Quick Tip - Testing Motor Spin Direction

8 years ago   •   3 min read

By Sam

This is quick guide on how to test your motor spin direction after you have connected it to an ESC. It is always a good idea to do this as you do NOT want to attach all your motors to your frame only to find that they spin in the wrong direction…I have definitely never done this of course…

There are two ways of testing the spin direction; either with your receiver and radio, or with the aid of a servo tester.

With your Radio Control and Receiver

So at this stage you should have your motor connected to your ESC. We will need a battery and, of course, your radio receiver and radio.

  • You first plug in the servo cable of your ESC into the throttle port of your receiver. Please remember to plug the cable in in the correct orientation here (i.e. so signal and ground plug into the correct pins).
  • Your receiver should now be powered (an LED should come on) and you can now turn your radio control on (make sure that the throttle is all the way down before doing this).
  • You then plug the battery in to your ESC and we are now ready to see which way our motor is spinning.
  • Slowly increase the throttle and you can then test your motor spin direction.

Here is a short video outlining the process:

With a Servo Tester

This is a similar process but a little simpler as you only need one servo tester instead of a receiver and a radio control. If you haven’t come across a servo tester before, it’s a useful little device designed to test servos (unsurprisingly) with input pins and output pins and a small dial. Very useful for testing motor spin directions as well.

  • You first plug in your ESC servo wire into one of the output pins on the servo tester, making sure to match the signal cable to signal pin, voltage cable to voltage pin and ground cable to ground pin.
  • The servo tester should now be powered (indicated by light) and make sure the dial on the tester is set to 0.
  • You now plug the battery into the ESC and slowly turn the dial on the tester until your motor spins. You can then test the direction.

Here is a short video outlining the process:

What if my receiver/servo tester isn’t powered?

You may go through these processes step-by-step but your receiver/servo tester doesn’t power up. This will most likely be because you are not using an ESC with a battery eliminating circuit (BEC) and so your ESC will not power your receiver/servo tester. You will therefore have to power the receiver/servo tester separately with an external 5V power source. You can do this with another ESC (with a BEC) and battery, or with any other 5V power supply.

Tip: You can usually tell if your ESC has a BEC if the servo cable has three wires instead of 2. Of course, if your receiver/servo tester doesn’t power up upon plugging the servo cable in, this is also a good indicator that your ESC does not have a BEC.

What if my motors are spinning the wrong way?

In this case, you will need to swap the ESC and motor wires around to change the orientation. The image below shows the correct connection for the orientation.

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