Speed Controllers, which to choose?

Speed Controllers, which to choose?

Choosing the best speed controller for your DIY electric skateboard

There is definetly a lot of different speed controllers (ESC for short) to choose from. We therefore figured that you might need a few words about some of 'em.

In this short post, we will concentrait on the best and most used ones. These are the following:

  • VESC
  • FOC BOX
  • FVT 120a ESC
  • PWR Controller

VESC

This is probably the most common speed controller in the DIY E-sk8 world. The unit is created by the sweed Benjamin Vedder - that's where the V in the name comes from.

This ESC is 100% open source, and at the same time programable which makes you able to tweak the riding experience to your needs. The fact that it's programable also makes it great in a lot of different setups, since the settings can be optimized to your specific parts. 

The option of programability is also a big weakness though; there have been many cases where the VESC has blown/broken due to wrong setting. It's therefore highly recommendable that you choose some settings that has already been confirmed working for your setup. You can find such setups on electric-skateboard.builders buy using the search function.

The hardware has also been criticized for being unstable. Many have encoutered a blown "DRV -chip". We can therefore not recommend enough to buy your VESC from a renowned supplier. You should also choose a VESC that runs the newest firmware: v3.3 since this makes the unit a lot more stable - especially when running in FOC mode. 

The ESC is strong and can deliver a lot of torque and fast acceleration. The FOC BOX is the only one on this list, that beats this controller performance wise.

 

FOC BOX

A pretty new product offered by Enertion. This speed controller's design is based upon the VESC and use the same firmware and programming tool; BLDC tool.

The hardware is upgraded which means more power and less chance of failure. 
The only notable downside to this product is its premium price tag...

 

FVT 120a ESC

This speedcontroller is originally design for big RC cars but is also compatible with electric skateboards. 
Before the VESC was widely available this was very often used in DIY e-skates. It is still fairly popular today among new builders, due to it's low price and simple setup. 

This speed controller is programable when you use a special programming device. It is not necessary in any way though, and you don't gain much (or any) improvement by doing so. 

Some have criticized the brake function on this controller, saying they were unreliable - either braking too little or too much. In our experience the brakes works fine. After a little while you learn what to expect and the brakes will become your best friend. 

This ESC is therefore a great choice, if you are looking for a ultra cheap speed controller. If you have a bit more money though, there's better options to choose.

 

PWR Controller

This is our own controller, imported from China. 
Usually we take our precautions with chinese developed electronics. These are often developed only focussing on production costs and not the user experience. 
This ESC is not that kind of product though... It's not as strong as the FOC BOX, and is programable. With that being said, it's still a very good and reliable product. It runs very smooth and silent, and acceleration and braking feels very good too. 
A compact remote comes with this controller. This thing is very reliable and you won't experience any drop outs.
Furthermore the remote is capable of running in 2 speed modes, which makes you able to either go fast or slow. 

This speed controller is probably the easiest one to install to your electric skateboard setup - you just have to hook up the wires and turn it on.