Play Music with ESC and Motors! | BLHeli_32 Custom Startup Tones

BLHeli_32 ESC firmware allows you to play music with ESC by uploading custom startup tones to each ESC. You can now form a band with the 4 motors in your quadcopter and play a cool tune when powering up your drone.

Don’t forget to check out our guide on How to choose ESC for racing drones.

Customized Startup Music

One of the greatest features of BLHeli32 is that you can create unique startup music! You can even load different musical lines to each ESC and play a polyphonic tune on your mini quad, and it can sound like a band playing :) How awesome is that?!

Here are some examples Rox made. By the way, check out his channel, he wrote lots of songs and shared the notes in the description of each video.

In this tutorial I will show you how to make your quad sing like a choir in a few simple steps.

Update BLHeli_32 Firmware

Flash the latest BLHeli32 firmware to your ESC’s – note that the Music Editor feature wasn’t added until firmware v32.31. We will be using the Music Editor to load musical notes to each ESC.

See this guide how to flash BLHeli_32 ESC’s if you are new to this.

Now, we can begin uploading some music to our quad!

Uploading Music to ESC

Before we start, make sure all propellers are removed!

Launch BLHeliSuite32 program, connect the quadcopter to computer via USB and power up your quad with a LiPo battery.

Select the COM Port of your FC, and click “Connect” in BLHeliSuite_32.

Hit the “Check” button to get your ESC configurations.

In BLHeliSuite_32 click “Options” in the menu, and uncheck “Sync Startup Music to Multiple ESC“, it will disable music sharing on all ESC’s. This allows you to play different melodies on each ESC, this would sound polyphonic. If you leave this setting checked, you will upload the same melody to all the ESC’s.

Now we can upload the music. For this example we will use Guile’s theme from the game, Street Fighter. It sounds like this on a quad:

Click “Music Editor” button.

The music editor should appear in a pop up window, and the interface looks like this:

Copy and paste the following musical notes in the big text box:

A#5 8 P8 A#5 8 A5 8 P8 A5 8 A#5 1 P32 A5 8 P8 A#5 8 P8 A#5 8 A5 8 P8 A5 8 A#5 1 P32 A5 8 P8 A#5 8 A5 8 P8 A#5 8 P8 A5 8 P8 C6 8 P8 C6 8 A#5 4 A5 4 F5 4 A#5 8 P8 A#5 8 A5 8 P8 A5 8 A#5 1

Make sure there is no spaces after the last character.

These letters are musical notes with their pitch and duration, a bit similar to ringtone editor on old Nokia phones.

Then check the option “Music On“, it enables music on the ESC.

Gen. Length” controls the tempo and “Gen. Interval” controls the note spacing. These parameters usually should be same on all the ESC’s because we want to play the melody at the same tempo and interval (unless you know what you are doing).

For this particular melody select “Gen. Length” 14 and “Gen. Interval” 2.

To preview the melody uploaded to the ESC, you can click the “Play” button (green triangle) and the the music will be played on your computer.

screenshot from an older version of music editor

We are done with ESC #1. Let’s go to the next ESC by clicking this button shown below.

ESC #2

G5 8 P8 G5 8 F5 8 P8 F5 8 G5 1 P32 F5 8 P8 G5 8 P8 G5 8 F5 8 P8 F5 8 G5 1 P32 F5 8 P8 G5 8 F5 8 P8 G5 8 P8 F5 8 P8 G5 8 P8 G5 8 F5 4 F5 4 C5 4 G5 8 P8 G5 8 F5 8 P8 F5 8 G5 1

Check “Music On”, set “Gen. Length” set to 14 and “Gen. Interval” to 2. Apply Music, Write Setup.

ESC #3

D5 8 P8 D5 8 C5 8 P8 C5 8 D5 1 P32 C5 8 P8 D5 8 P8 D5 8 C5 8 P8 C5 8 D5 1 P32 C5 8 P8 D5 8 C5 8 P8 D5 8 P8 C5 8 P8 D#5 8 P8 D#5 8 D5 4 C5 4 A4 4 D5 8 P8 D5 8 C5 8 P8 C5 8 D5 1

Check “Music On”, set “Gen. Length” set to 14 and “Gen. Interval” to 2. Apply Music, Write Setup.

