FPV Quadcopter Acronyms, Terminology, Glossary

This is a glossary of technical terminology, abbreviations and acronyms related to FPV, mini quad, quadcopter, RC, and racing drones. They can be difficult to understand for beginners, hopefully this quadcopter glossary will help clear some of the confusions.

Let me know if there is any missing terms or abbreviations.

Acronyms Stands For Explanation
2.4GHz, 5.8GHz Frequencies used in RC and FPV.
ACC Accelerometer A device that measures acceleration forces in a specific direction.
Acro Acrobatic It means multiple things, when referring to flight mode, it’s means “rate mode”; when referring to hardware, it’s more or less saying “free style” or “acrobatics”
Active Braking AKA Damping Light. A feature in BLHeli that improve throttle responsiveness.
AH Altitude hold A flight mode that maintains height of the drone using a “BARO” sensor, or ultrasonic sensor
AIL Ailerons Also known as roll
Air Mode FC firmware feature that keeps PID controller working even when throttle is at zero, what is air mode
AL Auto Levelling A flight mode that allows the copter to stay level. It uses “ACC” sensor
ALT Altitude The vertical distance you are from ground
APM Ardu Pilot Mega A type of flight controller board
Arducopter A flight controller firmware software
ARTF Almost Ready to Fly An ARTF aircraft package usually includes everything you need to fly, but it requires simple assembly.
AUW All up weight The total weight of a copter including LiPo Battery and other necessary parts in order to take off
AUX Auxilary Additional switches/potentiometers/sliders in a radio transmitter
BARO Barometric Altimeter It measures altitude by using barometric pressure
BEC Battery Eliminator Circuit A voltage regulator found in some ESCs. Designed to provide constant 5V voltage for RC equipment such as Flight controller and radio receiver
BNF Bind and Fly A BNF plane, helicopter, or quadcopter requires only one extra thing to fly, a radio transmitter.
Bind The process of pairing radio transmitter and receiver when first setting them up to work together
Bootloader Special code stored in non-volatile memory in a microprocessor that can interface with a PC to download a user’s program.
Brushed Motor A type of motor that is commonly used in small multirotors, they are generally powered by 1S batteries, and weaker than brushless motors
Brushless Motor A type of electrical motor that is commonly used in multirotors. They have a wide range of voltage input, more durable and powerful than brushed motors. How to choose mini quad motors


