Are you having trouble connecting the flight controller with a broken USB port to Betaflight Configurator? Don’t throw away the FC just yet, you might be able to fix it. In this tutorial I will show you how.
The trick is to use an FTDI adapter, and hook it up to one of the UART on your FC. But there might be extra steps depending on the type of USB connection you have on the flight controller, i.e. CP2102 or VCP. This post explains how to tell which one you have.
Before you begin, check if you can solder the USB port back on. This may be the quickest solution, though it’s not an easy soldering job.
CP2102: Using an FTDI Adapter to Connect Flight Controller
If your FC has the CP2102 chip on it, you can just connect the FC to your computer using an FTDI adapter via UART1.
Connection: Only 4 wires are needed, TX to RX, RX to TX, 5V to 5V and GND to GND.
If this is the first time you use an FTDI adapter, you might also need to install a driver on your Windows PC. You can normally get the link to the driver file from the product page of your FTDI adapter, or simply google the type of adapter you have.
Then just hit the connect button in Betaflight Configurator. That’s it.
VCP FC: You need to Flash Custom Firmware First
If your FC uses VCP for USB connection, it’s not so straight-forward. Because none of the hardware UART’s are enabled for USB communications by default.
What you need to do, is to flash a custom firmware that has UART1 enabled for MSP (USB connection), then you can use the FTDI adapter on UART 1. This is also useful when you have trouble connecting to the configurator through the USB port.
To find this custom firmware, first enable “Show unstable releases” in the firmware flasher in Betaflight Configurator. Then you should be able to select “Maintenance (USB Rescue)” as highlighted below.
You can flash firmware via UART1 using an FTDI adapter.
If none of these work, you can try cutting a USB cable, and solder the wires directly to the USB port solder pads on the FC. This way allows you to get into the configurator and enable USB connection on a UART.
- May 2018 – article created
- Apr 2021 – Betaflight now offers USB Rescue firmware in the firmware flasher, you no longer need to download it manually from google drive