What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

Exploring The Types of Electronic Speed Controller for Drone

4-in-1 and Single ESC

There are two primary types of ESCs to take into account: single ESCs and 4-in-1 ESCs. Your FPV drone’s overall design and performance are influenced by the distinct advantages and considerations that each type offers.

4-in-1 ESCs

As the name implies, the 4-in-1 ESC combines four separate ESCs into a single circuit board. For synchronized motor control and peak performance, each ESC manages a motor on its own. The following are the main attributes and advantages of 4-in-1 ESCs:

  • Simplified Installation: The 4-in-1 ESC’s small size makes it simple to connecting 4 in 1 esc to flight controller, which makes the construction look neater and more put together. During the build process, installation becomes simpler and requires less time and effort because there are fewer solder joints and electrical connections.
  • Weight Distribution: The drone’s overall balance and responsiveness are improved by distributing the weight uniformly throughout the one board that houses the ESCs. The drone’s flight qualities may be positively impacted by this weight distribution, increasing its maneuverability and agility.
  • Various Size Options: To support a range of drone layouts, 4-in-1 ESCs are available in different sizes. The three most popular sizes are 4in1 esc 20×20, 16×16, and 30×30 mm. Larger FETs (Field-Effect Transistors) in ESCs make them more robust and long-lasting. FPV drones with frames that are 5″ or larger are typically equipped with 30x30mm lenses.

Despite the many advantages of 4-in-1 ESCs, it’s important to remember that if one ESC on the board is broken, the board as a whole needs to be replaced. But contemporary 4-in-1 ESCs are usually dependable, which lowers the chance of an ESC failing on its own. If you want to know more about the knowledge of Electronic Speed Controller for Drone, please check this blog: What is ESC:Comprehensive Guide for Electronic Speed Controller

What is ESC: Comprehensive Guide for Electronic Speed Controller

Single ESCs

Conversely, single ESCs are responsible for managing a single motor and were more widely used in the past, however their usage has decreased recently. Key characteristics of a single ESC are as follows:

  • Replacement Ease: Individual replacement is a benefit of single ESCs. It is not necessary to replace the entire board if one ESC malfunctions or is damaged. This lowers costs and improves convenience of maintenance and repairs.
  • Considerations for Soldering and Wiring: Using individual ESCs usually necessitates additional soldering and wiring, which can take longer and make the drone heavier because of the weight of the power distribution board and wires (PDB). Furthermore, a “All-In-One” (AIO) flight controller with an integrated power distribution board (PDB) for power supply is frequently required to connect individual ESCs.
  • Better Cooling: Single ESCs are usually installed on the drone’s arms, where they are exposed to more direct airflow, which improves cooling. ESC performance can be enhanced overall and overheating can be avoided with better cooling.

4-in-1 ESCs are becoming more popular because of their simplified installation and advantages in weight distribution, even if single ESCs may still be easier to replace and provide better cooling.

What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

Brushed and Brushless ESC

Brushed ESCs are the older and simpler type of ESC fpv. They are designed to work with brushed motors, which have a physical rotor that brushes against a stationary commutator. Brushed motors are less efficient than brushless motors, but they are also less expensive and easier to maintain. Brushless ESCs are the newer and more advanced type of ESC fpv. They are designed to work with brushless motors, which have a rotor that is made up of permanent magnets. Brushless motors are more efficient, quieter, and have a longer lifespan than brushed motors.

Controlling a Brushed Motor

As you may know, when a voltage is applied, a brushed motor essentially operates on its own mechanically. The brushed ESC only needs to turn the voltage on and off quickly—many times per second—to regulate how quickly the motor spins. The Electronic Speed Controller for drone only lengthens the period of voltage on and shortens the period of voltage off to accelerate the motor. The procedure is reversed in order to slow down the motor. The main distinction between a brushless and brushed ESC is that the latter only modifies voltage, while the former only cares about the location of the brushed motor armature, among other factors.

Controlling a Brushless Motor

Brushless motors require a whole other method of control because of the way they operate. The ESC cannot determine the position of the coils or stator in the absence of brushes. The motor must provide some sort of feedback in order to pinpoint the precise moment to energize each pole. Brushless ESCs operate motors by generating a series of AC signals within the ESC’s circuitry, essentially creating a “3 phase AC power output from a DC power source”. Here’s where the three wires come in; the ESC only activates two of them at a time. The term “Back Electromotive Force” (Back EMF) refers to the modest voltage produced by the pole that is not powered at any given time and is proportionate to the motor’s rotational speed. The ESC uses this little voltage to calculate the motor’s rotational speed and direction at any given moment. With this knowledge, the ESC can control how much power to give the electromagnets in order to maintain the motor’s rotation. A magnetic “Hall Effect” sensor or a “Optical” detector can also be used to sense the position and operation of the motor; these are more frequently encountered in conjunction with In-Runner brushless motors and model car ESCs. Typically, “Back EMF” controllers are used to operate outrunner motors.

