Review: Holybro Tekko32 F3 Metal ESC

The Holybro Tekko32 F3 65A ESC is probably by far one of the most premium ESC on the FPV market for 4S and 6S setup. It features “Metal Capped” MOSFET’s that have superior cooling ability, with an incredible 65A continuous current rating.

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Where to Buy?

You can find the Tekko32 F3 65A Metal ESC from these vendors:

Holybro also makes a cheaper but lower current version (35A): http://bit.ly/2wN4hxk

Specs and Features of Tekko32 F3 Metal 65A ESC

  • Continours Current: 65A
  • Burst Current: 80A
  • Supports Input Voltage 3S to 6S LiPo
  • STM32 F3 MCU
  • BLHeli32 Firmware
  • Built-in WS2812B LED
  • Supports ESC Telemetry
  • MOSFET: IRF7480M
  • MOSFET Gate Driver: Fortior FD6288
  • “New” Current Sensor (shunt resistor) with supposedly even lower resistance and higher efficiency
  • Size: 18×27 mm (single ESC)
  • Weight: 4.3g (single ESC)
  • Size: 42x42mm with 30.5×30.5mm mounting holes (4in1 ESC)
  • Weight: 11.9g (4in1 ESC)

The reason these ESC’s are called “Metal”, is because of the “metal capped” MOSFET. These are basically “built-in cooling system” for the FET’s. The MOSFET’s are German made IRF7480M, and if you look at the datasheet they actually have a higher theoretical current and voltage rating. The 65A rating is based on the testing that Holybro has done ensuring reliability.

You might also notice the copper bars on these ESC’s, that’s the busbar. Busbars are often used to reduce resistance in high current applications like ESC, and It also helps to dissipate heat.

Apart from beefy MOSFET, the next biggest selling point is probably the faster F3 processor!

As pointed out previously in our news leak when the first F3 ESC came out, there isn’t really any performance gain yet comparing to ESC’s using the slower F0 MCU. At the moment it’s just more future-proofing when it comes to firmware development.

It’s recommended to use extra low ESR capacitors for 6S setup. The good news these ESC’s come with some capacitors.

A Closer Look at the Single ESC

The Tekko32 65A ESC comes with a bunch of 16 AWG silicone wires for power, and 24 AWG wires for signal, signal ground and ESC telemetry. All wires are 10cm long.

Comparing to the previous Tekko32 35A ESC’s with F0 micro controller, these F3 ESC’s are somehow even smaller in size, despite the nearly doubled current rating.

Here is a close up of the single ESC. Aren’t they just beautiful? :D The build quality and choice of components are just top notch!

There are a ton of capacitors for noise filtering, and notice the busbar on the right.

The solder pads are GND, TLM (ESC Telemetry), and PWM (signal).

Each ESC comes with an electrolytic capacitor of an unfamiliar brand, performance is yet to be found out. The weight of the ESC is 4.3g, 9.3g with 10cm wires.

Be extremely careful though – the metal cover on the MOSFET is actually connected to one of the MOSFET’s terminals (drain)! It would be a good idea to put heatshrink over the ESC.

Tekko32 F3 Metal 65A 4in1 ESC

The 4in1 ESC comes with the following accessories:

  • Metal 4in1 ESC
  • Two ribbon cables for connecting to the FC (3cm and 7cm)
  • 4 nylon standoffs
  • 470uF 35V Capacitor
  • Holybro stickers
  • Plastic box

Here is a close-up of the Tekko32 F3 Metal 4in1 ESC. The motor pads are well sized and should be very easy to solder. From the motor labels, it appears the ESC is designed to be installed with the XT60 solder pads facing the rear of the frame.

Flip it over, you will notice the 4in1 ESC header connector is reinforced by epoxy glue – a nice touch.

I also like how they have broken out some of the connector pins to the solder pads on top of it, making it flexible how you want to connect the 4in1 ESC to the flight controller.

The connector pins are (from left to right): VBAT, TEL, GND, CuR, M1 to M4.

The solder pads are: TEL, CUR, M1 to M4.

The 7cm ribbon cable is long enough to reach to the other side of the ESC.

Motor wires are not designed to be soldered on the bottom side of the 4in1 ESC.

