HOBBYWING Quatro 20Ax4 Esc with 3DR APM 2.6

This was an original 3DR quad-copter. After several crashes and handmade frames 

I came to replace the motors and the frame. I also bought a new 4in1 ESC module for

the next project but I am using it now on the APM2.6. This blog covers all the walk through

connecting the Quatro 20Ax4 to APM2.X.

4x1 20A esc   38$

frame               20$

4 motors          77$

Start using Quatro 20Ax4 Esc

First, Esc Calibration

1. connect the 4x2 esc to the remote receiver trough the hub, on throttle output, usually on channel 3

2. connect the motors. No Props (otherwise you wont hear the beeps)

3. On remote put throttle UP MAX.

4. Power the module, Red to +, Black to - from a lipo 11.1V. (you should hear the 3S beeps, then wait a bit for another 2 beeps). If you don't get another 2 beeps in 6 seconds disconnect the battery, and connect  it back.

4. move throttle down. (wait for 2 or more beeps for confirmation, in within 2..3 seconds) (if you get nothing repeat the procedure)

5. Push a bit the throttle up, see if al motors start at the same time.

6. Throttle down, and disconnect battery. Power off the remote.

Apm 2.6 compatibility

Put all ESCS in programming mode.

1. connect the 1in4 ESC to the remote receiver trough the hub, on throttle output, usually is the channel 3

2. connect the motors.(otherwise you wont hear the beeps). No Props 

3. Remote, put throttle UP MAX.

4. Power the module and wait for 2 beeps, for ESC calibration, and wait another 5..7 seconds for another special tone td da di da di, program mode entered. From this point on you get the main menu entries as beeps.

I programmed all ESC at once trough the hub (the instructions says do it, one by one).

Be sure all beeps for sequence and confirmation from all motors beeps same code.

Break             - OFF

Battery Type      - LIPO

CutOff Mode       - Soft

Cut off threshold - Med

Start Mode        - Soft

Timing            - Medium

or  (b - stands for short beep, B- stands for long beep, TD - stand for throttle down, TU for up, )

     (wait a second after each beep, so you catch all motors in the accepting state)

    (after you've entered programming mode you can follow this sequence)

b          TD    b   TU

bb         TD    b   TU

bbb        TD    b   TU

bbbb       TD    b    bb    TU

B          TD    b    bb    TU

Bb         TD    b    bb    TU


BB         TD    <exit>

you'll hear some beeps for confirmation

Disconnect battery

Apm Wiring

reference image


ESC         to APM                top view  motors connection
                                      to esc wiring (M#) 

ESC         APM  

S1 Red     -   PWM 1                   3-(M4)      1-(M1)

S3 White   -   PWM 2                            X

S4 Brown   -   PWM 3                   2-(M3)      4-(M2)             

S2 Orange  -   PWM 4


S2 ->M2

S3 ->M3

S4 ->M4

Apm 2.6 testing

1. Connect APM to MissionPlaner/GroudControl.

2. Go to Terminal, test mode.

3. Select test, motors.

4. Watch the motors rotation order, which is different from the APM motors order

    The motors should rotate in CLOCKWISE order starting TOP-RIGHT, as (1-4-2-3, in APM notation)

   - If the order is nor right, switch S cables into APM output until you get the right order.

    - Pay attention to each motor while is tested. The short burst should be the same for all motors.

             If one motor rotation burst is out of order, then the ESC programming failed for that motor.

Motors phasing

Front motors should rotate rotate one opposite each other as they gather things inside from the front.

Rear motors should rotate rotate one opposite each other as they gather things inside from the back.

Pre-fly check

1. No props

2. Re - Recalibrate 4x1ESC

3. Re-calibrate ESC trough the APM

   3.1 - Disconnect USB from computer

   3.2 - Disconnect battery from APM.

   3.3  Power remote, Throttle UP

   3.4 Power APM, wait for the 2 beeps in within first  4 seconds. (does not  happen, repeat)

   3.5 Throttle Down, (3 beeps or so should confirm the calibration)

   3.6 Throttle a bit up to see if the motors start.  Throttle down.

4. Power off APM

5. Power Up APM (Remote should be ON)

6. Arm the APM (No props)

7. Pump the throttle 30%

7. Incline the APM on all sides +/- 45 degrees. Watch if the lower motors speeds up.

8. level the APM.

9, See if Yaw, pitch roll, affect the motors speed.

Differences from original 3DR APM

- Lighter frame. About 150 gr light.

- Increased responsiveness

- about 5 minutes more flight time


Views: 3508

Comment by Andre Septian Noore on June 2, 2014 at 11:35pm

Quattro has built in BEC, usually I disable the volt & ground cable, just the 4 signals wire plug into APM board, so the power come from original 3DR power module.

