How To Program ESC Without Card?

Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) is one of the key factors to your RC or any radio control device. You can set running mode, drag brake force, and threshold according to your need. For setting onto different functions, you will need a program card. But a thing to be noticed that the program of ESC can also be done without any card. Do you want to know why? Then, read this article which is about how to program ESC without card and learn the techniques.

How To Program ESC Without Card?

Programming ESC or change the program without any card is not a tough job. You can easily do it by yourself if you follow the instruction of this article.

Program Your ESC without a Program Card

The ESC confirms the stable performance on any radio control device. But you might need to change some of the programs. That is because the RC or other devices will not perform on the same truck every day. Other reasons could be battery change, battery voltage, cut-off voltage, active braking, and bike reversing. If you need to change any of these, you will need to reprogram the ESC. Not everybody goes around carrying a program card, right?

Then, how will you do that without a card? You will need the manual, which comes with ESC while buying it, and a screwdriver. Sometimes, a screwdriver will not be necessary if the ESC switch is big enough to work with your fingers.

How To Program ESC Without Card?

First of all, you should have a user manual. It comes with a box, or you can download it from the internet. In the manual, there will be a particular portion that represents the program of ESC. The marked background defines the default setting. There will be several options that you can change according to your wish. Then, let’s start with showing the basic steps for it. Please keep in mind that most of ESCs have a similar basic procedure.


The most important thing is to power up the ESC. That is why you must have a battery that can have a connection to the ESC. After securing the power connection, you will see the LED lights are working or not. It is because the lights indicate whether the circuit has received power or not. If you see the light is not working, then double-check the battery and wires. Change the battery if it is necessary.


Find out the programming button. In most of ESCs, it is placed right next to the on-off switch. If you do not find it there, it might be another way around. Sometimes it is directly connected to an electrical circuit (EC). Therefore, it will be very easy to find the programming button.


Now, press the button along with an on-off switch. You will hear the beeping sound and see the LED lights are on.


An important thing to notice is to confirm the current setting before making any change to the program. You have to recognize the settings by the sound of the beeps.


Mainly, it is beeping the number of times for each program item available in the ESC. After you power up the ESC, you will notice that it has started beeping. For example, if the beep sounds three times, it will indicate that the program reached the low voltage cut-off threshold. In this way, you will know which program has come and can choose which one to reprogram.


Suppose you want to read or modify the low voltage cut-off threshold. It would be best to let the screwdriver go from the program button when it beeps three times.


When you let go of the button, it will again start beeping. This time it will tell you which current settings it is set. Suppose the ESC is beeping four times. Then, you have to look at the voltage cut-off table and see the current voltage. Almost all the ESCs are set on 3.0 V by default. The experts say that it will function at an optimum level if the cut-off voltage is set to 3V. Other experts say that it protects the battery from getting damaged and over-discharged.


Now it is time to change it. Suppose you want to make it a higher voltage to work with. It can be level 5 or 6. If the button is pressed once, the program will add the press and go on to the next level. Right after you press the button, it will beep according to the new level.


Another essential thing to notice is that a long beep represents five counts, and a short beep means one count. Hence, do not get confused by hearing a long beep and count it as one.


If you want another level up, then you have to press the program again. Now the threshold is at level six. Therefore, you will hear a long beep and a short beep. The long beep means five, and the short beep means one. That means the voltage is at level six, which is 3.4 V.


Now you can switch off the ESC and start again to check if the program has worked or not.

Do All The Models Have the Same Procedure?

Yes, the procedure is pretty the same for all kinds of ESCs. We have shown the example in terms of a cut-off threshold voltage. You can change any of the default settings if you follow those steps, but there will be some limits to the number of settings. It is because not all the company prefer to reprogram their devices. Let us show you an example so that you can understand it properly.

The RC manufacturers give you ten options of programmable items. It does not mean when you buy another RC from a different company. They will not show you the same number of options. You will find some options which are common among all of them. They are running mode, drag brake force, low voltage cut-off threshold, and start mode (punch mode).

Can You Downgrade The Level Of The Items?

Well, technically, there is no option for that. But you can do it anyway. How can you do that? Let us show you the method of downgrade the level or program it to the lower level.

Let’s say you want to reduce the brake force of your RC. But there is no back button for that. Therefore, you have to program the item to the maximum level. The brake force is at level two by default. You have to modify it to level five. At that level, the force will be disabled. Then, you start the ESC and press the button to start from level one. After that, the beep will sound one time.

You apply the method for all kinds of items that present in the manual.


Well, that is the sound you will hear coming from the ESC. Why do you care about it? It is because the beep sound is important for recognizing the default program and the changed programs. When you start the ESC, it will start to beep right from the starting time. After that, it will beep in an interval which will indicate the program item number. You have to choose which item you want to modify. Then press the program button according to that number of beeps.

When you change the program, again, the beep will be heard to indicate whether the item is upgraded or not. If the item is upgraded to more than level 5, it will give you a long beep. That is because the long beep represents five counts. Therefore, it will provide you with a long beep and two short beeps when you upgrade to level seven.

Cautionary Steps

You must be thinking about where could be a danger in such easy methods. Well, do not get overconfident. There are some things that you might face or lead you to trouble. First of all, you cannot reverse the running mode without a card. If any attempt is made trying to switch the mode, it will fail you every time.

Another problem will be counting beeps. If you do not count the beeps carefully, you might change the wrong program. As it cannot be detected immediately, there will be some problems while running the motors.

Always follow the instructions that are given in the manual. It is because some programs should not be changed. If you do so, the circuit or the battery might get damaged. Another thing to be noticed is that you should keep the modification or program at its optimum level. Any significant change will directly affect the performance of the motor.

Bottom Line

Mainly, the point we are trying to make is that programing the ESC is possible without a card, and it is a pretty easy method. We can say you have understood how to program ESC without a card and what factors you should keep in mind. Try not to mess up while you do the modification.



Welcome to the home of John, the founder & editor of The RC Valleys. Here you’ll find everything RC related guides, reviews, and even videos too! Stick around and see what we have in store.