Again the capacitor that it comes with is of the same unfamiliar brand, and the performance is yet to be tested. It’s 470uF rated at 35V, to be honest I think that might be on the small side for a 6S built, even for a powerful 4S build. It would have been nice to see a 1000uF 35V or even 50V cap included instead.

Finally, make sure you keep the MOSFET’s from anything conductive including carbon fibre, because the metal caps are connected to the FET’s terminal!

Testing

I will put these ESC’s to the test and report back if there is any issues.

14 thoughts on “Review: Holybro Tekko32 F3 Metal ESC

  1. Tom

    @Mark, also those DirectFET MOSFETs can handle 217A each is cooled properly. How much the ESC will actually take is a question to be answered. Some added heat sinking/cooling might boost the current capability quite a lot! But the heat sinking is tricky on this design since the top DirectFETs is the MOSFET “drain” (output) and is live. The six MOSFETs are not all on the same PCB net/circuit so you cannot “touch” them together with one heatsink.

    Reply
  2. Tom

    @Mark: Your ESC blew because there is no over-voltage protection for the MOSFETs. A 6S could ring up to 50V. That 50V cap survived because 50V is the WORKING voltage; it can actually handle more intermittently. I wonder when these ESC manufacturers will add over-voltage protection! Just like the FC mfgrs leaving out ESD and EMI countermeasures to save $$$. Take a look at an original Pixhawk schematic and you will see all sorts of circuit protection. These Chinese mfgrs are doing noting but cutting corners for a buck.

    Reply
  3. Scott McClarin

    Is the VBAT pad with the Current sensor the Positive pad? I think I may have it wired up backwards at the moment. with positive wire on the smallest pad. there isnt a clear indicator for which pad is Positive.

    Reply
  4. Mark Pfeifer

    Just blew two mosfets on my tekko32 F3 metal 4in1 on my 10 inch 6S build.

    I hit 65 amps, and they fried. Took the kakuteF7 out, as well.

    Maybe this 4in1’s ability to handle a 65 aamp load has been overstated?

    I was running two 1000uf 50v caps, btw.

    Reply
  5. Tom

    Hey Oscar,
    Some thoughts:
    1.The reason these ESCs can handle so much more power is the use of diret MOSFETs. This type of MOSFET has no wires from the transistor die to the pins unlike older plastic package MOSFETs. The die pins (source and ground )are surface mounted to the PCB directly. The MOSFET drain goes through the metal can on top of the package. This results in about 50% heat distribution between top and bottom. Note if the Holybro thought a heat sink were needed, they probably would have added one. These WILL get hot on top.
    2. The “ton of capacitors for noise filtering” is only because the mfgr was too cheap to buy larger caps. Does NOT mean it has “lots” of filtering. Same effect could have been done with only a few larger ceramic caps. Note that “tons of capacitors” only increases possibility of failures from cracking.
    3.A high efficiency switching regulator does not need large capacitors.
    4.Those metal caps are not all on the same circuit and a single heat sink will short them; some are hot with power and some go to a phase of the motors, so adding any heat sinking is a serious problem with this board design! The center buss bar is no doubt power and MOSFET drain, so a single heat sink over those might work…messy poor layout!
    5.The buss bars are needed because of the limited current carry ability of a 4oz copper trace. Nothing to do with heat dissipation.
    6.Interesting to see what happens when “It would be a good idea to put heatshrink over the ESC” and the device is run at rated load! MELTDOWN and fire hazard?
    Have a good day,
    Tom

    Reply
  6. Scott McClarin

    2000mah V3.0 120C Rlines can (according to the factory Claims) Max amp draw at 240A ..Future is right around the corner, and they have yet to make a 5S or 6S capable V3 R-Line.

    Reply
  7. Scott McClarin

    on GD32 MCU’s vs STM32….FYI…cnx-software.com/2015/12/21/gigadevice-gd32-is-a-faster-software-and-pin-to-pin-stm32-compatible-cortex-m3-mcu/

    Reply
  8. Rob

    Isn’t it overkill? We don’t need (IMO) that much power for our quads… 65*4 = 260A, do we have batteries that can supply 260A continuous?

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      You don’t have to use it only on 5″ racing quads, you can also use it on bigger aircrafts with bigger packs like 6S 5000mah

      Reply

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