Blog  /  ESC Circuits – The Ultimate Guide to Get You Started

ESC Circuits – The Ultimate Guide to Get You Started

Motors are an essential part of a lot of operations. They are indispensable tools that are essential for everyday applications as well as industrial use. Their functions and performance will vary depending on where they are being utilized. As such, one of the most important features of these systems is motor speed control. That is where electronic speed control or ESC circuits come in. Here is all that you need to know about these technological works of art.

 

What Are ESC Circuits and What Do They Do?

 

Semiconductor components

Semiconductor components

 

An electronic Speed Controller circuit is a type of specialized electronic circuit used to control the speed of electric motors. They work best with brushless DC motors (BLDC motors), providing a 3-phase electric low voltage source of energy. The most popular use case for these circuits is radio-controlled (RC) vehicles and, most recently, multi-rotor drones. This article will tell you all you need to know about these circuits and even give you some pointers if you want to build one yourself.

 

How ESC Circuits Work

 

The working principle of an ECS circuit is pretty simple. It all starts with the circuit receiving an input signal from a receiver. The throttle position on the transmitter is responsible for setting this input signal. The PPM (Pulse Position Modulation) signal is very important, but it must go through some changes first.

Once it gets to the ESC circuit, the PPM signal transforms a current drawn from the battery. That power is fed to the motor to achieve the desired speed control effect. It makes the ESC circuit a highly accurate and efficient power manager.

 

Types of ESC Circuits

 

It is based on specific requirements and the motor that they are paired with for a given application. Generally speaking, there are two major categories of ESC circuits. These are essentially based on the motor windings that are from the DC motors used. They are:

Brushed ESC circuits. – These have been around for years and are vintage in the modern world of technology. They are relatively cheap and can be found in low-cost circuits. While using them today is still possible, they are not as great for advanced or complex applications.

Brushless ESC circuits. – These are the more advanced kind as they leverage the latest technologies. That also makes them a little more costly than their counterparts. Still, they are worth their cost because they carry more power, have better performance, and have much higher efficiency. In addition to that, they also last much longer as they are used with brushless motors.

 

Electric Motor Icon

Electric Motor Icon

 

The Components of Modern ESC Circuits

The components required to make up a modern ESC circuit can be broadly categorized under three essential parts. These are:

  • The voltage regulator. – This can be a Battery Eliminator Circuit (BEC) which serves as the part of the ESC that transmits power to a receiver and then to the servos.
  • The processor. – It is the component that decodes data from the receiver and regulates power going to the motor through field-effect transistors (FET).
  • The switch/FETs. – These components monitor both current and voltage from the battery and the motor. It then switches as need to control the current flow and thus the throttle of the electric motor in the ESC circuit. Aside from controlling the motor speed, it is also involved in determining the direction of rotation.

 

Create Your Own Simple ESC Circuits

 

For those that are looking for a fun DIY project, perhaps building your own ESC circuits can be a great place to start, and for that, the components that you will need include:

 

Craftsman

Craftsman

 

Now that you have all the circuit elements, we can get started on your DIY project. Here are the steps that you will need to follow as you build the ESC:

  • Assemble the parts you have bought or collected, then solder them together.
  • Make sure to connect the servo motor's wires to the resistor. You can also proceed to wrap it with some tape for extra security.
  • Connect the negative terminal of your battery to the wire that connects to the negative connector of the servo.
  • Next, you will need to plug the servo motor's connector into the throttle channel of the receiver. For this kind of ESC circuit, you will notice that there is no BEC. As such, you will have to connect a separate battery responsible for powering the receiver.

The steps may vary in complexity depending on the kind of features or functionalities that you want to add to your ESC circuit. Still, it is pretty simple to get started. Advanced circuits for relatively advanced applications often use powerful parts such as programmable Arduino modules. You can opt for these if you need to. Either way, with the right components supplier and some research, you can achieve a lot with what you get.

 

Applications of ESC Circuits

 

Today, the most popular use-case of ESC circuits is in electric cars, which are becoming very popular. Modern vehicles make use of high-current ESCs to slow down cars and keep them from skidding. Like the ones built by Tesla and some other automakers, electric cars also use ESC circuits to slow down the cars. These integrated circuits are also an essential component of electric bicycles.

 

Electro car vehicle

Electro car vehicle

 

Remote-controlled (RC) devices or vehicles are also common areas of applications for ESC circuits. Drones, otherwise known as radio controller aircraft, are perhaps the most notable ones in this case. Advanced and powerful ESC circuits have made modern drones and other RC vehicles very useful and super-efficient.

 

Controlling drones

Controlling drones

 

Summary

 

With that, you have more than enough information to get you started with ESC circuits and build a BLDC motor controller. To find the best products to aid your ESC  circuit project, please contact us. We look forward to helping you work on amazing personal or industrial applications regardless of scale and complexity.