Introduced in Betaflight 3.1, the new Betaflight OSD feature allows you to configure an OSD chip that lives on your flight controller board. No longer will you need to solder in 10+ wires to get an OSD nor will you have to muck around in the MWOSD/ScarabOSD configuration software. Nor will you have to deal with the terribly slow response times of the MWOSD live options menu. The process is now clean, simple, fast – and specifically built for miniquad racers. In this guide we’re going to walk you how to setup Betaflight OSD – from the wiring process to the set-up options in Betaflight configurator. In the process, we’re also going to do a mini-review on the fantastic Omnibus F4 flight controller, the first FC on the market to support this awesome feature.
The Omnibus F4
In this article, we’re going to be configuring the Omnibus F4 I’m using on my upcoming Twig quadcopter build. Before we dive in, I wanted to talk about this flight controller some more.
You can pick up the Omnibus F4 from a variety of sources. I can’t tell if it has been cloned or if it’s a Chinese design but generally if you see a “Betaflight F4 flight controller with integrated OSD” – it’s an Omnibus. The cheapest we’ve found so far is $24.99 from Banggood. DYS also has a really good Omnibus option available that has an integrated PDB which unlocks the current sensor on the OSD – giving you realtime readout of battery consumption. You can buy this variant of the flight controller from FPVModel for $37.99 here.
While I haven’t done a ton of flying with this flight controller yet, it is quickly becoming my new favorite FC. The reason is that the featureset is amazing and the set-up is top notch. It’s got:
- Built in 5V voltage regulator so it can be powered directly from VBAT
- F4 processor which should future-proof it for a few years (at least)
- A ton of UART ports (goes along with being an F4 flight controller)
- MPU6000 connected via SPI for ultra-fast gyro update rates
- Bootloader button
- Spektrum satellite port
- A ton of memory for Blackbox logs
- What seems like the perfect combination of pin headers and JST ports – including a JST port which plugs directly into most 4-in-1 ESCs
- Finally – built in OSD supporting Betaflight OSD
In my twig build, I was thrilled to have to solder only five pins total to get a flying FPV quadcopter with an OSD. That is remarkable.
Other Betaflight OSD Flight Controllers
The Omnibus F4 is probably going to be the most popular board-style supporting Betaflight OSD for the foreseeable future because of it’s open source design. I expect it to become ubiquitous like the SPRacingF3 or the Naze before it. If you are looking for something a little more specialized and with better build quality, check out the Betaflight F3 Flight Controller. Click here for our review and guide on this flight controller..
Wiring the OSD
One catch with the Omnibus is that it is only capable of powering your video transmitter with either raw battery voltage or 5V. Many of the cheaper video transmitters on the market like to run on a regulated 10-12V power supply with filtering. If you are using one of these, you’ll probably need to get an external voltage regulator, like one from Polulu or a regulator built into your PDB like this one from Diatone. In this Twig build, I am using the new ImmersionRC Tramp video transmitter, which was specifically designed to be run on unregulated power.
First up, I needed to connect the VTX and camera to the flight controller pin holes for the OSD. These pin holes are a cluster of 6 holes on the bottom of the board. One set is for the camera (Gnd/Vcc “RAM”/Video in) and the other for the VTX (Gnd/Vcc “RAM”/Video out). Since my current build is for a very compact quadcopter, I opted to directly solder wires to these holes. I am also going to be using the power output from the VTX to power my camera, so I won’t be using the camera Gnd/Vcc:
Next up, you must “configure” the Omnibus to tell it what type of power to feed to the Vcc pins for the FPV camera and VTX. This is done by powering what is labeled as the “RAM” pin. In my case I want to power it with direct battery voltage, VBAT. Conveniently, this voltage is directly adjacent to the RAM pin, so I simply bridged the pins together with solder:
Since this bridge is raw battery voltage, you really want to insulate it somehow. Liquid electrical tape is a very good option, but I am using hot glue because I want to add some support to the wires I soldered as well – and hot glue is better at support:
Since I’m using a Tramp VTX, I’m also going to want to plug one of the wires into a UART on the Omnibus F4 so that the flight controller can control the VTX. I didn’t get a picture of this, but the process is the same as before.
All told – a pretty darned easy setup process. Certainly easier and cleaner than the last MinimOSD build I did. Lets get into how this thing actually works.