Buzzer A very loud speaker commonly used with drones, for the purpose of low votlage alarm and lost model
CC3D CopterControl 3D A type of flight controller
Cell In mini quad, cell is normally refered to the nominal voltage level of a LiPo battery, each LiPo cell has a nominal voltage of 3.7V
CF Carbon Fiber
It can mean 2 things in quadcopter: carbon fibre, the material used in quadcopter frames; or Cleanflight, a flight controller firmware
Channel Video transmitter broadcast signals on a particular frequency, and this frequency is a channel, each VTX can support multiple channels; Channel can also refer to the different sticks and switches on a radio transmitter
COG or CG Center of Gravity The average location of the weight of a copter. It’s important to make sure the COG of your copter is right in the middle (or close enough)
Crius A type of flight controller board
CW / CCW Clockwise/Counter-CW Describing the rotation direction of motors or propellers
DD Direct Drive A type of prop designed to go straight on a motor shaft without a gear reduction.
Diversity Receiver A multiple receiver FPV system picks the strongest signal from multiple video receivers and antennas to display the best picture
DOF Degree of Freedom It give clues as to whats on the “IMU”. For example 6DOF = 3 axis Gyroscope (gyro) + 3 axis acc; 9DOF = 3 axis Gyroscope + 3 axis Accelerometer + 3 axis Magnetometer; 10DOF = same as 9DOF and adds a Barometric Altimeter
Drone An unmanned aircraft that is guided remotely by a pilot. For military use, these aircraft have weapons and/or surveillance gear. For personal/recreational use, these aircraft often have HD cameras. The term is popular in the media and can be misleading sometimes.
DShot Digital Shot A type of ESC protocol, what is DShot
DSM / DSM2 / DSMX These are the proprietary technology of an RC equipment maker, Spectrum, and DSM stands for “Digital Spectrum Modulation”.
DSSS Direct-Sequence Spread Spectrum DSM uses Direct-Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) modulation technique. As with other spread spectrum technologies, the transmitted signal takes up more bandwidth than the information signal that modulates the carrier or broadcast frequency. The name ‘spread spectrum’ comes from the fact that the carrier signals occur over the full bandwidth (spectrum) of a device’s transmitting frequency.
Dry Weight The weight of a multirotor including everything necessary to take off except the battery.
EEPROM Electonically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory A type of non-volatile memory used in computers and other electronic devices to store small amounts of data that must be saved when power is removed, e.g.,static calibration/reference tables. Unlike bytes in most other kinds of non-volatile memory, individual bytes in a traditional EEPROM can be independently read, erased, and re-written.
ELEV Elevator Also known as pitch
EMI Electromagnetic  Interference EMI is disturbance that affects an electrical circuit due to either electromagnetic induction or electromagnetic radiation emitted from an external source.
ESC Electronic Speed Control ESC is used to convert signal from Flight controller or radio receiver, and apply the right current to the  electric motors. It also usually includes a Battery Elimination Circuit (BEC), which provides power for the RC system and other onboard electronics.
FAA Federal Aviation Administration An United States Department of Transportation Agency, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of American civil aviation.
Failsafe A mechanism to minimize the damage to the multirotor, and nearby objects in case of system failure; what is failsafe
FC Flight Controller Flight Controller is the brain of your multirotor.
FET Field-effect transistor FET is a device which enables us to use one smaller electrical signal to control another bigger one.
Flow Flying fast and smoothly with style
FOV Field of View A measurement how much environment you can see through a camera lens. Usually measured in degrees.
FPV First Person View A technique that uses an onboard FPV camera and wireless connection, to allow a pilot on the ground to see a live stream video while flying, throught a FPV goggle or monitor.
FTDI Future Technology Devices International The name of the company that makes the chips. A standard to convert USB to serial communications. Available as a chip for boards that have a USB connector, or in a cable to connected to breakout pins.
FW Firmware A firmware is basically the software designed specifically for a piece of equipment.
GCS Ground Control Station Software used to monitor a Flight Controller Board. The OpenPilot GCS for example.
Gimbal I can mean two things: 1. camera stabilizer; 2. the stick controls in a radio transmitter
GIT A version control system for software developers.
GPS Global Positioning System Used to track movement or hold position at pre-defined coordinates
GND Ground Ground of a electrical circuit
Ground Effect Air turbulence from propellers bouncing off the ground when the copter is hovering at really low altitude
GYRO Gyroscope Provides the angular velocity around 3 axes of space in degrees. Assists with keeping a quadcopter level and facing the same direction.
HEXA Hexacopter A type of multicopter, that has 6 motors, no servos, all motors on same level.
HK Hobbyking A famous RC Vendor based in China but with EU, US, AU, RU warehouses as well.
I2C Inter-Integrated Circuit A serial bus that allows multiple low speed peripherals, such as sensors, to be connected to a microprocessor.
IMU Inertial Measurement Unit A Break Out Board containing sensors that reads and sends data to the flight controller
Jello Undesirable high frequency vibration in flight footage
JST-SH A type of Connector
Kalman Filter The algorithm used in Multicopter Flight controllers. It is primarily used to combine accelerometer and gyro data to provide an accurate description of aircraft attitude and movement in real time.
KK Kaptein Kuk Multicopter controller by Rolf Bakke
LC FILTER An LC Filer is a circuit that removes frequencies (noises) from a power supply and smooths / cleans it so the equipment being powered
LED Light Emitting Diode
LIPO Lithium Polymer Battery Aka LiPoly. Most used power source for RC Hobby these days because of its high energy storage density-to-weight.
LOS Line of Sight When you are flying your aircraft by watching your aircraft directly, you are flying LOS. Another way of flying is FPV.
LPF Low-pass Filter A technique that filters out high frequency signal
