After what seems like forever, Betaflight 3.2 is finally released! This article will briefly go over all the new features and improvements. In the next month or two we plan on putting together a slew of guides on how to use all these new features. For the impatient among you, the answers are just a few Google searches away!
Like most major Betaflight releases, 3.2 comes with a slew of new features. We are currently working on putting together guides for most of these features – in the meantime, we’ll offer some descriptions of them below.
DSHOT commands is probably my favorite new feature of Betaflight 3.2. Is is finally the manifestation of the promise that DSHOT always afforded – the capability of the flight controller to send actual commands to the ESCs using the signal wire. For now, this enables two additional new features:
DSHOT ESC buzzer
If your ESC supports DSHOT – you no longer have to install a buzzer on your flight controller! Instead, you can use the DSHOT command buzzer feature, which will use your motors to make noises when you flip the buzzer switch.
Video courtesy of Life in the Flyover
This is a new mode that you can pair a switch to that allows your flight controller to tell your ESCs to reverse their motor rotation so that you can try to flip your quad over. When you activate turtle mode, you can use the pitch and roll sticks to spin up two motors at a time to accomplish this. It won’t work in tall grass or with busted props, but it’s a really neat thing to have in your toolbox regardless.
BLHeli_32 Passthrough Support
We see the capability to program and configure ESCs through the flight controller USB port as a requirement these days. Soldering on programming harnesses to your ESC is an exercise in frustration and will ruin the look of your build. The newest ESC type on the market, BLHeli_32, was not compatible with the Betaflight 3.1 ESC passthrough support. It’s for this reason that, up until now, if you wanted to use BLHeli_32 ESCs, you pretty much had to run a Betaflight 3.2 development build. If you were thinking about using a BLHeli_32 ESC in your quad but didnt want to run a development Betaflight build, you can now upgrade with peace of mind.
BLHeli_32 ESC Telemetry Support
Usage of telemetry from BLHeli_32 ESCs is now available. This means you can log (and show on your OSD) how much electrical power is being used by each of your motors. This will be really helpful information to have when diagnosing problems such as identifying failing motors or defective props.
F7 Flight Controller Support
F7 flight controllers promise further processing power carried onboard our flight controllers on the order of at least 20% faster than F4 flight controllers. In most other aircraft – this would enhance the flight controller’s ability to perform navigation or allow increased use of sensors.
I’m pretty doubtful that it will ever find a permanent place when used in racing miniquads, though. The biggest problem is the chip size of the F7 processor is so large that it becomes difficult to add niceties we have come to expect like OSDs, voltage regulators, filter arrays (capacitors) and PDBs. It’s also worth noting that F4 chips are still hardly being utilized by Betaflight.
F7 flight controllers also tend to have two gyros in them. Manufacturers are generally choosing proven gyros, like the MPU6000 for one, and a gyro that can deliver data faster for the other one. If there ever is a reason for purchasing an F7 flight controller, it will likely be to take advantage of the increased filtering possible with two gyros. Unfortunately, Betaflight 3.2 only uses the data from one of the gyros – which you can pick from the CLI interface.
One more note – as of 10/11/2017, DSHOT is not supported on F7 flight controllers. We suspect this will be fixed soon.
Crash Detection and Recovery
This is currently listed as an “experimental” feature, but it may be useful for the newer guys, regardless. The idea is that when the quadcopter sense it has struck something and is spinning out of control, it will use the accelerometer data to automatically attempt to right itself into a hover – sometimes preventing a crash. If you’re still flying in level mode and are thinking of trying out rate mode, this is a feature that may be worth looking into.
FPV Camera Configuration / OSD Control
Betaflight 3.2 includes the capability to control the OSD menu on most FPV flight cameras by wiring the OSD output from your camera to a DAC-enabled pin on your flight controller. This is a pretty nifty feature which should allow you to make adjustments to your camera settings from your transmitter.
Along with new features, Betaflight 3.2 introduces several improvements to existing features. We’ve listed a few pertinent ones below.
It sometimes seems like every time I update to a new version of Betaflight and go out and fly using the default PIDs and filters, the quadcopter flies better than it did before. You can chock this up to poor tuning ability, but I believe that the firmware is just improving at such a rate to make this possible. Betaflight 3.2 is no exception – the defaults PID and filter settings are stunningly good in this release – at least for 5″ miniquads. This is a boon to the new guys who can’t or won’t be able to tune their quadcopter to extract maximum performance. It’s also great for those of us who are impatient to simply go out and fly a new quadcopter instead of jumping right into the tedious act of trial and error that is tuning.
Automatic Notch Filter
Betaflight 3.2 includes an automatic notch filter, which is frequently called “dynamic filtering”. This feature detects noise in your quadcopter and adjusts the software notch filtering to compensate for it. Our notch filter guide has traditionally been one of our most popular articles – now you no longer need to follow it! Seriously though – this may be the single biggest flight performance improvement Betaflight 3.2 contains, we highly recommend you enable it. We have an article coming up soon.
Blackbox logging has been improved to use log space more efficiently. It also defaults to 1kHz logging now, instead of the completely insane and unnecessary logging rate of once per FC loop. This was the cause of quite a few issues I have seen with folks who wanted to run 4kHz or 8kHz and forgot to turn down the Blackbox logging rate. It’s also nice to have another feature you don’t need to tune every time you set up your quadcopter.
Where to get it
Same place as always:
If you want to use the DSHOT commands features (which include ESC buzzers and anti-turtle mode), make sure you update your ESC firmware too!
Make sure you back-up your settings when you flash Betaflight 3.2! There is a known issue where old settings have been causing corruption. We recommend you back up your old settings, then do a full clean and re-flash for Betaflight 3.2. If you don’t do a clean install, we recommend you run “Reset to Defaults” before doing any configuration.
Should you upgrade?
If you haven’t already upgraded to Betaflight 3.2 and you have a quad that’s flying really well – it’s probably not worth the effort to upgrade. The big new features in Betaflight 3.2 are mostly the addition of support for various components like BLHeli_32 and F7 flight controllers – therefore we suspect you are not using these items if you haven’t already upgraded. The other major improvement, in our eyes, is how well the default settings perform – again that’s not a huge deal if your quadcopter is already flying great.
For anyone finishing up a build or receiving a new RTF quadcopter, though, we strongly recommend flashing Betaflight 3.2. In our experience, the release candidates have been stable and the flight performance out of the box is stellar.