Review: iFlight KISS AIO Flight Controller

We reviewed both KISS flight controllers in the past, but finally they released an AIO (all in one) board that has integrated PDB and OSD! Interestingly this board is not manufactured by Flyduino but iFlight.

In this review we will take a look at the iFlight KISS AIO Flight Controller, to see how easy or difficult it is to build and how well it performs in a mini quad. This review is written by guest writer, Artur Banach. See our reviews of

Where To Buy?

You can get iFlight KISS FC from:

Is it Legit?

The iFlight KISS AIO FC is licensed by Flyduino and manufactured by iFlight. This board can use the official KISS FC firmware, and it is fully supported by Flyduino. It’s great to see innovators like Flyduino to work together with Chinese manufacturers to combine both innovation and low cost manufacturing.

Spec

  • Input voltage 2S – 6S
  • Integrated OSD (can be flashed with MWOSD or KISS OSD firmware)
  • Integrated PDB (Power Distribution Board)
  • 5V 2A BEC
  • F3 MCU
  • MPU6050 IMU (Gyro)
  • Supports KISS ESC telemetry
  • 30.5 x 30.5mm mounting pattern
  • Weight 8.0g (slightly heavier than advertised)

What’s in the box

The iFlight KISS board comes securely packed in a plastic box.

Accessories include:

  • Flight Controller
  • XT60 pigtail
  • Cable for 4in1 ESC to FC
  • Flashing tool for OSD and ESC
  • Cable for connecting FC and Flashing tool

 

Let’s take a Closer Look at iFlight KISS AIO

The iFlight KISS AIO flight controller looks just like a typical Betaflight AIO board. There are power pads for XT60, and there are also pads for soldering your ESC’s located in the corners.

It has a boot button and two JST sockets, one for connecting to 4in1 ESC, the other is for flashing the OSD which is located on top of the board.

To use the integrated OSD, you should connect your FPV camera and VTX to the FC, these pads are located at the front.

Note that the USB connector is on the left, and XT60 pads is facing back. With this configuration you can’t have the XT60 mounted to the side because the USB port will get buried in the frame.

There is no built-in blackbox memory chip or SD card logger. You can connect an external one via UART, but that brings us to another problem with this board – the lack of UART!

There are only 2 UART ports, you will use one for radio receiver and probably another for smart audio. So you wouldn’t have spare for other things.

Similar to the KISS FC V1?

The closer I look, the more similar I find the iFlight KISS AIO to the KISS V1 in terms of features. In fact, both flight controllers share the same firmware as well. The only differences are the integrated PDB and OSD and board layout really.

Wiring Diagram

Here is a diagram provided by iFlight on how to connect the ESC, FPV camera, VTX and RX to the FC.

Installation on mini quad

Let me show you how I installed this flight controller in my quad. I didn’t build a new quad using this FC, I simply swapped out the existing FC.

I was previously using the KISS FC V1 with the new KISS 25A 4in1 ESC in this quad. The iFlight board is an AIO board so it would have probably been a better idea to use it with four separate ESC’s. But I want to show you that it’s also possible to use it with 4in1 ESC’s too thanks to the 4in1 ESC JST connector.

I will be soldering the XT60 pigtail to the 4in1 ESC, then route the power from the ESC to the XT60 pads on the FC.

The soldering pads are pretty small but still comfortable enough to work with. Unfortunately there is no camera control pads – since KISS firmware does not support it yet.

Before connecting the 4in1 ESC to the flight controller, double check the wires are in the right order for the FC! Sometimes, the voltage, ground and signals are in different orders in some ESC. If you connect the wrong wires to the FC you might fry it.

Flight Controller configuration

You can configure the FC using the official KISS-GUI. Downloaded official KISS-GUI here.

The FC came flashed with a rather old firmware – version 1.2. Make sure to flash to newer firmware to get the latest features and best performance (V1.3 as in Sep 2018).

To flash FC you need to hold the BOOT button while connecting the USB cable, this will put the board into DFU mode. Then select the firmware downloaded from KISS website (for me it’s 1.3RC34), and it should flash.

