There has been a handy feature in Cleanflight and Betaflight for the past year that allows you to bind your Spektrum satellites and quadcopter receivers right from the computer. No fussing about with buttons, bind plugs or external receivers – it can all be done with a few keystrokes.
The only disadvantage to using this method of binding your receiver is you will lose support for Spektrum RSSI sensing. Since this feature is not supported on the Spektrum Race Receiver line anyways, though – no real loss!
In this article, I’ll walk you through the process of using this feature.
This article assumes you have the following things in order:
- Quadcopter with Spektrum RX installed on one of the UARTs on your flight controller, powered with 3.3V as is expected.
- Flight controller programmed with Betaflight or Cleanflight. This article will specifically use Betaflight but the instructions on Cleanflight should be very similar.
- Spektrum Transmitter on hand with a fresh model, ready to bind.
- Computer with Betaflight Configurator or Cleanflight Configurator.
- Micro USB cable.
How to bind a Spektrum receiver to a quadcopter
Here is an overview of how the process of binding your Spektrum RX to your Flight Controller will work:
- Configure your RX settings for your flight controller.
- You turn on a feature in Betaflight/Cleanflight which instructs the RX to go into bind mode on power-up.
- Power cycle flight controller to put RX into bind mode.
- Bind RX to transmitter.
- Turn feature in Betaflight/Cleanflight off.
How to configure your Spektrum RX with your flight controller
In Betaflight Configurator, start out by going to the ports tab. Enable “Serial RX” on the UART port where you installed your Spektrum RX. If in doubt, consult the manual for your flight controller.
Click “Save” when done.
Then go to the Configuration tab. Under the section labeled “Receiver”, pick SPEKTRUM2048. (Note: If you are using a DSM2 receiver, pick SPEKTRUM1024. We recommend you only use DSMX receivers.)
Click “Save” when done.
From here, you may want to do some further set-up, like setting your deadband, verifying your RC channels go from 1000-2000 on all channels, etc. If you need help with this process, we strongly recommend you check out our Betaflight Configuration Guide.
How to turn on bind mode
Just as a note: You should never plug your battery in to your quadcopter during this set-up procedure. It isn’t needed, and it isn’t really safe.
This is accomplished through the command-line interface (CLI) tab. Hook your quadcopter up to your computer and go to this tab.
Type in the commands as pictured above, or copy and paste them from below:
Note – if you are using a DSM2 receiver, change “set spektrum_sat_bind=9” to “set spektrum_sat_bind=5”
You’ll now want to reboot your flight controller. You can do this by unplugging the flight controller from your PC then plugging it back in. If the above step worked, your RX will go into bind mode. This is easily identified because the LED on the RX will be blinking rapidly.
How to bind to the transmitter
In general, the binding process for a Spektrum transmitter is initiated by powering on the transmitter while holding down the bind button. If you are using a OrangeRX module or something similar, this button will be found on the module. You’ll know the binding process has started because the LED on the RX will begin to blink less rapidly. Once the binding process has completed, the LED should turn solid. Binding occasionally fails. If it it does, simply repeat all of the above instructions.
There are a lot of Spektrum transmitters (and clones) on the market. As a result, it’s hard for me to give specific directions in this step. If you are having issues following the above instructions, please consult the manual that came with your transmitter or transmitter module.
You’ll need to revert the changes you made above in Betaflight/Cleanflight before you are good to go fly. First of all, though, go back into to the Receiver tab and make sure your transmitter sticks show up as inputs!
If they do, you’re off to the races. Hop back into the command line (CLI) tab:
And execute the following commands:
Note: Experienced pilots might be wondering why I am disabling and re-enabling the autobind feature rather than just leaving it on. The reason is that many of the newer flight controllers on the market that use a Virtual COM port that causes the flight controller to boot up twice when it is plugged in to the computer. This disables the autobind feature without causing the RX to go into bind mode. For this reason, I suggest that all pilots simply turn this feature off for the time being – it saves a lot of frustration!
There are a few things that can wrong with this process. I’ve outlined a few I’ve ran into in the list found below. If you have a problem that isn’t listed here, please drop a comment!
My Spektrum RX doesn’t power on with the flight controller.
It’s likely you don’t have your RX plugged into 3.3V. Check the voltage you are supplying to your RX with a multimeter. Some Spektrum RX’s can be damaged by not doing this!
My Spektrum RX won’t go into bind mode!
Did you turn off spektrum_sat_bind_autorst, per the above instructions? Many guides on this process leave out this step because flight controllers that do not use software serial ports do not require it. Most high end flight controllers, however, do use software serial ports and will have problems if you skip this step.
The RX keeps going into bind mode every time I power the quadcopter up!
Did you turn the spektrum_sat_bind_autorst off, per the “Cleanup” instructions above? Do it!