How to calibrate in Betaflight

The final step before flying a new quadcopter drone is to configure the betaflight software to your specific purposes. The following is a guide on how to set up the most basic configuration of BetaFlight to prepare you for your journey as a drone pilot.

 

Installation

  1. Install the BetaFlight Configurator on your system. It is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome and can be downloaded from here:

https://github.com/betaflight/betaflight-configurator/releases

Ensure that the downloaded version is up to date and matches the BetaFlight firmware on your flight controller.

Backup

  1. Back up your existing quadcopter data before proceeding.

Expert Mode

  1. Enable ‘Expert Mode’ permanently in the settings of the BetaFlight software.

Connect

  1. Click ‘Connect’ on the top right corner.

Ports

  1. Unless you are using a PPM connection to your RC RX, go to the ‘Ports’ tab and switch on the appropriate Serial Rx (usually UART3).

Configuration

  1. In the ‘Configuration’ tab, set ESC/Motor Features to DSHOT600 and leave the ‘Motor Stop’ option disabled.
  2. If you are using a PPM receiver, set ‘Receiver Settings’ to ‘PPM Rx Input’, else pick ‘Serial Based Receiver’ and select the requisite Serial Receiver Provider.
  3. Enable ‘DYNAMIC_FILTER’ under ‘Other Features’
  4. Save and Reboot before leaving this tab.

Power and Battery

  1. Open the ‘Power and Battery’ tab and select the ‘Onboard ADC’ option. Save before leaving the tab.

Receiver

  1. Open the ‘Receiver’ tab and plug in your drone battery and change the “Channel Map” to “JR / Spektrum / Graupner”.
  2. Turn on the RC TX and move the sticks all the way along both axes. Ensure that the slider in the GUI moves from 1000 to 2000 and centers on 1500. Save before leaving the tab.

Modes

  1. In the ‘Modes’ tab, bind the non-acro modes to the ‘Mode’ switch. Activate ‘ANGLE mode. Save and continue.
  2. Binding a mode to a switch is pretty intuitive. Here is how:
    1. ‘Add Range’ on the mode you want to bind.
    2. On the Receiver tab, check which AUX channels react when the switches on your TX are flipped.
    3. Select the AUX channel for the switch you want to use for that mode.
    4. Move the switch to the ‘ON’ position and drag the sliders so that they completely encompass the indicated switch nub in the GUI.
    5. Save and repeat this process for all the modes you need.

Failsafe

  1. Confirm that the failsafe operates by turning off RC TX in the ‘Receiver’ tab. The throttle slider should instantly move from 1000 to somewhere between 850-950. 
  2. Go to the ‘Valid Pulse Range’ Setting and set the ‘Minimum Length’ to the value that you see the throttle slider move down to.
  3. Save and Reboot before continuing.

PID Tuning

  1. The ‘PID Tuning’ tab should be adequately configured by default and can be ignored, but if you switched to DYNAMIC_FILTER under the Configuration tab, you should switch off all the notch filters here.

Blackbox

  1. You can plug in your SD Card into your FC to confirm that BetaFlight has access to your SD.

Safety Checks

  1. Perform safety checks and back up the configuration settings so that they are not lost in event of a software failure or crash.
    1. In the Motors tab, enable ‘Motor Test Mode’, arm your quadcopter and check if the motors are rotating in the correct direction
    2. Ensure that CPU Load is below 95% at all costs
    3. With the motors spinning, shut down your TX and check that the quadcopter disarms within 5 seconds
    4. Go to the ‘Setup’ tab and confirm that the drone responds correctly to pitch, yaw and roll commands.

And you should be ready to go! In case you have doubts or come across any challenges, you can take a look at the video provided here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kN349qPAH0

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