Flashing your BetaFlight Flight Controller
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Always take your props off when working on your quadcopter.
There are a lot of issues that can be fixed by simply flashing your drone’s flight controller. If your copter is running older firmware and your BetaFlight configurator is new, your tabs will act all out of whack. If you just bought a new flight controller, you might not know what version firmware it has, or how outdated it is. Maybe you crashed hard enough, rebuilt, and don’t want to start with your board half programmed for a different build. There are tons of reasons why you might want to, or need to flash your flight controller. In this class we will walk you through the process of flashing your flight controller, step by step. Once you have finished flashing your new firmware, you will need to setup or re-setup your quadcopter. There are quite a few tabs in BetaFlight. You will need to go through them all and set them to your liking, and set them to your components requirements. You can check the curriculum for the lesson on how to do this.
Preparing for your Flash
If you have already set up your flight controller settings, such as PIDs or Rates, you can go to the CLI and type dump, then create a place on your computer to copy and save this file. You can then flash and once you are done flashing, copy and paste your original settings back on the quadcopter.
The first thing you’ll need to do in order to flash your flight controller is to identify your flight controller’s target. The target is the firmware that it is made to work with. You must choose the correct target, otherwise your flight controller won’t operate properly. To give an example, this would be like loading iOS on your Android phone.Sometimes your flight controllers name won’t match up with the name of the target you need. So do not try to flash according to the name of your flight controller. This can be confusing, but if you go to the CLI which is the last tab in the betaflight configurator GUI, and type in version, this will let you know what target you are looking for. It will be displayed like this: # Betaflight / [Target] [Version] [Date]. Write down the target name.
Once you know your target your next step is to locate your boot button. Most flight controllers have a boot button on it next to the micro USB port. If yours does not have a button you will need to locate the two solder pads labeled boot. You can then solder these to pads together by bridging them with solder. Once this is done, you will then flash your new firmware and then unsolder the two pads. It is okay to leave solder on the pads as long as it is no longer bridged. If you have a boot button, or have bridged your pads, you will go to betaflight configurator GUI and, prior to plugging in your quadcopter, you will see just a few tabs on the left going up and down. The lowest one should say Firmware Flasher. You will select this tab, and now be inside of the firmware flashing portion of betaflight.
Flashing your Firmware
Now onto the firmware flashing portion. If you have located your boot button, or bridged your pads, and you have found your target, you are ready to roll on flashing! You need to plug in your micro USB plug to the flight controller while holding the boot button. In the top of BetaFlight, just left of your connect button, you will see two drop downs. The top one should pop up and say DFU mode once you have plugged in your micro USB plug while holding the boot button. This is your confirmation that you have successfully connected. If it says com then a number, you have not successfully entered DFU (bootloader mode) you will need to unplug and try again.
Once you have successfully entered DFU mode, you will select your target. This is where you will utilize the target you have found earlier. Look for the latest firmware in the second drop down under the target. You can choose between all firmware and stable firmware. It will be your choice if you want to run the latest firmware, even if it isn’t declared stable yet by the BetaFlight dev’s. There may be serious issues with their unstable firmware, as it is still in the testing phases. There is a button to select to show stable releases. Be sure your boxes for no reboot sequence, and for manual baud rate are NOT turned on. Then, be sure to turn ON full chip erase. Again, if you want to save any of your old settings, be sure to have done that before you reach this point.
Down at the bottom select to load firmware online. Once it has loaded, click flash firmware, it will erase the board and then flash it. Be sure that you DO NOT unplug or turn off computer during this process. Once completed the board will reboot. You will then connect to BetaFlight and enjoy your newly flashed flight controller! If you had to solder pads to enter bootloader mode, now is the time to unplug and desolder your boot pads.
Safe flying & Power loop the world!