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Difference between ESC and brushless motor controller?

  1. Jan 15, 2016 #1
    This is a 2 part question and I guess it applies to the brushed case as well.

    1.What is the difference between an electronic speed controller (ESC) and a brushless motor controller show below:


    Brushless motor controller:
    http://www.robotshop.com/en/veyron-5a-brushless-motor-controller.html [Broken]

    I am trying to make a drone from scratch, so I'm using an ARM microcontroller. I want to eventually control a brushless motor that will spin propellers like the one shown below:

    Brushless motor:

    2. How do they each interface with the microcontroller?

    Thank you.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 18, 2016 #2


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    The first one uses PPM which stands for Pulse Position Modulation. The length of a pulse is used to control the speed. Eg You feed it a pulse that varies from about 1mS to 2mS repeated every 20ms. This is the standard used for just about every RC model system. It's the same for servos, sail winches, speed controller etc. That particular model also has a battery eliminator circuit BEC that will turn the motor battery voltage into something suitable to power a reciever (or perhaps your Arm board?) so you don't need a separate reciever battery.

    The second one has three different control interfaces. First is PPM as above. Second is a UART which is a serial interface. You would have to read the manual but my guess is you send it a byte or two of data to indicate the speed required. Third interface is going to be an analogue voltage interface - probably intended for use with a manual operated potentiometer.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016
  4. Jan 18, 2016 #3


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    PS Some speed controllers have a brake function. These are normally used in model cars and powered gliders with folding propellers. You probably need one without a brake or with a brake you can turn off/disable.
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