Hi everyone,

I have a homebuilt quad and it uses some hefty motors giving it a 9 pound payload. I am trying to calibrate the motors using the CLI mode but the CLI mode requires a BEC in place, as in, you have to use the main batteries to power the APM. I am not doing that. I have a separate battery system just for the radio, telemetry, and APM.

The question is, can I still do the CLI mode ESC calibration and when instructed to unplug usb and the main battery, simply ALSO add switching off the onboard radio battery as well? Logically it seems that until power comes back to the APM it doesnt matter whether the ESCs are plugged in or not. But I wanted to check with any one else who might be using a separate power system like I am.


So the process would be, IF this assumption is correct:


1: in CLI mode, type esc


3: Move CLI switch to FLY

4: Turn on TX and put stick to high throttle position

5: TURN ON RADIO/APM BATTERY, plug in main batteries as usual. ABC lights will flash

6: Listen for ESC beeps

7: Drop throttle stick to low position to get arming beeps

8: SWITCH OFF RADIO/APM BATTERY, unplug main batteries.


I tried to do the calibration and it seemed to work using this method outlined above but the two rear motors are 3000 RPM or so higher than the front two...  Does the Level Command affect that? Should I have leveled the machine prior to this calibration? I might have missed that...


I am not sure how much the APM can compensate for motor differences. Big differences mean big PID headaches later I am thinking although I still havent figured out the PIDs yet and in the most recent GCS from Mike Osborne, the PID settings have changed and threw me for a another loop ... (D vanished ...)


So any insights on the Level command and how it affects things would be helpful... It could explain why the rear motors thought they needed to be running at higher RPMs...




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  • 3D Robotics

    I would not use the CLI mode in your case. It works on some brands of ESC but not on others and is overall less reliable than doing it manually. Just do them by hand as described in the manual and you'll be fine. 


    In the future, we're probably going to be releasing dual PWM/I2C ESCs that automatically calibrate. ESC calibration is too much of a hassle with most multicopters these days, and we're just planning to innovate around it. Of course that won't help you if you're using custom gear, as you are, but it will make life easier for most other users.

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