Onewheel with a capital “O” is a branded board by Future Motion. Generally, the public perceives the boards as Onewheels. Technically there is no VESC Onewheels. There are only VESC boards and Onewheels currently. VESC is not affiliated with the Onewheel brand.
VESC stands for Vedder Electric Speed Controller (VESC) which is named after the creator Benjamin Vedder. A VESC board is an electronic speed controller similar to a Onewheel in that they have similar components and attributes however the controller is open source.
Essentially, when you ride a Onewheel, the controller that balances the board is made by Future Motion. Being that VESC is open source, there is no official company. Benjamin Vedder is the Swedish engineer who first adapted ESC technology for in 2014.
Where can you buy a VESC wheel?
Because there is VESC company, you can only build one from components online. As of now, there are still parts required from a Onewheel however it is getting to a point where there will be no need to have a donor Onewheel to create a VESC board. Makers PEV sells controllers (Little FOCer which stands for ‘Field-Oriented Control’) and DIY bundles that are based upon the VESC project. This is ultimately the brains of the board. Finding a BMS, battery, sensor, rails, footpads, a motor/hub can be sourced through a donor Onewheel but there are sites like Fungineers selling most of those parts to help in your VESC build.
Floatwheel is launching a complete build Floatwheel Adv and Adv Pro. This is a complete board with a VESC controller to take on the Onewheel GT. This is a highly anticipated board as the reported specs outperform the Onewheel GT.
VESC software and app
You can find VESC software and documentation at vesc-project.com. There you can find app and hardware documentation, parts and components as well as a fairly active forum. The VESC app has an exhaustive display on the one wheel’s performance. Battery levels, speed, current, power, duty and all the features the Future Motion app provides. It is highly customizable which really is quite the experience to tinker with.
Why build a VESC?
Some riders have really been turned off by Future Motion’s servicing and feel that they have the right to repair their Onewheel without being locked out of it. Many of the later Onewheels XR Hardware 4212 and after including all Pint X and GT models limit the diagnostic visibility to the consumer as well as the servicing of the Onewheel. If you are one that wants to tinker or repair your Onewheel, there are some major limitations.
A couple examples is a 4212 XR cannot replace a controller or BMS as they are paired at the factory. If either are is swapped, an error code with be thrown and the board will not ride. Another example is disconnecting the battery on a GT will “brick” the board and require servicing. Louis Rossmann made a video regarding this on the Onewheel GT. He discusses the right to repair and his gripes with Future Motion about some of these practices.
Is VESC better than Onewheel?
VESC controller settings are verbose. The main argument here is that Future Motion simplifies the riding experience with a few presets (Bay, Roam, Flow, Highline, Elevated, Apex, etc). They do not have custom digital shaping as they did on the XR but that is soon to come. Dialing in the right setting though may take some time.
Jeff McKosker goes into detail regarding where VESC is exceeding expectations but needs some work. He believes most of it can be fixed with some tuning. Currently the main criticism is landing tail-heavy (dragging tail) on the VESC. According to Jeff, the board will continue to accelerate where its easier to pop the tail up from a tail drag on a Onewheel.
Having a Onewheel is a great experience period. If you are ever “bricked” out of your board, this may be the perfect opportunity to morph it into a VESC wheel. Any old XR parts laying around the shop? Sell them or build! Old Onewheel parts are in demand due to VESC. VESC boards is an evolving market. With Floatwheel’s improvements to the self-balancing skateboard movement, being able to upgrade the board with a Cannoncore motor will be a game changer.
Complete boards are located on floatwheel.com. Parts and information can be found on vesc-project.com, fungineers.tech, floatwheel.com and makerspev.com.
You need the software found on vesc-project.com. Controller is connected to the computer with micro-USB. The software will walk you through the install wizard.