Hey there. I’m rehashing the VESC into a cheaper 2 layer version with external FETs. I’ll call it the Cheap VESC for now. You may notice it resembles the generic ebike controllers that you can find on ebay/aliexpress. This is a version that would probably cater more toward the ebike/e-scooter community but probably could still fit just fine on a skateboard. The primary goal here was to make a version of the VESC that is cheaper to create by reducing the original design to 2 layers (check out JLC PCB for super-duper cheap 2 layer boards) and reduce BOM cost a little. The secondary goal was simply to improve my own PCB layout and design skills by taking on this challenge. I still haven’t finalized the design but I would say I am at least 95% done with only a few minor problems to tidy up. I also have a thread on the endless sphere that I encourage you to check out. Feel free to make suggestions and ask questions. Note that this is my most complex board design for me so far with my previous experience being only with simple audio effect boards and circuits.
Lower build and BOM cost
TO-220 FETs allow for big heat sink attachment for better thermal performance
SMD components no smaller than 0805 make hand assembly practical
Added ON/OFF capability to turn off control circuitry when controller is not in use. A simple mechanical switch will achieve this when connected to the “ON/OFF” 2-pin header.
Can fit in typical “350W” ebike enclosures
Can fit in Hammond 1590b enclosures
Disadvantages (that I know of)
Larger than original VESC. Cheap VESC is 45mm x 92mm
Higher profile with TO-220 package FETs
Additional assembly steps to beef up high-current traces. 2 layers of 1oz copper can’t handle the current flowing through during operation. Assembler will have to apply wire/solder wick/bus bar to the exposed Power, Ground, and Phase traces that you can see in the “bottom” image.
*Less than ideal layout for reducing loop area and inductance. Nothing crippling IMO but will be addressed in the future HV version.
Features of Future Versions (Calling them the High Voltage (HV) 6 and 12 FET versions)
Implementing DRV8353 for higher voltage operation (I estimate at least 20s capable). Will need stable version of VESC 6 firmware/software for the 3 phase current sensing and stuff.
On-board circuitry for no-spark connection
On-board Bluetooth capability for interface with Open Source Android app for the VESC
*A 12 MOSFET version with the FETs in parallel for even greater power.
*Experimentation with mineral oil filled enclosure for improved thermal dissipation. I am aware of potential wicking issues. I am aware that circulation improves thermal performance. I will be conducting a “before and after” analysis for seeing if it’s all worth it.
Further Notes: I intend to test the design rather thoroughly after I get a version assembled. I intend to power a motor under load with different loads while observing temperature with a thermal camera. I will test other features of the design to ensure quality. Because of all this, it will be some time before I release the design files as Open Source. I don’t want to give the community a broken thing.
See existing thread here https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=97699
All this wouldn’t be possible without Benjamin Vedder’s hard work to build on. Please consider supporting him for his efforts through the link below.