What Is A Onewheel VESC And How Can You Get One?

Oct 31, 2022

I’ve seen a ton of videos, blogs and commentary around the VESC recently.

Now I had heard the term around before, but I hadn’t explored it too much, sometimes the mods people do are too much for me or are targeted to a really small audience so it isn’t worth my writing about.

But recently the talk around the VESC seems to be growing and I think I figured out why.

Let’s dig in.

What is a Onewheel VESC?

Technically it’s just called a VESC, because Onewheel is a brand/product name.

A VESC is all of the parts and hardware of a Onewheel but you replace the software (the controller and some of the connectors) with open source compatible 3rd party pieces.

So if you have pieces of old Onewheels, or a whole Onewheel XR, you can repurpose those pieces with the VESC controller and make your board a VESC.

Where does VESC get its name?

The name VESC comes from the creator Benjamin Vedder and his creating of an Electric Speed Controller, originally built for electric skateboards.

So VESC means Vedder Electric Speed Controller or sometimes called a Variable Electric Speed Controller.

Why would I want to turn my Onewheel into a VESC?

This is the question I kept asking, why would you spend so much time and money to turn a perfectly good Onewheel into something else?

The answer is that the VESC allows you to control EVERY ASPECT of your Onewheel.

This always takes me back to jailbreaking old iPod touches, but I think it’s that same idea.

With the VESC software you can change the angle the board rides at, the speed where pushback hits (if at all) the aggressiveness of the motor, the level of acceleration, literally everything.

That can be a little overwhelming even, how do you know what to change or tweak?

I don’t actually know honestly, I think some of that comes with trial and error and experimentation.

Like I said, this kind of modification is not going to be for everyone, it’s pretty niche and you need a lot of knowledge to get it working, but everyone who does it seems to love it, so idk.

How can you get a Onewheel VESC?

To get your hands on a Onewheel VESC the 2 best options are buy one that someone made or make one yourself.

Buying a Onewheel VESC

I don’t often see Onewheel VESC’s for sale, but that isn’t incredibly surprising, the VESC is a pretty niche product that requires a decent amount of engineering know how, so once you have one, you probably aren’t selling them.

That said, my marketplace has all types of boards, so you can always check Onewheel Market here.

If not on my site, check craigslist, Facebook, eBay and make sure to follow all the right steps when it comes to buying a used Onewheel, especially a used VESC because there’s a lot that could go wrong there.

Building your own Onewheel VESC

Let me be careful in saying this is not the end all be all guide for building a Onewheel VESC, my goal is to compile resources so that when you want to build a Onewheel VESC you have all the information and support you could ever need to set you up for success.

Also as a disclaimer, I have not built my own Onewheel VESC as of writing this article, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Most of what I put here are resources, guides and commentary from people who have built their own and their personal experiences with it.

Here are the resources I’ve found:

Onewheel VESC controller

Obviously you need to buy a controller where you can run the software.

To my knowledge the only place that sells controllers for VESC conversion is Makers PEV.

They sell a few different options and they explain which product you’d need for what kind of build.

If you find yourself outside the USA, they have an international website with some more details where you can shop too, it’s called Custom Wheel.

The code

The other critical component of the Onewheel VESC build is the software that will tell your board how to run, you can find that open source code here on Gitlab.

The iPhone app

This part is actually super nice, the makers behind some of this open source software have also created an app that allows you to adjust all of the settings you could ever want.

You can download the Onewheel VESC companion app here.

Needed Materials

I was searching online and found that someone made a google sheet, I’ll paste that here if you want a bill of materials for building your VESC.

Video Resources

The nice part about building a VESC is there are a TON of video resources, I’ll link all the videos I found that would help you here.

Onewheel VESC Conversion Series
Results Videos
The Float Life talks VESC and their thoughts
Jake Leary talks about how he likes the VESC better than the Onewheel
Wren Weichman, Niko Pueringer and Jan-Michael Losada talk about why they made their VESCs and how they did it.

Conclusion

I made this post to help people new to the VESC world get an idea of what it is and how you can make your own if you want.

Mostly I’m hoping that this post provides value to you when you search “What is a Onewheel VESC” because I couldn’t find very good answers when I searched that on my own.

Hope this was helpful, let me know what you think in the comments.

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