mAh milli-amp per hour An unit that measures the capacity of a LiPo battery
MAG Magnetometer An electronic compass – used to let our FC ( Flight Controller ) know which direction it is pointed in, compared to the Earth’s Magnetic field
MegaPirate a flight controller program software that copies Arducopter
Mode1 / Mode2 These are the different transmitter stick configurations: mode 1, throttle stick on the right; mode 2, throttle stick on the left (more widely used)
MTOW Maximum take-off weight
Multishot An ESC Protocol, what is multishot
MWC MultiWii Copter MultiWii is a general purpose software to control a multirotor RC model. It can use various sensors but was initially developed to support Nintendo Wii console gyroscopes and accelerometers
OCTO Octocopter A type of multicopter, that has 8 motors, no servos, all motors on same level.
Oneshot Oneshot125 A faster way of communication between FC and ESC.
OSD On Screen Display A piece of hardware that overlays flight data in text or graphical form over an existing live stream video.
P “Battery cells in parallel” For example, a LiPo battery of 4S2P, has two 4S batteries connected in parallel.
Payload What the drone can carry/lift, such as a camera, or package
PAL / NTSC These are video formats in FPV cameras and your video display.
PCB Printed Circuit Board Sillicone board with copper traces and components soldered on it. Most electronics in this hobby are using PCB, such FC, VTX, TX, RX….
PDB Power distribution board A board designed to carry high current, it’s built with copper traces used to connect various electronic components such as LiPo battery, ESCs, Video transmitter, LEDs etc
PID Proportional Integral Derivative The three parameters that you can adjust to change the copter’s flight performance. In theory PID is a control loop that attempts to minimize the difference between a measured process value and its desired value by adjusting the control input of a process.
PNP Plug and Play A PNP quadcopter kit usually comes without the receiver, transmitter, battery and FPV Goggles.
PPM SUM (CPPM) Pulse Position Modulation A way of sending sequence of multiple signals down one signal wire
Prop Propeller Short for propeller
Punch Sudden burst of thrust
PWM Pulse Width Modulation The square-wave signals used in RC control to drive servos and speed controllers.
Quad Quadcopter Short for quadcopter, which is a type of multicopter that has 4 motors on the same level
Rate Rate changes how fast your copter rotates with the sticks, what is rate
Rate Mode A flight mode that only use gyro sesnor, also called manual mode. What is rate mode
RC Radio Control The foundation of our hobby, it’s also used to refer to the hobby as a whole, radio controlled cars, multirotor, planes boats and more.
RCG RCGroups A very popular RC forum
Revo Revolution The 3rd generation of OpenPilot Controllers
RF Radio Frequency Common frequency bands RC hobby use are 5.8gHz, 2.4gHz, 1.2gHz, 433mHz, 900mHz Not all bands are available in all countries, and some require a HAM (Amateur Radio Operator) license.
RPM Revolutions Per Minute the number of times a motor shaft  rotates a full cycle in 60 seconds
RSSI Received Signal Strength Indication RSSI is a measurement of how good your radio signal is.
RTF Ready to Fly A multicopter that’s sold with everything you will need in order to fly right out of the box.
RTH Return to Home A GPS feature that when enabled, it returns the aircraft to the “home” position where it took off.
RTL Return To Launch Same as RTH.
RUD Rudder Also known as yaw
RX Radio Receiver A device that receives commands from our radio Transmitter, and sends them directly to the servos or to the Flight Controller.
S Cell Count – “Cells connected in series” For example, a 4S LiPo is a LiPo battery with 4 cells connected in series, nominal voltage is 14.8V (4×3.7).
SBUS SBUS is a type of serial communication protocols, shared by Futaba and FrSky, that supports up to 18 channels using only one signal cable. Check out this post about different radio signal
SF Slow fly A type of propellers that are designed to go on a motor using a gear reduction to lower prop speed
SimonK A famous ESC firmware optimized for multirotors
SMA and RP-SMA Sub-Miniature Version A – Reverse Polarity SMA Different Connectors for FPV gear.
TAER1234 A type of radio channel mapping, it means mapping throttle as channel 1, Aileron as channel 2, Elevator as channel 3, and Rudder as channel 4
Telemetry A feature that allows you to receive real time flight data from the aircraft back to you; It’s commonly seen in radio TX and RX, there are also standalone devices for telemetry
Throttle Controls on your radio transmitter, it changes the speed of the motors
Thrust The force generated by the propellers and motor, measured in gram
TOW Take off weight Similar to AUW.
TRI Tricopter A type of multicopter that has 3 motors,  one servo for yaw, all motors on same level
TVL TV Line TVL (TV Lines) is basically a measure of how good the FPV camera resolution is. The number is based on how many alternating black and white lines can be displayed in its image horizontally.
TX Transmitter A device that sends our commands to the Receiver, controlled by the pilot.
UART Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter Serial communication port. A piece of computer hardware that translates data between parallel and serial form.
UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Aircraft without a human pilot onboard. Control is provided by an onboard computer, remote control or combination of both.
UBEC Universal Battery Elimination Circuit a DC voltage regulator
Vcc Vcc Positive power supply input
VRX Video Receiver A device that receives video signal from our video Transmitter, and display the live footage on our FPV goggle or screen.
V-tail A type of multicopter that has 4 motors, 2 tail motors form a V shape, has no servo
VTOL Vertical take off and landing
VTX Video Transmitter A device that sends video signal to  our video receiver, video captured from a on-board camera. How to choose VTX
WOT Wide Open Throttle 100% throttle
X8 A type of multicopter that has 8 motors and of a shape of X,  4 motors on top, 4 motors at bottom, no servo
XT60 A type of battery connector type
Y4 A type of multicopter that has 4 motors, 2 tail motors one on top of ther other, it looks like a tricopter but has no servo
Y6 A type of multicopter that has 6 motors and of a shape of Y,  3 motors on top, 3 motors at bottom, no servo
Yaw Flight term used to describe the rotation of a drone around it’s center axis. Controls which direction the quadcopter is facing.

