How hot do RC ESCs get?

·

If you own an RC vehicle, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is for the ESC to get hot, but no matter how hot they get, you should be able to maintain contact with it for more than 5 seconds without getting burned.
If you can’t keep this much contact, then, the ESC has a heat-current issue you need to work on quickly. 

For this reason, it is important to know how RC cars and their ESCs work. 

What Temps Does ESC Gets?

How hot ESCs can get will depend largely on the type of ESC. Different ESCs have different ratings; some have low tolerance levels at 80°C while others can function well under hot temps at 100°C. 

Typically, an ESC can perform well under 85°C (185°F), while others work better when their temperature is 70°C (158°F).
Some ESCs exist that can work fine under hotter temperatures, however there is no ESC that can exceed 250°F (121°C). 

The best way to know the temperature level of your ESC is to place a finger on it for five seconds. If you feel no discomfort, then it’s at room temperature and okay. If your reflex makes you withdraw your finger before the stipulated 5 seconds, the chances are that your ESC is overheating. 

Are there temp differences for brushed and brushless ESC?

The brushed and brushless ESCs run on different temperature levels. 

Brushed ESCs normally have a temperature level between 180°F to 220°F, while the brushless ESCs can operate in ambient temperatures of up to 200⁰C. 

However, the brushless counterparts run cooler compared to a brushed ESC.

What is RC ESC’s ideal running temp?

Technically, a person cannot keep their fingers for long on a hot surface over 130°F (54°C) because it is just too hot.

However, the safe running temperature for the ESC is 150°F (65°C). Once the temperature levels start to read more than 160°f (71°C) or more, you need to change the gearing of your RC. 

How much heat can an ESC take?

You want to avoid raising the temperature of your ESC past 170°F; any hotter, and you can damage the bearings of your RC car. Some ESCs can work efficiently to 82°C (180°F), but some won’t. 

Any ESC that gets up to 250°F will always shut down to protect itself from overheating and damage. 

Is there a difference between different types of ESCs for different types of RC vehicles?

If you own an RC plane, car, or helicopter, you want to know that they use different types of ESCs. 

RC cars use the brushed and brushless ESC. The ESC input wire connects to the battery, while the output wire connects to the brushed or brushless motors. It also has a signal line that connects directly to the receiver. 

On the other hand, an RC plane uses an ESC with an inbuilt BEC (Battery Elimination Circuit) and external UBEC (Ultimate or Universal BEC).

This type of ESC can provide constant power and a better switching mode to your RC vehicle. An inbuilt BEC ESC is perfect for smaller RC planes with three to four analog servos, while the external one works perfectly for RC planes with more digital servos. 

The most common ESC used on a helicopter is BLHeli which allows you to program and update all of your multirotor ESCs connected to the flight controller.

The difference between these different ESCs is that they won’t work the same when substituted since they have different sizes and power capacities. The brushless and brushed ESCs used in the RC car are much heavier, have bigger heatsinks and come with a reverse property that the airplane and helicopter do not have. 

Is ESC supposed to get hot?

It’s normal for an ESC to get hot if you don’t use one rated for the voltage and current you’re using. If you use an ESC rated perfectly for the temps and voltage you operate on, your ESC shouldn’t overheat. 

If the ESC is getting hot after the battery is plugged in with no throttle applied, then it’s bad and will need a quick replacement, maintenance or repairs. 

Why do ESCs get hot?

Your ESC can get hot due to various reasons. However, the most common is when many amps pass through the ESC at once. Lack of ventilation over the ESC, using the wrong motor installed, especially when you use too small of an ESC for an RC plane, under gearing and problems with the soldering can also cause your ESC to overheat.

When you notice your ESC getting hot due to so many amps passing your ESC, it may mean that the ESC is too big for the RC vehicle, motor binding issues, too much voltage caused by too big of a battery, for instance, using a 4s instead of 3s. 

Should you keep your ESC cool?

If you’ve had an RC vehicle for a long time, you know that your electronics, especially your ESC work better and are more reliable at lower temperatures. This shows that it’s best to keep them as cool as possible. 

Keeping your ESC cool ensures that they last longer while helping you maximize your runs.  

What is the best way to check your ESC temp?

You can’t fully rely on your fingers to know how hot they are. 

The best way to check your Esc temp is to get a temp gun. An Infrared (IR) thermometer will work best as it helps you measure temperature quickly, at a distance, and without touching the hot ESC. 

Can ESC overheat?

Esc can overheat when the pinion and spur gear mess too tight. This causes much resistance on the drivetrain and causes the ESC to overheat quickly. 

What causes an ESC to overheat?

The most common cause of excessive heat on your ESC is high resistance issues. Issues like this can affect the bearings of your ESC. On the other hand, an ESC will overheat when poorly soldered and run on high voltage.  

Conclusion

So if you’re wondering how hot an ESC should get, you need to know that although they do get hot, temperature levels between 54°C (130°F) and 65°C (150°F) are the safest for your ESCs.

Some RC cars can run effectively between 70°C (158°F) to 85°C 185°F). However, anything more than 85°C can potentially damage the ESC and important components like the RC car motor’s magnets.