Running KISS FC with BLHeli ESC?

by Oscar

Artur shares his experience pairing KISS flight controller with non-KISS ESC’s (BLHlie) on a Mini Quad.

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KISS FC and its closed source software are easy to use and perform well, many prefer using it over Cleanflight/Betaflight. It’s common to pair KISS FC with KISS 24A RE ESC’s. However KISS ESC’s are expensive and hard to get as being constantly out of stock. Can we run KISS FC with one of the cheap BLHeli ESC’s out there on the market?


kiss fc flight controller top 1

There are a few things to consider when running KISS FC + BLHeli ESC combo:

  • You cannot flash/program ESC via FC passthrough (not supported by KISS FC firmware). ESC configuration and flashing needs to be done “one-by-one” using a programmer
  • No ESC telemetry feature because KISS 24A is currently the only ESC that offers this feature
  • KISS 24A doesn’t require ESC calibration, but BLHeli ESC does in order to work correctly
  • No Multishot as KISS FC only support OneShot125 and OneShot42
  • Some people actually prefer KISS setup because there is no need to change ESC settings. Using BLHeli ESC’s defeat that purpose.


Direct soldering ESC signal wire to the FC is a clean solution, but since FC passthrough doesn’t work on KISS FC this isn’t a good idea. I found it’s best to connect your BLHeli ESCs to the flight controller using header pins, so when you need to flash your ESC’s you can just unplug it from the FC. For example:

kiss fc with bleheli esc

Motors are not numbered the same way as in Cleanflight (actually KISS numbering makes more sense), so this is also something to bear in mind when connecting ESC to the FC.


Flying Experience

I tested KISS FC with DYS XM20A. At first, I did ESC calibration as per Flyduino manual, however during the test flight I experienced some level of de-sync. I checked BLHeli settings again, and found one of the motors did not calibrate properly (PPM-Min/Max didn’t match) – its min-throttle value was way higher than the rest. After changing that to match other ESCs it was all fine.

Flying KISS FC and BLHeli ESC feels great on the sticks. It’s responsive with the KISS rates system (Betaflight also has it now) flying was much smoother than other Betaflight quad I have tried.

Compared to my “fully Kissed” quad running KISS FC and KISS 24A ESC, this one feels very similar although the level of smoothness is not quite the same. To rate it with a score from 0 to 100, I would say the KISS combo was 100, and the KISS FC with BLHeli combo is about 85 to 90, which isn’t bad. I even enjoy it more than latest Betaflight 2.9 to be honest.

Test flight’s here (KiSS FC with XM20A ESC:


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Andrew 25th October 2019 - 8:15 am

Can’t make the motors spin. Nothing helps :( Tried Blheli_32 4in1 ESC – no luck at all. Moved everything to Blheli_S 4in1 esc. Tried settings listed above: (PPM min Throttle =1040, PPm max Throttle = 2000, Demag compensation= off, Motor timing = medium high, startup power= 1) after calibration that sounded right this time motors just twitch on diasarm:
Any suugestions? Do I have faulty unit? :(

russtaFPV 27th April 2017 - 9:26 am

hey not sure if anyone has had the same issue, but i can’t get my little bee ESCs to work on Oneshot125 with the Kiss FC, works fine with a F3 board running betaflight? when i plug my LIPO in it spins two motors and twitches another even without arming.
I’ve tried reducing minimum command doesn’t work. any help would be great thanks.

Adiran 25th May 2017 - 9:20 pm

I have the same issue…I switchend from naze32 to a KISS FC and now my little bee ESC start to spin up, even when the kiss is disarmed. :(

did you solve this problem?

Adiran 28th May 2017 - 3:04 am

This fixed the “KISS FC and Little bee ESC spinning motors when disarmed problem” for me:
The video suggest to set
PPM min Throttle =1040
PPm max Throttle = 2000
Demag compensation= off
Motor timing = medium high
startup power= 1

…it seems like the KISS isn’t working with the little bee’s although I calibrated the ESCs via the KISS GUI…(Data Output Tab > Motors [Test] button>select all 4 motors >Full throttle via the transmitter>plug in the battery> uncheck the Motors [Test] button > unplug the battery )

I don’t know why but you have to do some adjustmens in BlHeliSuite on your own, like the video suggests. After that it works correctly for me.
I used my arduino Uno for programming the ESCs all at once, there are some manuals online on how to do that.

justin 28th February 2017 - 8:54 am

do you know if i flash betaflight on kiss fc can i then use passthrough for little bee esc? its a tight build and i dont want to resolder motors again

Claudio 22nd November 2016 - 9:34 pm

Hey man, I made my build with kiss fc and Little bee 20a and X4R Reciever, I already connected the sbus, and smartport to the Aux1, But I don’t getting VFAS Telemetry, Do you know how can I solve this?

Calum 1st August 2016 - 11:51 am

That kiss motor numbering is the same layout as open pilot. I’ve found simple to build, and even reassign motors 3&4 to channels 5&6 on one cc3d quad. Can this be done in kiss? So far I have one betaflight build, and only really found the numbering annoying as it was different to kk, APM and open pilot.

Adrian Chapmanlaw 1st August 2016 - 3:43 am

I’m running afro 20 with blheli on my thug 220 with kiss Fc is pretty damn sweet.

Rico 25th July 2016 - 9:34 am

how do you calibration between blheli and kiss? i am curious because you were setting the esc one by one. and do kiss allow blheli esc to do the calibration with the min throttle= 2000 and max throttle= 1000? if yes it will be way easier.