How to Flash/Update Betaflight on Flight Controller?

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.

You can find out the name of the board (firmware target), by typing version in CLI.

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.

9 thoughts on “How to Flash/Update Betaflight on Flight Controller?

  1. Murray Sheppard

    I followed the instructions and now my TinyHawk2 seems dead. I plug in the USB and no lights come on, but I can connect to BetaFlight. (All the settings are gone)
    If I plug in a battery, the blue LED flashes 5 times, green 4 times, red once, blue 5 again, green 4 again and red once.

    Then nothing.

    Reply
  2. Tristan Bruce

    Ninos Sadek you need to find the firmeware online and load it locally. I’ve just done this for the MATEKF411 and it worked perfectly. Not sure why the onlder versions of Betaflight aren’t showing up anymore?!

    Reply
  3. Ninos Sadek

    I have a mamba F722 that originally came with BF 3.5.7 and now has 4.1
    I tried everything to flash 3.5.7 back on the mamba F722 with no success.
    I have tried older BF configurator version like 10.4.0 and earlier with no options to chose any firmware below 4.0.
    Any help would be appreciated

    Reply
  4. Erik

    Hi!
    I have an old multiwii/megapirate flight controller that I would like to flash with betaflight. Would that be possible?
    hobbyking.com/en_us/multiwii-and-megapirate-aio-flight-controller-w-ftdi-atmega-2560-v2-0.html

    Reply
  5. Sagie Naicker

    In the Betaflight Configurator, select the blackbox tab. You can erase the data flash chip and regain the lost storage space. You may chose to save the data to a file if you wish, before you erase the chip. Flashing the firmware with full chip erase does not clear the dataflash chip.

    Reply
  6. Kevin Fuller

    The data flash bar on the top right is your blackbox. You need to go into blackbox in the configurator and select erase data flash and it will empty.

    Reply
  7. Jay Patil

    I flashed emuflight in my mamba f405 FC then again switched back to betaflight, while flashing I selected full chip erase option everytime but unfortunately the dataflash memory (i.e on top right corner of configurator above expert mode) is kept on increasing and not erasing, only 2.8MB space is free out of 16MB. is there any way to erase this? Can someone help me out ?

    Reply

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