PX4 Sapog - advanced open source ESC from the PX4 team

Hi everyone,

A part of the PX4 team has been working on an open source ESC since late 2013. The objectives we had in mind were roughly as follows:

  • BSD licensed codebase.
  • CAN bus interface (using UAVCAN as a high level protocol), with specific sub-goals:
    • low latency;
    • ESC status monitoring, at least health, temperature and RPM;
    • automatic and transparent for the user firmware upgrades.
  • Better alternative to the popular RCPWM BLDC controllers in terms of reliability and response characteristics.

The project was first known as PX4ESC, later renamed into Sapog for reasons of clarity. After about two and half years of development and experimenting, the first, for-developers-only release was announced at the ELC 2016 (slides here). Now, a few months after that, we're announcing that the project is finally ready for public release, and that the first ESC based on this project - Zubax Orel 20 - is now available from Titan Elite, Inc.

Zubax Orel 20, pictured on the right, is rated for supply voltage 9~18 V (3~4S LiPo) and continuous motor currents up to 20 A. More info can be gathered from the documentation page at the Zubax Docs website.

We welcome all companies that specialize in electric drive systems for UAV to consider extending their product portfolio with UAVCAN enabled solutions. In order to encourage this move, we're planning to release the reference hardware sources under a permissive Creative Commons license.

It should be emphasized that all of the features of Sapog are exposed via UAVCAN, an open and royalty-free protocol standard. We encourage all vendors of UAV avionics to support it, since relying on a common and open ecosystem is beneficial for everyone. For ease of migration we're providing MIT-licensed libraries in C++, C, and Python. Here we have a small collection of demo scripts that demonstrate how to access the capabilities of Sapog, or any other UAVCAN-interfaced ESC, using plain Python from a regular desktop computer: https://docs.zubax.com/sapog/direct_control_via_uavcan.

More information:

Views: 4159

Comment by Gerardo Espino on August 19, 2016 at 11:18pm

79USD? Puft!

Comment by Karl Truemann on August 20, 2016 at 12:42am

Do you plan to share all the sources of this project ?

Comment by Zubax Robotics on August 20, 2016 at 1:05am
Yes, at some point we plan to release the sources of reference hardware, which we call Pixhawk ESC.
Comment by Tobias Witting on August 20, 2016 at 2:04am

79 USD... really?

Comment by luke cooke on August 20, 2016 at 3:11am

79Usd..... What makes this so expensive? Im sure alot of work went it to it, but really.... 79$$$ that means for a quad we are at 316$ just for the esc's.

Comment by Dmitry Prokhorov on August 20, 2016 at 6:53am

$79 couldn't be a problem for professional grade FOC-ready ESC with redundant UAVCAN, low latency, status feedback and so on. That's great. But.. 4S and 20A limits could not be considered appropriate for professional grade device. Guys, are you seriously?

Comment by Jesus A on August 20, 2016 at 7:19am
Why not 6S support? Such a pity

Comment by DavidJames on August 20, 2016 at 12:08pm

This looks like and excellent ESC.    Field Orientation Control plus UAV CAN    I ordered a couple of them to see how they work, for fixed wing applications   Thanks for the post.   :-)

Comment by Pavel Kirienko on August 20, 2016 at 12:26pm

Thanks for the feedback everyone.
Seeing as the price tag has triggered a few raised eyebrows, I need to clarify that this product is primarily targeted at professional applications, where the improvements in reliability and performance offered by this ESC can be leveraged.
We believe that its power characteristics (4S 20A) do fit the largest subset of the target use cases, although we obviously do not expect this one model to cover them all. That should be resolved when a few more models are released, and since it is an open source design, this could also be undertaken by other vendors.

Comment by Stmpngrnd on August 20, 2016 at 1:16pm

There really are not many professional duration or heavy lift platforms that run 4s 20a. For reference KDE is one of the few pro grade power system vendors and they only have  about 3 motors that run under 20a and they are for 1.5kg or smaller class platforms.

Just trying to be constructive but for a vast majority of pro applications these esc are just two small for the price.

If you offered 50a-100a options ranging from $100-$200 no one single pro user would question the price.


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