ESC, BEC, and UBEC Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What is an ESC?
ESC stands for Electronic Speed Control. The ESC functions as the main control between the motor and receiver. It works like this: You send a signal to the receiver via your transmitter, the receiver then sends a signal to the ESC, and the ESC responds by providing the appropriate level of electric power to the motor (you might compare it to the carburetor of a gas engine). The battery pack plugs directly into the ESC, and the ESC powers the motor, and also the receiver and servos if it has a Battery Elimination Circuit (BEC). The BEC eliminates the need for a separate battery to power your receiver and servos. This sounds a bit complicated, but it's really pretty simple once you see the components properly connected. The ESC has a standard servo type plug that connects to channel 3 of the receiver, and there are 3 wires on the end of the ESC that connect to the the 3 wires on the brushless motor. There are also 2 wires for the battery connection on the ESC.
2. How do I choose the correct size ESC for my model?
When choosing an ESC, you need to know the expected amp draw of the motor/propeller combination that you intend to use. You want an ESC that is rated for a higher amp draw than what the motor/prop combination uses. For example, if you plan to use the 2410-12D motor with the GWS EP9050 prop on your GWS Mustang, you will see from the prop data supplied in the motor listing that this combination draws about 12 amps when using a 3 cell Lipo battery. So you will need an ESC with AT LEAST a 12 amp rating, and it's best to have a good margin of error. I would recommend using at least a 15 amp ESC for this motor/prop combination, and 20 amp is even better. You could use a 32 amp or 40 amp ESC, but then you're adding unnecessary weight and cost.
3. How do I hook this up to my motor? The wire colors don't match!
The answer is that the wire colors don't matter. Simply hook up the three wires on one end of the ESC to the three motor wires - any order. If the motor spins the wrong direction, simply switch any two of the motor/ESC wires. Be sure to hook up the Red wire and the Black wire on the other end of the ESC to your battery with the correct polarity - Red is positive, Black is negative. And the long 3 strand wire with the connector gets plugged into the throttle channel of your receiver (usually channel 3).
4. Can I use the ESC from a brushed motor to run a brushless motor?
No. A brushless motor requires an ESC designed specifically for a brushless motor.
5. Can I use one ESC to run two brushless motors?
This is not recommended. A brushless motor will run most reliably if it has it's own dedicated ESC.
6. Why does the ESC cut off my motor before full throttle is reached, or when I throttle up quickly?
This is the most common problem that crops up, and usually the answer is that the Lipo voltage is "sagging" under a high amp load to the 'low voltage cut-off' of the ESC, where the ESC either shuts off the motor, or reduces power to the motor to prevent the battery from dropping any further in voltage. You may be using the wrong prop on the motor and drawing too many amps, or you may be using a battery that doesn't have a high enough amp rating, or the battery may be somewhat defective or over rated. The easiest way to check out the problem is to hook a voltage meter to your battery and run the motor up slowly to see at what voltage the cut-off is occurring. You can also try using a smaller diameter propeller that causes the motor to draw fewer amps, thereby reducing or eliminating the problem, but you will also have less thrust.
7. What is a BEC?
BEC stands for Battery Elimination Circuit. This is often a built in feature of the ESC which eliminates the need for a separate battery to power the receiver and servos. The BEC takes power from the main battery pack and reduces it to about 5 volts, and then sends it on to the receiver via the red wire of the ESC receiver plug. A BEC will commonly have a maximum amp rating of 1 to 3 amps, and this is usually stated somewhere on the ESC, or on the ESC instruction sheet.
8. What is a UBEC?
UBEC stands for Universal Battery Elimination Circuit. The UBEC is a small electronic device that is used to power the receivers/servos of a model if the ESC being used does not have a built in BEC, or if the BEC of the ESC is inadequate to power the number of servos being used. The UBEC is connected directly to the main battery pack of an electric model, the same as the ESC. In fact, the power input wires of the UBEC are often spliced into the power input wires of the ESC. The power output wires of the UBEC have a receiver connector on them, and this is usually plugged into any open channel of the receiver. If the ESC being used has a built in BEC, that BEC must be disabled when using a UBEC. To disable the BEC of an ESC, simply disconnect the red wire on the receiver plug of the ESC.
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