It’s been almost a year since the release of Betaflight 4.4, and now, with Betaflight 4.5 finally in Release Candidate 1 (RC1), we are exciting about the new features and improvements it offers. This post will touch on some of the major upgrades in Betaflight 4.5 and demonstrate how to flash it. With hundreds of merge requests for Betaflight 4.5, most people would not have the patience to sift through them all. This overview will give you some ideas of what to expect.
Table of Contents
How to Update to Betaflight 4.5
Note that Betaflight 4.5 is still in beta, wait for the official stable release if you want to be safe. If you want to give 4.5 a try now I will show you how.
Install New Configurator
Download the latest Betaflight Configurator 10.10.0 RC1 here: https://github.com/betaflight/betaflight-configurator/releases (older configurators will not work properly with BF4.5).
- For Windows, download: betaflight-configurator_10.10.0_win64-installer.exe
- For MacOS, download: betaflight-configurator_10.10.0_macOS.dmg
Back up your flight controller using the Presets tab before updating to Betaflight 4.5. If anything goes wrong, you can always revert to your previous state (i.e., flash the old firmware then restore the preset).
An alternative backup method is using STM32CubeProg, which backs up your firmware as well as config in a single file: https://oscarliang.com/backup-fc-stm32cubeprogrammer/
Because BF4.5 is still a release candidate, follow these additional steps:
- Go to the firmware flasher tab.
- Enable the “Show Release Candidates” option, and select “Release and Release Candidates”.
- Auto-detect your flight controller target or manually select the correct one.
- Select firmware version “4.5.0”.
- Enable ‘Full Chip Erase’.
- Proceed with the usual flashing process detailed here: https://oscarliang.com/flash-update-betaflight/.
If you encounter any issues while flashing, refer to my FC driver troubleshooting https://oscarliang.com/fc-driver-issues-flash-firmware/
The basic flight parameters in BF4.5 haven’t changed from 4.4; thus, previous filters, PID settings, and other tuning values should not require changing.
Importing a 4.4 CLI dump or preset backup might work in most cases. However, it’s safer and recommended to configure BF4.5 from scratch. Users of GPS Rescue, Angle, and Horizon modes should NOT use their old values, as these modes have undergone significant changes. For beginners, I have a Betaflight setup guide here: https://oscarliang.com/betaflight-firmware-setup/.
Important: DO NOT use 4.3 or earlier CLI dumps or Presets in 4.5!
New Features in Betaflight 4.5
GPS Rescue Improvements
Betaflight 4.5 focuses significantly on GPS functionalities, introducing impressive improvements in the GPS Rescue Mode (a feature simliar to Return-To-Home). While Betaflight 4.4’s GPS Rescue Mode was somewhat functional and capable of landing independently, it tended to be a bit wobbly, as demonstrated in my videos. The new release makes the whole process considerably smoother.
M10 GPS Support
In Betaflight 4.4, configuring M10 GPS modules was essential for optimal performance, and it’s a tedious process. However, with BF4.5, such manual configuration is no longer necessary. The flight controller in 4.5 will detect the GPS class (e.g., M10 and M8) and apply the required configuration automatically.
Angle and Horizon Modes Updates
Both Angle and Horizon modes have been overhauled to enhance responsiveness. For FPV pilots who frequently use Angle or Horizon mode, this update is set to noticeably improve the flying experience. The new “Earth referencing” option, which is enabled by default, automatically adds some roll inputs while turning using yaw. This feature keeps the turn feeling more “coordinated,” thus making control more enjoyable and easier, especially for new pilots.
Artery AT32 FC Support
Official support has been introduced for the AT32 flight controllers, a topic we discussed back in May last year: https://oscarliang.com/at32-flight-controllers/
LED Strip Improvements
LED Strip functionality has been enhanced with new color selection options and reduced CPU load for complex configurations. Another cool feature is the automatic setting of LED color according to the user’s VTx channel, simplifying the process of assigning a unique color to all LEDs on a quad in races.
The new EzLanding feature, activated through CLI, minimizes drone bounces during landings, even when airmode is on. This is particularly beneficial for heavy lifters.
Adjustable RPM Filter Strength
The new “Dimmable RPM Harmonics” feature allows users to adjust the strength of individual RPM filters. If one of the three RPM filters is less needed, its strength can be reduced to decrease the overall filter delay slightly.
Racing Related New Features
GPS Lap Timer: This feature enables the use of a GPS on racing quads to measure lap times. It’s a valuable tool for practice, though it may not match the precision of dedicated race timing equipment.
RPM Limiter: It limits the maximum average RPM to a user-specified value, aimed at making FPV drone racing fairer.
Betaflight on Wings
While it’s not widely known, Betaflight can actually be used on fixed-wings. Improvements in Betaflight 4.5 enhance the handling of wings, especially during landings. However, Betaflight remains a basic firmware for wings, and for those serious about wings, iNav or Ardupilot might be better options.
Better Cloud Build and Custom Build Options
The cloud build system in Betaflight 4.5, while maintaining a similar user interface to the previous version, boasts numerous enhancements – it’s simpler, more reliable, and more polished.
The new Custom Build Options are additional code blocks for the Cloud Build System, available only if built into the flashed firmware. These options are optional, catering to a niche user base or still under development. They may eventually merge into the master code, but currently, they remain as custom build options.
Many other aspects have been enhanced in Betaflight 4.5, which might not be immediately apparent to average users. For a comprehensive list of new features, you can visit: https://betaflight.com/docs/wiki/release/Betaflight-4-5-Release-Notes
If there are any new features or improvements that are significant to you but haven’t been mentioned, please share them in the comments.
Betaflight 4.5 offers something for every type of pilot, whether you’re into racing, long-range flying, or freestyle. While this update may not introduce drastic changes in flight performance, the GPS and utility enhancements are particularly exciting. The focus in this version seems to be more on refinement than a revolution, yet it marks a significant step forward. As the firmware continues to evolve, I’m excited to see how these developments will enhance our flying experiences.