Quadcopter build - ESC customisation

by eluminerRC | March 24, 2013 | (18) Posted in Projects

This is 4th video in this quadcopter build series and it's about preparing ESC for installation as well as making them black and white so that they will go with my black and white theme.


If you don't feel brave enough to do this you can only solder 3.5 mm bullet connectors on ESC and that's it.

Now I will explain why I did this:

1. White heat shrink on ESC:
I will try to achieve black and white theme on my quad and red ESC's are not welcome into this story. So, I removed red heat shrink and put white one on there. This part is strictly for looks.

2. Dyeing servo wire:
Again, only for looks. I think that all that different colours make your RC look cheap so I am trying to get rid off them as much as I can. Please note that if you dye your wire you won't be able to know which one is signal/positive/negative so there is a greater chance of screwing things up. Of course, once you solder it back on properly you can't really do anything wrong. But you have to be aware of risk before doing this step.

3. White heat shrink on "battery" wires:
If you put white heat shrink on battery wires you won't be able to tell which one is positive and which one is negative. That's why I've made simple sticker that has labels for all wires. Now I know which one is which.

4. Sticker:
It's a very simple way of personalising your quad. However, the main reason why I made them is because after you make all your wires black and white there is no way of telling which one is which. Since the sticker has all the labels on right places I can now tell what is what without need to having all that ugly coloured wires.

5. Bullet connectors:
You need to solder those on every ESC that doesn't come with connectors already soldered on, so, this is strictly for function.

6. Separating BEC wires:
BEC is short for "Battery Eliminator Circuit". It's a part of ESC that supply constant voltage on servo connector (red and black wires) so that you can power you receiver, flight controller... Turnigy Plush 30A ESC's have 5V and 2A BEC.
Now, since multicopters are using more that one ESC you have more that one BEC. Four of them on a quad to be precise. But you only need one! In fact, it is actually not recommended to plug multiple BEC's in parallel. Therefor, it's good to remove BEC wires from all ESC's except one. You can do this by desoldering them from ESC itself or you can simply pull the red (middle) wire from servo connector and isolate it.
However, 5V power source is a useful thing if you are planing to add LED's or whatever. So, I've made and soldered JST connector on 3 ESC's. Now I have at disposal three 5V/2A power sources to power all kind of things in the future from the main battery. That way I won't be needing extra BEC or extra battery.

7. Foam:
This is a simple way to isolate ESC from vibrations (at least a little bit).
Mouse pad is a great cheap source of foam for this kind of applications.

This is very risky modification. There is a plenty of opportunity to damage you ESC. Soldering/desoldering, heating ESC while applying heat shrink on etc. Please be aware what you are doing before you start. Most of this is just for looks and it's stupid to damage your expensive ESC's just because you want them to be a different colour.

1. While heating heat shrink make sure that you don't overheat ESC components. Pause few times and let the components to cool before you continue.


1. Don't use lighter to shrink white heat shrink because it will leave brown marks on it. Just use hot air either from a heat gun or a hair dryer.

You will need:

ESC - Turnigy Plush 30A in my case

3.5 mm bullet connectors

JST male connectors

25 mm and 4 mm white heat shrink


Soldering iron, 60/40 solder, third hand and soldering paste. 

Scissors, wire cutters, precision knife.

Heat gun (or hair dryer).

Double sided tape and foam (mouse pad)


Enjoy RC as much as I do! :)


Cyberdactyl on March 28, 2013
Once again, top notch. . .a professional level offering. Chad is nuts not to pull you into Stonekap, or at least in some peripheral fashion ... if you're willing. You would most definitely add some additional polish.

One thing I would throw out there is to buy a hot air gun for goodness sakes.

I prefer to use clear heat shrink after modding ESCs for a more steakpunk electro-technical look, but I have to say, yours look very nice. Being white with a logo and all, they kind of have an Apple (iPod) flavor. :)
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eluminerRC on March 29, 2013
Wow, thank you very much. I am not considering myself a professional because I've just started doing this and my equipment is nowhere near professional (iPhone 4 for filming, couple CFL bulbs for lightning and white paper :D). Thank you for comparing me with Chads work, means a ton to me although Stonekap is a hole different universe.

