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My Controls Work, But Why Doesn't the Motor Power Up?

Posted by Motion RC on |

  • Category: Beginner Help
  • If your controls work, but your motor doesn't power up, don't panic! It is likely that your ESC needs to be initialized. As a safety precaution, many modern ESCs need to be initialized and calibrated to your radio's throttle range, before the ESC will allow the motor to spin.

    Below are the instructions to initialize the ESC: 

    We also have a video which shows the complete process at the bottom of this article.

    Additionally, we want to include written instructions for you.

    1) - Remove the prop from the plane (very important for safety).
    2) - Turn off your radio.
    3) - Remove the battery from the plane.
    4) - Turn on your radio and set the throttle stick all the way up to full throttle. 
    5) - Plug the battery into the plane. 
    6) - You will hear the ESC beep twice (two quick beeps. Don't allow any more than the two quick beeps – if it beeps any more it will go into programming mode so you will need to unplug the battery and start over).
    7) - Quickly set the throttle on the radio back down to the zero/idle position immediately after you hear the two quick beeps. You will hear two more beeps followed by the normal "start up beeps".
    8) - Unplug the battery from the plane, turn your radio off and everything should now function properly.

    IMPORTANT: Please note step 6 - If you allow the ESC to beep for more than 3 seconds, the ESC will go in to programming mode - you don't want programming mode. If this happens simply turn everything off and start over. Don't touch any radio controls or you will accidentally start reprogramming the ESC. It is very easy to accidentally turn on the ESC motor brake in this mode.

    Now the ESC knows the position of zero and full throttle on your radio and the ESC will remember this forever. You only need to do this once however you should do it again if you ever rebind the receiver to the radio using the bind plug. Also do it again if you ever move the receiver to a different plane. In that case rebind and reinitialize.


    With Spektrum, their radio's default setting is to have all the trim tabs centered, including the throttle. For FMS and Freewing ESCs, they interpret the centered throttle as meaning that the throttle stick is up a little bit when the battery is plugged in, so as a safety precaution, the motor doesn't arm (imagine if a prop was connected, that would be bad!).

    So, the fix is simple: Unplug the battery, turn on your radio, reduce the physical trim tab next to the throttle stick all the way to zero, turn the radio off, then rebind the radio back to the receiver. It will then boot up normally.

    Here is a video to help as well.

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