Ultimate watersports Remote & Receiver

Since I don’t have a water sealed board yet, I decided to work on a remote that can work with all ESC’s including VESC and any commercially available certified DC motor controller like the one in the link:

Radio communication is based on nrf52840 chip.
** At the Transmitter side* this BLE chip will act as dual role Central and peripheral this means it will act like a bridge between smart devices and the board. With this approach firmware upgrade will be super easy for all MCU’s remote , reciever and VESC.Also will make it possible to develop an app to view the Log.

  • SDCARD: As you can see there is a micro sd card which I might switch to flash after testing Alpha version. Remote logs all the user inputs, VESC data, GPS and compass curentlly in raw log file but I am planning to make it kml format so we can directly load it in google earth.

** There is a waterproof USB port ,* as soon as it detects the port, it mounts sd card as mass storage and all logs will be available to download or be parsed in future efoil software, But there is another great feature here, a usb over uart port to be able to communicate with VESC :wink: this means you can use vesc tool (vesc desktop software ) to configure the esc without plugging the vesc with wire very convenient since usually esc is not very easy to access in the board.

** Compass,* I think it is good to have compass available on the screen on demand, in case weather gets crazy suddenly you can to the sure :smiley:

** Dual Hal Sensor Approach:* One think I really like here is dual hal sensor for redundancy, if for any reason ( water leak sensor malfunction … ) one sensor malfunctions mcu will stop throttle or will go to safe mode!
*Accelerometer : main reason is for fall detection to be built in the remote

** 1.8" Display:* this relatively large screen will allow to show more information the screen is ST7735 and the gui is is using littlevgl library, very reach library and super fast! I ported it for nrf52840 and running the screen at 32mhz spi port . I did some test under the sun and seems high contrast colors are visible enough. If not I will change it.

** Radio:* Another BLE chip will handle just the communication
** another MCU stm32l4* will handle all the realtime measurements, safety and communications:
** Comms:* I love this part, With having uart to control the VESC, PPM for general ESC, UAV CAN for VESC or multiple VESC and CANopen to control off the shelf motor controller like the one in link below:
I think everybody would be satisfied.
** UAV Current and votage sensor:* In case someone decides to use simple ESC and DIY battery pack with no CAN port, with using one of these sensors: https://drones.altigator.com/mauch-power-module-for-pixhawk-up-to-14s-200a-p-42372.html
The battery pack voltage , current and power consumption will be monitored and cut off voltage and consumption can be configured.
** Water leak sensors:* Strips of flexable PCB’s to placed around the hatch door or any place to detect the leak asap, notify the user and failesafe.
** multiple NTC’s:* to measure any temperature and set the false-safe threshold it can be batteries, ESC, motor…
** IMU:* Having full IMU to log board and rider behavior, plus secondary fall detection.

Current State:

  • Transmitter:*
  • right now the mountable mas storage, serial over USB bridge, User interface, VESC control over uart, logging gps and VESC telemetry data and lots of main futures are implemented in the dev board and I am waiting to wrap up the remote CAD modification to start the alpha proto PCB. I will switch from POT based thumb joystick to hal sensors.


  • VESC bidirectional uart communication is done and throttle updates between 7 to 10ms.

I am hoping to wrap up the electronics and firmware in 3 alpha beta and candidate release. At every steps.
Alpha: In Alpha Version I should have current futures plus reliable hardware for Tx and Rx to start testing both firmware and hardware intensively.

Beta : while firmware development will be an ongoing effort, at some point after compiling test results from first revision, I will spin anther version of hardware and this time it will be a big change in Rx side with adding secondary stm32l4 MCU for all the futures mentioned.
At firmware side, Tx should accommodate GPS assisted Cruise mode, precise fall detection and Over the Air firmware update. Rx firmware should accommodate temperature monitoring, external current and voltage sensor and warer leak sensors.

Candidate Release 1: Hopefully this will be just firmware features and minor hardware changes. Specially CAN communications for UAV can and CANopen to support commercial off the shelf drives

Candidate Release 2 until official release : fine tuning firmware and hopefully desktop configuration software to configure all parameters, CAN messages, Log Viewer and data analyzer.

