A government official policing RPAS systems in Australia told me that a company with a $300k payload on a huge multi-rotor has lots of redundant systems. This was not news, but what I did find interesting is that this company also monitors the systems from the RPAS in real time for early signs of problems that can then be nipped in the bud, so to speak.

Real time monitoring of ESCs was specifically mentioned, and I know that Caste Creations ESCs can do this.

We do not have Castle Creations ESCs on our RPAS. We do however intend to fly our RPAS with two people. One pilot and one co-pilot monitoring Mission Planner.

What parameters/charts could be monitored as a proxy to the ESC performance, and what other parameters could be a leading indicator of an imminent system failure?

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  • Yes, you can monitor system for upcoming problems, like icing (increased drag, unusual elevator trim) , seeing normal power consumption during known flight state etc.

    ESC (thermal) monitoring, however, is pretty much useless - the way they operate, as long they are not wet or physically damaged losing connections , they won't stop working unless seriously overheated, and overheating is most common when they are borderline under dimensioned or drive an faulty motor.

    So instead of risking heat problem by loading an 40A ESC with 35A ,  , go for 60A ESC, - and you will usually get lower internal RON (internal resistance in on-state ( and more efficient ESC))

    - if an motor have some defects then then, you will see unusual power consumption long before an ESC fails.

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