What is ESC: Comprehensive Guide for Electronic Speed Controller

BlogTutorialWhat is ESC: Comprehensive Guide for Electronic Speed Controller

Introduction to Electronic Speed Controller for Drone (ESC)

Electronic speed controler (ESC) is a critical component in model aircraft and drones. This comprehensive guide will provide a detailed overview of what ESC is, its role in model aircraft and drones, how it works, and the different types of ESC available on the market.

MEPS ESC with high current load capacity,enhanced heat dissipation and compatible mounting holes

The role of ESC in model aircraft and drones

The ESC plays an essential role in controlling motor speed in model aircraft and drones. This electronic device regulates motor power, allowing the speed to be increased or decreased in a precise and controlled manner. Without an ESC, motors would only run at fixed speeds, and it would not be possible to adjust power according to flight requirements.

In model aircraft, the ESC allows the motor speed to be controlled during takeoff, flight, and landing. In drones, the ESC is even more important, as it manages not only the motor speed, but also the stability and flight capability of the drone. Without a quality ESC, the drone may not be able to fly safely and stably.

How does an ESC work?

The ESC consists of several main components, including a microprocessor, power transistors, and control circuits. When a command signal is given to the ESC microprocessor, it interprets the signal and sends the right pulse to the power transistor to adjust the motor speed.

The ESC microprocessor receives the command signal from the radio control of the model aircraft or drone and translates it into a pulse of variable duration. This pulse is then sent to the power transistor, which controls the motor power supply. Depending on the duration of the pulse, the ESC adjusts the motor speed, allowing precise power regulation.

Electronic speed control (ESC) is a critical component in model aircraft and drones.

The different types of ESCs

There are different types of ESCs available on the market, each designed to meet specific needs. Some ESCs are designed for fixed-wing model aircraft, while others are specifically for drones. Some ESCs can handle large motors, while others are more suitable for small motors.

In addition, there are ESCs with advanced features, such as programmability, which allows the ESC settings to be customized to the specific needs of the model aircraft or drone. It is important to choose the right ESC for your model aircraft or drone, taking into account the technical specifications, size and type of motor.

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

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.

ESC Drone FPV Ratings

The ratings of ESCs depend on the amount of current they can deliver to the motor. ESCs work by turning on the power to the motor coils at a very fast rate. This switching is controlled by a microprocessor and performed by transistors called MOSFETs (often called FETs).


The size and quality of these FETs determine the current (amperage) that can pass through the ESC. ESCs are typically rated based on their current capacity, indicated by values such as “30 amps” or “25 amps”. These numbers usually represent the continuous current that the ESC can handle. For short periods of time (usually less than 10 seconds), ESCs can handle slightly higher currents.

It is common to see ESCs labeled “30 amp” ESCs that are capable of “bursting” 40 amps. When buying an ESC, it’s crucial to take its current rating into account. It’s always preferable to opt for an ESC that can provide higher current levels even if it means a larger size or higher cost, rather than risking damage by providing insufficient current. Motors with larger sizes typically require more current, and propellers with greater pitch or size will also draw more current. Currently, a 30 amp ESC using a 4-cell battery (4S) is sufficient for most pilots.



Currently, most UAV operators use 4S, which operates at 16.8 volts. However, this has recently begun to change. To improve drone performance, some competition organizers are promoting the use of 5S and 6S batteries with higher voltages among pilots.In addition to amperage, ESCs are rated for their ability to handle voltage. Some ESCs are rated for 3S-4S, while others are rated for up to 6S. The power of a motor can be measured in watts, which is voltage multiplied by amps (volts x amps = watts). Therefore, it is interesting to note that as the voltage increases, the current intensity decreases to keep the total power output of the motor the same. This means that a higher voltage battery can deliver the same motor power output with lower current draw. Or, if the voltage increases and the pilot chooses to increase the throttle.

Select the right FPV drone electronic speed controller for your motor, propeller and battery combination

When selecting an ESC, it is important to consider 3 main considerations. 3 considerations for ESC selection include

  • Motor size: The motor’s size play a significant role in determining the ESC’s current capacity requirements.
  • Propeller: The choice of propeller will also determine the current rating of your ESC. Will your drone spin a 3, 4, 5 or 6 inch propeller? What kind of performance do you want, and therefore what propeller pitch will you use?
  • Batteries: Will you be us Will your drone spin a 3, 4, 5 or 6 inch propeller?ing 3-cell batteries, or 4, 5 or even 6-cell batteries? Both ESC and batteries are rated by amperage.

