Review: Matek F405 CTR FC Released – The Perfect F4 FC?

The Matek F405 CTR flight controller has just been released, which is to replace the Matek F405 AIO with lots of improvement changes. Could the Matek CTR be the next perfect F4 FC? Let’s find out!

The Matek F405 CTR FC is now available here: http://bit.ly/2As3PpI

I will be testing this FC in the coming days, and I am excited about this new FC because it ticks a lot of right boxes for me!

Matek F405 CTR v.s. Matek F405 AIO

Here is a specification comparison table between the Matek F405 CTR and the older version, Matek F4 AIO.

Take a look at our review of the Matek F405 AIO FC if you haven’t already.

  Matek F405 CTR Matek F405 AIO
Price $40 $40
Processor F4 F4
Gyro MPU6000 ICM20602
Barometer? Yes, BMP280 No
Input Voltage 3S-6S 3S-6S
Current Rating 120A (184A) 120A
BEC [email protected] (3A), [email protected] [email protected], [email protected]
No. of UART 5 + VCP 5 + VCP
Blackbox SD Card Logger SD Card Logger
Betaflight OSD Yes Yes
Dedicated ESC Telemetry Yes No
Inversion for SBUS Yes Yes
Inversion for S.Port No No
PWM Output 6 6

The CTR FC comes with 6 rubber grommets (2 spare), and a Rubycon ZLH 470uF 35V Low ESR capacitor, the same one that came with the AIO FC. In my opinion the cap is a bit too small, I would love to see they include a 1000uF at least.

Further Reading: Why putting additional capacitor in a mini quad?

Betaflight firmware target remains the same, MATEK F405 (MKF4).

It might not look like a lot of changes in terms of spec, but the design has been much improved in my opinion, there are many features I like that are missing on other FC’s.

 

A Closer Look at the Improvements

Using a Different Gyro

The Matek AIO FC used the ICM20602 IMU in order to run faster gyro sampling rate and looptime of 16KHz and even 32KHz.

However this sensor is also very sensitive, many users of the AIO complained about getting yaw twitches due to noise, regardless of effort to soft-mount FC and add low ESR capacitors on the ESC’s (my suspicion is they are using very noisy ESC’s such as the Emax Bullet).

The MPU6000 is an old IMU that is near its end of life, but it’s a proven option and is still preferred by many flight controller designers for its robustness against noise.

Although I have been flying the AIO without any issues, I am happy to see them using the more trusted MPU6000. I don’t think many Betaflight users are running anything faster than 8K/8K anyway.

Further Reading: Learn about the different Gyro’s in a flight controller.

Adding Barometer

The barometer, or baro, is an atmospheric pressure sensor that can be used to estimate altitude. It’s useful for people flying long range and help make sure to stay within legal height (in many countries RC pilots are only allowed to fly under 400 feet). It’s also useful for pilots using the iNav firmware with GPS.

ESC Telemetry Pads

There are now dedicated ESC telemetry pads right next to the ESC signal pads, which will make soldering much cleaner and easier.

Further Reading: How to setup ESC Telemetry?

Different Vibration Damping

In the AIO flight controller, we are supplied with 7mm tall rubber spacers for soft-mounting the board. While on the CTR, the mounting holes are enlarged to M4 in order to fit the silicone grommets for vibration damping.

The new design can actually lower the stack by about 4mm (7mm vs 3mm), which is good news! The effectiveness of the silicone grommets is yet to be tested, but since we are using a “cleaner” Gyro, the requirement for soft mounting is much lower.

Further Reading: Why soft mounting flight controller can help mini quad performance?

Changing XT60 Solder Pads Design

Again, the CTR FC is meant to be mounted side way, and the XT60 tab comes out on right hand side just like the previous version.

However the XT60 tab design has been changed from two large holes to two rectangular slots. I can see how this will make soldering the XT60 connector easier and more reliably, though I am not a big fan of soldering XT60 connectors directly on the FC, I always prefer to use some electrical wires in between. It just feels stronger.

FPV Camera Control

The DAC pin on the Matek F405 CTR is said to be a dedicated pin for FPV camera control, so that you can change FPV camera settings using your transmitter via OSD. However at this stage, I am not sure if this is a plug and play solution, or requires additional resistors to make it work.

No more 9V?!

Matek has decided to remove the onboard 9V regulator. It was a great power source for our VTX and FPV cameras because many VTX still don’t support 5V nor LiPo voltage. Having 7V to 12V on the FC means better compatibility with other hardware.

But that’s not a deal break since a lot of VTX these days supports 5V all the way up to 6S, you can either use the onboard 5V or power from LiPo battery.

Connection Diagram

Here is a connection diagram of the Matek F405 CTR FC.

I am not sure about their suggestion on how to connect a 4-in-1 ESC. Those ESC power pads on the flight controller are only rated for 30A (46A burst), it’s probably better to connect multiple pads to provide power to the 4-in-1 ESC’s.

All images in this blog post are from Matek’s website.

5 thoughts on “Review: Matek F405 CTR FC Released – The Perfect F4 FC?

  1. Michael Duncan

    I was planning the ultimate quad build with a FC that has on-board OSD, SD, and baro and to add sbus rx, s.port, s.audio, and GPS. I thought, the Omnibus F4 Pro V3 was the perfect solution but after purchasing it, I quickly found out that this FC only had 3 available uarts with no softserial capability so I was 1 uart short in building this configuration.

    I thought the maximum number of uarts on an F4 was 5, but features like SD, OSD, and baro require use of some of these uarts. The Matek indicates 5 uarts…..so it’s going to interesting to see if you there are 5 available uarts without disabling some of the on-board features.

    Reply
    1. Wieslaw

      Omnibus F4 Pro V3 has softserial capability (at last the one from banggood.com), my VTX Tramp was not working with hardware UART so I need to use soft serial. After enabling Soft Serial in configuration tab it wasn’t show any additional UART in Ports tab. You need to remap some pins to make this work, I used pin for MOTOR 6:
      resource MOTOR 6 none,
      resource serial_tx 11 A08
      save
      Still I was need only serial_tx for tramp telemetry, if you need full UART then most likely you need to remap second pin for serial_rx (like MOTOR 5).

      Reply
  2. Joshua Bardwell

    Using the ESC pads is probably okay because they are so close to the main power pads that the trace length is very short. I have been told this by several different board designers, although obviously the final decision is up to the pilot.

    Also, please be aware that the demonstrated method is not the absolute most efficient. The heavy ground wire does not need to go to the FC ESC- pad.

    The optimal wiring is:

    12-gauge or 14-gauge vBat+ from
    * XT60 to FC vBat+
    * FC ESC+ to ESC vBat+

    12-gauge or 14-gauge vBat- from
    * XT60 to ESC vBat-

    22-gauge to 26-gauge vBat- from
    * ESC vBat- to FC vBat-
    OR
    * ESC vBat- to FC ESC-

    The reason for this is that only the current draw from the FC itself needs to flow over the ground wire between the FC and the ESC. So a heavy-gauge wire isn’t needed. And current sensing only needs to occur on the vBat+ leg, so it doesn’t matter which negative pad you use on the FC.

    Reply
  3. 1337flite

    The DAC pin is supposed to work without modifications for camera control.
    And it does. But your quad won’t arm if you use the DAC with BF 3.2.2 I believe it is scheduled to be fixed in 3.3.
    See github.com/betaflight/betaflight/issues/4214#issuecomment-331608560 for details.

    Reply

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