I received my first BLHeli_32 ESC’s, and I’d like to share how to connect them using “FC passthrough” to the BLHeliSuite32 configurator app, and how to flash the latest firmware on these ESC’s.
“FC pass-through” is the easiest way to connect to your ESC, which works similarly to the previous BLHeli_S. Basically it uses the flight controller as a programming tool for the computer to talk to the ESC’s directly. Therefore you can change settings or flash new firmware to the ESC’s using the FC’s USB connector, without taking the ESC’s out of the quad.
- Betaflight V3.2 or newer firmware on your flight controller
- Download latest BLHeliSuite for BLHeli_32 from https://github.com/bitdump/BLHeli (link in the section at the very bottom – read me)
Make sure that your ESC’s are indeed BLHeli_32 compatible. Mistakenly flashing BLHeli_S ESC’s with 32-bit firmware can “brick” your ESC’s and it’s irreversible.
REMOVE YOUR PROPS before continuing…
With your BLHeli_32 ESC connected to the FC, and powered by LiPo battery.
When flashing firmware, make sure your computer is connected to the internet! BLHeli32 checks online whether your ESC is legit or not. But changing settings is totally fine without internet, so you can configure that in the field :)
Now you are ready!
Connecting to BLHeliSuite32
- In the BLHeliSuite32 configurator, click “Select BLHeli32 interface” in the menu bar, and choose “BLHeli Bootloader (Cleanflight)”
- At the bottom of the program, choose the COM port of your flight controller in “Port”, and click “Connect”
- Once it’s connected, click “Read Setup” and the settings of your ESC will appear
Flashing BLHeli_32 Firmware
The only time you need to flash BLHeli_32 firmware is to update them to the latest version. If you can connect to the ESC without problems, flashing should also work.
Make sure your computer is connected to the internet for flashing ESC’s, otherwise you will get an error “Unable to establish server connection”. BLHeliSuite_32 checks whether your ESC’s are genuine upon connection.
REMOVE YOUR PROPS before continuing…
Launch BLHeliSuite32 program, connect your FC to computer via USB and plug in your battery to power up the ESC’s. On the bottom of the program select the COM port of your FC and click “Connect“.
After it’s connected, click the “Check” button.
Back up your settings! Take some screenshots of your settings for each ESC just in case something goes wrong and you can still go back.
In BLHeliSuite, click “Flash BLHeli“, and click the button “OK”.
You will be prompted if you want to flash this firmware, click “Yes” and the flashing will begin.
When the firmware flashing is done, the program will ask if you want to write current settings to your ESC’s, click Yes if you want to retain your previous ESC configuration.
When this is done, it will move on to your second ESC. Repeat the same steps you just did until all 4 ESC’s are updated.
When it’s done, click “Disconnect” in BLHeliSuite, unplug your battery and plug it back in to restart your ESC’s. Check your ESC settings and make sure they are correct, such as direction and other parameters.
I can’t connect to my BLHeli_32 ESC with pass-through even with the latest BLHeliSuite32 app. My FC is loaded with the latest firmware. However I can connect to other ESC (not 32bit) without problem with the old BLHeliSuitE.
Your FC is probably not V3.2. You are using the latest stable release which is V3.1.X. V3.2 is not released yet and you need to download it from the link above and load it locally.
I am getting an error when trying to flash new firmware: “Unable to establish server connection!”.
This error occurs when you have no working internet connection on your computer. BLHeliSuite32 checks if your BLHeli32 ESC’s are genuine before flashing new firmware to them. No internet, no check and thus it fails.
I am getting error “Initialization of serial 1wire passthrough or 4way interface failed! Please check Betaflight revision for support of serial 1wire passthrough or 4way interface!”
I was also getting this error when using my Naze32 (F1) flight controller, even with Betaflight V3.2 already installed. I had no way around this error, and I had to use a F3 FC in the end. Maybe BLHeli32 passthrough is not supported in F1 FC’s.
- Jun 2017 – article created
- Nov 2018 – Both Betaflight/BLHeli_32 are out of beta. Added steps how to flash ESC