and didn't have a small ESC around 20A that would give a high enough BEC output (the radio installation would not take 2s).    I used a 32A Opto ESC (BLHELI) and a separate  4A SBEC that I had to hand.    It all works very well, the ESC is very small and at around 14A output it stays remarkably cool.     I will look for this kind of arrangement for my bigger e-gliders.    The choice of SBEC is very important,  I plan to bench test a few examples before flying them.  

I look forward to seeing your findings.    

 

 

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Al Lipscombe

Thanks Colin, after our chat on Sunday I am very interested in the BEC side of your trials. I don't need a ESC at the moment but will look at incorporating a light weight BEC into my current set ups. However when  i do need a ESC I will probably use your suggestions.

Cheers

Al

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ThermalBoy

Well it looks like there is a fair amount of interest in this subject so I will endeavour to put together a "How To"  post  as soon as I get some free time. Hopefully next week.

Colin

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Nicholls

Colin, as I mentioned to you earlier I'm very interested in this.

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ThermalBoy

Drone BL- Heli 32 ESC’s for F5J Use - Introduction

Using drone ESC’s for F5J gliders is not common. In fact very few pilots have tried it to date. However it is now being talked about more frequently. Our testing of BL Heli 32 drone ESC’s has been conducted over a relatively short period of time and as such we won’t be able to judge their performance/reliability over the long term for some time to come. Hopefully they will continue to work as well as we have seen during the initial testing period. As more people become involved in experimenting with drone ESC’s we will benefit from a far wider pool of knowledge.

I am not an electronics engineer and this is very much a “work in progress”. The testing undertaken is real world actual field testing rather than theory. Initial testing indicates that there is good potential for drone ESC’s to be used in F5J gliders but only time will tell if the performance and reliability of them makes them a “must have” for F5J use.

Hopefully these “How To” notes will help to put you on the right path to trying out BL Heli 32 drone ESC’s in F5J gliders..

Feedback to this thread about your own experience/findings would be welcomed as I’m sure it will not only help others but increase the overall knowledge base about the potential for using drone ESC’s in F5J planes.

The “How To” Notes are attached as a PDF.

Always fully test your drone esc set-up on the ground before flying.

How To.pdf

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simon_t

Thanks Colin - I was going to ask about braking, but you attached article explains all!  There is a lot of power that needs to be dissipated by the brake, albeit with F5J models the braking period is quite short.  If there is any weakness to these ESCs that might be the area, but that is just my thoughts!  Certainly looks a cost effective way of getting more performance in a smaller unit.

Simon

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JFreeman

Thanks Colin, I will certainly be trying your drone ESC  as they are so small compared to the standard ESC’s.  Many  thanks again.

John

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Ville56

Thank you Colin for the "how to"!

/Ville 😀

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Tony

Thanks Colin very informative. Interesting as I had just bought a ZOHD Nano Talon FPV version which has a tiny 30amp esc that can take up to 4S with a switching BEC and my immediate thoughts were could I use this or something similar on my electric planes. So your article came just at the right time for me. 

Tony

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Mike

Thanks for all the Info Colin, all very interesting.

  Unfortunately, the DYS Aria 70A is no longer available, DYS gone out of business according to Flying tech, who are looking for a suitable replacement...

 I've just ordered the 65A Holybro Tekko32 to have a bit of a play with.

 Mike

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ThermalBoy
18 hours ago, Mike said:

Thanks for all the Info Colin, all very interesting.

  Unfortunately, the DYS Aria 70A is no longer available, DYS gone out of business according to Flying tech, who are looking for a suitable replacement...

 I've just ordered the 65A Holybro Tekko32 to have a bit of a play with.

 Mike

Mike

Shame about the DYS ESC.  Did you try ordering one from that large well known Chinese web supplier that begins with a "B" ?  I suspect they might well still have some DYS ESC's in stock. However the one you have ordered is a top quaity Drone ESC which should work well for you. It certainly did for me in my testing of it. Please do report back here once you have programmed/tried it out.

There has been over 125+ downloads of the "How To" notes with no follow on posts here asking for clarification  or reporting any difficulties. Hopefully this means others are now well on the way to trying out Drone ESC's themselves. It would be beneficial to get some feedback from them to add to the knowledge pool on this subject. Good or Bad!

Colin

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JFreeman

Colin,

I purchased mine from that well known company H****k*** and succeeded to program the Dys ESC so now to check it out. Just as an side that we’ll known company still has them in stock.

Many thanks for your how to notes.

John

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Mike

One point I wasnt sure of, is the required arduino board a permanent fixture? Or just for programming esc?

Mike.

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