In this tutorial, we’ll guide you through the process of flashing the Bluejay firmware to your BLHeli_S ESCs. Bluejay is a free open-source firmware that enhances ESC performance, offering additional features and options, turning your BLHeli_S ESCs into a powerful alternative to more expensive BLHeli_32 ESCs.
Advantages of Bluejay Firmware
Bluejay firmware offers numerous benefits, including:
- Enhanced flight performance through Bi-directional DShot and RPM filtering capability with Betaflight. Learn more about RPM filters in our tutorial: https://oscarliang.com/rpm-filter/
- Fixed PWM Frequency options (24KHz, 48KHz, and 96KHz) to improve efficiency, potentially increasing flight time by up to 30%. However, higher PWM frequencies reduce motor braking force. Learn more about PWM frequencies here: https://oscarliang.com/best-blheli-32-settings/#PWM-Frequency
- Customizable start-up melodies for a personalized touch.
While there are alternative firmware options such as JESC and JazzMaverick (BLHeli_M), these have limitations. JESC requires a paid license for each ESC, and JazzMaverick (BLHeli_M) is no longer being updated (last update in 2020). As a result, BlueJay has become the most popular firmware for BLHeli_S ESCs, thanks to its free availability and active support.
There are two methods for flashing BlueJay to BLHeli_S ESCs: using a standalone configurator (which requires installation, download here) or a browser-based configurator (https://esc-configurator.com).
We recommend the web configurator for its ease of use and reliability, which we’ll use in this tutorial. Please note that only Chrome-based browsers support the ESC Configurator. You can also use it to configure and flash normal BLHeli_S firmware ESCs, it’s a very handy and versatile tool.
Steps to Flash BlueJay
If you’ve used BLHeli Configurator before, the interface and steps will be familiar.
Connect your ESC to your drone’s flight controller (FC) and plug in the USB cable to the FC. Power the ESC by connecting the LiPo battery.
Click “Select Serial Port” and choose your FC’s COM port (your browser may request permission to access the COM port).
Click “Connect” to display all available ESCs.
To flash Bluejay, click “Flash All” and configure the following options:
- Firmware: Select “BlueJay”
- ESC: Leave as-is (the ESC type should be chosen automatically)
- Version: Choose the latest official release
- PWM Frequency: Higher values yield smoother and more efficient motors, especially in smaller aircraft like tiny whoops. However, this comes at the cost of reduced torque and snappiness. Refer to our PWM frequency article for more information. As a general guideline, select 96KHz for tiny whoops, 24KHz for 5″ FPV drones, and 48KHz for intermediate sizes. For 5″ freestyle quads, try 48KHz if 24KHz causes rough motor sounds. Experiment with different values to find the best fit for your setup.
Click “Flash” to complete the process.
To enhance your drone’s performance, enable RPM filters in Betaflight, as explained in our tutorial: https://oscarliang.com/rpm-filter/
Next, configure your ESC settings by connecting to the configurator and clicking “Read Setup” to populate all the ESC settings.
For first-time BlueJay users, you’ll notice additional options in the configurator. While the default options suit most users, consult our article explaining these settings for further customization: https://oscarliang.com/best-blheli-32-settings/
Create Custom Startup Melody
BlueJay allows you to personalize your quad’s startup melody, which plays when you plug in the battery. Here’s how:
Click “Open Melody Editor” to access the melody editing interface for each ESC.
Choose from a variety of pre-made melodies in the drop-down menu or create your own custom melody if you’re familiar with the process.
After selecting your desired melody, click the “Accept” button for each ESC and then click “Write Melodies” to save your changes.
Your custom startup melody is now ready to greet you every time you power on your quad.
In conclusion, flashing BlueJay firmware to your BLHeli_S ESC provides numerous benefits, such as improved performance, enhanced efficiency, and custom startup melodies. Following this tutorial and making necessary adjustments can significantly elevate your FPV drone experience, ensuring smooth and enjoyable flights for both beginners and intermediate enthusiasts.
- Mar 2022 – tutorial created
- Apr 2023 – instructions updated