ZTW is a Chinese OEM manufacturer of brushless speed controls. In addition to manufacturing on behalf of many of the brands you have known and trusted for years, ZTW also produces four main lines of speed controls under its own name: A-Series, B-Series, Gecko Series, and Spider Series. ZTW speed controls have earned a following among radio control enthusiasts and are noted for their reliability and smooth, linear throttle response.
Which ZTW is for you?
“I just want it to turn a propeller and be simple to use”
A-Series: A-Series ESCs are perfect for when a reliable, no-nonsense speed control is required. Basic programmability, solid power, BEC circuit components, and ultra stable software have given the A-Series a long service history in literally thousands of RC models. From 6A to 85A, 2S - 6S, there are models to suit virtually any ARF, BNF or PNP kit available. Program card available.
“I’m an experienced user, and I have a performance driven application, like a 3D helicopter, airplane or EDF, and I want reliability and the ability to tweak it as needed”
B-Series: B-Series ZTWs are designed for RC pilots seeking more control over ESC parameters, and more power from the SBEC. Their programmable SBEC output voltage of 5V, 5.5V and 6V delivers a full amperage rating of 5A continuous at any selected voltage. They offer more efficient MOSFETs, combined with fail-safe thermal overload protection, making them more reliable in high-stress applications, and also include more advanced programming for motor timing and startup. Helicopter pilots have additional options from the B-Series like a new load compensating governor mode. LED program card available.
“My tastes are extreme - reliable power for my motor and my servos at the limits of performance are mission critical”
Gecko Series: The ZTW Gecko-Series is designed to meet the demands of hobbyists using high-current, high-amperage or both. All Gecko-Series ESCs incorporate improved thermal management through its use of a modular aluminum and polycarbonate heat sink case which maximizes MOSFET heat dissipation and supports the capacitors while minimizing the physical size of the unit. They offer full control through advanced logging and programming capabilities to make best use of advanced features. They also provide SBEC current output of 8A continuous /16A surge, and adjustable voltage output of 5V, 6.0V, 7.4V, and 8.4V. Extremely low internal resistance ensures maximum battery ampacity throughput to the motor. Optional LCD programmer includes USB PC interface to update software, use logging functions, employ free ZTW firmware etc.
“I have a multi-rotor and I want something made for it!”
Spider Series: New from ZTW - the Spider-Series Multi-Rotor ESCs are just what a multi-rotor heli needs and nothing else! Flashed with SimonK firmware, and outfitted with opto-throttle coupling, the Spiders have super smooth, linear throttle response, and a 600Hz refresh rate that your controller will love. Since they do not have a BEC, there is no need to disable or reprogram anything. Just attach motors, plug the throttle leads into the throttle harness to your controller, calibrate the throttles together and go! ZTW's famed firmware stability and reliability will keep you happy, too.
Item Common to ALL ZTW ESCs:
• All should perform the throttle calibration step on first start-up. (refer to manual for full instructions) This is the step in which the ESC is powered on with the transmitter’s throttle stick in the full throttle position. Two quick beeps are emitted from the motor, upon which immediately move the stick to the zero throttle position, upon which two more quick beeps, identical to the first set will be heard; finally the arming sequence. Now the ESC is programmed to recognize your transmitter’s exact range of throttle signal output, and safety functions and fail safes are set accordingly. Many times a new ZTW user will call and say: “the servos and everything are working, but it won’t turn the motor”. Invariably, they haven’t calibrated the throttle range, and they come from the factory in a very conservative setting, so the ESC won’t allow the prop to turn because it is not receiving what it thinks is a “zero throttle” value- and thus won’t arm the prop. Throttle calibration fixes it and also provides the basis for hallmark throttle linearity of ZTW brushless speed controls.
• For 99% of users, the “auto” setting for motor timing is the best choice. The exceptions are for very high KV motors with normal pole counts (6-12), and high KV low/ two pole motors. People in this category know who they are and what to do. You aren’t going to wring more power out of your regular outrunner motor here, but you may confuse the heck out of it, so just stick with auto most of the time.
• Soft/Hard start? In near English, this is the power of the initial impulse from the ESC to the motor to get it on phase and thus respond to commands about how fast to turn. Typical airplane and heli outrunners which are in the 8 pole and up category (95% of common outrunners) have no problem finding synch on softer start-up settings. The default setting has been fine for every setup I’ve ever done except an ultra micro ducted fan with a 6 pole 11,000kv motor which needed the maximum hard setting just to start. High KV motors, especially with lower pole counts need a real kick in the pants to get on phase, and thus use “harder” settings. Otherwise, the default is good most of the time.
• LiPo cutoff? I’m a “timer”. I time flights, measure battery use, and then set timers accordingly on my transmitter. I never fly to cutoff. With this as an introduction, I set for 3.0V/cell, soft shutdown, just in case. If you are the type that likes to use LiPo cutoff as a timer, set it to 3.2V/cell, soft. 2.8V/cell is not a good idea for almost any application, unless you really don’t want a cutoff, and the cutoff setting is thus just a failsafe. Discharging to 2.8V/cell dramatically shortens the life of your batteries. Default is 3.0V/cell w/ soft cutoff btw.