Two days ago, Chad Nowak (or finalglideaus) posted a really interesting video talking about his experiences with the three predominant flight controller firmwares on the market. This is a really interesting topic that I’ve always wanted to discuss, but I simply don’t have the experience to really weigh in.

Chad, on the other hand, has reportedly spent the last year traveling around the world with 3 quads. Each quad  is predominantly different from the others because it uses a different flight controller firmware. As a “professional” racer and a member of the Rotor Riot crew, he probably puts more flight time into these quads than all the members of most flying clubs combined. For this reason, I found his opinions on the subject really enlightening. Here is the video:

I took some notes on some of the stuff Chad talks about in this video for those who don’t want to sit through an hour of it. Here they are:

  • All flight controller firmwares have their pros and cons.
  • Performance-wise, all flight controllers on the market are very similar. He doesn’t believe the “flight controller wars” are justified.
  • Loop time makes very little actual difference in flight performance. 32kHz flies just as good as 1kHz.
  • When picking an actual flight controller – the most important factors you should choose is pin / pad layout and features. You should not be looking at F3/F4/F7 processor.
  • He has a lot of concerns with how difficult it is to get up and started with most flight controllers. Raceflight is doing the best here but he says that a total beginner would quickly get lost no matter what they chose.
  • Soft-mounting both motors and flight controllers work to improve performance. He highly recommends doing this if you are having problems.
  • He wishes there was an easy option to upload a specific firmware to the quadcopter like with Betaflight / Raceflight.
  • He dropped some insider knowledge: new KISS flight controller coming out soon?
  • Set-up interface (Betaflight Configurator) is still extremely awkward to use and hard to learn.
  • Betaflight F3 board is frustrating to work with, predominantly due to the awkward lower soldering pads.
  • Betaflight has come a long way in the last year in terms of smoothness of flight. He mentions that he still prefers KISS, but “only just”.
  • He was frustrated by the process of getting the board to work properly on his quadcopter. He had to add an external voltage regulator with tons of electrical filtering (capacitors) to get it to work right.
  • He mentions the initial software set-up wizard that comes with Raceflight is the best of the three.
  • He likes the soft mounting features that come with the Revo.




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