Here are amazing drone reference designs that let you extend the flight time & battery life when you design and build your own drone
Drones have captured the imagination of makers and hobbyists who enjoy creating and innovating on their own. Drones are being used in a variety of ways: from package delivery and aerial photography to security and surveillance monitoring and communication. Yet two key challenges for drone developers remain — battery life and time of flight. Delivery companies want drones with enhanced battery life and are testing delivery of parcels with drones.
Here are three reference designs that help drone developers to help extend both flight time and battery life for quadcopters and other non-military consumer and industrial drones used to deliver packages, provide surveillance or communicate and assist at long distances.
Drone Electronic speed controller (ESC) using Sensorless FOC
Have you ever wondered how quadcopters are able to navigate? It is the ESC or Electronic Speed Controller that controls the drone’s movement by sending instructions to the motors. TI offers a reference design for drone ESC which will help manufacturers create drones with longer flight times and more smooth and stable performance.
The Sensorless High-Speed Field Oriented Control (FOC) Reference Design for Drone ESC helps to implement ESCs that achieve the highest possible efficiency with performance for speeds more than 12,000 rpm (> 1.2kHz electrical) including fast-speed reversal capability for more stable roll movement. The design results in smaller board size and fewer BOM components.
The design features TI’s C2000 MCU InstaSPIN-FOC solution, including an F28027F microcontroller for precise motor control and FAST field observer proprietary software algorithm that estimates the rotor flux, angle, speed and torque. The design also includes a 60-V LMR16006 SIMPLE SWITCHER DC/DC converter with an ultra-low quiescent current to efficiently manage a drone’s lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries.
Compact Drone ESC
The STEVAL-ESC001V1 reference design for ESCs for drones fits entry-level commercial drone designs and drives any three-phase brushless (or PMSM) motor running off 6S LiPo battery packs, or any equivalent DC supply, up to 30 A peak current. The STEVAL-ESC001V1 lets you spin a motor and its propeller in minutes thanks to a complete pre-configured firmware package (STSW-ESC001V1), implementing a sensorless Field Oriented Controlled algorithm with 3-shunt current reading, speed control and full active braking. The reference design board can accept commands from a flight control unit through PWM signals; other communication bus interfaces like UART, CAN, and I²C are also available. The design comes in a compact form factor of 29.1 x 58 mm. Further applications of the design include motor driving for RC vehicles: electric cars, helicopter, trucks, etc. Click here for the reference design.
Battery management system (BMS) for your drone
The 2S1P Battery Management System (BMS) reference design transforms a drone’s battery pack into a smart diagnostic black box recorder that accurately monitors remaining capacity and protects the Li-Ion battery throughout its entire lifetime. Designers can use the drone BMS reference design to add gauging, protection, balancing and charging capabilities to any existing drone design and improve flight time. The design also features a battery charge controller and a high-efficiency DC/DC converter to achieve high-efficiency power conversion efficiency. It also leverages the fuel gauge to accurately measure remaining capacity over the entire life of the battery.