Flashing or updating Betaflight firmware on flight controllers is simple, in this tutorial I will show you the steps and how to troubleshoot problems during flashing.
If you are new to Betaflight, check out my setup guide after you’ve flashed the firmware. There are instructions on how to setup your FC for your first flight, and all other related Betaflight tutorials.
Preparation to Flash Betaflight
Before you begin, you will need to download and install Betaflight Configurator GUI in order to flash the firmware, see this article for instructions.
Now connect your flight control to your computer via a USB cable.
Before you update or flash Betaflight firmware, we recommend making a backup of your existing configuration. Because a new firmware might erase all your settings.
It’s useful to know your previous PID, rates and what the ports are for things like SBUS and SmartPort, because these are different from FC to FC. Here is how you can make a backup of your Betaflight config.
How to Update/Flash Betaflight Firmware
Start Betaflight Configurator, and go to the Firmware Flasher Tab.
Select the COM port of your FC (it’s either COM# port or DFU) and baud rate 115200 (256000 for SPRacing F3).
As soon as you plug in the FC, the configurator should select the what board this is, and the latest firmware for you automatically.
If this doesn’t happen, you can manually select the desired flight controller and Betaflight version.
Important: If you chose the wrong FC here, you can “brick” your FC. However if you did that you can fix it by overwriting the correct firmware.
There are a few more options under the board selection, you can leave these disabled unless you know what you are doing.
Now click “Load Firmware [Online]” and the firmware will be downloaded. You can also manually load a firmware on your computer (Load Firmware Local), this allows you to test custom firmware but that is a topics for another day.
Lastly click on “Flash Firmware” and the firmware update will begin, once it’s complete you will be able to connect to the FC with the Betaflight GUI. Make sure you do not pull the USB cable during the process.
If you have any trouble flashing, it can be a driver issue and here is how to fix it.
Apply Custom Settings
You might get a pop up when connecting to the FC for the first time after flashing a new firmware, asking if you want to apply custom settings, just check “Apply”.
Full Chip Erase Option
To wipe all the previous configurations you can select the “Full Chip Erase” option before flashing. This is useful if you messed up the CLI settings, or you accidentally disabled MSP for USB VCP port.
To do this, you also need to press the bootloader button on the FC, before connecting the USB cable, you should see “DFU” appearing in the COM port.
What Does “Legacy” Mean in “Select a Board”?
In the latest Betaflight Configurator (10.6.0), there are duplicated flight controller boards, with one of them marked with “Legacy”.
In this case, you should flash the “non-legacy” target, which are the new unified target structure. “Legacy” are the old-style (compiled for each board). Eventually the Legacy targets will go away and replaced by the non-legacy targets. You shouldn’t notice any difference (at least that’s the goal), it’s only there in case of issues.