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I was able to find a small ESC for about $12 off of ebay. If you were designing a robot, would you see that and think?

\$12 bucks for an ESC that connects to simple pulse-wave interface - sign me up!

Or would you think:

\$12 just to control a motor? I could throw together an H-bridge for $0.50 and be done with it.

My robot in particular actually has two motors and therefor $24 to control the two of them. But the interface is really easy (plus has the added advantage of being R/C vs computer controlled with a simple change of connectors.

Which way would you go?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

What kind of motors? ESCs typically are for brushless DC motors, which are electronically commutated DC three phase motors, and you can't run them with an H-bridge.

That said, ESCs give you a lot of bang for the buck, and they're certainly worth $12 :)

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I have two basically minimally used brushed motors from highschool (1994) and these particular ESC are for that type of motor. I've been moving these motors around for half my life and finally are going to my son's robot project. I knew they'd come in handy some day :) –  ChronoFish Feb 26 '13 at 5:27
    
In that case, it's a tossup. If you've already got a mechanism in place to run the PWM for the ESCs, then it's a convenient solution. The ESCs might give you some nice extra features as well. –  Ian McMahon Feb 26 '13 at 5:44
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