Naze32 Flight Controller Review | Is it good?

Naze32 Overview

The Naze32 is a small (36x36mm) flight controller based on 32-bit STM32 processor running at 72MHz. Comparing to other popular FC such as the KK2, APM2, and Crius AIO, which are all based on 8-bit platform running at 16Mhz.

This board comes with two flavors, Acro Naze32 (FunFly) and Full Naze32. The Full Naze32 has additional barometer and compass. They are priced at $25 and $53. Personally I think if you are just going to be flying around and doing acrobatics, the Acro version would be more than enough, because it provides relatively stable self-level mode. I have to say the price is very competitive compared to other FC.

Although the Naze32 uses ported version of Multiwii, it’s not exactly a Multiwii flight controller, because it uses different type of processor (STM based). Normally, multiwii FC for example the Arduino, or Crius AIO FC are Atmel based.

naze32-hand-size-compare

The size of this board is TINY when you think about all the components it has on it. Current revision is the pink PCB rev5, with MPU6050MS5611, and HMC5883L. For more hardware details see the wiki page.

With the better processing power and precision, in my opinion the performance is better than other flight controllers on the market in terms of flight stability, say the KK2.1. However, GPS functionality with Multiwii is still working in progress, so you need to take this in mind if you want to do “way point” and “GPS hold”.

Anyway, much computational power and resource is still not used on this FC (as I remember from what I read somewhere, the CPU has 75% idle time when flying), and it will certainly gets better as the development continues.

This FC is getting more and more popular with mini size multicopter, due to it’s excellent performance and small size. Here are some of my tips on how to use the Naze32 on a mini quadcopter.

Firmware

The Naze32 uses a ported version of MultiWii. In a nutshell this is a customized version multiwii for the STM32 CPU along with some enhancements and corrections. That means you can use all your MultiWii knowledge, it even uses the same PC configuration software. But it’s recommended to use the “baseflight” Google Chrome App, which is specifically designed for Naze32 FC.

Although it may well come with some firmware pre-installed, but you might still need to flash new firmware on it. If you don’t like the idea of flashing firmware or entering bootloader mode.

Configuration software GUI

MultiWiiConf

The usual MultiWiiConf can be used for parameter configuration. However there are more choices for the Naze32 when it comes to client software.

To change min-throttle and many more other parameters there is a Command Line Interface as well (otherwise know as CLI)

Should I get the Naze32?

Here are a summary of the advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  • Solid hardware and sensors, very impressive user control response.
  • Continuing development of baseflight firmware.
  • Competitive price
  • Very light weight and small

Cons

  • Lacking reliable GPS functionality
  • For beginners, it might not be as easy to setup as the Kk2.1
  • The small size is also a con, because it’s not easy to mount it on regular copter frame which are designed for the “50mmx50mm” FC. You probably need additional adapters.

My thoughts

I found it performs exceptionally well on small size multicopters, such as my ZMR250 mini quad and FPV250 mini quad. I say this because I used the KK2.1.5 initially, and the copter just couldn’t fly the way I want after many hours of tuning. The Naze32 just feels more locked in and responsive.

I also own the Crius AIO, and I found setting up the Naze32 is very similar in terms of complexity. Functionality-wise, it’s the same too! (compared to the Full Naze32). Price-wise, it’s very close. But the Naze32 has a much better processor.

However it’s not as user friendly as the KK2 boards for complete beginners. You might argue if getting a Bluetooth module, connect to your Android tablet or phone, and configuring the Naze32 that way is just as easy as the KK2, I would say you are right. But again, you need to look at the cost, and setting this up might not be easy for beginners. But if you want to do more advanced stuff like GPS way-point, you will have to use a computer or tablet/phone anyway, no matter what FC you use. KK2 is great, but the Naze32 is definitely a step up from the KK2!

If you really want to have relatively reliable GPS functionality, APM2.6 or Crius AIO (with MegaPirateNG) is the way to go. If you are a beginner and just want to learn how to fly, go for the KK2. For small size multicopters (for casual flying, acrobatics flying), I would definitely recommend using this over other FC.

 

11 thoughts on “Naze32 Flight Controller Review | Is it good?

  1. Liana

    Hi Oscar!
    A friend and I are trying to build a drone for a school project. Since we have to program the drone on our own, we were wondering if it is possible to do that with a Naze32 Acro. We found on internet that there is this open source software for multicopters and we just wanted to ask you, which flight controller is best suited for programming. Money is an issue… we’re trying to make our project as cheap as possible :)

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Open source options are:
      Multiwii – 8 bit MCU
      Cleanflight – 32 bit MCU
      You can also look into Ardrupilot for GPS specialization but i am not sure if they are open source…

      Reply
  2. Karl Lehenbauer

    Hi Oscar,

    Very useful article and great site! Has the GPS situation improved since you wrote the article?

    Reply
  3. Shane

    So Im looking into purchasing a Naze32 as I want the Return to home function as my mini Trifecta tricopter will be used for personal film work and thus I’m trying to find out which board to get, either Naze32 acro or full but I cant find anything about combining either with the M8N GPS with compass. Can you advise me in this regard please? what does one have to do to enable the function on the naze board?

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      i don’t think you can do RTH yet on Naze32… maybe try mini APM…
      lastly, i would really appreciate it if you could post your questions on the forum in the future: http://intoFPV.com … I don’t want to miss your comment, because I only check my blog comments once a week, but I use the forum daily!

      Reply
  4. steve

    Hi Oscar, I would not recommend the naze32. I had one & it went completely out of control. It was very dangerous & someone could of even got killed! I am trying to find out who makes these extremely dangerous piece of junk that some half wit bodged together to make money. These things should have to undergo extensive testing before being sold to the public by law. I want to contact this makes of the naze & also take legal action against the manufacturer. I would like for all flight controllers to have full safety testing & certified by law before the public can use them. I would like to see the naze designer in prison for trying to make money out of a half job & endangering people’s lives

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      no offence Steve, but these things are only as good as the person that uses it :D
      This is the first time i hear someone complain about the safety of using a Naze32 board :D

      Reply
  5. Tom

    Hi Oscar,

    I can’t find the answer to a question I have so I thought maybe you could help me:
    The setup I’m planning to use for a mini quad: 4S battery / Afro ESC 12A OPTO / (4) Cobra 2204 1960kV / Naze32 / D4R-II (ppm).

    IIRC, the ESCs are opto so I need a 5V UBEC to power the FC and Rx.
    Is it better to power the Naze through the Rx or via a spare motor output?
    In other words:
    (5V UBEC output -> spare channel on Rx, and Rx-Ch1 -> Naze32 ppm input)
    Or
    (5V UBEC out -> Naze32 M5 +&- outputs, and Rx-Ch1 -> Naze32 ppm input)
    Hope this makes sense.
    Best regards, Tom

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      I believe either ways are fine. I has seen people power FC with RX, but never tried it myself. I personally would go for powering through motor pins, it’s the traditional way we have always been doing. :)

      Reply

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I don't look at blog comments very often (maybe once or twice a week), so if you have any questions related to multirotor please post it on this forum IntoFPV.com... You're likely to get a response from me faster on there.