Ground Every ESC connected to Arduino?

I ask this because I've been confused by several sketches I've seen that suggest you do not need to ground ESCs, or at least that you do not need to ground ESCs that are not supplying power.

I want to have one ESC supplying power to an Arduino Uno and the remainder simply being controlled. It is unclear to me based on the sketches I've seen whether or not the ESCs connected only for control purposes need to be grounded to the board. All the ESCs will have one power source.

As a follow up, is there a convenient way to connect all the ground wires to the arduino?

I think you are confused. ESC stands for ELECTRONIC SPEED CONTROL. It is designed for motors, not as a regulator. There is no need for an ESC to power an arduino because an ESC is a variable voltage source and the arduino does not need that. It simply requires ON/OFF. If you want to control the arduino power use a relay. Using an ESC for this makes no sense whatsoever. I want to say it is stupid but I haven't heard your reasons for wanting to do it so I will refrain from that until you explain your reason.

Many ESCs have a 5v output (or similar) that can be used to power a receiver and I guess that is what the OP is being used to power his Arduino.

If you have a signal wire from an Arduino pin to an ESC there must also be a ground connection to complete the circuit.

If you have all your ESC's powered from the same source it MIGHT be that the ground connection for powering the Arduino can act as ground for all of the ESCs. You could probably check with a multimeter.

If that connection does not create a ground for the other ESCs then they will each need their own ground connection.

You can easily join several ground wires together (solder or screw connection) to another wire that is connected to an Arduino ground pin. For this purpose there will be very little current in the ground wires.


If that is what the OP is referring to it is called a BEC (Battery Eliminator Circuit) and it has no ON/OFF capability . It is ON when a battery is connected to the ESC. The full name is ESC BEC.
I think I have heard of digitally controllable BEC that is controlled by a Tx switch like a Landing Gear switch or the the other one (bomb release ?)

Yes I was talking about the BEC. Sorry to not use correct terminology.

I assumed that the reason I've seen people leaving off the ground connections on the non BEC connected ESCs is because the power source was one in the same and that the ground is connected back up the battery and down the single ESC, so it is good to hear that might be what is happening. That said, seems silly thing to chance when you could just connect them all so that is probably what I will do.

Thanks for the advice.

Seeking clarification is better than jumping down someone's throat - anyone building a quadcopter will have asked themselves "should I power the Arduino from one (or more) of the ESC's 5V output?".

Anyway yes, signal and ground wire must be connected for every ESC, the ground wire acts as return path for the signal current - all signals need a return path (unless they are radio waves!).

BTW Never try to power something from two power sources in parallel, it usually causes damage unless you add diodes to isolate the supplies from each other.

Also having seen an ESC blow up and catch fire, I'd say don't power an Arduino from an ESC if you can avoid it (although it was a cheap unit).

I don' t know eho is jumping doen anyone' s throat. I simply ststed a fact. Suggesting someone is confused is hardly " jumping down their throat". Let's not exagerate ok. And on the subject of ESC BECs and NON-ESC BECs (AKA "Standalone BECs). The reason many people use Standslone BECs INSTEAD of the ESC BEC is Exactly BECAUSE when you push your aircraft and fry your ESC you need 5V to powef the servos so you czn make a "Dead,-Stick" Emergency Landing ("from the right ! "), which you can't do if your ESC is in flames.