Running KISS FC with BLHeli ESC?

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

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?

Considerations

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.

Tips

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.

motor-layout-kiss-fc-openpilot-librepilot

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:

KISS FC with KISS 24A ESC:

Author : Arthur
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5 thoughts on “Running KISS FC with BLHeli ESC?

  1. justin

    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

    Reply
  2. Claudio

    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?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Calum

    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.

    Reply
  4. Rico

    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.

    Reply

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