We love the fact that many new companies are still jumping into the racing copters train. This gives such saturated market even more push through tight competition between manufacturers. We, as pilots, would always win from such situation — tight competition leads to fast technology development and price decrease for the components. That is why we are always happy to see new manufacturers and try out their products despite the fact that they are new and not yet well known. And this is our goal to bring news to the masses and provide the infromation whether some new products are worth to try…
Today, we would like to talk about the new manufacturer — Moumou Electronic Technology company dealing mostly with the solar energy equipment but who lately decided to introduce their own brand for rc copter ESCs — SoloGood.
One very important thing to bring up here — SoloGood brand would soon have other FPV products like goggles and PDBs along with their ESC lineup!!!
Currently, SoloGood brand has 2 types of ESCs:
- SoloGood 20A BLHeli_s DShot300 (for 180-330 frames quads)
- SoloGood 6A BLHeli_s (for 80-120 frames quads)
We have both versions but can actually test only the larger ones using our regular 210 racing quad frame with 2204|2300kv motors and DShot300 digital protocol between flight controller (FrSKY XSRF3O) and ESCs.
Let’s look at the main specs for ESCs:
And their features:
MCU used is BB21 50MHz and MOSFETs are Toshiba LOW ESR
We should point out here a very important thing: SoloGood claims that 20A continuous current is stated on ESCs and is guaranteed. Moreover, 25A is also guaranteed for prolongued time. Instead of stating the maximum allowed current as many manufacturers do to attract the attention of a customer, SoloGood decided to go another way around and state the contiuous A value on the label. So, these ESCs are actually 25A…
So, as mentioned in the specifications, both ESC types are capable of being tuned with BLHeli_s configurator and uses A-H-15 BLHeli_s FW from the factory. We have succesfully tried to upgrade it with BlHeli_s Chrome configurator to 16.6 FW using the passthrough method with the flight controller board. No problems here.
Weight, size and shape is very typical for both types of ESCs with no surprises. All ESCs come in soft packaging, each packed with extra couples of power wires (a pair is also presoldered) and soldered twisted signal and ground cables that end up with servo-type connector.
Soldering quality is very good and all the components located very neatly.
Manual can be found HERE SoLogood PT ESC Series
The protocols supported are OneShot42, OneShot125, MultiShot and DShot150 and DShot300. In order to use DShot digital protocol one HW change should be applied: the user would have to physically get rid of the capacitor shown on the picture to ensure that digital data peaks would not be filtered out from the signal.
This capacitor can be permanently and easily removed using a needle. Just direct the needle to the center of a side of the capacitor and push. It would destroy the capacitor with no other damage to the ESC apart from the ability to use DShot300.
From this point, let us start the short guide to DShot + BLHeli_s and show how to deal with it:
DShot — is a new way of communication between flight controllers and ESCs. It is not only an improvement over the very familiar OneShot125, OneShot42 (or even a MultiShot) but it is rather a very new way of communication because DShot represents a digital protocol, not analog. It still uses PWM signal but the peaks of the signal are used to indicate «0» and «1». Why is it better over regular PWM that sends electric pulses to ESCs to determain power? Because DShot is:
- Not succeptible to jitter and noise
- Doesn’t require ESC calibration due to the absence of the oscillator drift
- It has high resolution of 2048 steps
- It has CRC in the signal and every signal is proven to be correct
- It virtually capable of >30kHz loop times
- It is more precise that «analog» type signal
Do not be afraid of DShot. It just looks complicated but in fact it is easier to setup and work with than the regular ESCs.
So, the first thing to know is that most of not all of the FCs with BetaFlight would let you setup BLHeli ESCs using a passthrough method. Just solder ESCs, motors and everything like you always done before and with the props off prepare the following:
- From Google Chrome store download BLHeli applet for Chrome.
- Remove your props, power your quad, connect FC to the BetaFlight Configurator and make sure that you have OneShot125 or 42 selected for now.
- Disconnect from BetaFlight and connect to BLHeli configurator
Configurator would discover your ESCs and there would be a button at bottom right to read the configuration from ESCs. Hit that.
One the next screen you would see some default parameters along with the option to select and upgrade the FW. Notice that this applet shows some common parameters sections and each separate ESC additional parameters. Moreover, it would also tell you which FW version you currently have on each of your ESCa and let you choose from the drop down menu the appropriate newer|older ones. Decide whether you want to upgrade. I did it, flawlessly.
The rest of the parameters are:
- Prgramming by TX: common sense — whether you want to use programming mode from TX or not. Leave it default.
