The Best BLHeli_32 Settings

by Oscar
Published: Last Updated on

Apart from tuning PID, you should also tune BLHeli settings on your ESC to achieve better flight performance with your FPV drone. In this article I will share my BLHeli_32 configurations that I use which give me the best results, and explain what they do.

If you don’t want to read the long article, here is the summary. However stock settings or a fixed set of settings might not work on every build, you should really “tune” it.

  • PWM Frequency: 48KHz for freestyle; Default (or higher) for racing
  • Motor Timing: 22 or Auto for freestyle; 25 (or higher) for racing
  • ESC Protocol: DShot600 for 8K/8K, or DShot300 for 4K/4K (Looptime in Betaflight)
  • If you have ESC desync, try to set Demag to High, high Motor Timing, lower Rampup Power

If you are using the latest firmware (32.8 or newer), you can try Variable PWM frequency by setting PWM Frequency Low to minimum (as low as it can go), while setting PWM Frequency High to maximum (as high as it can go).

Note that these settings are only available using BLHeli_32 ESC’s. Looking for new ESC’s? Here are the best ESC I’ve tested and recommend.

I will go into a bit more detail what each setting means.

PWM Frequency

The “PWM Frequency” setting in BLHeli_32 changes how often the microcontroller (MCU) in the ESC sends updates to the MOSFET. This basically means how often the ESC drives the motor. This PWM setting is entirely unrelated to ESC protocol, FC looptime or the PWM frequency setting in Betaflight.

The default value for PWM Frequency in BLHeli_32 is 24KHz. By raising it to 48KHz you should notice an improvement in the smoothness of your flight performance right away.

When you increase the PWM frequency, the motors should run smoother and tend to generate less noise. It solves “mid throttle oscillations” in many cases, some even claim their motors come down cooler as well as getting longer flight time thanks to the improved efficiency.

96KHz is also possible in certain ESC’s.

Why does higher PWM Frequency help reduce vibrations?

At lower PWM frequencies, there can be some aliasing/conflicts between the commutation rate and the PWM update rate.

Commutation rate is the time it takes to detect a zero crossing and switch through one feedback cycle, there are 6 commutations per one eRPM, so it is tied directly to RPM

This can result in some odd vibrations or roughness at certain throttle positions. Raising the PWM frequency to the FETs can move the harmonics where this happens outside the range of the commutation rate.

Downsides of Higher PWM Frequency

So why is the default not 48KHz then? Well, because there is no free lunch!

Higher PWM frequency gives you smoother flying experience at the expense of a little power loss (just a few percent). Because of this, higher PWM can reduce peak current draw slightly too, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the longevity of the ESC.

At higher PWM Frequency, the torque at low RPM can also be reduced slightly and so your low end throttle might feel softer and less responsive. It can also slightly decrease prop wash handling.

For racers who want to have all the power and responsiveness available, might actually prefer lower PWM frequency such as 24KHz. Lower than 24KHz is not recommended.

If you are a perfectionist, you can give 48KHz a try, then slowly back it down to find the perfect middle ground between power and smoothness. Every setup is different.

Variable PWM Frequency

Since version 32.8, Variable PWM Frequency is now possible, it changes with the throttle position, i.e. it uses lower PWM Frequency when throttle is low, and uses a higher PWM Frequency when throttle is high.

blheli_32 setting, Variable PWM Frequency

This gives you the best of both worlds. When your throttle is low, it gives you higher torque and better stability. As you increase throttle it gives you better smoothness. The minimum and maximum PWM frequency depends on your particular ESC. For example with the Tekko32 F3, the range is between 48KHz and 96KHz.

You may want to retune PID after setting this.

By setting both low and high to the same value basically disables it, and you have a fixed PWM frequency.

Motor Timing

The default Motor Timing in BLHeli_32 is “16 Deg”, which seems to work just fine for the majority of builds. However I always increase it when I am configuring my ESC.

Generally speaking, a higher motor timing is less likely to have “desync” issues. Increasing motor timing also increases the power of your motor at the expense of efficiency.

