How to use an ESC

I'm new to RC related modules. Today I got my Hobbywing's Skywalker 20A brushless esc. Manual is here.

I also have a brushless outrunner motor (HL3512)

I don't have any device to program the esc's (even the seller hasn't mentioned about such requirement).

The manual talks about programming by listening to the beep patterns. But for that it seems that the esc should be connected to a flight controller (it talks about throttle positions etc...). But I don't have any flight controller.

Can some one tell me how to use the esc with what I have? (I have 2200mAh LiPo and arduino mega too)

• a good question +1 – Codenamed SC Oct 2 '12 at 18:03
• @CodenamedSC thanks. I couldn't find any helpful article regarding the matter on the internet. Hope this is achievable.. – David Oct 2 '12 at 18:09
• For many of these, you may need a convenient way to adjust the pulse width (comparable to moving a transmitter joystick) in order to navigate their setup programs, which consist of a series of audio cues made from the motor windings which you react to with the transmitter stick. This lets you program limits, braking, soft start, reverse modes (if present), etc. – Chris Stratton Oct 2 '12 at 20:52
• I know you asked for testing with what you have. But if you're willing to spend a couple dollars more you can get a simple servo tester with which you can play with the combo. Most hobby stores sell these. The servo tester is usually used to test servos with, but it can drive an ESC (+ motor) just fine. Example: hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__8296__Turnigy_Servo_Tester.html – Casper Oct 3 '12 at 5:08
• Thanks a lot @Casper ! never knew about such module. I'll order this module.. – Anubis Oct 11 '12 at 3:32

1 Answer

ESCs are controlled using what is commonly referred to as servo signals, this is basically just a 50Hz (20mS) square wave with an on time varying between 0.5mS and 2.5mS and being off the rest of the time, the timing of this pulse can vary somewhat and depends on the manufacturer of the unit. 0.5mS and 2.5mS is a good starting point for any project though.

This varying time between manufactures is why the programming feature exists, it's basically just a way for the driving circuitry to tell the driver what the minimum and maximum pulses is it will serve.

You already have everything you need to get this working. I'd recommend looking at the Arduino servo libraries as this will get you on your way quickly. The three black wires on the ESC are obviously connected to the motor, note that it only spins in one direction, to reverse this you can reverse any two of the three wires.

The thick black and red wires goes to your battery. The black red and white wires are for the controlling signal, red should be left unconnected (or you can power your Arduino from this point if you keep voltage levels in mind and your ESC is equipped with a battery eliminator circuit), black should be connect to the Arduino ground and white to the output pin used with the servo library. That's pretty much all there is to it. Best of luck.

• Thanks! specially for information on how to connect this to the arduino. I'll give it a try.. – David Oct 3 '12 at 2:58