Let’s say you are interested in racing drones. Modern competition drones almost always use 5″ high pitch propellers. To get these large pitch propellers spinning at high RPM, pilots choose motors with sizes such as 2207, 2450kv, etc. The motors have aggressive tilt struts and can pull up to 40 amps of current. Therefore, it is important to select the correct ESC so that the FET on the ESC is not damaged by the current strength and fails during the race. Therefore, it is best to design your drone for your specific needs and applications. However, choosing the voltage of the ESC is much easier because ESCs have ratings on them that indicate the battery voltage (S) they can handle. In general, for a 4S drone running a 5-inch propeller

What to consider when choosing an ESC for your model aircraft or drone

When choosing an ESC for your model aircraft or drone, there are several factors to consider. First, it is important to make sure that the ESC is compatible with the type of motor being used. You also need to consider the power required by the motor and choose an ESC that can handle this power safely and efficiently.

Another important factor to consider is the size of the ESC. It is essential to choose an ESC that fits the size and space available in your model aircraft or drone. Also, it is advisable to opt for a high-quality ESC manufactured by a reputable brand to ensure reliable and long-lasting performance.

Finally, considering the additional features of the ESC can be an advantage. Some ESCs offer advanced features such as electronic braking, programmability, and overload protection. These features can further enhance the performance of your model aircraft or drone.

When choosing ESC,it‘s important to consider the power required by the motor and choose an ESC that can handle this power safely and efficiently.

FPV drone electronic governor firmware

The ESC receives the throttle signal from the flight controller. For several years, the primary means of conveying information to the ESC regarding the motor’s speed was through a pulse width modulated signal (PWM). However, modern flight controllers and ESCs communicate using a faster digital protocol called D-Shot. The ESC will receive a signal from the flight controller and convert that signal into motor speed. This change in motor speed can happen very quickly, due in part to the fast communication between the flight controller and the ESC, and the connections between the ESC and the motors. The FPV drone electronic speed controller utilizes an onboard microprocessor, so firmware is required to control the hardware. The firmware plays a crucial role in deciding the communication protocol that will be utilized by the flight controller to interact with the ESC.

  • BLHeli: This was found on older 8-bit ESCs. It is capable of running one-time protocols. A subsequent model of 8-bit microprocessor called the F390 was able to process the faster analog Multishot.
  • BLHeli_S: This is also present on the 8-bit ESC, but has more modern hardware, runs quieter, and is capable of running all protocols (Oneshot, Multishot) up to D-Shot 600.
  • BLHeli_32: This is a relatively new firmware that will run on the new 32-bit ESC. It’s capable of faster D-Shot iterations like the D-Shot 1200, with features like telemetry.
  • KISS: This is a proprietary ESC firmware that can only run on KISS ESC. It has Oneshot and D-Shot capabilities and has telemetry and other features.

This firmware is user upgradeable. Settings on the ESC can be changed using software on Mac and PC.

Understanding the importance of a controller in ESCs

The regulator, a crucial component within an Electronic Speed Controller (ESC), plays a critically important role in the proper operation of a motorized system. Its main responsibility is to ensure a stable and regulated power supply to the motor, providing a constant voltage that is essential for optimal operation. Without a reliable regulator, the power supply to the motor could fluctuate and cause a number of problems, including unreliable performance and serious safety issues.

In addition, the regulator within the ESC takes on a crucial role during the motor braking process. This aspect is vital to prevent damage to the motor itself and to ensure a smooth and safe braking experience. A high-quality ESC can handle the energy generated during braking extremely efficiently, converting it primarily into heat. This not only protects the motor from potential damage, but also helps ensure controlled and reliable braking, thereby further improving the safety and performance of the entire system. In summary, the controller within the ESC is a crucial element in ensuring the proper operation, stability, and safety of a motorized system.

Factors Affecting ESC Performance

In the world of FPV drones, performance is everything. One of the key elements that determines drone performance is the diy drone ESC. However, what are the factors that can affect the performance of the ESC and the performance of your drone?