If you set Demag to high, setting motor timing higher is great as it helps to gain some of the performance back.

If you’re after raw power, you can try setting motor timing to around 25, or maybe even slightly higher. I don’t recommend using max settings just in case of unexpected problems. When the timing is set too high for a motor, it will tend to run hotter, this increases the likelihood of burning out a motor in a crash, or when something stops your motors from spinning freely.

For a good balance between power and efficiency, 22 seems to be a good value to get started. For a mini quad, it’s unnecessary to set motor timing lower than the default, unless you are driving a huge motor and propeller (e.g. 10″).

The optimal motor timing value can actually change with motor RPM, so if you are unsure you can just use the “Auto” option, which lets the ESC decide what motor timing to use on the fly. Generally, the auto option provides a good middle ground between efficiency and power through the whole throttle range.

Personally I haven’t seen a huge difference when swapping motor timing settings between Auto and 22, but give it a try and let me know in the comment which setting works best for your setup.

ESC Protocol

DShot is a newer and more advanced ESC protocol, and I recommend it over Multishot for several reasons.

Regardless of the differences in performance, DShot is indeed more CPU intensive. This has been the reason for some to opt for Multishot, to allow more processing power to run the “ultimate” 32K/32K Gyro sampling and looptime.

Anyway, give both protocols a try if you want to experiment. Personally I feel very minimal difference in performance between the 2 protocols, but when using DShot:

  • I don’t have to worry about ESC calibration (calibration doesn’t do anything when running DShot)
  • I use ESC beacon which relies on DShot command
  • You need DShot in order to use ESC Telemetry
  • Betaflight 4.1 recommends DShot300 for RPM Filter when running 4K looptime, or DShot600 for 8K/8K

Demag Compensation

This setting can help reduce “desync”. Just leave the setting at default unless you have desync issues, otherwise change it to high. (what is ESC desync)

High power builds (e.g. 6S or hexacopters) that suffer from electrical noise may benefit from setting demag to High, but in most cases Medium is fine.

You might experience performance losses by setting it to high, as it’s basically backing down acceleration in order to reduce current spikes and noise.

Rampup Power

Rampup Power can be used to reduce current spikes due to the sudden increases in throttle by limiting the change of power. It’s previously known as Startup Power in older BLHeli version.

If the motors are pushing close to the limit of your ESC’s, current spikes from punch-outs could inflict damage, reducing Rampup Power can lessen this risk.

Leave it at default if you are unsure, but you can tune it and make your quad fly better, but note that setting it too low can lead to slower motor response, and too high can lead to noisier quad and hotter motors. Personally I don’t normally touch this unless I have ESC desync issues, or excessive electrical noise.

Larger quads (e.g. 7 inch or bigger) might benefit from slightly higher rampup power as it pushes the motor harder when it’s trying to gain RPM, giving you more responsive and powerful feel. However note that high rampup power can make your motors run hotter too, so you should keep an eye on motor temp when increasing it.

For smaller builds (e.g. 3″ or smaller), if you are suffering from too much noise and there is no other solution, you can try decreasing rampup power. Lower it just a little each time, until you notice a difference in performance, then back off. For most builds it’s not even noticeable when you lower it to 25% (50% is the default).

On long range builds, you probably want to lower it for better efficiency if you don’t need all that motor responsiveness.

Current Protection

Current protection limits the amperage passing through the ESC. The purpose is similar to Rampup Power, but the Current Protection setting is more specific on current limit.

I recommend leaving this setting to off (default), unless you know what you are doing.

Potentially this can be used to protect your ESC from “burning” due to current spikes, crashing and desyncs. But as long as the current rating of your ESC meets the requirement, you shouldn’t need to worry about it.

Dead Time

Dead time in BLHeli is the time interval between each PWM pulse that the ESC will just shut off power to the coil. Dead time is to make sure there’s no overlap when trying to push current to the coil so it can get discharged before the next pulse.

If dead time is too short your motor will get really hot, however if it’s too long it reduces braking torque (especially in higher throttle level), results in less responsive performance.

How about the Rest of the Settings?

For mini quad? Just leave them to default :) A lot of these settings are for fixed wings and planes.