User-specified choices for low voltage cut-off limits, timing, acceleration, braking, rotation direction, and much more are typically available on computer-programmable speed controllers. Any two of the three leads from the ESC for drone to the motor can be switched to reverse the direction of the motor.

Blheli, Simonk and Kiss Firmware

The ESC program is classified as either open source or not. Regarding open source firmware, there are three primary versions available for your ESC: kiss, simonk, and blheli firmware.

BLHeli is the most popular type of ESC firmware. It is known for its ease of use, compatibility, and performance. BLHeli offers a wide range of features, including:

  • Motor timing optimization
  • Throttle response tuning
  • Safety features such as motor braking and low-voltage cutoff

SimonK is an older type of ESC firmware that is still widely used. It is known for its simplicity and reliability. SimonK offers a more limited set of features than BLHeli, but it is still a good option for basic applications.

KISS is a relatively new type of ESC firmware that is designed for high-performance drones. It offers the most features and flexibility of any ESC firmware, including:

  • Motor timing optimization
  • Throttle response tuning
  • Safety features such as motor braking, low-voltage cutoff, and current limiting
  • Advanced features such as DShot telemetry and motor synchronization

Which ESC firmware is right for you? The best ESC for drone firmware for you depends on your needs and budget. If you are looking for a simple and reliable ESC firmware, SimonK is a good option. If you are looking for a firmware with a wider range of features and flexibility, BLHeli is a good choice. And if you are looking for the best possible performance for your high-performance drone, KISS is the way to go.

Here is a table that summarizes the key differences between BLHeli, SimonK, and KISS:

Feature BLHeli SimonK KISS
Popularity Most popular Less popular Less popular
Compatibility Widely compatible Widely compatible Less compatible
Performance Good Good Excellent
Features Wide range of features Limited set of features Most features
Price Affordable Affordable More expensive

BEC and UBEC

Battery Elimination Circuit is referred to as BEC. This essentially means that ESCs with a BEC can power your flying platform’s components, including the flight controller, servos, and receiver, by producing a steady voltage output. provides approximately 5 volts of power (typically no more than 2A-3A) for your servos and Rx.

UBEC, also known as universal or ultimate BEC, is a switch mode unit that can power multiple large digital servos and your radio simultaneously. It can lower voltage from 4s+ packs to the necessary ~5v. It can also provide up to 10A.

What’s the difference between BEC and UBEC:

  • In general, UBEC is more power-efficient and can take greater voltages.
  • The BEC is less expensive to produce and provides a more stable voltage and signal. On the other hand, they produce higher heat at higher voltages and are less efficient.
  • Large input/output voltage differences or heavy loads can cause BEC to overheat; UBEC is more dependable because it doesn’t have this issue.
  • In general, UBEC can safely supply more current.

You may power your FC and RX with an external UBEC if your ESC lacks BEC. The LiPo battery should be linked to the UBEC’s input cable, and the RX and FC should be connected to its output connection. There is no need to modify the ESC connection.

What Type of ESC Do Quadcopters Use?

The most popular firmware currently running on multirotor ESCs is BLHeli. Support for “BLHeli passthrough,” which is integrated into all flight controllers for drones based on CleanFlight, contributes to its growing popularity. With this, you can program and update the ESCs on all of your multirotors directly from the computer to the flight controller.

If your objective is to have the superior switching mode rather than the more troublesome linear mode type BEC, you really need to be certain which one you have or are purchasing for BEC or UBEC. To make sure you receive what you need, like with many things in RC, you have to familiarize yourself with the terms and figures (types, input voltages, output voltages, ratings, etc.).

While DC motors with brushgear are usually 75–80% efficient, brushless motors can achieve higher efficiencies of up to 96.5%. Brushless motors often have an efficiency of 85–90% or more. Brushless DC motors are frequently utilized in applications requiring exact speed control. You should therefore select the corresponding brushless ESC for drone based on the brushless motors.

