Having a great remote is just as important as a well-designed battery, speed controller, a strong deck, and great wheels. If you want to ride safely, a quality remote is indispensable. That said, sometimes, we forget where we left them, or accidentally fall and break them. Sometimes, we’d like to change things up to suit our riding needs better.
Here’s everything you need to know about remotes.
How does a remote control work?
Your remote is a tiny computer. It measures your throttle position and that signal gets sent to your Electronic Speed Controller (ESC). The further you move the throttle forward/backwards, the faster you’ll accelerate/the harder you’ll brake, depending on how your ESC is configured.
Different Types of Remote Controles
Don’t forget the receiver
Of course, your remote is completely useless if you don’t have a receiver. Your receiver is either built into the ESC or a separate replaceable module. More on this later.
Which ESC can I use?
This is sort of a chicken-egg thing. Which comes first, the ESC or the remote? If you already have a working board, then your decision on which ESC you can use has already been made. On the other hand, if you’re changing out your ESC because your current ESC broke, or if you’re going DIY, then you can use virtually any ESC that fits your build’s needs. There are three major ESC types: Hobbywing, LingYi, and VESC.
Hobbywing remotes are only compatible with Hobbywing ESC, LingYi remotes are only compatible with LingYi ESCs, and VESC remotes are only compatible with VESCs. There’s no widely available way to use any remote with any ESC as of writing this article.
Frequencies and safety – what’s up with that?
The majority of remotes use 2.4GHz frequency to communicate. It just so happens that a lot of Bluetooth, WiFi, and radio devices use 2.4GHz as well. In crowded cities, it’s possible for all those frequencies to interfere with your skateboard. Although rare and not well-documented, disconnects can cause your board to be unresponsive, brake suddenly, or accelerate suddenly.
Some remotes feature channel-hopping and encryption so that it is almost impossible to disconnect.
Best Electric Skateboard Remotes
The Hoyt Puck is one of the industry-leading remotes if you have a VESC. It has an intelligent receiver that will channel-hop so that your remote is connected to the least-busy frequency, mitigating the risk of riding in a busy, high-signal area. Its ergonomics are a bit controversial. Some love it, others aren’t so fond of it. For those not fond of the ergonomics, there are aftermarket Hoyt Puck shells so you can change up how the remote feels in your hand.
The VX1 is an affordable but incredibly compelling choice if you have a VESC, It resembles the Boosted remote, although it’s considerably smaller and does not feature a deadman switch. Its receiver is robust and has been used in DIY builds, as well as high-end production boards.
VX2 Pro remote
The VX2 has a screen that displays telemetry. In setup, you can enter in your gear ratio so that it can accurately display your speed and keep track of miles. It also features a cruise control mode so your thumb doesn’t get tired. The receiver does tend to be less durable than the VX1 with many reporting that the receiver dies after a few months, but it is rare and not well-documented.
How do I pair my electric skateboard remote?
First, let’s figure out what kind of ESC you have. If you’re DIY, you probably know this already, but if you bought your board pre-built, consult your manufacturer to see what kind of ESC is inside your board. Hobbywing, LingYi, and VESC are the major types. These instructions are general, and may not apply if your manufacturer has a customized Hobbywing, LingYi, or VESC.
- Hobbywing: Hold down the power button on your board, then hold the power button on your remote.
- LingYi: Hold down the power button on your board. With the remote turned on, hit the pair button on your remote.
- VESC: Plug in wireless module into the VESC. Follow pairing instructions that came with your remote.
How do I replace a remote?
For Hobbywing and LingYi ESCs found in most pre-built boards, search your manufacturer’s website for a replacement remote or contact your manufacturer if no compatible replacement remote is shown on the website.
Some prebuilt boards have a VESC. If the VESC has a built-in remote, like Boundmotor’s VESC, then you will have to buy the remote straight from the manufacturer. Otherwise, if you have direct access to the PPM/UART ports, you can use virtually any remote made for VESC.
Where to get a replacement remote
The most reliable place is your manufacturer’s website.
If you’re making a DIY board or replacing your stock ESC with a VESC, the DIY forums is the place for you to find the best remote where people will recommend remotes to buy, and oftentimes, you can buy second-hand VESC-based remotes at very competitive prices.
How much is a remote control skateboard?
It depends. If you have a LingYi or Hobbywing ESC, a LingYi remote can be quite affordable at less than $50, with Hobbywing remotes at around $90. If you have an Evolve, remotes are $150 each with no third-party alternatives. If you own a Boosted Board, since Boosted is no longer a company, your only option is to buy a Boosted remote from community members, occasionally from Boosted USA (NOT Boosted Boards), and The Boosted Guys. A replacement Boosted remote can cost $100-$300 in some cases.
Your remote is an essential piece of your board that shouldn’t be overlooked, it’s just as important as a substantial helmet, a well-made battery, and quality trucks. Your ESC will determine what kind of remote options are available for you, how to pair it, and how much a replacement remote is. If you’re building from scratch, starting with a VESC will give you the most variety of remote options so that you can find the best form factor for you.