Comment by Marius on June 3, 2014 at 7:53am

I forgot to mention in the post, the Quatropro is powered from the 3DR power module, which

I soldered to the Quatro, and the 5V power to APM is coming from Quatro 4x1 ESC trough

the only-3-wires white-red-black connected to output 2. I also power the remote receiver from

outputs 5V not from the input ports.

Comment by Randy on June 3, 2014 at 5:28pm

I also have a couple of those hobbywing 4-in-1 ESCs.  They seem fine to me.  They still have a filter on them (unlike SimonK) so supposedly their response is a little slower but I've never actually noticed much of a difference.

I put them on an old flame wheel frame I had and it reduced the magnetic interference I was getting from the existing power wires and stand-alone ESCs.  I know it's a bit anecdotal, I don't have the testing data results to around back it up but personally I'm pretty sure they have lower interference than regular ESCs.

Comment by Jason on September 9, 2014 at 8:04pm

Your post was a godsend.  My quad was flipping uncontrollably before this.  I wish I had found this sooner.  Thanks for the configuration laydown.

Comment by Gary McCray on September 9, 2014 at 8:49pm

I am using the 4 in 1 ESCs on two Quadcopters and am very happy with them.

The aluminum plate on the bottom definitely does a better job dissipating heat than ESCs without heat sinks.

And the fact that you wire the battery straight to them means you don't have all that messy DC wiring and power distribution board that can put up a really nasty magnetometer interfering magnetic field.

It more than cut my mag offsets in half.

I bought the programming board and got the 4 to 1 combiner that lets you program all 4 channels at once.

I do not think you actually need to change from stock programming because it is preset for any battery type and 3 cell or 4 cell LiPo work fine.

It doesn't try to do any cutoff which you really don't want on a multicopter anyway.

It also defaults to normal start up which given the auto prop rotate when armed and should definitely be better than soft start.

Timing is also preset to middle which seems to work fine. 

I have written a How To page on my quadcopters are fun web site here:


But Although it shows programming the ESC with the card, I really think the default values are best.

(I will be changing this on my site).

The 4 into 1 combiner cable is almost mandatory for calibrating the ESCs in the receiver based all at once mode.

However it is also possible to calibrate the ESCs all at once using the connected to the APM / Pixhawk mode and that is the method I recommend.

One caution, I found it is worth while to give a short pause after the completion of each calibration step before proceeding to the next one.

Apparently the beeps do not actually quite signal the end of the programming sequence, also I can't hear very well and for me the whole beep thing is a major pain.

All that aside, these are great ESCs and I will use them wherever possible.

Mine all run very cool, but if necessary it is easy to thermal glue a flat finned heat sink to the 4 in 1's aluminum plate to greatly increase it's heat dissipation - maybe a good idea in the tropics or the desert.

Best Regards,


Comment by Marius on September 9, 2014 at 9:59pm

The Quattro20 Ax4 came preprogrammed (according to the accompanying paper) for Mn batteries. I had to go over the re-programming. The 30AX4 came pre-programmed for 3S-Lipo, and the programming sequence seems different. I received a different paper than the one here: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uploads/934316348X1085196X...

Comment by Marius on September 9, 2014 at 10:05pm

..I forgot to mention. Very nice web site Garry, at: quadcoptersarefun

Comment by Gary McCray on September 10, 2014 at 9:52am

Hi Marius,

The 4 in 1 ESC does come pre-programmed for NIMH batteries, but if you are not going to use the quattros low voltage cutoff features, that is irrelevant.

The way the ESC is supplied (with NIMh battery selected), low voltage cut off is in fact disabled.

Which is also what they say in the supplied instructions.

It works fine as supplied with either 3 or 4 cell LiPo battery even though an Ni_xx battery is selected.

And I haven't gotten a 30 Amp one yet, but I did understand the programming and features are different.

It is made by a different manufacturer.

Glad you like the site, I plan on adding a lot more to it and will be updating the 4 in 1 ESC page as well.

Best Regards,


Comment by Mattmax on November 9, 2014 at 2:21pm

If the APM is powered by the PM with power and the jumper JP1 is set and not through the ESC, then the ESC must only be connected with the signal-line to the OUTPUT and the first one with GND too.

The receiver should also be connected with a complete cable (GND, SIGNAL, 5V) yet or
must each channel be connected with a complete cable (GND, SIGNAL, 5V)? Jumper JP1 is set!

Is this the right way to connect all the three thing ESC, RECEIVER and APM together if the APM is powered on the PM-connector or is there a mistake?


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