Best ESC for Drone

Best of ESC

MEPS 45A

 What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

meps-mepsking-fpv-drone-mini45a-esc

Enjoy superior performance with the MEPS 45A 20×20 4in1 ESC, an electronic speed control specifically made for FPV drones by BLHELI_32. For those looking for the greatest 4s ESC for their builds, this 4in1 ESC is a “game-changer” because it has the fastest MCU that is completely supported by BLHELI32. This electronic speed control has low junction temperature, high-end Onsemi MOSFETs that carry greater current, which makes it extremely durable and resistant to failures. The power lead’s solder pads are easy to use, making soldering and tinning simple. Even in the middle of summer heat, it is providing a balance between performance for freestyle flights and ease of use for novice builders.

Best Cheap ESC

SpeedyBee BLHeli_S 50A

What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

A TVS diode is a feature of the SpeedyBee 50A 3-6S BLHeli_S 4-in-1 ESC – 30×30 that guards against voltage spikes. Large motor pads and the sturdy BB21 MCU make soldering a snap. Smooth flying is achieved through the use of onboard TVS protection diode and TDK filtering SMT capacitors, both built in Japan. One of the most reasonably priced 4in1 ESCs available, the SpeedyBee BLHeli_S 50A 4in1 offers dependable and respectable performance for just over $40, it is best cheap ESC.

Best of ESC 20×20

Aikon AK32PRO 50A V2

What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

With a 50A current rating per motor output and support for up to 6S, these ESCs perform similarly to some 30x30mm boards despite their small form size (20x20mm mounting holes). They may fit into 3-builds because they are compact. This is also a great option if you ever need a 4in1 esc 20×20 for even a lightweight 5′′ build.

Best 20A ESC

HAKRC F411 20A AIO

What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

The PCB is made of premium 8 layers of 2 oz thick copper, which offers good heat dissipation and a stronger over current capability. MOS uses an imported MOS with a 30V high current resistance, extended lifespan, and robust load capability. It is utilizing high temperature resistance and industrial grade LDO, and utilizing premium Japanese Murata capacitors for robust filtering capabilities. It is the best 20A ESC.

Best 30A ESC

T-Motor F30A 6S 4-in-1 ESC

What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

Power is abundant with the T-Motor Cinematic F30A 6S BLHeli32 4in1 ESC 30A! With its 32-bit main control and support for popular throttle signals including DSHOT150/DSHOT300, DSHOT600, and PROSHOT1000, the Cinematic F30A 4-in-1 ESC has great performance. Compliant with standard PWN signals as well as Oneshot125, Oneshot42, and Multishot. It is the best 30A ESC.

Best 40A ESC

Single ESC – Xilo 40A ESC

What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

XILO is well-known for selling reasonably priced, decent-quality FPV drone parts. Choose the XILO 40A ESC if you’re searching for reasonably priced single ESCs and you don’t want anything that will just last a few flights. Since there is only one ESC, replacing a damaged ESC only requires replacing one, as opposed to replacing four. That saves so much money. The 8-bit CPU of the XILO 40A is powered by BLHeli_S, as the name suggests. Even with the most recent firmware, it is not the fastest processor, but it is adequate for everyday tasks. The XILO 40A ESC’s lone drawback is that it uses 2-4S LiPo, which is still quite good for novices. It is the best 40A ESC.

Best 8s ESC

T-Motor Mini F60A

FPV drones are the target market for the high-performance electronic speed controller, T-Motor Mini F60A 3-8S BLHeli_32 4in1 ESC. It can handle up to 8S voltage and has a small mounting pattern of 20x20mm. The ESC is perfect for demanding high-speed designs since it has large MOSFETs, high current, high withstand voltage, and low internal resistance. In order to avoid overheating, it also features real-time temperature monitoring. The T-Motor Mini F60A 3-8S BLHeli_32 4in1 ESC is a fantastic option for FPV drone fans searching for a dependable and high-quality ESC because of its strong performance and small size.

Best FC ESC Stack

SpeedyBee F405 V3 FC/ESC Stack

What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

What are the Different Types of Electronic Speed Controllers?

One of the most reasonably electronic speed controller for drone priced 4in1 ESCs available, the SpeedyBee BLHeli_S 50A 4in1 offers dependable and respectable performance for just over $40. It’s operating smoothly and going strong. Buying this ESC in combination with the SpeedyBee F4 V3 FC as a stack should be your first priority. Considering that they only cost about $70 when combined, this is one of the best FC ESC stacks for 2023.

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