June 1, 2015 - IMPORTANT UPDATE From today forward, all new orders will be filled with the next improvement in the evolution of the Rotorgeeks ESCs. There are two important changes.
Any older ESC (pre 13.2) can connect to the new programmer once it has been flashed to BLHeli 13.2 or later. The old programmer will continue to work but of course requires the programming leads for a connection. The new programmer requires a ground connection to work on the old No-BEC versions (simple to do).
Current inventory is flashed with BLHeli 14.1
There is a recently discovered bug in the BLHeli 14.0 code that affects throttle calibration if you're not using oneshot mode. The top end range will default to 2000 rather than the range you set. Options
1) enable Oneshot and recalibrate (no reason not to use oneshot anyways)
2) if you have the programmer, manually set the PPM Maximum to 1848 (assuming control board has max throttle at 1850)
3) set maximum throttle on the control board to 2000
This bug affects ALL ESCS with BLHeli 14.0 (not just Rotorgeeks) and is fixed in BLHeli 14.1
(OneShot is auto-detected if your flight controller is using it).
If OneShot is active you'll hear a second set of identical 'ready' beeps from the motors a few seconds after the first when using Cleanflight. Update - Cleanflight 1.9.0 or later does not issue the second beeps but you don't need them for confirmation. If you have the Oneshot box checked in Cleanflight and your motors spin, you are in Oneshot mode. When this box is checked, the flight controller will only issue Oneshot protocol and the ESC cannot be calibrated to that range if they're aren't Oneshot capable. So if it spins, it's working!
Complete 4S compatibility with 1960kv / 2000kv / 2300kv motors
V4 brings a new version of BLHeli that has been thoroughly tested to be free of sync issues running 4S on all of the popular miniquad motors up to 2300kv. That includes Cobra, DYS, Sunnysky, T-Motors. This opens up a whole new world of prop and thrust options. We've also measured a 5-10% increase in efficiency over previous versions of BLHeli (same thrust, lower current). The only other change from V3 is that signal wires were lengthened by 2cm to 12cm to accomodate some of the slightly larger quad and hex frames.
The inexpensive USB adapter introduced back in V3 gives you access to all BLHeli settings like reversing motor direction as well as flashing new firmware with a user friendly interface. All V3 ESCScan be updated to V5 with the USB adapter..
18mm wide x 8mm at thickest point x 34mm long (heat shrink edge to edge)
10g with full length wires and heatsink (removable for 1g saving)
Of course we've kept all the improvements made along the way to V5
All Rotorgeeks 12A ESCs come ready to fly, preset with BLHeli settings to accomodate high kv motors used in most miniquads, including the Cobra 2204 1960/2300kv, Sunnysky 2300kv, DYS 1806 2300kv etc. There is no need for further configuration. See the video below for a demo of why this matters and laugh at the way I used to configure an ESC before the programming leads and USB programmer were available!
Note that you are buying a new version of BLHeli than what you see here.
Mounting The heat generating components of the ESC are located on the label side with NO writing on the heat shrink (if you removed the label). You can make out 6 small squares through the shrink - these are your hot little FETs. Mount ESCs so this side gets maximum airflow. Alternately, you can mount this side down if they're on a thermally conductive material like a Carbon Fiber arm.
What is BLHeli vs simonk? Both are custom firmware designed to optimize ESC performance, allowing the speed controller to respond faster to commands from the flight controller. simonk works with Atmel based speed controllers whereas BLHeli works with Silabs based speed controllers. BLHeli offers configuration capability after flashing i.e. you can change the settings after flashing, even without a computer or USB interface (through stick commands). The Silabs chips also have very good internal oscillators whereas the Atmel based ESCs require an external oscillator for optimal precision and temperature stability. Some Atmel ESCs have it, some don't whereas all Silabs ESCs have this internally.
These ESCs have a beacon! huh? That's right, after sitting idle for 10 minutes (configurable) the ESCs will start the motors beeping. While not ear piercing, the volume isn't too bad. A customer recently wrote in that the beacon led him to his his quad that was lost in some tall grass.
Rotorgeeks 12A BLHeli history
July 16, 2015 - V5 denotes ESCs without the programming lead and loaded with BLHeli 14 (new style programmer for flashing and updating through signal leads)
Sep 30, 2014 - V4 released. Full 4S compatibility with all motors. No need to change configuration based on motor and battery in use.
July 29 - V3 released. Programming lead on ESC connects with USB adapter for full BLHeli access to settings, allowing configuration changes from 3S to 4S, motor reversing and more. Battery input leads upgraded to 18AWG. Signal leads shortened to 10cm. Separate 4S version available ((up to 1960kv). Naked version released.
June 2 - V2 released. Input cap upgraded to 25V for safe 4S operation. No-BEC version released with single signal wires. Heat sink added. BLHeli in same configuration BUT this config is now coded as the default. If you mess up your settings and return to default, it will have timing set to med-hi, demag compensation set to off (if you reset the first batch to defaults timing reverts to medium and demag compensation reverts to low, the standards settings for BLHeli Multi)
May 21 - first batch sold out, second batch in production with No-BEC option, larger input capacitor and addition of a heatsink
May 10 - testing complete. Found the right settings for the working with the popular 1800 - 2300kv motors (Cobra, Sunnysky etc.) I will post more detailed results but these have been put through the paces, including 20A peaks, 12A sustained, 4S scenarios and every slow/full throttle combo you can think of. The final settings overcome both the stuttering and seizing issues common to these motors as well as balancing the efficiency losses and higher operating temps that can come with higher timing. In short, runs well, runs cool. Please note, the config change means these are not ready to ship as is. There may be a day delay in shipping your order as these ESCs are updated.
May 9, 2015 Update - stock BLHeli settings have some issues with the high kv micro motors like the Cobras and Sunnyskys. Similar issues have caused everyone to converge on a certain version of SimonK for the atmel based ESCs. I believe I have determined the proper configuration settings but want one more day of thorough testing before making the ESCs available. If all goes as expected, ESCs will be available in the evening May 10. If not, I will update this post. Nothing will be released until it is thoroughly tested to my satisfaction.
Stock expected May 8th They have arrived! Just going to do some QC before putting the stock into the store