ESC Quality and Type

First of all, the quality of the ESC plays an important role. A low-quality ESC or one that doesn’t suit the drone’s needs can limit overall performance. The choice of ESC type such as BLHeli_S, BLHeli_32, or SimonK can also affect the ESC’s controllability and response to the motor.

Thermal Conditions (Temperature)

Temperature can be the ESC’s enemy. When used excessively or in hot conditions, the ESC can overheat which results in reduced performance or even damage. Ensuring a good cooling system or using an ESC that has temperature protection can help maintain ESC performance.

Proper Configuration and Calibration

Each drone has a unique configuration and calibration. Setting the ESC correctly, ensuring each ESC in drone is calibrated uniformly, and accurately matching the parameters on the flight controller to the ESC will improve responsiveness and stability during flight.

Power and Battery Quality

The resources provided to the ESC are critical. Using a battery that suits the needs of the ESC and motor is very crucial. If the power provided is not enough or too much, it can cause problems in the ESC’s performance and affect its durability.

Additional Protection and Features

Modern ESCs have various protection features such as protection against overcurrent, over-temperature, and other features that protect the ESC from damage. Choosing an ESC with good protection features can extend its service life and ensure stable performance.

Understanding these factors will help you better select, configure, and maintain your ESC. Paying attention to these details can make a big difference in the performance of your FPV drone, providing a smoother, more responsive and stable flying experience.

ESC Durability and Weight

Higher amp ratings are frequently used in the marketing of contemporary ESCs to denote improved endurance and resilience to voltage spikes. If you need to choose the best ESC for racing quadcopter, a higher rated ESC may still be ideal due to its enhanced robustness. You will also want to be careful with the added weight as you are building racing drones and you may want to avoid excessive weight.

Amp Rating

ESC current rating, often known as “amp rating,” is expressed in amps. It shows the highest current an ESC is safe to manage. Most ESCs’ amp rating is more than adequate for the average FPV drone pilot. The ESC amp rating is one of the most important considerations when creating a custom racing drone that needs to run at high speeds or with exceptional performance.

When you pick the best ESC for racing quadcopter and determine the amp rating, you need to do the following steps:

  • Motor Amp Rating: Check the specifications of your motors to determine their maximum amp This information is usually provided by the motor manufacturer.
  • Calculate Total Current: Then multiply the maximum amprating per motor by the number of motors on your drone. This gives you the total current that your racing drone ESC need to handle.
  • Consider Burst Current:Racing drones often experience sudden bursts of high current, especially during quick maneuvers or acceleration. It’s a good idea to choose a racing drone ESC with a burst current rating that accommodates these occasional spikes in current.
  • Continuous vs. Burst Current:ESCs come with both continuous and burst current ratings. The continuous rating represents the sustained current the ESC can handle over an extended period, while the burst rating indicates the maximum current it can handle for short durations (usually less than 10 seconds). Ensure that both the continuous and burst ratings of the ESC are sufficient for your drone’s requirements.

For high-performance racing drones that demand quick acceleration and rapid maneuvers, it’s common to choose a racing drone ESC with higher amp ratings to ensure they can handle the dynamic nature of racing.

High Refresh Rates for Responsive Control

Think of this as the communication speed between your brain (flight controller) and your muscles (motors). Higher refresh rates (e.g., 32kHz or higher) mean faster updates, resulting in smoother, more responsive control. For aggressive, high-speed flying, prioritize high refresh rates for near-instantaneous reactions. For smoother freestyle moves, consider slightly lower refresh rates for a more comfortable control feel.

Tips for optimizing ESC performance

To maximize the performance of the Electronic Speed Controller (ESC), it is essential to follow some valuable tips. First, it is essential to program the ESC accurately, in line with the specifications of your model aircraft or drone. This practice ensures precise speed adjustment and optimal operation of the entire system. Proper programming allows you to tailor the ESC to the specific needs of your aerial vehicle, ensuring precise control and quick response to your demands.

In addition, it is vital to perform regular checks on the ESC connections to ensure that they are strong and well insulated. Any loose connections or damaged cables could cause malfunctions or even irreparably damage the ESC. Maintaining secure connectivity is crucial to ensure the operational stability of the system and to prevent costly problems due to bad connections.

