I am designing a customized miniature drone for research and would like to embed the ESC for BLDC motor directly on board to save space and weight. I have searched a lot for ESC design online and can understand the basics to the point that I think I can implement a trapezoidal commutation algorithm using microcontrollers.
As I understand it, it only takes a periodically changing signal (with PWM modulation) in sync with the Back-EMF to control the motor. But there are a number of dedicated control firmware like BLHeli out there which are rather complicated, and there are also ICs like MCT8316A from TI that can do the commutation/control for me. Furthermore, it seems that almost all stand-alone ESCs are using MCUs with BLHeli firmware + gate driver + FETs design instead of ICs with everything included.
So my question is, what's the difference between:
- A simple commutation algorithm executing on my own controller.
- Stand-alone ESCs with MCUs with BLHeli firmware.
- ICs with the control algorithm built-in.
Are there any fundamental differences between these three solutions? What's the difference between them in the aspect of power efficiency? Why don't people use ICs with everything built-in in stand-alone ESCs?
Thanks a lot!
Some additional information:
In my application, the main concern is power efficiency and the simplicity of hardware/software, and higher prices can be tolerated.
The motor I would be using is similar to this motor and draws <5A current.
A quick follow-up question: I see there are ICs and algorithms for FOC control that provides higher power efficiency. But are they suitable for high-speed operating multi-pole motors used in drones?