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 PCB layout and design skills. 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. If after reading all of this anyone has any suggested improvements to the current or future designs, please feel free to respectfully make them in this thread. 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 excellent 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.
- 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.
Potential features of Future 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
- I may create a 12 MOSFET version with the FETs in parallel for even greater power.
- 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. I don’t want to give the community a broken thing.