Lesson – 03 UAV Terminology


a. Propulsion

b. Control


BEC Battery Eliminator Circuit“: a voltage regulator built into the ESC which can provide regulated 5V DC power to any electronics which need it.
Blades Propeller blades are the aerodynamic surface which generates lift. A propeller normally has two to four blades which can be fixed or folding.
CW / CCW CW indicates Clockwise rotation and CCW indicates Counter-Clockwise rotation. On a multi-rotor aircraft, you would normally use pairs of counter-rotating propellers.
ESC Electronic Speed Controller” is the device which connects to the battery, motor and flight controller and controls the speed at which the motor rotates
LiPo Lithium Polymer” is the most common battery used in drones and UAVs because of its light weight (versus storage capacity) and high current discharge rates.
There are other types of Lithium-based batteries available on the market as well (LiFe, LiMn, LiOn etc)
Motor The motor is what is used to rotate the propellers; in small UAVs, a brushed motor is most often used, whereas for larger UAVs, a “brushless” motor is much more common
PCB A “Printed Circuit Board” is the flat fiberglass part with many components soldered to it. Many electronic products have a PCB.
In order to power so many different devices used in a UAV, the battery must be split, which is where the Power Distribution (board or cable) comes into play.
It takes the single positive and negative terminals of the battery and provides many different terminals / connection points to which other devices (operating at the same voltage) can receive power.
Propeller The propellers are what provides the thrust and are more similar to those used in airplanes rather than on helicopters.
Prop Adapter A device used to connect the propeller to the motor.
Prop Saver A type of hub which mounts on top of your motor and replaces the prop adapter. In he event of a crash, a part of the prop saver is lost in an attempt to save the propeller.
Servo A servo is a type of actuator which, provided the right signal, can move to a specific angular position
Thrust The “thrust” is the force which a specific motor and propeller can provide (at a certain voltage). Usually measured in kilograms (Kg) or pounds (Lbs)



Base / ground /
Control Station
Instead of (or in addition to) a hand held transmitter, a station (normally in a case or mounted to a tripod) is used to house / integrate the necessary components used to control a UAV.
This can include the transmitter, antenna(e), video receiver, monitor, battery, computer and other devices.
Binding The term “binding” refers to configuring a handheld transmitter so it can communicate with a receiver; if a transmitter came with a receiver, it should have been done at the factory.
Channel The number of channels on a transmitter relates to the number of separate signals it can send
Flight Controller The “Flight Controller” is what would be considered the “brain” of a UAV and handles all of the data processing, calculations and signals.
The core of a flight controller is often a programmable “microcontroller”. The flight controller may have multiple sensors onboard, including an accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, compass, GPS etc.
If the flight controller has the ability to control the aircraft on its own (for example to navigate to specific GPS coordinates), it may be considered to be an “autopilot”.
Harness This usually refers to the “Wiring Harness” which are the wires that connect the receiver to the flight controller (and sometimes other devices).
HF/ UHF / VHF High Frequency“; “Very High Frequency” and “Ultra High Frequency” radio waves. Units are in Hz (Hertz)
Receiver This is what processes the information received wirelessly
Sketch / Code This is the program which is uploaded to your UAV’s flight controller (similar to a “thought process”)
Transmitter / Radio
The “transmitter” is what generates the control signal(s) wirelessly to the receiver



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