Unfortunately it didn’t work on my Mac and I had to open up Windows virtual machine, and used a software called “dfuse” to get the flight controller flashed.

What also didn’t work out of the box was the ESC recognition.

1.3RC34 firmware didn’t recognise the ESC connected to the FC. Thanks to the great FPV online community, I got in touch with Flyduino and they asked me to flash the board to a newer firmware 1.3-RC36f which was still in beta. This solved the issue and my ESC was finally visible in the GUI and I could change motor directions there.

OSD Configuration

Before first use, you should flash the OSD firmware. I have chosen KISS OSD over the MWOSD because it’s more optimized for the KISS hardware/firmware in my opinion. Download the KISS OSD firmware here.

Flashing OSD requires the supplied adapter as shown in the diagram:

The OSD firmware files contain one hex file which is a configurator and has to be flashed first. Next. flash the OSD hex after the OSD is configured. It is exactly the same as flashing the Steele PDB for the Alien frame.

Xloader is included in the ZIP file.

Because I am on a Mac, I had to use my Windows virtual machine (Parallels) to get it done.

Surprisingly I couldn’t flash anything via xLoader. Again, thanks to online community I was told to press the UPLOAD button and THEN connect the flashing tool to FC within a second or so. Only by doing so I was able to flash it.

In the Configurator there are options to setup what elements to display in the screen as well as all other options in the flight controller firmware.

However the first thing I did was to update the Font because the text was just too skinny to read.

Once that’s done OSD files have to be flashed onto OSD chip with the same method as configurator in previous step. This is the example screen of my layout:

Test flight

First thing I noticed in the air was that the stick feel was exactly the same as before when I had the KISS V1 FC. I am using the same PID and rates, and I didn’t feel any difference in flight performance.

Strange enough, the buzzer sounded differently compared to the KISS FC V1. It is hard to explain but the beeping sound has definitely changed. (I am using the same buzzer)

What I also noticed was the FPV feed was a little noisy. Previously I had the camera powered directly from the VTX and the video was crystal clear. There is a bit of noise when I had the camera powered off the iFlight board even with added capacitor.

From the flight videos, you can see the horizontal lines. They were even more intense with higher throttle position. This article explains how to connect FPV cameras, VTX and FC to get the cleanest possible FPV feed.

Flight video 1:

Flight video 2: iFlight KISS field cruising

Conclusion

The iFlight KISS AIO board is an interesting option for those who fly KISS gear, but looking for cleaner wiring and easier setup. Integrated OSD and PDB are some long-awaited features from the KISS community.

You can use it with separate KISS ESC or 4in1, and it will also work well with BLHeli ESC’s. However, beware that BLHeli ESC’s cannot be flashed directly via GUI because KISS doesn’t support passthrough for them.

This board is priced a lot lower than the KISS V2 FC, which may be appealing to new pilots trying to get into KISS.

There are however disadvantages in my opinion:

  • XT60 power pads position – you can have the XT60 pigtail on the side of the quad otherwise the USB port will be buried in the frame
  • Slight video feed noise issue, better filtering needed
  • Firmware flashing is not the most user-friendly and straightforward:
    • Flashing board to the recent firmware didn’t work via KISS GUI, and I had to use xLoader
    • Flashing OSD chip required small “trick” with pushing connector wire to the board seconds after pressing “Upload” button in Xloader. Very annoying indeed
  • I wish it uses a better processor like the F7, and offer more UART.

My overall experience with this flight controller has been positive so far, and I am looking forward to seeing what more iFlight and Flyduino will brings to our hobby in the future.

3 thoughts on “Review: iFlight KISS AIO Flight Controller

  1. Fizzle FPV

    This is why I stay away from KISS boards. There are too many, ‘well, you have to do this to do that’ and it doesn’t play well with BLHeli. Betaflight and OSD are a piece of cake as well as flashing your ESCs.

    Reply
  2. Chris C

    I don’t want to sound disparaging, but why is it only an F3? Is KISS able to squeeze more out of these slower processors?

    Reply

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