Edit History

  • Jun 2018 – Article created
  • Nov 2018 – Added Demag Compensation
  • Feb 2019 – Updated Rampup Power and Current Protection
  • Jan 2020 – Revised
  • May 2021 – Added info regarding new feature, variable PWM Frequency

Leave a Comment

By using this form, you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. Note that all comments are held for moderation before appearing.

29 comments

Christopher Heiser 26th June 2021 - 9:55 pm

Hi Oscar–thanks for this awesome article. Curious one for me: I have a new Roma F5 V2 with and F7 controller and BLHeli_32 ESC. When I run DSHOT300 and 4K PID the RPM is rock solid with 0.00% error. When I switch to DSHOT600 and 8K the error is a lot higher, often well over 1%. I updated to BF 4.2.9 and BLHeli_32 32.8 but the problem persists. I used all of the key settings from your tutorial but no avail. Can you think of a reason why things would go so wrong with DSHOT600? Thanks!

Reply
chip cline 5th July 2021 - 4:49 am

If you haven’t found the answer is because you can’t use 8 k 8k and dshot 600,even 8k 4k d shot 600 too high..i had same problem,uses too much computer usage..cli,type tasks enter..total needs to be around 50 percent..i use 8k 4k dshot300 with rpm filter on

Reply
Christopher Heiser 7th July 2021 - 1:12 am

Thank Chip, I appreciate the feedback. I’m seeing a lot of evidence that you’re right, it just flumoxes me that so many people run 8k/8k D600 and apparently don’t suffer the CPU overload issues…

Reply
Carlo L Perez 21st January 2021 - 11:29 pm

I’m setting up a twin motor airplane for long range. I’m currently using TMotor 2208-1700KV motors with TMotor F35A Esc.

When spooling up (close to full throttle), the ESC resets itself and motor stops spinning. Based on what I’ve read in your tutorial this could be Desync??? Correct?

I’ve been trying to reprogram the ESC thru BLHeli 32. Even tjough it’s connected (signal) and with power, it gives me a message asking to connect power. Confused!

Reply
Frederic 8th November 2020 - 6:08 pm

I have HIFIONRC F722 Pro V2 & 60A BLheli_32 3-6S 4in1 Brushless ESC Stack with BrotherHobby Avenger V3 2306.5 2000kv 6S.
bidirectionnal DSHOT makes the quad to flips at starts, so I gave up on it after many hours of trying stuff. But just by changing the motors setting to timing =20, frenquency=36 and betaflight 4.2 stock, except dmin =off, it now flies perfectly. And no noise in the video like at frequency=48.

Reply
Tinic FPV 31st August 2020 - 9:32 am

Thanks for your Overview. I come back from time to time, just to doublecheck. I have a lot of problems with tuning betaflight 4.2 and hot motors on different builds (all 5inch, 1900kv 6S). So i tried to take out the power from the ESC and played around. I ended with Rampup 15%, Dmag to High, Timing 20, 48khz. I clearly give up a lot power, but not as much as i expected. With this i have a good base for tuning bf and having cool motors again. for freestyling and cinematics perfectly fine

Reply
LL 19th August 2020 - 12:56 am

Excellent info Oscar! I appreciate all the educational material you put in your site.

Reply
LEVIATHANN 28th June 2020 - 8:09 am

awesome dude, this made my new 6s racing rigs fly even smoother with 48khz and auto motor timing!

Reply
Phil 14th June 2020 - 8:04 pm

I had a really bad oscillations on my 5″. After setting 48kHz PWM and timing to auto its finally flying as it suppose to :) thanks a lot Oscar! Happy flying everyone!

Reply
Brendan 11th June 2020 - 7:40 pm

Hi Oscar rhanks for all you do for the community-
I have a super light 4inch build 2204 3000kv motors with a 35amp stack. Running 5s with an 80% motor output. It flies amazing until i do a hard punchout. Im no where near my amperage limit for the esc. I habe my settings in blheli32 to auto timing- 48khz timing set to medium. Could you recommend something to help with the mild desync im getting. This quad is absolutely stellar as long as im under about 80% throttle.
Thanks again for any help

Reply
Justin Scholtemeyer 23rd May 2020 - 12:59 pm

NB! Lots of people have been experiencing wobbles during low throttle using 48kHz PWM on a 5 inch. 48kHz reduces thrust at low RPM, which then wrecks the ability of the PID loop to maintain low throttle stability.

