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Quadcopter esc calibration methods

A Quadcopter is a mini sized helicopter lifter by four rotors. Quadcopters make use of two pairs of propellers. One pair is clockwise while other is counter-clockwise. All the motors, cells and propellers of the Quadcopter are present on a frame. Two motors. One pair of motors rotates in the clockwise direction whereas other rotates in a counter-clockwise direction. These motors connect with Electronic speed controllers that control the speed at which they operate according to the user input. Electronic Speed Controllers have three wire connections. The first wire is the current supply wire, second is the motor wire and the third and last is the controller wire.

Electronic Speed Controllers connections

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Quadcopter ESC Calibration is a very important step in the building process of your Quadcopter. ESCs play a very important role in the working of a Quadcopter. They manage the speed at which the motors rotate based on the input provided by the user. ESC Calibration process on the other hand sets the minimum and maximum throttle values of the Quadcopter.

In order to get the best performance out of your quadcopter, you need to calibrate your ESC properly. Some ESCs do not require, while others do not support ESC calibration. For those that do, ESC calibration involves a variety of steps. The Electronic Speed Controllers link the rotors to the transmitters and link the motors with the Lithium Polymer Battery.

Quadcopter ESC calibration mostly differs from model to model, so it is a good idea to give the ESC documentation a go through before starting the Calibration process. For most of the ESCs, All in one method of calibration works just fine. However, if it does not work, you will have to resort to the Manual ESC Calibration.

Things to keep in mind before starting the Calibration process

First make sure you know what you know what you are doing. If you do not have prior experience with Calibrating ESCs, it is a good idea to ask a friend who has good knowledge about this topic. If you want to start calibrating you ESCs anyways, go through the product documentation at least once. It will provide you a good amount of detail about the system. Before starting the Calibration process, remove the propellers from the system and make sure that the Lithium Polymer battery is disconnected.

All in one Calibration

For all in one calibration, first make sure that the system has no power. After that, turn on the transmitter and raise the throttle to maximum. Now connect the battery in order to power the ESC.

connect the battery in order to power the ESC

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First, you will hear a tone that will inform you about the cell count of the battery. Afterwards will hear a small beep sound that tells you that the controllers have captured the maximum throttle value. Now set the throttle to minimum, now you will hear another beep that indicates that minimum throttle value has been set. After the completing of the ESC throttle calibration, you should test the working of the ESC by moving the throttle by a bit. If all goes fine, you should return the throttle back to its minimum value and remove the batteries in order to exit the Calibration process.

quadcopter ESC Calibration process

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If this method of calibration does not work or apply to your ESC, try calibrating your controller via the Manual method. The manual calibration works most of the time.

How all in one Calibration works?

All in one calibration actually performs a very basic task. It allows the APM to pass through the throttle from the pilot directly to the Electronic Speed Controller. Therefore, in essence it is providing a direct transfer of throttle from pilot to the ESC that in result provides accurate calibration and control.

Manual ESC-by-ESC Calibration

If the ESC you own does not support all in once calibration, no worries. You can set your ESC up through manual Calibration as well. Each Electronic Speed Controller has three output wires for connection with the motor. Plug one of the three wires into the Channel 3 of your RC receiver. After this turn on the transmitter and set the throttle to its maximum value. Now supply power to the system via the Lithium polymer battery.

Manual ESC-by-ESC Calibration

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If the connection is successful, you will hear a solid tone followed by multiple beeps. After hearing the beeps, lower the throttle to its minimum value. After this process, you will hear beeps that tell you about the cell count. After these beeps, you will hear a solid beep that ensures the successful calibration of the system. In the case of multiple ESCs, repeat all the steps for each controller.

How to make sure the system is working properly after the ESC Calibration Process?

Testing is the final and most important part of the ESC calibration. After completing the quadcopter ESC calibration, connect the Lithium Polymer battery to provide power. Now apply a small amount of throttle. If all the motors start spinning simultaneously and have the same speed, your Calibration is complete.

If not, the calibration was not successful or a hardware fault may be forcing the motors to perform in a weird manner. Another reason behind this behaviour may be the quality of your ESC. Some of the cheaper ESCs available in the market lack the ability to calibrate, so it is better to spend more on a reliable and well-reputed Electronic Speed Controller.


Quadcopters started in the early 1900s but recently have started to pick pace. People have also started taking interest in building their own Quadcopters, for that purpose, a great knowledge of the hardware of the Quad Copters is required. Quadcopters have many important parts such as the rotors, battery and propellers but ESCs are the most important component of a quadcopter.

Although the quadcopter ESC Calibration process is very simple and straightforward and can be done via multiple methods, you should perform a thorough research before buying one as some of the ESCs available in the market are very difficult to Calibrate while many others don’t offer this option of calibration altogether.

If you want peace of mind, a full manual calibration is what you should go for as it rarely goes wrong. It is a better idea to consult an expert if you want to try a full manual calibration, as it is a bit difficult. The right calibration of the system is very important in order to gain optimal experience from your Quadcopter.

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