Sensorless High-Speed FOC Reference Design for Drone ESC


Design files


ESC modules are important subsystems for non-military drones and users demanding more efficient models that provide longer flight times and higher dynamic behavior with smoother and more stable performance. This design implements an Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) commonly used for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones.

The speed control is done sensorless, and the motor has been tested up to 1.2 kHz electrical frequency (12kRPM with a 6 pole pair motor), using FOC speed control. Our high-speed sensorless-FOC reference design for Drone ESCs provides best-in-class FOC algorithm implementation to achieve longer flight time, better dynamic performance and higher integration, resulting smaller board size and fewer BOM components. Sensorless high speed FOC control using TI’s FAST™ software observer leveraging InstaSPIN-Motion™ C2000™ LaunchPad and DRV8305 BoosterPack.

  • InstaSPIN-FOC™ sensorless FOC achieves highest dynamic performance. Tested up to 12,000 RPM with 3 LiPo cells
  • High dynamic performance: 1 kRPM to 10 kRPM (electrical frequency 100 Hz to 1 kHz) speed in <0.2 s to provide high performance yaw and pitch movement
  • Fast speed reversal capability for roll movement
  • Longer flight time due to improved efficiency of FOC over block commutation
  • Higher PWM switching frequency, tested up to 60 kHz to reduce current/torque ripple with low inductance / high-speed motors, and to avoid interference with ultrasonic sensors
  • Fast time-to market due to InstaSPIN-FOC’s  automatic motor parameter identification: auto-tuning sensorless FOC solution
  • Motor temperature estimation from winding resistance changes to protect motor from damage during temporary overload conditions
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A fully assembled board has been developed for testing and performance validation only, and is not available for sale.

Design files & products

Design files

Download ready-to-use system files to speed your design process.

TIDUCF1.PDF (1674 K)

Reference design overview and verified performance test data

TIDRP38.ZIP (291 K)

Detailed schematic diagram for design layout and components

TIDRP39.ZIP (442 K)

Complete listing of design components, reference designators, and manufacturers/part numbers


Includes TI products in the design and potential alternatives.

BLDC drivers

DRV830545-V max 3-phase smart gate driver with current shunt amplifiers & SPI

Data sheet: PDF | HTML
Buck converters (integrated switch)

LMR16006SIMPLE SWITCHER® 4V to 60V, 600mA Step-Down Regulator with Low Iq

Data sheet: PDF | HTML
C2000 real-time microcontrollers

TMS320F28068MC2000™ 32-bit MCU with 90 MHz, FPU, VCU, 256 KB flash, InstaSPIN-MOTION

Data sheet: PDF | HTML
C2000 real-time microcontrollers

TMS320F28069MC2000™ 32-bit MCU with 90 MHz, FPU, VCU, CLA, 256 KB flash, InstaSPIN-MOTION

Data sheet: PDF | HTML
C2000 real-time microcontrollers

TMS320F28069M-Q1Automotive C2000™ 32-bit MCU with 90 MHz, FPU, VCU, CLA, 256 KB flash, InstaSPIN-MOTION

Data sheet: PDF | HTML
N-channel MOSFETs

CSD18540Q5B60-V, N channel NexFET™ power MOSFET, single SON 5 mm x 6 mm, 2.2 mOhm

Data sheet: PDF | HTML

Technical documentation

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Type Title Date
* Design guide High-Speed Sensorless-FOC Reference Design for Drone ESCs Dec. 08, 2016
More literature Solving drone makers’ design challenges Jul. 27, 2017

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