Electric Skateboard Speed Controllers (ESC – VESC)

Hobbywing EZRun MAX6 ESC v3

An electronic speed control or ESC is an electronic circuit with the purpose to vary an electric motor’s speed and its direction and possibly be used to accelerate or brake an electric vehicle. ESCs are often used on electrically powered radio controlled models, providing an electronically generated source of energy for the motor.

The first important aspect of the electronic speed controller is the voltage and current rating, which must not be exceeded. An ESC should always indicate how many volts you can pump through it and this is often expressed in how many cells you can use (the number of cells your battery has). You need also to look at the current rating (maximum AMPS) and make sure your motor draw will not exceed that. Most motors will say how many amps they draw (MAX AMPS) and this rating should never exceed the amp rating of the ESC.

Most modern ESC contains microcontroller interpreting the input signal and appropriately controlling the motor using a built-in program, or firmware. this firmware can be configured by using a programmer. I will explain how to configure basically any ESC, and I will also explain in details how to configure the ESC I use.

There are three categories of ESC used for building an Electric Skateboard:

  • RC Car ESC
    • Hobbywing EZRun MAX6 ESC v3Some of them provide a braking capability with very limited customizations (most of the time if you are able to plug a configuration interface to the ESC, you can adjust a few parameters)
    • Support less voltage than VESCs (most ESC are rated for 6S, but a few ESC allow 8S or rarely 12S)
  • Meepo like ESC
    • Electric Skateboard Speed Controllers (ESC - VESC)Dedicated to hub motors, include generally the receiver and a startup button
  • Electric Skateboard Speed Controllers (ESC - VESC)VESC and derivated versions (4.12, FOCBOX, Unity, VESC 6…)
    • Hackable / Entirely configurable and customizable
    • Best ESC so far

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