How to Test Your Drone Propulsion Efficiency

Dec. 28, 2023

Electric propulsion systems offer a significant advantage of producing zero emissions (when charged with clean electricity) in contrast to fossil fuel-based combustion engines. Nevertheless, electric propulsion faces a significant challenge due to its low battery energy density. Therefore, maximizing efficiency becomes a crucial factor in designing your drone, ensuring that you optimize its overall efficiency.


The Benefits of optimizing the drone's efficiency include;


It allows you to fly longer (endurance)

It allows you to cover more distance (Range)

It enables you to fly faster

It gives you more control over your drone

It enables acrobatic performance

It allows a higher payload to be carried.


Engine Test Bench

What are the important Parameters to be measured?


There are three important components of the electric propulsion systems, and here we explain the important parameters to be tested for each component.


1. Brushless DC motor


To fully characterize a motor, you need to measure the following parameters.


Torque (Nm)

Voltage (V)

Current (A)

Throttle input (%)

Speed (RPM)

Electrical Power (Watt)


2. Propeller


The following parameters are important to be measured


Thrust (g)

Torque (Nm)

Mechanical power (Watt)

Thrust efficiency (g/Watt)


3. Overall System Efficiency

The overall performance of the system hinges on the effective combination of the motor and propeller. If these components fail to synchronize properly, the system's efficiency will be greatly compromised. Given their connection through a common link (the shaft), the total system efficiency is calculated as follows: Propeller efficiency (g/Watts) plus motor efficiency equals system efficiency (g/Watts), where g/Watt of electrical power represents the system's efficiency. Any alterations made to the motor, propeller, or the choice of an alternative ESC will impact the anticipated system efficiency.


Moreover, the efficiency value applies only under specific command inputs and mechanical loads. This necessitates testing the motor across various command inputs and with different propellers to observe and modify its mechanical behavior.


What is a test bench?


A test bench serves as an environment for evaluating the performance of a design or model through simulations. It holds significant importance as it provides several fundamental functions for assessing the performance of the tested product. The primary objective behind using a test bench is to save resources—such as money, time, and effort—by enabling the evaluation of concepts and their practical applications. Manufacturers and engineers frequently utilize test benches to gauge the performance of their designs.


The development of a test bench is grounded in four key principles: effectiveness, adaptability, reusability, and mirroring the operational environment in which the system is expected to function.




For further inquiries about optimizing drone propulsion efficiency, contact us for expert guidance. Additionally, for superior quality drone components, connect with a reliable supplier to augment your drone's performance.

Engine Test Bench

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