I agree, I have to buy a lot of tools (heat gun, crimping tool, better soldering iron etc.) and I will. But on the other hand I want to show people that you don't need to have a lot of money and tools to have fun and to make cool stuff.

Thanks you again for your support and stay tuned! ;)
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Mirabile Visu on March 27, 2013
Wow, what a professional video, a real pleasure to watch. I'll find you on YouTube and subscribe. Most informative and educational.
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eluminerRC on March 28, 2013
Thank you very much. I will keep them coming!
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StoneBlueAirlines on March 27, 2013
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eluminerRC on March 28, 2013
Thanks man! :) Your videos are great to!
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3zuli on March 30, 2013
Wow, very professional guide! I'm definitely doing this on my upcoming quad build!
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enivid on April 4, 2013
Good work, awesome video.

I think adding the flashing of the simonk firmware since everyone is doing it would also be another good nice to have.

Also why didn't you use different bullet connectors for the + a - leads? In your build if you screw one up by connecting the - to the + etc (they're all white) you could fry the ESC. Just a thought.
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eluminerRC on April 5, 2013
Thank you! :)

About simonk firmware. Of course, that was my intention in the first place, but I was unlucky (or stupid) and I bought Plush ESC's with SiLabs chips (they don't come with ATMEGA anymore) which I can't flash with my USBasp. I know that there are some people that have flashed SiLabs chips, but you need different programmer. I'll definitely do a video about flashing ESC's when I'll do such thing in the future (SiLabs or ATMEGA, we'll see).

I am sharing with people what I do which is not always what I recommend. ;) Making your wires all white is one of those things. That's why I always write a warning so that people understand the risks involved. Sure, the best thing would be to leave wires black and red but I just didn't like this. Now about different sizes of bullet connectors for +&-... yes, I thought of that too, but I didn't have any bullet connectors except 3.5mm ones. To be honest, event if I did, I think I would still do it this way.
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windfou on April 16, 2013
use the f-30A they are the best and are cheap at hobbyking
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eluminerRC on April 17, 2013
I definitely will in the future.
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Mizzster D Double-a on March 27, 2013
is that mean on my esc if i dont wanna use the 5v ebc, just unsolder the black and white wires from the esc?
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eluminerRC on March 28, 2013
RED and black wires, white is signal. But yes, you can either unsolder them which is harder to do or you can just remove red wire from servo connector and put some heat shrink over to isolate it.
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Mizzster D Double-a on March 29, 2013
yeah What i meant to say was the red and blank :D, neg and pos
OK thank a lot man, really help :))
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eluminerRC on March 29, 2013
Np, any time. ;)
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brandx on March 29, 2013
Very professional video. To the point, informative and very polished.
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voipmonkey on March 31, 2013
Great video seen esc's like this before always thought they soldered to the board of the ESC... So much easier with a little wire left. keep then coming :)
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Nonamerc on April 2, 2013
This article is very good! You explained everything very good, looking forward to your next article!
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eluminerRC on April 2, 2013
Thank you, I'm doing my best. Next article is already submitted for approval.
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Fearchar on October 4, 2013
I wish I had read this earlier.
WARNINGS:This is very risky modification. There is a plenty of opportunity to damage you ESC. Soldering/desoldering, heating ESC while applying heat shrink on etc.

When I apply throttle the motors just don't spin properly...2 stutters the others don't spin and when unarmed they still stutter...I guess I stuffed my ESCs? Really annoyed as they look beautiful as well.
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Liam on October 21, 2013
I also followed this mod. After several crashes mine has done the same. It is just a matter of resoldering the ESC motor outputs. You likely have a cold/bad solder on the ESCs that are feeding the stuttering motors. I've switched to solid 12ga wire for the short lead from the ESC to the bullet connector as it is easier to get a good solder on (for me anyway)
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eluminerRC on October 11, 2013
I'm very sorry to hear that. That's why I wrote that warning.
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Quadcopter build - ESC customisation