BLHeli Configurator Chrome App – Interview With the Creator

BLHeli Configurator is a chrome app, similar to Cleanflight/Betaflight configurators. It’s the first cross-platform ESC programming/flashing tool for BLHeli. In this post we interviewed the software creator, Andrey Mironov, and find out what’s so special about this configuration tool.

What does BLHeli Configurator do? What are the differences between BLHeliSuite and this chrome app?

BLHeli Configurator takes a small yet most relevant part of BLHeliSuite functionality and makes it available on all platforms that are able to run Chrome Apps, without any burden of configuring ports in Wine, running Windows in a VM and like.

The functionality I’m talking about here is flashing and configuring BLHeli ESCs over bootloader using FC passthrough. I know several OS X users who were locked out from running BLHeliSuite and BLHeli Configurator allowed them to finally update their ESCs, reverse motor directions using the program rather than by overlapping wires, et cetera.

On Windows there’s currently no real reason to use it over BLHeliSuite, apart from the ability to flash BLHeli Multishot without downloading the HEX files manually.

What’s required to run it, and when would you expect it to go live officially?

BLHeli Configurator is technically live and you can get it from Chrome Web Store. Just search for it or use this direct link: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/blheli-configurator/mejfjggmbnocnfibbibmoogocnjbcjnk

I’ve decided to let it go public after a significant period of stabilization during which no one experienced any serious issues.

Running the app requires desktop Chrome browser for obvious reasons, as well as FC with BLHeli passthrough support. The latter should not be an issue since most modern FC firmwares support it, RaceFlight being the only notable exception.

What motivated you to create this BLHeli Configuration Tool?

Bringing BLHeliSuite functionality to those struggling with it on platforms that aren’t Windows was my main motivation. The first time I had to flash BLHeli to my old Turnigy Plush, I struggled for a while to find out whether BLHeliSuite supports Linux/OS X or not, the information was scarce and not readily available, certainly many less tech-savvy users have been there and experienced similar issues.

Apart from that, I enjoy reverse-engineering protocols and the project was lots of fun.

What other capability and features would you add to this tool in the future?

The immediate plan is to add BLHeli Arduino Box support with flashing over SiLabs C2-interface, making this app a self-contained solution for flashing modern BLHeli/BLHeli_S.

After BLHeliBox support there are plans for a mobile app using either USB OTG or Bluetooth. [Flashing ESC’s from your phones!]

What is going to happen to this App when Google retires Chrome App?

Application is written in JavaScript and uses Chrome as just a launcher, which can be replaced without significant changes in the source code.

It can be made a standalone application by wrapping with NodeWebkit.js right now, with a small effort it can be run via Electron.

If you’re not familiar with Electron give Atom editor a try, it’s written in JavaScript and uses Electron as launcher.

We’re thankful for your work Andrey, you are spending so much time and effort making this app available to people in the hobby. Do you need any help from the community? Testers? Co-Coders? Or beers perhaps? :-D

The project is fun and rewarding by itself and I’m happy to be useful to the community! Interestingly enough I’ve achieved a working prototype and flashed my DYS XM20A without bricking them once, quite the contrary to initial expectations of some guys. BLHeli 14.7/16.3 has introduced a bricking problem, but I was lucky to find a fix for this bug after studying BLHeli assembly code for a weekend.

What I do need now is users providing feedback and suggestions. Since there’s no need to flash ESCs on a daily basis, this process of accumulating feedback is slow.

I also hope that someone will finally draw a logo and a proper set of icons and help me on the UI and graphics side of things.

* How to Contact Andrey? *

If you would like to get in touch with Andrey, you can find him on this forum thread.

Here is a demo of the tool.

4 thoughts on “BLHeli Configurator Chrome App – Interview With the Creator

    1. Oscar Post author

      Multishot is just a ESC protocol you can select in Betaflight GUI, it’s already on the ESC you don’t have to flash it.

      Reply
  1. Pof

    Great app, I’m going to try this.

    The first thing I’m thinking, wouldn’t it be great if Andrey would team up with the betaflight crew and incorporate the configurator into Betaflight?

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      I think they would serve better as separate apps, combining them would just make the whole thing more complicated. When flashing the ESC the FC is used as and adapter so you will have to disconnect and connect again between configuring FC and ESC’s anyway, so it doesn’t make it easer merging them. Also as separate GUI, they can be updated whenever needed. I imagine the BLHeli App will have more frequency updates as it’s just starting.

      Reply

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