16 thoughts on “FPV Quadcopter Acronyms, Terminology, Glossary

  1. Nobody In Particular

    One of the best list’s i’ve seen, Thank you. Let’s make it better with A few more ACRONYMS If I may suggest.
    1. CW/CCW- ClockWise / Counter ClockWise rotation.

    2.Add to Diversity: To read
    Diversity Tracking- An FPV setup that uses a dual receiver system that picks between multiple
    antennas to display the best picture.

    3. FW- Firmware, software designed specifically for a piece of equipment.

    4. LED- Light Emitting Diode.

    5. Mode 1- Tx throttle position – stick on the right.
    6. Mode 2- Tx throttle position – stick on the left (the more widely used configuration).
    7. MTOW- Maximum Take Off Weight.
    8. (n)S count- Series on a LiPo battery represents the number of cells that are connected in
    series. For example, a 3S LiPo has 3 cells connected in series. Each cell generally has around
    4V, so a 3S would have around 12V.
    9. Pal / NTSC- Both are video formats.
    10. PNP- Plug and Play.
    11. Polarization- A subject related to FPV antennas.
    12.RTF- Ready To Fly. A multicopter that’s sold with a radio transmitter. It can be flown right out
    of the box.
    13. TOW- Take Off Weight.

    14. VTOL- Vertical take off and landing.

    14. XT-60- battery connector type.
    Hope these help,

  2. Claudio Costerni

    Hi Oscar,

    nice work here, it helps a lot, thanks.
    I have found a typo:

    SimonK A famous ESC firmware optomised for multirotors

  3. Edwin Brandt

    Quadcopter Acronyms – Terminology – Glossary – Vocabulary – Drone Multirotors RC
    Ground Effect :- The effect ( back Wash or impact induced ) on the flight characteristics of the crafts own Propellers on Air induced BOUNCE when hovering or at the Take-Off & Landing of Craft from surounding Solid Obstacles ( i.e. Ground , Walls etc. ) usualy seen as Dust Cloud .

    Ermmm yea i think thats what i mean , I saw it missing so im kinda being presumtuious

    1. robert

      I am in same position low blow. I’m so happy i finally found this info. It would have been expensive to learn by experimentation, which is what I had been doing.


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