ToshibaCAN FOC ESC first test


This is the first outdoor test flight of Toshiba CAN ESCs with ArduPilot. Some of the specifications and selling points of this ESC are:
  • FOC which should result in about 10% longer flight times while also being quieter than non-FOC ESCs
  • Control and feedback over CAN
  • 1 to 12 motors, up to 7S batteries (future versions are planned for up to 12S)
  • Sync issue recovery time of 100ms to 150ms which is apparently very quick
  • Relatively lightweight for a 50Amp ESC
  • Designed and manufactured in Japan

The vehicle used in this test is an EAMS Lab 475 Quad with a Cube autopilot and Here GPS running Copter-3.7.0-dev

These ESCs are not readily available on the market (yet) but I hope/expect Toshiba will make them available in the coming months. No word yet on how much they will cost.

A word of warning is they must be tuned for the battery voltage, motor kv and propeller size. At the moment this means going back to Toshiba to ask them to provide a configuration file which can (somehow) be uploaded to the ESC. They tell me in the future they hope/plan to provide a library of config files for common setups that users can upload themselves.

These ESCs use a relatively simple CAN protocol which we’ve named “ToshibaCAN”. Some details of the protocol are here in the PR. It doesn’t try to be a general purpose protocol like UAVCAN, and it’s also different from KDECAN. As far as I know a single CAN port on an autopilot can only support one CAN protocol - many autopilots have two CAN ports meaning ToshibaCAN and one other CAN protocol could be used at the same time.

The driver for these ESCs is in master now and will go out with Copter-3.7. Special thanks to Francisco and Tridge who helped me get over numerous issues I bumped into while writing my first CAN driver.