build details

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Part 3: Motors and ESCs Overview

Modified 2020-10-18 by sageshoyu


Modified 2020-07-21 by Garrett Warren

In this phase of the build, you’ll be adding the essential elements of every drone– the motors, ESCs, and the flight controller.

Required Materials

Modified 2020-08-06 by Garrett Warren

Detailed Hardware Descriptions

Modified 2020-08-05 by Garrett Warren


Modified 2020-08-06 by Garrett Warren


Modified 2020-08-06 by Garrett Warren

An Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) is used to regulate the speed of a motor according to a signal from the flight controller. A brushless motor would not be able to spin without an ESC, as they are responsible for changing the magnetic fields that generate a moment to make the motor spin.

Electronic Speed Controllers

Bullet Connectors

Modified 2020-08-06 by Garrett Warren

Bullet connectors are used to connect two wires together in a way that allows them to be disconnected easily. It is useful to use these to connect the motors to the ECSs because if a motor is spinning in the wrong direction, you can simply switch two of the motor/ESC connections and the motor direction will reverse (more on this Later). Additionally, If an ESC or motor goes bad, bullet connectors makes it easier to swap out those parts.

Bullet Connectors

Metal Standoffs

Modified 2020-08-06 by Garrett Warren

Standoffs are used to separate layers of electronic circuits. On the drone, the standoffs will be used to separate the PDB from the Pi.

Metal Standoff

Battery Monitoring Leads

Modified 2020-08-06 by Garrett Warren

The battery monitor wires leads allow the flight controller to monitor the power traversing the PDB. This is useful because the flight controller can inform the Pi of the battery voltage. The benefit of this is that the software will prevent the battery from draining too low and permanently damaging it.

You will be using the extra red and black wire that came with the kit to make the battery monitor leads

Build Progress

Modified 2020-08-05 by Garrett Warren

After completing this section, your build will match the diagram below. Compare this diagram to the completed drone diagram to see how what you’re doing now fits into the final result.

Diagram for Build Part 3

The Pi receives IMU sensor data from the flight controller, and sends the flight controller values for roll, pitch, yaw, and throttle. The flight controller converts these values to PWM commands for each motor, and sends the values to each ESC. The ESCs receive power from the PDB, and use the PWM signal from the flight controller to control how fast the motors are spinning.