Hi everyone,3689698321?profile=original

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.

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  • Hi Subatomic,

    These are CAN bus interfaced instead of standard PWM of other ESCs.

    For the most part unless you are using a flight controller that can output to CAN based ESCs you can't even use these.

    CAN bus control potentially offers several advantages, but right now I'd say these are more for commercial use and these are a bit anemic for the larger copters even there.

    In standard PWM ESCs KDE are probably about the best you can get and do have some interesting enable-able features such as dynamic braking which really might be be an asset for racing.

    They are not cheap, even for their smallest 20 amp one but they do come in a variety of sizes and capabilities. They do not have an on board BEC because they are opto isolated but there are inexpensive add on UBECs if you need one (You don't need KDEs overpriced really high current one.)

    If I am stating anything inaccurately here, please feel free to correct it.

    Best Regards,

    Gary McCray

  • Hate to be the newbie here, but can anyone briefly explain what advantages this ESC has over others in the market. Especially, what is FOC in layman terms.  I'm always looking for an advantage for my 250 racing quads and have no problem paying the price, but what advantage will these ESCs provide other than improved reliability? How is the performance improved over others. Thanks in advance!

  • A 40-50a and 50$ would be a better suit for most of applications.

  • CANESC from AUAV has no firmware, it's hardware only. I guess it is targeted for developers. Sapog is not compatible with CANESC from AUAV.

  • What are the differences between Zubax orel 20 and the new CANESC from AUAV (http://www.auav.co/product-p/esc-30.htm)?

    Why the one from AUAV is cheaper even though it has higher AMP?

    Do not they both use same firmware?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 100KM

    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.   :-)

  • Why not 6S support? Such a pity
  • $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?

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