21 February 2019

Align RCE-BL100A vs Kontronik JIVE 100 LV
Case study: which one to choose?

This question popped up recently. An Align T-Rex 550X is given and choosing between these two ESCs is the task. Which one is the ideal choice? Interesting question, but what's the answer?

Align RCE-BL100A vs Kontronik JIVE 100 LV

Well, the answer is seemingly obvious, but it is not. Yes, Kontronik is better, but it is way more expensive, it costs about twice as much as Align. Otherwise Align logo covers a Hobbywing ESC, Platinum V4 is almost the same as this one, just the magenta cover is black. Both Align and Kontronik have got BEC integrated, although the BEC in Align controller is twice as strong as the other one. By the experience Kontronik provides much smoother performance than Align, and this difference is experienced the most in keeping RPM constant in Governor mode.

Kontronik keeps RPM the same in any circumstances as long as the battery can deal with it, whilst Align can lose the control for a while in case of quick and high load differences and drops the RPM. This is not a big deal mostly, because the load difference is not so huge during average flights, but it can cause problems to beginner tic-toc flyers, who cannot control the smooth load yet, therefore they fly helis in extreme forces giving a serious task to ESC. Kontronik works much more efficient at this point, whilst Align will drop the RPM due to bad reactions to extreme loads, that's why it will lose from its power and finally the heli from its altitude. At the end of the day originally bad tic-toc will be even worse.

However Jive is overkill indeed for calm, intermediate flights and flying figure 8s, Keeping RPM contant in these circumstances is not that big deal, so Align can deal with it. And the heli is never going to get too close to peak loads in most cases with good flying knowledge, except those few intentional manoeuvres and these cases can be managed.

But one more argument turned up: is the BEC of much more expensive Jive with only 5-15A enough to supply power for four servos and all on-board components? Well, depends on servos. It should be enought with quality servos, because better servos have smaller internal mechanical resistance, therefore they require less current for the same operations. When we use worse servos which require a nuclear powerplant to operate, then the BEC of Jive can be overloaded - in theory, but I don't think even so this is a likely outcome. It would be worth to measure, but I would get suprised if - for instance - Align servos consumed more than 8-10 amps all together. Unfortunately this data is not displayed on data sheet at most of the servos.

Summary: Choice between them is matter of money and personal preferences. But both ESCs will be very good for these purposes in this size. It is true, Kontronik has no compromises, whilst few acceptable compromises have to be taken - for half of the money.