OSD Setup in Betaflight Configurator
The OSD configuration in Betaflight Configurator is mercifully simple. This is a far cry from MWOSD which always hurt my eyes with it’s elaborate layout and settings. It all starts in the new “OSD” tab:
OSD “elements” are entities that are drawn to your video feed. Each one represents a different data point or graphic that can be helpful to your flying. We discuss what each one does in the last section of this article.
The Video format worked great for me in “Auto”. No adjustment needed – it just worked. If you are having issues where your video has frame jumping or is just black, try setting this to the appropriate setting for your camera and VTX.
Units changes things like speed and altitude from using feet to meters, depending on your preference.
Finally, Alarms configures when popups appear on the OSD notifying you of a critical situation – from battery capacity, to flight time to altitude.
OSD Setup in the field
This is, in my opinion, the killer feature of Betaflight OSD. While MWOSD gave you the option of tuning various flight controller parameters in the field, it was “clunky” at best and missed several valuable configuration options. Since with Betaflight OSD the OSD “brain” lives right next to the flight controller CPU, the new OSD options menu is ultra-responsive and has every configuration option you could ever want for a miniquad racer.
This feature is really a tuners wet dream. Want to tune all the neat flight control options Betaflight has in the field (SRates, expo, etc)? Want to figure out if a D-Term setpoint will make your quadcopter fly better? Want to experiment how much of a difference a few Hz difference in your notch or low pass filters makes in how your quadcopter flies? Want to enable/disable blackbox on the fly? All of this is now possible at the field; without multiple trips to and from your computer.
To access the menu, turn on your quadcopter, don your goggles and hold the following stick combination on your radio: Throttle stick mid, Yaw stick left, Pitch stick up, Roll stick centered. The menu should appear within 1 second.
From here, you can scroll through the menu with your pitch stick. Pressing right with the roll stick will activate the current selected option. Some options, like the PIDs, are numbers which can be adjusted up with right roll stick and down with left roll stick.
Most of the menu options should be self explanatory – they are all configuration options that are available in Betaflight Configurator. We went over all of these in our Betaflight Configuration guide, which you should definitely check out if you are new to the hobby. Here are some of the options:
OSD Elements Guide
Now that you know how to configure your OSD – what do all the elements mean? Let’s break them down:
Crosshairs – This is a static display element that is constantly drawn to your video display. On airplanes, an OSD element like this is useful for establishing a “glide point” when landing in FPV. I’m not sure why you would want it for quadcopters – possibly for setting a horizon reference for training to fly at certain speeds?
Artificial Horizon – This is a bar that is drawn across the center of your field of view. It is always drawn so that the bar is flat and level with the horizon. This can be useful for flying up high or in the dark where you might not always have a ground reference.
Horizon Sidebars – These are fixed display elements that show you the upper and lower bounds of the artificial horizon described above. With these you can measure how many degrees your quadcopter is pitched up or down.
Ontime – Displays the total time since the battery was plugged in.
Flytime – Displays the total time the quadcopter has spent armed.
Flymode – Displays the current flight mode. Useful if you use a mode switch to switch between acro, level and horizon modes.
Both of these elements require that you have a current metering device (a shunt resistor and the sensing hookups) installed on your PDB or FC and hooked up to your FC. You will also need to configure this in the “Current Sensor” section of the Configuration tab.
Current Draw – Shows the electrical current draw of your quadcopter in Amps.
Mah Drawn – Shows how much electrical energy has been drained from your battery in milliamp-hours (mAh). This is the absolute best way to trace how much battery capacity you have remaining.
These elements require you to have a GPS receiver hooked up and communicating with your flight controller. These are actually generally pretty cheap to buy and easy to hook up, but the electrical noise our racing quadcopters emits makes them pretty much useless.
Gps Speed – Shows your speed over the ground.
Gps Sats – Shows how many satellites the GPS receiver is currently able to “talk” to. 4 satellites are required for a 3D fix, although more are required for an accurate fix.
Being able to display your PID values is mostly useless in regular flight, but can be incredibly helpful if you are tuning by using in-flight adjustements. Just turn this OSD element on and you can see your PIDs as they increase. You then no longer need to attach your quadcopter to read the PID values during the tuning process and can simply write them down.
Pid Roll – Shows the PIDs for the roll axis.
Pid Pitch – Shows the PIDs for the pitch axis.
Pid Yaw – Shows the PIDs for the yaw axis.