Guys, I posted this question on the hobbyking website and got some interesting replies from a person called 'edfoo' (in the below conversation, Aravind refers to me):
Hi, I'm trying to drive the motor directly from a microcontroller (Arduino) through this ESC (no receiver in my setup). My question is do I need to supply 5V to the ESC from my microcontroller? If the ESC has to be supplied 5V to operate, then how much current does it draw...I mean is it ok to supply 5V from the microcontroller to 4 such opto ESCs and still not burn the microcontroller out?! Thanks in advance!
You do not need to power the Esc with a 5V supply, it has a 2931 LDO 5v regulator on board to power MCU. You should have a common ground to the arduino so as to interprete the signal levels correctly.
Thanks so much for the reply eddfoo! Is there any harm in connecting the 5V red wire to arduino's 5V supply? I ask this because I have a arduino shield which has 3pin servo type connections on it, so if there's no harm in connecting the red wire to Arduino's 5V supply then I can simply attach the ESC 3 pin servo type connection to the Arduino shield without cutting any wires!
Use a multimeter to check if there is a short between the ground and red wire. If it is open then it should be ok. Maybe to confirm, power up the ESC and check if there is a voltage on the red wire.
Cool...that's a great suggestion...thanks a lot eddfoo! But I wish the data sheet had some info regarding this :(
If you want to go directly to the webpage, then here it is (the above conversation is dated 07/09/13): http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__27776__Turnigy_Multistar_30_Amp_Multi_rotor_Brushless_ESC_2_4S_OPTO_.html