Here's a new open source brushless ESC project, designed for quadcopters. Uses an Atmega processor. More on the creator's blog here.

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Comment by brakar on December 27, 2009 at 4:32pm
I like the idea of open source. Anyone who have an opinion of the main pre of this one? Power, customizability, price, quality, early making of technology available, others?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on December 27, 2009 at 4:37pm
For quadcopters, which need really high performance ESCs (100 hz or better), the commercial alternatives are expensive and often inflexible. But I don't see the need for this for standard fixed wing aircraft.

Developer
Comment by Randy on December 27, 2009 at 4:49pm
One potential advantage is getting feedback from the ESC on things like RPM and battery voltage. At the moment I suspect most of us are building external sensors into our projects and really this is redundant as our ESCs already know this, they're just not telling us!

Also like Chris mentions, the flexibility of having different interfaces (potentially at higher frequencies). If you ask me PPM is a bit of a bizarre way to communicate. I believe open source servos similarly provide other methods of communication (http://openservo.com/)

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on December 27, 2009 at 4:55pm
Randy, excellent points. Maybe we should create an open source RC avionics data bus standard! (I2C interface)
Comment by Edouard H on December 27, 2009 at 5:21pm
Looks like this project uses a stm32 not an Atmega. These are much faster beasts ;-)

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on December 27, 2009 at 5:23pm
Looks like they're switching to Atmegas. See current status post.
Comment by David Ankers on December 27, 2009 at 7:10pm
I've been following this project, its very cool although as much as I love the Cortex M3s it was over kill in this project and pushed the price up, not sure why they made this choice at the start? Must have had their reasons. Cool to see they are switching to ATMegas that should lower the price a great deal, I wonder why they did this instead of using the Cortex M0s though.
Comment by Dean on December 28, 2009 at 2:48am
Chris Anderson: My understanding is that the Eagle Tree systems already work on I2C bus.
Comment by bGatti on December 28, 2009 at 11:01am
Most microprocessor makers provide an opensource BLMC circuit and software, but it's good to see a focused solution on advanced RC - and yes, I2C is the only reasonable choice for uav as it's multidrop, low cost included periphery and suitable for the distances involved. To become a universal protocal requires a standards committee (ie gps at address 32, airspeed on 35, etc...)
Comment by Tj Bordelon on December 28, 2009 at 8:01pm
I see a need! I keep getting screwed over by my ESC guessing wrong when it comes to the max/min throttle setting. Same reason I built my own modems. Hobby stuff works 90% but that last 10% seems to creep up enough to make you roll your own.

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