ESC #4

G4 2 G4 2 P8 P16 C5 8 D5 8 C5 8 A#4 8 A4 8 G4 8 F4 8 D#4 2 D#4 2 P8 P16 D#4 8 D4 8 D#4 4 D#4 4 P8 C4 2 C4 4 P8 D4 4 D4 4 D4 4 P8 F4 4 G4 8 P8 G4 8 F4 8 P8 F4 8 G4 4 P8 C5 8 D5 8 C5 8 G4 4

Check “Music On”, set “Gen. Length” set to 14 and “Gen. Interval” to 2. Apply Music, Write Setup.

When you are all done, click “Apply Music” in the music editor and then click “Write Setup” to upload the music to the ESC.

Ignore the notes and settings in this screenshot

That’s it! Now your quad can play polyphonic song when you plug in your battery :D

How to Save and Copy Music to another Quad?

You don’t have to repeat this cumbersome process if you want multiple of your quad to play the same song. You only need to do it once, save that song, and load it again to other quads you have. Here is how.

So once you have setup music in one of your quads, you can save the music as a script. Enter a name for the script (step 1) and hit the save button (step 2). You will be prompted to save the script file somewhere on your computer (step 3).

Now disconnect your first quad, and plug in the second quad. Go to Music Editor, and select the music script you just saved in the “Music Script File Manage”.

Click the “Open” button (step 1), and click OK (step 2).

And finally you can press the Apply Music button, and Write Setup to ESC’s. That’s it!

Where can I find more songs for my ESC’s?

It takes some good musical skills to be able to translate songs into notes and arrange them properly.

Rox Wolf is writing lots of well known theme songs for our quads, you can find his works on his Youtube channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXSNkOZTJRTYxLasw243LFw

Currently there are themes from Super Mario, Axel F, Frozen, Darude – Sandstorm and more songs are being added to the list. Don’t forget to subscribe to his channel for more ESC music! :D

Longer Songs?

We are limited to 48 notes + pauses in BLHlie-32 startup music, so that’s the longest we can play.

Does playing music damage my motors?

It’s totally fine for motors to make sounds, you can even setup ESC/Motor as lost model alarm. As long as you are not playing sounds too loud and for too long which can cause motors to overheat, you should be fine.

The Startup tone is pretty short, usually not more than a few seconds, so it shouldn’t generate too much heat in the motors.

Rox confirmed this was not an issue at all even when he was repeatedly playing these startup tones while writing and arranging songs on his ESC’s and motors. Perhaps it’s a good idea to keep the volume at default to avoid surprises. The setting is “Startup Beep Volume”, default value is 40.

Edit History

  • Jan 2018 – The guide was originally written by Rox Wolf and edited by Oscar
  • Nov 2018 – Rewrote instructions since the music editor came out of Beta, no need to download and flash firmware manually anymore
  • Feb 2019 – Updated screenshots, added instructions how to copy music to another quad

10 thoughts on “Play Music with ESC and Motors! | BLHeli_32 Custom Startup Tones

  1. David Burkhart

    I’d like to point out that pauses seem to be included in the limit. “48 notes + Pauses” implies that you can have 48 notes in addition to pauses.

    Reply
  2. Gob

    I have put the “C6 8 G5 8 C6 8 E6 8 G6 8 C7 8 G6 8 G#5 8 C6 8 D#6 8 G#6 8 D#6 8 G#6 8 C7 8 D#7 8 G#7 8 D#7 8 D6 8 F6 8 A#6 8 F6 8 A#6 8 D7 8 F7 8 D7 8 F7 8 A#7 8 F7 8” in one of my quads… Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Ninja Sauce

    Hey! I have been writing songs for the BLHeli_32 ESCs. I have a pretty big playlist going and I am adding more every day!

    youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwip8UXl_Wqg4FUnzJBpHO_VSBquJgiac

    Reply
  4. EMLT

    Awesome tutorial, thanks for your work.

    To give back, here are my very basic music notes for Harry Potter Theme:

    B5 1 E5 1 G5 1 F#5 1 E 5 1 B5 1 A5 1 F#5 1 E5 1 G5 1 F#5 1 D5 1 F5 1 B4 1 P 1/1
    B5 1 E5 1 G5 1 F#5 1 E5 1 B5 1 D6 1 C#6 1 C6 1 A5 1 C6 1 B5 1 Bb5 1 B5 1 G5 1 E5 1 P 1/1

    Greetings,

    EMLT

    Reply

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