Another aspect to consider is the temperature of the ESC during use. It is important to constantly monitor the temperature to avoid overheating, which could damage the device. The ESC should operate at an optimal temperature to ensure maximum performance and durability. If you notice excessive overheating, you may need to take additional cooling measures or consider changing the usage settings.

Finally, the power aspect cannot be overlooked. Always be sure to use a battery that is compatible with the ESC and strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended power specifications. Adequate power supply is essential to ensure stable and reliable operation of the ESC. Using an incompatible battery or exceeding the recommended power specifications could seriously affect the performance of the ESC and, consequently, the safety of your flight. Pay attention to these basic tips to maximize the potential of your ESC and enjoy a safe and high-performance flying experience.

Common problems and troubleshooting with best esc for quadcopter

As with any electronic component, ESCs can encounter problems and require troubleshooting. One of the most common problems is overheating of the ESC. This can be caused by excessive power demand from the motor or poor heat dissipation. In these cases, it is advisable to check the specifications of the ESC and make sure it is adequate for the motor’s needs.

Other common problems include control signal malfunctions, abnormal noises during operation, and loss of power. If problems occur, it is advisable to contact the ESC manufacturer or refer to the instruction manual for specific troubleshooting. In some cases, it may be necessary to replace the defective ESC with a new one.

Best practices for ESC maintenance and care

To ensure long life and reliable performance of the ESC, it is important to follow some best practices for maintenance and care. First, it is advisable to keep the ESC clean from dust, dirt, and moisture. Use a soft, dry cloth to gently wipe the ESC and make sure it is completely dry before using it.

In addition, it is critical to store the ESC in a safe and secure place when not in use. Avoid exposing the ESC to extreme temperatures or high humidity. Protect the ESC from shocks or drops that could damage internal components.

Finally, it is advisable to perform regular preventive maintenance checks on the ESC. Check the connections, check the temperature during use, and monitor the overall performance of the ESC. If you notice any abnormalities or problems, take prompt action to avoid greater damage.


Electronic speed controllers for FPV drones of the past few years usually come with electrolytic capacitors. With microtetrodes becoming more popular, and to save size and weight, most ESCs are no longer equipped with these large electrolytic capacitors. With the advancements in flight controllers and ESC firmware and hardware, as well as the increase in motor power due to the use of stronger magnets, it has become evident that the absence of capacitors could have an adverse impact on the performance These ESCs are also capable of telemetry, sending information from the ESC such as RPM, current draw, and temperature from the ESC to the flight controllerof drones.

Capacitors serve as electronic storage units, which can significantly improve the drone’s power supply when placed near the battery leads. By integrating capacitors into the PDB, the power surges produced by the brushless motor during braking can be effectively absorbed and minimized. In this way, capacitors greatly help protect electronics, eliminate electronic noise in FPV video feeds, and can even greatly improve the performance of drones.

Many times a drone may experience some “jerking”, especially if there are powerful motors or some gyroscopes on the flight controller. The addition of a low-ESR electrolytic capacitor, which has a minimum rating of 440 µF and 25 volts (v), connected across the battery lead of the PDB can provide an instant boost in performance.

Many pilots have had great results using 1000 µF, 35v capacitors, even though the build may be twitchy. Adding a low-ESR electrolytic capacitor rated at least 440 µF and 25 volts (v) across the battery lead of the PDB can immediately improve performance. Many pilots have had great results using 1000 µF, 35v capacitors, even though the build may be twitchy. The performance of the PDB can be instantly enhanced by including a low-ESR electrolytic capacitor with a minimum rating of 440 µF and 25 volts (v) connected across the battery lead.Many pilots have had great results using 1000 µF, 35v capacitors, even though the build may be twitchy.


Conclusions: Harness the power of ESC to improve model aircraft and drone performance

The ESC is a critical component for model aircraft and drone enthusiasts. Understanding how the ESC works, the different types available on the market, and how to choose the right one for your model aircraft or drone is essential for optimal performance and safe flights.

Following best practices for ESC maintenance and care will ensure long life and reliable performance over time. In the event of problems or malfunctions, promptly troubleshoot or replace the defective ESC to avoid greater damage.

By harnessing the power of ESC, model aircraft and drone enthusiasts can improve the performance of their models and enjoy safe and controlled flights.

You can find many kinds of ESCs on the market, but only a few can work well!

FPV drone

Write by volarelettrico.it 08/10/2023


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