Review: Betaflight F7 Flight Controller

The Betaflight F7 flight controller has just arrived! FPVModel fixed a lot of the issues in the Betaflight F4 board, and added many new features and capability in the new FC. In this review we will take a close look at the board.

Buy the Betaflight F7 from: FPVModel | Amazon

Specs and Features of the Betaflight F7 FC

  • Integrated PDB
  • Two on-board IMU: MPU6000 and ICM20608
  • Input Voltage 3S-6S
  • 4 UART’s (all have built-in inverters)
  • 5V BEC 1.2A
  • Betaflight OSD
  • Current Sensor (supports up to 145A)
  • 16MB Flash memory for blackbox
  • Supports TBS Crossfire & Telemetry
  • Supports Frsky SBUS & SmartPort without inversion hack
  • Dedicated pins for ESC telemetry
  • Dedicated pin for FPV Camera Control
  • Firmware Target: BetaflightF7 (BFF7)
Betaflight F7 FC Top

Betaflight F7 FC Top

Betaflight F7 FC Bottom

Betaflight F7 FC Bottom

Betaflight F7 VS Betaflight F4

Here is the comparison between the Betaflight F7 and F4 flight controllers in terms of features and improvements.

Check out the full review of the Betaflight F4 FC.

Betaflight F7 Betaflight F4
Price $60 $45 (on sale now for $34)
MPU (Processor) F7 F4
IMU (Gyro) MPU6000+ICM20608 MPU6000
Soldering Pads Through-holes
ESC Connection Only on top the board (thanks god!) On both sides of the board
BEC 5V, 1.2A 5V, 1.5A
UART 4 3

The F7 is a more powerful processor than the F4, but right now the advantage in processing power is not a big deal because we haven’t used up all the resources on the F4 yet. The biggest difference for me is the number of UART’s, you get 1 more on the Betaflight F7 than the F4, and you won’t have to worry about getting the uninverted signal for SBUS or SmartPort because all the UART’s has built-in inverters in the F7 processor.

The solder pads style and layout on the Betaflight F7 look similar to the CLRacing F4 FC, and I think that’s a good direction to take. The solder pads are good sized and look to be really easy to work with :)

Finally I am excited to see they have finally moved the ESC power pads to the top of the FC, it was such a difficult task with soldering on the F3 and F4, where the ESC power was on the bottom of the board while the ESC signal was on top.

Closer Look at the Betaflight FC Board

So far, the improvement and spec we have mentioned above seem excellent.

The most interesting update on the Betaflight F7 is the two onboard gyro sensors: the MPU6000 and the ICM20608. However, don’t get your hopes up, it’s not a “dual gyro stabilization”, these are just options you can choose to use.

Surely having two gyros on the same board will increase the cost, but this might make this board more future proof. Right now most people are happy running 8KHz looptime, using the MPU6000 is enough. But future Betaflight development might benefit from a faster Gyro such as Kalman Filter.

Another drawback of the soft-mounted ICM20608 Gyro is the added height of the board and increased weight. The height of the board is only 5.3mm, but with the gyro protective case it adds another 5mm to it, making it a total of about 10mm.

The board weighs a total 12g, and only 9.6g without the ICM2068 gyro (it’s removable which I will show you in a moment).

The MPU6000 is the “good one” that provides more reliable performance up to 8KHz sampling rate. The ICM20608 allows you to run 32KHz gyro sampling rate but it’s known to be susceptible to noise, I guess that’s why this gyro is soft mounted in a plastic protective case (same approach is used in the Kakute F4). (The MPU6000 is hard-mounted on the board, that’s why the FC comes with rubber grommets).

You can choose which gyro to use by entering commands in CLI:

To use the MPU6000,

set gyro_to_use = 0
save

To use the ICM20608,

set gyro_to_use = 1
save

Removable Gyro!

If you don’t like the ICM20806 gyro, or the idea of using a ribbon cable to connect the gyro, you can just remove it and use the surface-mounted MPU6000.

The ribbon cable is connected with a connector and removable. There are 4 screws on the back of the board that hold the gyro protective case in place.

The board works as normal without the ICM20806, putting it back on the board and it still works as normal :)

The advantage of removing the ICM20806 is lower profile by about 5mm, and reducing the weight by 2.5g.

This is kind of cool… but I also feel a bit messed up because you paid extra for it and now you want to remove it :) Maybe the extra ICM20806 gyro should have been a option when purchasing the board?

