Using ESC/Motor Beacon as Lost Model Alarm

Do you notice the start-up beeps the motor/ESC makes when you plug in the LiPo battery? It beeps even when there is no buzzer (piezo beeper) connected, and we can turn that feature into a lost model alarm.

It can be useful when you don’t have a buzzer installed, or in case your buzzer fails in a crash. Check here for more useful tips on quadcopter building/flying.

Warning: running motor beeper for too long could result in overheat, even burns out your motors in some cases. It’s best to beep the motors once or twice then stop.

In this tutorial we will show you how to do this in ESC’s with BLHeli firmware. To set it up there are only 2 settings you need to configure in BLHeliSuite:

  • Beacon Strength – How loud you want the beeper to sound (default 80, range from 1 to 255); 120 is a good value IMO, I suggest trying different values and check if the motors and ESC would get too hot. I don’t recommend setting this too high to prevent motors and ESC overheat
  • Beacon Delay – After how long the beeper starts to activate being idle (default 10mins, IMO 5 or even 2 mins is a good idea for our purpose)

There is also Beep Strength. This setting might seem relevant but actually it’s not. It only controls the volume of the start-up beep, so just leave it as it is.

A bit out of topics, if you’ve ever wondered how ESC’s can make sound, they don’t. It’s actually the motors that makes the sound. The pitch and volume of the sound is controlled by signal from the ESC. It’s even possible to play a jingle with motors :)

Dshot ESC Beeper not working?

In Betaflight RC6, the developers have added a feature to let you choose to either use your regular piezo beeper or motor beeper. By default, the motor beeper is turned off.

If you want to turn it on, go to the CLI and type:

set beeper_dshot_beacon_tone = 1 

By default this setting has a value of 0 which disables the motor beeper. Larger numbers makes it louder, but if you make it too loud it’s possible to overheat your motors even damage them. 3 is a good value to start with, and make sure to check your motors for sign of overheat.

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