The speed controller is basically the brain of your electric skateboard. Batteries provide power, the motor provides motion and the speed controller controls it all, including things like your wireless receiver.
Without a speed controller, your motor would just be on or off with no in-between.
What is a VESC?
VESC stands for Vedder Electronic Speed Controller, and it is an open source speed controller design specific for electric skateboards. The original blueprints were designed by Benjamin Vedder (hence Vedder ESC) and with it being open source, anyone can use or modify the design. This means you can use the designs to make your own VESC or you can buy a VESC from someone else who has used or modified the design.
Do I need a VESC or can I use a cheaper ESC?
Use a VESC if you can. You could use a cheaper ESC, but you will get better performance from a VESC. A lot of cheaper ESCs are used for smaller motors like ones in drones, and may not be able to take the high current and voltage; many VESCs have temperature and current sensors/controllers. Many ESCs need to use sensors to control the speed, VESCs can control speed without sensors (sensorless). Lastly, the VESC has programming capabilities and open source software which anyone (novice to expert) can use.
Like most of the other components, you want to make sure max volts and current don’t get exceeded. Your VESC should tell you this information.
Some more helpful pointers:
- Check the connector sizes match with your motor
- Do you want regenerative braking?
- You probably want a BEC to power your wireless receiver