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Are You Initializing Your ESC?

Posted by Todd Breda on |

  • Category: Electronics
  • A very common reason a customer might call us is because they can't get their ESC to work.  They bought a new airplane from us, receive the shipping package, excitedly put it together, following the instructions, charging the battery, binding the airplane to their radio, checking their control surfaces that are working, then they add some power to the throttle to check the motor and...


    Many assume they have a faulty ESC.  They call up and in 99.9% of the cases, one of our Customer Support Team Members kindly explains the problem, which is that the ESC has not been initialized.

    Most ESCs require initialization to work properly.  Essentially, what this does is set the throttle point/power curve for your ESC.  This way your ESC knows what idle is and what full power is, and everything in between.  If you don't do this, chances are your ESC won't respond to your throttle input and you might assume you have a bad ESC.  You don't!

    (Note: If using a Futaba transmitter, you will need to reverse the throttle channel in the transmitter first for correct operation.)

    Here's how to initialize your ESC:

    Step 1)  Remove your propeller for safety.  You should never bind or initialize your ESC with the propeller on.  In this hobby safety should always come first.

    Step 2)  Turn on your radio and move your throttle to the full power (top) position.

    Step 3)  Plug in your battery.  You will hear a series of quick beeps.  You have 4 seconds to move your throttle stick from full power to the idle (bottom) position.  Once you do that you will hear another quick series of beeps.  That signifies your ESC has been initialized.

    Step 4)  Disconnect the battery, then turn off your radio.  Now turn your radio back on, and then plug in your battery.  You should hear however many cells your battery has as successive beeps, plus the initialize tone.

    For example if you have a 4 cell battery, you should hear...

    Beep...Beep...Beep...Beep (then quick musical tone).

    This tells you your ESC is initialized and armed and ready to power your model.

    That's all there is to it!  

    Here's a video to help as well:

    We hope this helps you.  Happy Landings!

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