Drones are becoming ever more popular around the world: they can be a cheap source of entertainment for people of all ages who want to experience the fun of RC flying. You can also find professional-quality drones that are hundreds or even thousands of dollars, so no matter your budget, you can find one you enjoy.
But a lot of people don’t know how they work. This can be a problem because you may have to repair your drone yourself after a particularly hard crash. The most important thing you should know about are the motors: if even one of the motors goes, then you’ll need to replace it. But what kind of motor should you use? Here’s a quick guide to why brushless motors are better for drones than those with brushes.
Brush vs. Brushless Motors
The electronic motors used in drones are lightweight and spin very quickly to provide the lift needed to stay in the air. There are two basic types of electric motors: those with a brush and those without. For drone use, the brushless tend to be better. Here’s why.
Without getting too technical, a brushed motor has a pair of small copper brushes that connect the coils of the motor. This can create friction and heat, which slows down the performance and decreases the life the motor. Brushless motors, on the other hand, do not have these brushes and can spin at faster speeds with less friction, allowing for better flying and a longer motor life.
The choice for RC devices, especially drones, has been brushless motors for a long time.
The Pros of Brushless
As already mentioned, the brushless motors can have a much longer life because there is less friction and, therefore, less heat produced when running at high RPMs. This also means less maintenance and less chance of mechanical failure.
They are also less noisy than their brushed counterparts and the have a higher power output as well, allowing for larger drones. Brushless motors can also be manufactured in smaller sizes, making them perfect for lightweight RC crafts. They are also very easy to install once you know what you are doing, so you don’t have to worry about finding a repair shop anytime one of the motors breaks from an accident.
The Cons of Brushless
While brushless motors will always be the choice for drone construction, there are a few downsides you should be aware of.
Brushless motors may be a little more expensive than brushed motors because the cost of their construction is higher. Also, an electronic speed controller (ESC) is required to run a brushless motor because of their complexity, and replacing the ESC can be more expensive than buying several new motors. The ESC is used to vary the motor’s speed and direction and while it typically doesn’t break, it can during hard crashes.
Whether you’re looking for cheap drones or expensive professional ones, you should learn more about brushless motors.
Mike Plambeck is a Drone Enthusiast who is passionate about helping people learn about both commercial and hobby drones. When he’s not out flying or filming he writes for various online publications and spends time with his wife and two young children.