Reply
neo2001 9th May 2020 - 5:08 pm

Most people and documentations talk about 24 or 48 kHz. But since the slider in the configurator allows for setting many values in between, I wonder if that’s something I want to do or not? For example what about a setting of 36 kHz?

Reply
Oscar 3rd June 2020 - 12:31 am

play with it and decide for yourself.

Reply
Joao Fonseca 19th February 2020 - 7:53 pm

Hello,

Can you help me choosing the most adequate settings for a fixed wing?
I have a BLHELI_32 ESC.

Thank you

Reply
Oscar 11th March 2020 - 8:32 pm

wings/planes won’t be affected by ESC settings as much as quads, just run default.

Reply
Martin 21st January 2020 - 1:49 am

Hi! Me and a friend of mine bought GEPRC Cinepro 4K as our first drones and we keep burning the 35A BLHeli_32 ESC’s when the drone gets stuck sideways or upside down…Could the current protection help us investing in this drone? (38$ everytime)

Reply
Andre 14th January 2020 - 10:56 am

It flies better and the motors sound smoother with 48 KHz. That’s right, but there is more noise in the video signal. With 48 KHz I have lot more lines in the video feed. If I reduce the PWM to 36 KHz it still flies perfect, but the noise in the video is way better. So I agree with OrneryD at some point. There is definitely more video noise with 48 KHz.

Reply
nordicblue 28th April 2019 - 7:43 pm

Another great read. Just set 48Khz and 22 and will test it out next weekend.

Reply
Nate 14th January 2019 - 10:43 pm

I just updated my blheli to 32.6 with dshot protocols however flip over after crash is still not reversing motor direction. The motors dont spin at all

Reply
eme 25th November 2018 - 10:00 am

Set PWM to 48Khz solve my issue with this.

Reply
OrneryD 12th September 2018 - 4:15 pm

Opening up PWM speed to 48khz also creates more EMI. High voltage + fast switching on the Mosfets will turn them into eletromagnets.

Reply
Robert Leclercq 8th November 2018 - 1:49 am

Why come it flies better though? I have seen you say this all over town, but 48khz works fucking amazing for me.

Reply
Darren 5th August 2018 - 10:43 am

Does anyone know where to download the BLHeli_32 suite from? The mediafire site seems dead, and everywhere including BLHeli32.com links to that site.

Reply
karl 30th June 2018 - 11:23 pm

I’m running my first 32bit ESC. first few flights after set up went great. after selecting save and reboot while in the field my esc’s never came back online. when plugging into the 32bit blheli suite my four in one esc is recognized but fails to communicate. did my firmware get erased? how can i fix this? HGLRC F440 stack. Communicating with blheli suite using FC pass through.

Reply
Denver Valdez 9th June 2018 - 9:09 am

I tried this and my quad was twitching like crazy. Motors got pretty warm from a short hover. I’m using pyrodrone f4 FC and Aikon AK32 4in1 esc.

Reply
Harald Schürz 28th July 2018 - 11:28 am

I am having the same problem…the motors are super twitchy since i am using blheli_32 on my holybro tekko32.
Have you found a solution?
The FC i am using is the omnibus f4sd with dshot1200.

regards

Reply
Jerrod 3rd June 2018 - 8:43 pm

most importantly… Dshot makes turtle mode setup VERY FAST AND EASY!!!

Reply
David Burkhart 3rd June 2018 - 6:00 pm

FLying DYS aria_32. When I engage turtle mode, then disengage it, the escs get stuck in the reverse direction. Anyone else ever have this problem?

Reply
Paul 3rd June 2018 - 5:28 pm

Can you talk about the new Since wave modulation in the new BlHeli32 ? No one is talking about it.

Reply