The common wisdom is that 4-in-1 ESC’s (Electronic Speed Control) are to be avoided, the primary reason cited that if one ESC is faulty, the whole thing has to be replaced. I am sure that was true in the earlier days of quadcopter tinkering, but I find current ESC technology quite reliable, and the convenience and simplicity of wiring a 4-in-1 ESC trumps. Beside, these things are relatively cheap ($35) that replacement won’t bust the bank.
I have found the Favourite 4-in-1 12A ESC reliable for use with 1806 and 2204 2300KV motors, with very smooth transitions in speed. They are pre-loaded with good firmware (a custom BLHeli firmware, according to the manufacturer), but the firmware can be updated, and the settings changed through a custom USB linker device available from Favourite (note: the spelling of the company Favourite, sometimes appears as Favorite as well).
The USB linker shows up as a “Human Interface Device” in Windows, rather than the typical COM port, which requires the use of the custom Favourite “Multi_Brushless 1.20 USBLink” software. The ESC and the linker appear to be SiLabs hardware.
To update the firmware or to change the settings of a 4-in-1 ESC, there are a few tricks–each of the 4 internal ESCs needs to be updated individually (this applies to all 4-in-1 ESCs on the market). Below shows the procedure for attaching ESC cables.
Overall, a nice tidy way to control a mini-quadcopter’s motors. Highly recommended.
FIRMWARE FILES HERE (current as of 1/1/2015) OLD– SEE LINK ABOVE
Favourite also has a 6A Esc. It is much smaller and useful for an upcoming micro porta-quad. Here is the mounting pattern:
Customised 4-in-1 ESCs available from Porta-Quad: