Safety notice for ESC

a note about esc:

be careful with esc from manufacturers who do not expressly approve their esc for aviation.

lately there have been some “mysterious” incidents involving 2 esc brands in other sports that are also active in the range over 5 kilowatts.

congret, the danger is that the esc suddenly switches to full throttle and remains at full throttle.

if you still want to use hobby esc for eppg at least make sure that everything is available:

a failsave function is available
a signal loses safety function
an emergency stop function even under full throttle
a start lock for unintentional start. (especially because of children or spectators who “fumble around”).
Each function detects the overload early on and switches off even in the event of an esc fire and does not remain in the gas position.

an eppg that starts running spontaneously at full throttle can have incredible destructive power.

as also e.g. e-foils and e-go-karts can cause severe injuries and damage.

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Good info
Cheers

lately there have been some “mysterious” incidents involving 2 esc brands in other sports that are also active in the range over 5 kilowatts.

@bratwurst, could you link to the reports of these incidents? I know you’re well regarded in the community, but we have to be very careful about spreading rumors without data to back them up. I’ve seen many claims of “aviation-grade” ESCs, but very little to back up those claims. I say this because we actually developed an “aviation-grade” ESC at a drone company and so I’ve seen first-hand the kind of problems which can develop.

For instance, most EEs understand that capacitors behave differently at high altitude. But how many EEs understand that memory bits are more likely to flip at high altitude, where cosmic rays are stronger? It might sound surprising, but even at “low” altitudes such as Denver, Colorado it’s a measurable and quantifiable phenomenon. Heck, one time it caused 2^12 votes to appear in an otherwise unremarkable Belgian election.

Regarding the uncommanded power-on events mentioned in the OP, over the past decade I’ve professionally worked with even the cheapest of cheap R/C ESCs and can’t recall seeing this kind of incident. I’m not claiming it doesn’t happen, but it is exceedingly rare in my experience. It would be helpful to know the precise circumstances, so as to better guard against their reoccurrence. It’s very easy to blame the ESC when the fault lies upstream in the fault chain.

since i don’t name any brands i don’t spread rumors that are disadvantageous for certain companies! I recommend using esc, which the manufacturer says is approved and tested for use in aviation. these are few companies that have been known for years and most of them also supply the right motor or work with the right motor company. You don’t need any “proof” for this. Everyone who is actually active in the eppg area and flies knows all the brands that are relevant. the esc s that had malfunctions are from companies that do not give clear approval for aviation. therefore, these companies are doing everything right. the mistake is made by users who just use esc that are not suitable for it. I warn against doing so. my message is nothing more.

since i don’t name any brands i don’t spread rumors that are disadvantageous for certain companies!

I think we disagree here. While you’re not directly advising readers not to buy company X, the message I’m seeing is “don’t buy except from companies which market to aviation”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this implicitly saying “don’t buy from all other companies, including company X”?

I will stand by my guns, which is that we should not be spreading rumors without links to the pilot reports.


I think we are in complete agreement that ESCs are scary things prone to malfunction, a malfunction which occurs in the blink of an eye and can release tremendous forces. I completely agree with your list of requirements for ESCs. I think it’s really useful in helping people make informed decisions.

In my experience, the consumer industry can make much more reliable parts than the professional industry. It’s hard to estimate the value of the tens or hundreds of millions of test hours and configurations which arise from the hobby/hacker world. A niche ESC such as from MGM, which has merely thousands of hours and has only operated with a handful of motors, has many advantages but it cannot have the breadth and depth of experience of tens of thousands of people flying every weekend for a decade.

Case in point, APD markets their pro ESCs for aviation, but two forum users have had issues: Paraglider self-launching system and Paraglider self-launching system. Certain combinations of motor, ESC, and prop are prone to failure, and that’s a big risk which any developer has to consider.

i have already given my opinion. you have a different opinion. that’s totally ok. to me.