Baseflight and Cleanflight Comparison
For the Naze32 pilots you probably know Baseflight already, which is the default firmware that comes with every Naze32/Flip32 Flight Controller. Now we have a new player called CleanFlight which is a fork of Baseflight. The creator of the firmware calls it the “clean code version of baseflight”.
CleanFlight Firmware is getting more and more popular. Many people hesitate about whether Cleanflight is worth all the trouble changing over for (inlcuding users of CC3D, Sparky boards). In this post we will discuss briefly the technical differences between the two software, mainly focus on the features, performance, pros and cons, to decide which one is better for you.
Differences in Performance
As users, all we care about is what benefit we get out of these firmware, in terms of performance, reliability and functionality.
Reasons to Move over to Cleanflight
These are what Cleanflight offers on their page:
- Better coding practices and introducing tests, easier to maintain and for future development. (Dominic has software development background)
- Many bugs fixed from Baseflight.
- Supports more flight controllers, including CC3D, CJMCU and Sparky.
- Supports OneShot ESC and more than 8 RC channels.
- Additional PID controllers that uses floating point arithmetic operations. (now has 3 built-in PID Controllers)
- Many more features such as RGB LED strip support, Autotune, In-flight PID tuning with your radio, blackbox flight data logging etc.
For a full list of improvement, check out this page.
Baseflight has been slow in improving and adding new features. Cleanflight has committed to evolve much quicker, including introducing GPS features in their software in the near future. However adding/Improving GPS features was never mentioned in Baseflight (apparently Timecop once said “if you want GPS, go get yourself a Naza”)
Reasons to stay with Baseflight
I am currently using both Cleanflight and Baseflight. I haven’t flown long enough to notice the difference between these firmware yet in terms of performance (due to bad weather). In Cleanflight, many features are still experimental and there are still a lot to be done in Cleanflight. But I am already liking the additional features and settings in Cleanflight.
Baseflight has been around for a while now, the code is stable, mature and proven to work. What Dominic is trying to do is to make it even better. But inevitably there will be concerns about how reliable Cleanflight is since it’s ‘new’? Also it’s quite annoying as Cleanflight is being updated so frequently, with new features or change of GUI/features, and you have to learn it all.
If you are feeling unsure about CF and you are having good result with Baseflight, it’s best to just stay where you are. It will save you lots of trouble worrying about it. Also if the extra features and improvement aren’t interesting to you, there is no need to migrate either.
For beginners new in this hobby, it’s difficult to notice the performance difference. Not to mentioned the new features could be a bit overwhelming. In my opinion staying with Baseflight is a safer and easier option. You can decide whether to use Cleanflight when you are more experienced and demands more features it offers.
Story behind Baseflight and CleanFlight
The whole story behind these two firmware is a total drama from what I understand. Originally Hydra (Dominic Clifton – the creator of Cleanflight) wanted support for other FC boards, and the coding is not clean and maintainable enough. But Timecop (the creator of Baseflight) didn’t really care and not intend to do anything about it. So Dominic decided to create Cleanflight based on the open source project Baseflight. Although there are many added features, the Baseflight GUI writer (the chrome app) insists Dominic stole their work and copyrighted content.
It’s really a shame that these awesome developers cannot work together on this project, but I am sure it won’t be completely a bad thing either. Having Cleanflight competing with Baseflight, it will actually push both software in the positive direction in a faster pace.
Further reading: How to choose FPV camera for quadcopter.