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Installing and using Betaflight Configurator for beginners

Betaflight Configurator allows you to check and change FC (Flight Controller) settings of drones that use Betaflight as their firmware. Here's how to install Betaflight Configurator on your Windows computer, how to use it, and some things that beginners should check first when they get a drone.

Download Betaflight Configurator

Betaflight Configurator is distributed on Github.
PC Open Betaflight page on Github. A screen like this will appear, so click "betaflight-Configurator". Not "betaflight".
There is also a link called "betaflight-configurator-nightlies", but since this is a nightly build, so-called beta version, it may be unstable or contain bugs. This version is for developers, so please do not use it for general users.
PC "betaflight-Configurator" page will open, so click "Releases" on the right side of the screen. Also you can move to latest version of the page by clicking "Latest".
PC "betaflight-Configurator" release page opens. This screen allows you to download any version of betaflight-Configurator, including past versions. At the top is the latest version. If you scroll this screen ...
PC There are download links for each OS. Click this to download the installation module. Please refer to table below and click link that matches your OS.
For Windows, click the file name ending with "_win32.exe".
Installation module
OSFile name
Windows (7, 8, 10) betaflight-configurator-installer_[version]_win32.exe
Mac OS X betaflight-configurator_[version]_macOS.dmg
Ubuntu, debian betaflight-configurator_[version]_amd64.deb
Red Hat, Fedora, CentOS betaflight-configurator-[version].x86_64.rpm
Other Linux betaflight-configurator_[version]_linux64.zip
Android (Preview version) betaflight-configurator_[version]_android.apk

When following from the official site of Betaflight
PC You can also follow the Github download page from Betaflight official site . If you scroll the official site ...
PC "Getting started" column will appear. Click blue "Latest configurator releases" in "Configuration Tool" section.
PC The latest version of "betaflight-Configurator" release page opens.

Install Betaflight Configurator

PC Double-click downloaded Betaflight Configurator installation module to start installation. Click "Next".
PC The first is license agreement screen for the software. Click "Agree".
PC Then select installation folder. You won't need to change anything. Click "Install".
PC The installation will start. Installation takes only a few minutes.
PC Installation is complete when a screen like this appears. Click "Finish".
PC Then Betaflight Configurator starts. You can read and update drone information by connecting the drone equipped with Betaflight to your computer with USB cable and clicking "Connect" button at the top right of the screen.
Use a USB cable "For data communication"
There are two types of USB cables: "For data communication" where all terminals are connected, and "For charging" where only power supply terminals are connected. You need to use "For data communication" to communicate with Betaflight Configurator. Please note that some cables attached to bonus of mobile phone or charger, battery are "For charging".
PC When drone is successfully connected, you will see a screen like this. When you move the drone, 3DCG on the screen moves based on value of gyro sensor.
If you connect drone to your computer and leave it on for a long time, the VTX may run away with heat and break down in the worst case. Minimize connection time with your computer, and occasionally blow on camera to cool it. It is also effective to place a small electric fan nearby.

Backup / restore / horizontal calibration

PC If you click "Backup" button on this screen, you can save drone setting information as a Json format text file. If you click "Restore" button, setting information will be restored from Json format text file. When you buy a drone, make a backup first before tweaking it's settings.
And, if 3DCG on the screen is not level when you level the drone, you need to calibrate its accelerometer. After fixing the drone horizontally, click "Calibrate Accelerometer".
Horizontal calibration is very important
If horizontal calibration is slightly off, not only will the trajectory fluctuate during flight, but it may also suddenly fly sideways during takeoff. Look at the aircraft from front, back, left and right, and carefully level the aircraft before calibration. I think it's a good idea to make a simple stand using cardboard.

Check connection status with radio

PC On "Receiver" screen, you can check connection status between radio and drone. If you bind radio and drone, and operate sticks or switchs of the radio, bar graphs here will move. You can check that drone is receiving radio signal correctly and that each switch is set to expected channel.
You can also see channel map for drone (eg "AETR") in "Channel Map" column. If you don't know drone's channel map before binding, you can check / change it here.
If you change value on the screen, click "Save" at the bottom right of each page to reflect it on drone. Conversely, if you click "Refresh" at the bottom right, drone settings will be read and reflected on the screen.
Adjustment of radio
On this screen, adjust radio so that pulse length should be 1500 μsec when you take your finger off the stick (Roll, Pitch, Yaw) of the radio. Also, adjust radio so that it is larger than the value in "Stick Heigh Threshold" column when it is swung to the maximum and smaller than the value in "Stick Low Threshold" column when it is swung to the minimum. For radios with OpenTX, these values can be adjusted on "OUTPUT" screen.
If value flutters when you take your finger off the stick, specify the width (up to about 10) in each "Deadband" column. If these are not adjusted, drone will not fly straight.
RC Deadband: Specifies the width to ignore the jitter of the center value of the roll and pitch stick.
Yaw Deadband: Specifies the width to ignore the jitter at the center value of the yaw stick.