At every step I would be more than happy to send out couple of hardware to forum people for testing and getting some feedbacks to improve. Also please feel free to share your ideas and inputs.
Watch the working proto in the link below:
Thank you


I will keep this thread posted as I progress:slightly_smiling_face:

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How is your progress doing?

Just sent the remote pcb for fab. Working on receiver board should be ready for fab next weekend


I just bought a efoil from elevate.rocks and they told me they are still looking for someone to do a better remote for them, as they use the maytech, and they seem to have issues…

Maybe you should contact them, because your remote looks just promising. I would like to replace it once finished…
Their inflatable efoil works great and super efficient, remote works well, but I would love to see more features on it;-)
Keep me updated and if you want to contact them try e-foil@elevate.rocks

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The risk is a remote that could be confiscated by the brand and thus either not available to the efoil DiY community members or sold twice the price … if it is OK via @samisin you will just find it cheaper and functional for many brands.
We’ve been waiting for so long for a decent quality remote that hopefully Samisin will not give exclusivity to a single brand. Let’s cross fingers that this remote will become the first universal remote for the eFoil or eSurf markets on which brands will proud to write their name on…

A bit like Akka did a couple of years ago in the kitesurf industry. Many kitesurf brands today trust the Akka safety release (chicken loop) for their kitesurf bars… safe and cost effective.

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Hi Sami ! Really nice looking remote and detailed post. I too was going to work on this kind of project based on a diy remote from solidgeek from esk8 forum with a slightly different approach. I was going to log everything on my remote and therefore get rid of the elogger / metr.app, just like you :smile:
Would be glad to help if needed. I have good electric knowledges and also have my own SLA 3D printer. We might also create a software to read / treat all the data from the remote !

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@Sliman_O thank you, at desktop and phone software Any help would be appreciated. I am working with a freelancer CAD designer to re-design the remote it is kinda going slow but steady. Talking about the universal remote, this is not just another vesc remote, receiver has 4 thermistor inputs and power break input ( like the one for pixhawk and ardupilot) to measure current and voltage which makes it possible to use with any esc

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Hi Sami, I’ll pm you and we’ll try to begin with the desktop app. Phone app might come later.
Your design looks pretty close to the one from Lift tough.


Oh no, I bought their remote and teared it down, didn’t like the Electronics. The remote design is ok but I think there s. room to reduce size and get better ergonomics

Got any pics of the inside of the Lift’s remote ? Where is the GPS placed ?

no gps inside check the tear down here:

Thanks !
Quick question : how do you picture the pairing functionality on this remote / receiver ?

For pairing, Receiver will create fixed MAC ID from chip’s unique ID, Receiver has pairing button. When receiver is paired will always advertises with whitelist means only paired remote can see receiver is advertising.Remote side if it is paired will always initiate connection to paired device. Receiver has pair button, if it is hold for long time it will delete pairing information and will start advertising for new pairing. I am thinking to allow Remote to be used with multiple receivers, if there is multiple paired receivers are on at the same time, user can select which one to connect from receiver lcd and use of 3 buttons to navigate

I am adding provisions in to the receiver side for voltage and current sensor that has been used for Ardupilot for those who might not using VESC and looking to measure voltage, current and power consumption. I received one and will start testing soon

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Logging is now part if VESC-Tool. Watch Benjamin Vedders latest YouTube video.

I will check As far as I remember vesc version 6 hardware doesn’t have external memory provisions to store the log data and internal memory will be limited, other thing is to be able to store and analyze gps, imu and vesc measurements data in sync

It is stored on the phone in CSV format.

Hi Sami, I too was thinking about logging all the info in CSV format for your remote. Now that the VESC tool aslo works on this principe, I think it would be easier to find a way to use the VESC too with your remote (and thus not designing a new app). What do you think ?
You will just need to log every data the same way the VESC does.

@Trampa : is it possible to use a third party esc / vesc with the VESC tool desktop app and therefore be able to access all the logged values on graphs ?

I watched the Benjamin Vedder’s latest video and he indeed is logging all the data, including the IMU. It seems really great and “easy” to read tough.