Testing and Review

Beware that there is currently still no firmware target available for the board on Github, and therefore you won’t find the board in the firmware flasher in the configurator when you try to update it. Hopefully this will be fixed soon.

I plan to test this board in a quad soon, stay tuned!

23 thoughts on “Review: Betaflight F7 Flight Controller

  1. Charles G.

    Am I wondering the same thing? Both features are useful and a person would assume the F7 could handle this.

    Reply
  2. Alex

    I want to be able to control 8 motors. Is it possible to remap some of the pads (e.g TELE) to act as an ESC controller pins?

    Reply
  3. PuppetMaster_FPV

    Just the fact that you have two gyros 🥙 and can remove and even replace one? I don’t see why not… to me is a pretty cool feature. He is absolutely right though. 32k sends coy to 100% but I am running a Matek F7 at 16 16 and is maybe a little behind the Revolt (my fav F4 to build with) but it’s close enough. I got the BF F7 sitting on a Floss2 ready to be wired to a DalRC 40amp 4-1 BLheli32:) wonder if I can do esc temlemtry 🤔 I needed the pin out for this board. Thank you Oscar! Appreciated!

    Reply
    1. James

      I take that back. Do NOT flash FPVMODELF7 target to this FC. Bad things will happen when you try to fly. I just tried this on my FPVModel F7 FC and the quad would flip out every time I gave it some throttle. Not at all flyable. Went back to BFF7 original firmware and no issues.

      Reply
      1. OCD-fpv

        Theres now a new firmware for this fc I used it and the firmware is pretty solid as is..turns on and off the correct filters also like turns off the notch filters and turned back on the dinamic filter like bardwell mentions in his lastest vlogs. Only issue that I have is how to run the 32k on it even after selecting that filter in the cli command! Any thoughts would be great! It’s dailed in now running 8k & 8k with 3%cpu load but I want to take full advantage of the 32k and my blhelli-32 Dshot 1200 esc,s.

        Thanks from OCD-FPV

    1. Oscar Post author

      It’s been confirmed they have changed the name of the board, as well as the target to FPVModelF7

      Reply
      1. Stephen Starner

        Have they begun to optimize the firmware for the F7 yet? I assume it can handle all of the dshot commands as well? I have a proton sitting on the shelf I want to get in the air soon using the F7 and the quadrant esc’s.

  4. Justin Vonbesser

    Yes!! you can do more with the current F4, the CPU isn’t as powerful as an OC’d F4. There is no firmware for this board, and you probably won’t be able to use the custom Hex’s using Kalman filters EVER. The devs are taking full fledged Kalman filters out of the 3.3 release, so you can only get that on customer HEX now, and nobody has created anything for this FC.

    Pros: the board runs 8×8 with 10% CPU load with Dshot 1200, runs great with both gyros, and it’s future proof once Betaflight is optimised for the F7. It will be Kalman ready when/if they ever release it. I’m happy with the board, and I’m going to use my F4 to test customer firmware.

    Reply
  5. joe

    The good news is the F7 will be getting more attention from the DEV’s.
    That flex ribbon cable is begging for a prop strike :) Hint, tuck it in somehow.

    Reply
  6. Charles Stevenson

    It’s a bit silly that an fc carrying the Betaflight name would choose to go into production of an F7 powered fc when all the devs know that F7 is not up to snuff yet and there’s an open issue since last June. F4 overclocked is crushing F7, which currently goes to 100% CPU at 32kHz gyro sampling. Maybe the designer added two gyros with the hope that one day the devs will be able to make full use of the ICM20608. Right now it’s just extra weight. The only benefit to F7 is built in inverters for FrSky. I had high hopes for F7 last year but I think the truth is we won’t see F7 at its full potential for some time.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Thanks for the insider info! Yea right now I think I tend to agree that the F7 has no obvious advantage over the F4 until the code is optimized for the processor.

      Reply
    1. Charles G.

      I was wondering the same thing? One would assume the F7 could handle this but what port could be assigned these functions seperately?

      Reply
  7. Tabulazero

    Knowing that F4 is the standard and that Betaflight is pretty much optimised to run on F4, could there be a case whereby F4 (especially an overclocked F4) can outperform a F7 ?

    You cannot to my knowledge overclock an F7 yet under Betaflight.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      There are other benefits in using an F7 such as the number of UART’s and UARt inversion.
      But you are right at the moment Betaflight is not yet optimized to run on F7.

      Reply

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