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Electronic speed controller reference design for drones

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Parameter NameParameter Value
Target Application3-phase Induction Motor (ACIM)
Core ProductL6398, LD39050PU33R, SMBJ26A-TR, STL160N4F7, STM32F303, TSV991ILT
ECCN US3A991.a.2
Packing TypeNot Applicable
RoHs compliantEcopack2
Package NameCARD

The STEVAL-ESC001V1 reference design for electronic speed controllers (ESC) for drones fits entry-level commercial drone designs and drives any three-phase brushless (or PMSM) motor running off 6S LiPo battery packs, or any equivalent DC supply, up to 30 A peak current.

The STEVAL-ESC001V1 lets you spin a motor and its propeller in minutes thanks to STM32 Motor Control Software Development Kit (MCSDK) with ST Motor profiler (X-CUBE-MCSDK). It implements a sensorless field oriented controlled (FOC) algorithm with 3-shunt current reading, speed control and full active braking.

The reference design board can accept commands from a flight control unit through PWM signals; other communication bus interfaces like UART, CAN, and I²C are also available. The reference embeds a battery eliminator circuit working at 5 V, an NTC sensor for temperature measurement and circuitry for overcurrent/overvoltage protection (OCP/OVP). The compact form factor and current capability render this reference design suitable for electronic speed controllers on small and light unmanned aerial vehicles like professional drones.

The X-CUBE-MCSDK software package lets you refine your electronic speed controller design. They act on the FOC parameters embedded in the STM32 and experiment with the ST motor profiler to retrieve rapidly the motor parameters. The ST sensorless FOC algorithm ensures longer flight times and optimal dynamic performance.

The STEVAL-ESC001V1 is designed around the highly efficient, low Rdson STripFET F7 power MOSFETs, the high-performance STM32F303CBT7 microcontroller with Arm® Cortex®-M4 core and the L6398 drivers.

Key features
  • Complete reference design for electronic speed controller implementing a sensorless FOC algorithm
  • Designed for drones with 6S pack of LiPo batteries or systems with an equivalent suitable DC supply
  • ESC ready for communication with any standard flight control unit (FCU): PWM or CAN
  • Temperature overheating protection
  • Nominal operating voltage range: 3S-6S Li-Po battery DC voltage level (11.1 to 22.2 V)
  • Maximum RMS output current: 20 Arms
  • Output peak current: 30 A
  • Battery eliminator circuit (BEC): 5 V/0.5 A for external receiver or FCU
  • Example project available on STM32 motor control software development kit (X-CUBE-MCSDK)
  • Supported by ST motor control software SDK and ST motor profiler
  • Compact PCB design: 29.1 x 58 mm
  • Further target applications:motor driving for RC vehicles: electric cars, helicopter, trucks, etc.any three-phase BLDC or PMSM motor application
  • RoHS and WEEE compliant