Betaflight 4.3 has now been released, and seeing as I have had the privilege to be involved in some of the testing, and preset development I wanted to share some thoughts and comments about the journey and its background…
Update: The newer Betaflight 4.4 is here.
This article is written by guest author, Steve Wright from SupaflyFPV.com
When Betaflight 4 was released, there were some who claimed they preferred the previous version 3.5. I think the reason for this may have been due to the transition from familiar and high performance tunes on 3.5, to the Betaflight 4 defaults which were on the conservative side and more suited to 6s race builds rather than freestyle 4s…
Betaflight can seem overly technical with its large array of parameters, and so users frequently rely on defaults or past settings. Whilst that is understandable given the hobby is so technical, the difference between bad settings and bad firmware is important to make. In 2019 I wrote an introduction to filtering for this website, and during that period I took a deep dive into filtering in Betaflight. Once I had understood the use-case for RPM filters, it became obvious Betaflight 4 was by far the best version yet. Supafly pilots have been enjoying the fruit of that labour for the last couple of years, and I’m happy to say that the full performance benefits will be available to a much wider audience as part of the upcoming presets in the 4.3 update – including a SupaflyFPV Freestyle community preset for 5,6 and 7 Inch builds based on that knowledge.
The reason I think Betaflight 4.3 will have such a significant impact is three-fold:
- The preset system will unlock much better performance for many builds as the library of tuning is built up, and it also includes set-up related aspects such a VTX and RC radio presets reducing the complexity of setup which people often complain about.
- The new slider system will make it easier to tweak the presets to the specific build. The new sliders are far more usable and intuitive than the original ones.
- The performance enhancements in the code are significant, such as more accurate loop times, better filtering and smoother RC input processing. All in all it achieves noticeable improvements in what I regard as the key areas for freestyle – smoothness and propwash performance.
All these elements have been carefully vetted by an impressive team of developers who contribute to the project for free, and pour a lot of time and effort into the code base checking their work carefully to ensure bug-free releases and minimal hassle for the end user. I recommend anyone to scroll to the bottom of the Tuning Notes to see the list of contributors – it is significant!
I call Betaflight 4.3 a minor revolution because although the release gains a mere point status, the scale of the updates will produce a game-changing effect on the FPV community. It is Betaflight which almost all of the manufacturers now support and ship with, and the presets system over time will revolutionize how people interact with the firmware – from whoop to 10” – making using it much easier.
For the high performance tuners, the code improvements will be noticeably smoother and run better. Fundamentally, Betaflight 4.3 will release the full potential of the Betaflight 4 firmware which was already excellent, by polishing up the performance and usability.
SupaflyFPV Freestyle Presets
Around 2019 a Betaflight developer noticed some extremely boring and dogged filter tests I was conducting and quietly posting on my personal YouTube channel. I was determined to find settings to bring the Betaflight propwash performance more in line with the third party options and was running through all the available filter setups repeating specific moves. The extreme tedium of this effort must have impressed them, because it was enough to permit me entrance to the private Betaflight development group ‘Skunkworks’. On entering one of my hopes was to be a voice for the freestylers, and I am delighted to say they permitted me to contribute an official freestyle preset to the project – the ‘SupaflyFPV Freestyle’ preset which is available for 5”. 6” and 7” builds. Some people know that I include a custom tuning for Supafly frames, and the one in Betaflight configurator will be based on that, with some tweaks to make it tunable with sliders and applicable to a wider range of freestyle builds which may have a bit more crunchy noise performance.
Once you pick the tune for your build, a good tune should be either out of the box or simply one or two clicks of the Master Slider to tighten it up, which can be accessed in the OSD or the Configurator. Although most builds of these sizes have a lot in common, there are minor variations in build such as size, weight and motor kv so it’s better to start on the low side with tuning then ‘click’ into the perfection…the tune is designed for this and you only need to do it with the Master Slider (configurator expert mode, or OSD). Using this method, it is now ridiculously easy to get a cracking freestyle tune!
So that about wraps it up. 4.3 rocks – go and try it. Please remember to carefully read the ‘Tuning Notes’ and work through everything as advised. Developers work for free so the process of using Betalight is a community-shared effort. The user’s part of the deal is to make use of the free firmware as advised in the notes, and not bodge through it without paying attention and then create a ton of support requests – so remember that!…Ok sermon over – now go rip! ;)