- Start up power: the power with which the motor would start to spin. Usually should be left at default 0.50
- Temperature protection: common sense. I set it to 80C.
- Low RPM power protection: protection form overpowering the motors at low RPM — set YES.
- Brake on stop: leave it as NO. We don’t need braking.
- Demag Compensation: protection from motor stalls caused by long winding demagnetization time after commutation. Leave it default.
- Motor Timing: common sense. Most of the motors would run with Medium (default) settings.
- Beep strength: common sense
- Beacon strength: the strength of beeps for motors when Thr is idle too long. Don’t set it high or it can burn your motors. Default value is ok.
- Beacon Delay: time perior of Thr inactivity after which beacon beeps would be sounded.
- Motor direction: the direction of motor rotation. Set this appropriately to the direction you need. You can check motor rotation direction when connected to BetaFlight configurator and using Motor tab. You might have to return here again to change the direction.
- PPM mix. throttle: for DShot set it to be 1000 (*note)
- PPM max. throttle: for DShot set it to be 2000 (*note)
- Flash FW: look at the top bar of each ESC — it syas which version and which FW is currently on your ESCs. Check for the newer FW versions in the drop down menu. Flash if necessary.
Just hit «Write Setup» and you are done.
*note: Since DShot doesn’t require to calibrate Thr signal for ESCs, Min and Max Thr values should be set to the stated limits of 1000 to 2000. The digital signal is passed within those boudaries, therefore, it should be like this for any DShot ESC.
Now, as you are done with ESCs setup, you can connect to BetaFlight configurator, select DShot 150, 300 or even 600 (if necessary and ESCs can support that) on the Configuration tab.
The last thing to do is to set the idle Thr % for the motors and ESCs (you can see such parameter in the Configuration tab below DShot protocol selected).
This is also easy:
- go to Motors tab
- check «I uderstand the risk……..» warning at the bottom right
- connect your flight battery if it is not yet connected (better to use some current limiter, but I don’t use it)
- click on Master slider and with your keyboard UP button (one press at a time) start to increase Thr%.
- when the motors would start to spin normally (no stall noise, no clicks, just a smooth run) — write down the resulting value. Let’s assume that you’ve got 1050.
- Subtract 1000 and divide by 10. 1050 — 1000 = 50/10 = 5
- You can now enter this number as the idle Thr% in the Configuration tab.
That is it. Your motors and ESCs are now ready to go.
Original DShot document on Github: HERE
Important: one of the main question about DShot and reason to have those on your quad is the loop time: what loop time DShot can handle and how it correlates with the gyro and PID loop times on your FC board. As you probably know, the rule to set max Gyro loop and PID loop frequency in Configuration tab is CPU load of the FC (shown at the very bottom of the applet). CPU load should not exceed 30% after making the change. F3 boards would allow up to 4 / 4kHz to run but it depends of the features enabled on the board (acceleromter, barometer, etc). Since one of my flight modes (Horizon) requires accelerometer to run, I can go as high as 4 (gyro) / 4 (PID loop — that is what ESCs would use) kHz loop time and get 27% CPU load. Now, let’s see what DShot is capable of:
- DSHOT150: 4kHz max
- DSHOT300: 10,6kHz max (10,6khz is only available on 32khz gyro boards)
- DSHOT600: 16kHz max
- DSHOT1200: >32khz max
So, in my case DShot300 is the right choice. Why? Because DShot150 would reach the limit if I’d use 4KHz PID loop rate (it is always bad not to leave some room) and DShot600 (even if ESC support that) would be a huge excess that would drive ESCs to the max amount of signals despite the FC board is incompatibe of running such speeds (FC PID loop is 4kHz, DSho600 loop is 16kHz ). Therefore, DShot300 is a good choice.
ESCs performance and feel:
As expected — no problems. We have made DShot300 mod and using SoloGood 20A ESCs on our testing setup. 2204|2300kv motors and XSRF3O (4|4KHz) deliver very stable flight with some good time in the air for our 1,3Ah 4S batteries (about 4 minutes if flying very fast and ~6 mins of flyfun). We haven’t nocticed any signs of ESC heating more than usual, motors are also smooth and cold. No hiccups, no loss in synchronization with the motors, no unexpected jumps. Very good and smooth sound of motors in flight tells that ESCs are doing great and do not stress the motors. Just as smooth and stable as it can be. Therefore, our only conclusion can be as following: if you happen to see SoloGood ESCs around and thinking whether to press BUY button or not — there is nothing to worry about — these ESCs would take a good place among other branded products!!!
Here is our very first SoloGood 20A ESCs test flight video in whcih we were testing new FC FrSKY XSRF3O as well: