VESC Finally Arrived

A project log for Electric Longboard

Can we build a great board for under $400 in less than 3 weeks? (using a few pre-made kit parts)

dudeskidaddydudeskidaddy 07/25/2016 at 01:320 Comments


From Enertion for around $100.00 After about 50 miles using our original Turnig 60A ESC (obviously with no brakes) our VESC finally arrived! Super excited to hook this up.


Installation was pretty straight forward. We added the female 4mm bullet connectors (because 4mm male connectors were already on the motor's wires), and hooked up the 3 wires to our arduino/NRF receiver. With the Caps, the VESC is a bit longer than most ESCs, but just fit in the battery box. It has no heat sink...not sure yet what (if anything) to do about that.


Without any setting changes, the motor was completely unresponsive. Poking around esk8 forums and playing around with the software, we finally got the many settings in line with our 6s battery * 147kv motor setup, adjusted the amperage for discharge and charge (braking), etc. I think the original VESC settings were set for Enertion's 10s battery, 190kv setup. All told, the setup took a bit of patience, a few hours and about 5 iterations (test runs) to get it right. There is very little in the way of documentation so some of the field/value pairs are a mystery. Best source of info are the message boards on esk8.

Setup Speed Control: I initially thought something was wrong with the VESC's ability control motor speed based on throttle position because sitting on my bench, I could only get full stop or full power...not much in between. It clearly displayed the joystick position so we knew it wasn't the the PPM/PWM settings. But I think this is normal for a current-controlled system...and with no resistance on the motor, even a small current will quickly spool up to max RPM. After a quick road test (under load now), acceleration management was ok.

FOC: We're using the new FOC mode...supposed to be super quiet and allow starts from a full pushing needed. It's a few MPH slower using FOC (vs BLDC)...not sure why.


VESC calls it PPM but I think they mean PWM. They are totally different things, but our arduino-based PWM output seems to work perfectly when selecting the PPM mode in the BLDC tool.

Initial Testing

Steep-Hill Torque: Noticeably less torque up our street's very steep hill. I suspect the old ESC was able to drag more current than the battery's 52A rating and the VESC holding to the 52A setting. Might also be related to slow-speed torque in FOC mode? Not sure yet. Getting plenty of acceleration torque on flat and medium hills when the motor is turning faster.

Acceleration: From a standstill the acceleration is pretty brisk...took some getting used to but now we love it. No power lag coming out of a turn or hitting the gas after coasting...instant power. Fun.

Braking: After 50 miles of using our hobby king ESC with no brakes...we really appreciate this feature now. We're able to go down hills, stop in traffic,...again, just awesome. Went on a 8 mile ride in high density traffic today on the water front in Portland and were able to weave in and out of people, slow down at will, stop at traffic lights, stay at a reasonable speed going downhill on the Tillikum Crossing bridge with people everywhere.

Quiet: Amazingly FOC mode. Practically zero engine noise...a huge difference.

Starting from a dead stop: I'm so used to pushing a few times that it's hard to get out the habit...but from a dead stop it will go with absolutely no jitter or engine whine. Completely silent.

What we'd do differently next time.

Motor Shaft/Sprocket: Our 147KV Turnigy is nice, but because the shaft is smooth we had to file flat spots for the sprocket's set screws. This was fine with a normal ESC. Never had an issue with the sprocket moving after we cranked down on the set screws. But now that we're braking, the back and forth force is loosening the sprocket. Probably going to pay a bit more for Enertion's 190KV motor that has a recess in the shaft for a king-pin.

Battery: Currently we have 2 6s batteries we run independently. Good setup for learning, goes about 12-15MPH. Plenty fast, good acceleration and great for learning. We'll probably go with a 10s setup (2 5s in series) for a bit more top-end speed and acceleration.

Trucks/Wheels/Hardware: Enertion single motor setup (the big one). Looking for a maintenance free engine mount that stays in place. Hope that fits the bill.

Deck: Actually we'll probably not change the 40 inch length, and 9 inch width...and especially the kick tail....not for tricks but for turning the board around when stopped, 180 or 90 changes in direction.