Check functions assigned to each channel

PC On "Modes" screen, you can check functions assigned to each channel of drone.
In the example on this screen, ARM function is assigned to pulse length "1700 - 2100 μsec" of "AUX1 (channel 5)". Radio switch sends pulse of less than 1000 μsec when it is “down”, 1500 μsec when it is “center”, and 2000 μsec or more when it is “up”. This means that assigning a switch to channel 5 and switching it to "up" position will enable ARM functionality.
In addition, flight modes ANGLE and HORIZON are both assigned to "AUX2 (channel 6)". In this case, if you assign 3-position switch to channel 6, "down" position will enable ANGLE mode, "center" will enable HORIZON mode, and "up" will enable ACRO mode (ACRO mode will enable if no flight mode is specified).

VTX transmission channel settings

PC On "Video Transmitter" screen, you can set transmission channel for video signal of FPV camera.
Select band field and channel field, and click "Save" at the bottom right of the screen to set. Transmission channels that can be used in each region are limited as follows, so please set accordingly. If you have multiple drones, keep all drones on same channel so you don't have to use goggles scanning feature.

Using CLI commands

PC On "CLI" screen, you can configure all of drone settings by typing commands from keyboard (Command Line Interface).
Enter command in text box that says "Write your command here" at the bottom of the screen, and press [Enter] key to enter command. You can also save CLI exchange displayed on screen as a text file by clicking "Save to File" at the bottom right of the screen.
You can read current values of various setting values with [get] command and change them with [set] command. However, if you do not enter [save] command at the end, the changes will not be reflected in drone.
[help] command displays a list of available CLI commands.
[diff] command displays a list of differences from default values. If you save this in a text file when you get drone, you can always restore it to factory defaults.
[dump] command dumps list of settings.
[bind_rx] or [bind_rx_spi] command put drone in bind mode (if receiver is built into FC board).
On the drone manufacturer's website, execution result of the product's [diff] or [dump] commands may be called "CLI DIFF" or "CLI DUMP" and distributed as a text file. After resetting with [defaults] command, you can copy and paste the contents of this text file into "CLI" screen and press [Enter] key to initialize the drone to factory defaults.

Tune PID and Rate profiles

PC On "PID Tuning" screen, you can access PID profile that determines flight characteristics of drone and Rate profile that can adjust response to stick operation of radio. In the profile selection drop-down menu at the top left of the screen, you can save / switch between 3 types of PID profiles and 6 types of Rate profiles.
Tuning PID and Rate profiles will dramatically improve your drone's maneuverability and improve your maneuvering skills. It seems that PID profile and Rate profile of commercially available aircraft are often set loosely. If these settings are loose, the aircraft will sway during flight and you will not improve your maneuverability.
However, if you change these parameters indiscriminately, drone will not be able to fly. While studying the meaning of these parameters, try adjustments in order from the one you understand. Also, save initial values so that you can restore them at any time.
To make it easier, first try increasing P value and RC Rate value little by little to test the operability.
The information on each site below will be helpful.
PC Alternatively, you can use a drone simulator like VelociDrone to simulate effect of changing PID profile and Rate profile on your PC.
It is also a good idea to apply it to your actual machine by referring to the initial value of VelociDrone shown in the figure.

Adjust your drone on your smartphone / tablet: use SpeedyBee

With SpeedyBee app, you can adjust the parameters of drones equipped with Betaflight 3.1.0 or later on your smartphone / tablet. Smartphones / tablets and drones are connected via Bluetooth using " Bluetooth-UART Adapter (SpeedyBee) " or via Wi-Fi using " Speedy Bee Adapter 2 (Amazon.com) ". Screen configuration of SpeedyBee app is the same as the Betaflight Configurator. If you master how to use Betaflight Configurator, you can also use Speedy Bee app.
  • SpeedyBee App

    CAMERA2000 LIMITED Utility free

    It is an application that can set the flight controller of the drone equipped with Betaflight 3.1.0 or later. Connect to the drone using "Bluetooth-UART Adapter (Bluetooth)" or "Speedy Bee Adapter 2 (Wi-Fi)".

    view details(App Store)
  • Speedy Bee Adapter 2 BF/INAV/Emu Portable Configurator

    Speedy Bee 2020-09-09 USD30.99

    With the Built-in WIFI, Speedy Bee Adapter 2 is a full-featured BF/INAV/Emu mobile configurator help the FPV pilots go to the field to fly without carrying a heavy laptop. The lanyard-style cable is tight of connection enough, can prevent being lost. The liquid silicone cable is with two same micro USB ports on both ends, it can even easily carry 500 grams.

    Buy at Amazon.com(US) Buy at Amazon.co.uk(UK)

The following sites are useful for using Betaflight Configurator.

To know more about How to Fly Hobby Drone