This page provides resources for the open-source electronic speed controller designed by Benjamin Vedder.
The main webpage of the Vedder Esc project is found here. The speed controller is designed for brushless DC motors with each controller driving a single motor. A summary of features is listed below:
- Voltage: 8V – 60V (Safe for 3S to 12S LiPo).
- Current: Up to 240A for a couple of seconds or about 50A continuous depending on the temperature and air circulation around the PCB.
- Sensored and sensorless FOC wich auto-detection of all motor parameters is implemented since FW 2.3.
- Firmware based on ChibiOS/RT.
- PCB size: slightly less than 40mm x 60mm.
- Current and voltage measurement on all phases.
- Regenerative braking.
- DC motors are also supported.
- Sensored or sensorless operation.
- A GUI with lots of configuration parameters
- Good start-up torque in the sensorless mode (and obviously in the sensored mode as well).
- Duty-cycle control, speed control or current control.
- Seamless 4-quadrant operation.
- Interface to control the motor: PPM signal (RC servo), analog, UART, I2C, USB or CAN-bus.
- Adjustable protection against:
- Low input voltage
- High input voltage
- High motor current
- High input current
- High regenerative braking current (separate limits for the motor and the input)
- Rapid duty cycle changes (ramping), High RPM (separate limits for each direction)
The speed controller can be built from scratch, but it is far more time-effective to purchase a model from a supplier. These can be purchased for between $80 - $150 with various design modifications. A proven model is the VESC-X from Enertion. Despite being an Australian company, the controllers are produced and distributed in the US with a 3-5 day lead time. There is a quantity discount for 4+ controllers and if you place the controllers in your cart after registering and wait a bit, you’ll get a 10% off coupon code by e-mail. The current code as of 3/5/2017 was “pushingsucks”.
Sample Arduino Code
The code in this zip file interfaces an Arduino Mega 2560 to a VESC-X over serial. The sketch runs an open loop characterization routine that drives the motor in each direction. Motor braking is applied when a duty cycle command is set to 0. Motor freewheeling occurs when a current command is set to 0.