How to Setup iNav on an FPV Drone – Converting From Betaflight

by Oscar
Setup Inav Fpv Drone Convert From Betaflight

In this tutorial, I will show you how to install iNav on your Betaflight FPV drone. I’ll guide you through each tab in the iNav Configurator, setting it up from scratch for your first flight.

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What’s iNav?

Like Betaflight, iNav is flight controller firmware, primarily focused on GPS navigation and autonomous flight features. For a more comprehensive overview, check out our FC firmware guide: https://oscarliang.com/fc-firmware/#iNav

Why Put iNav on Quads?

While we typically recommend Betaflight for FPV drones (quads), iNav offers certain advantages worth considering. iNav stands out for its advanced GPS flight modes, far surpassing Betaflight’s capabilities. Not only it supports GPS return-to-home functionalities, but also position hold and autonomous waypoint missions.

Download iNav Configurator

Download the latest iNav Configurator here: https://github.com/iNavFlight/inav-configurator/releases

Checking iNav Compatibility

Before proceeding, verify if your flight controller is compatible with iNav – if it actually has a firmware target in iNav. If unsure of your flight controller brand/model, you can identify it in Betaflight following this guide: https://oscarliang.com/identify-betaflight-firmware-target/

In the iNav Configurator, on the Firmware Flasher page, search for your FC’s firmware target. If it’s listed, congratulations, you can proceed to the next step. If not compatible, consider getting a new FC, such as the Speedybee F405 V4 – an affordable, feature-rich option ideal for an iNav drone build.

Inav Configurator Setup Fpv Drone Flash Fc Compatible List

Saving Your Betaflight Configuration

It’s crucial to save your Betaflight configuration before flashing iNav. If unfamiliar with backing up your Betaflight FC, check out my guide here: https://oscarliang.com/backup-restore-betaflight-config/

Also, take screenshots of essential Betaflight pages, such as the Ports, Configuration, Tuning (including PID, rates, and filter settings), Receiver configuration, OSD layout, Modes, and ESC protocol. These will come in handy when setting up iNav.

If you wish to restore Betaflight, simply flash Betaflight firmware on this FC again (using the version specified in the preset text file), and load the preset file in the Preset tab.

Flashing iNav

Select the firmware target for your FC. Note that the Auto-select button may not work if your FC is still running Betaflight.

Enable “Full chip erase” and leave the other options unchecked.

Inav Configurator Setup Fpv Drone Flash Fc Firmware

Default Values

After installing iNav, you’ll be prompted to choose a preset that most closely matches your aircraft, such as a 3-inch, 5-inch, or 7-inch quad.

Inav Configurator Setup Fpv Drone Default Values

Setup Tab

In the first page – Setup, you can view the status of your drone.

Inav Configurator 7.1 Setup Fpv Drone Setup

Sensors

At the very top of the iNav Configurator, you’ll see an array of blue icons representing the sensors. These icons light up when the sensors are configured and functioning correctly, and they are not turned on, it means the sensor is not configured or is missing from your setup.

The Gyro and Accel sensors should always be on. If your flight controller (FC) has a barometer, the Baro icon should also light up. Other common sensors for FPV drones include GPS and Mag (magnetometer – compass).

Pre-arming Checks

On the right-hand panel, you’ll find the Pre-arm checks. All the listed items should display green ticks in order to arm the quad.

If any of these items show a red cross, don’t worry—we will guide you through the setup in this tutorial. For instance, if you have enabled GPS but don’t have a lock, “Navigation is safe” will show a red cross, which is common indoors. Some flight controllers can power up the GPS with just the USB connection, but others might require the battery to be plugged in, so be aware.

Board Orientation

Hold the drone in your hand, point the camera towards the computer screen, and click the “Reset Z-Axis” button. Now move the drone around and see if the 3D model moves exactly as you do.

Troubleshooting:
  • If the 3D model is inverted (upside down), and you have a red cross next to “UAV is levelled” in pre-arming checks, you can fix this in the board alignment tool, e.g., enter 180 in roll.
  • If the drone moves in the opposite direction because the FC is rotated, you can also correct this in the board alignment tool, e.g., enter 180 in yaw.

Calibration Tab

Here we will calibrate the accelerometer.

Inav Configurator 7.1 Setup Fpv Drone Accelerometer Calibration

Place the drone on a level surface and go through the 6-step calibration. Note that for every step, you need to click the “Calibrate Accelerometer” button.

It might seem a bit complicated at first, but don’t be afraid to start over if needed. The calibration doesn’t have to be super precise—just do your best to position the quad in each intended position.

Mixer Tab

Normally, you shouldn’t need to change anything here since the “Default Values” should have applied these settings for you. However, it’s good practice to double-check.

  • Platform: “Multirotor”.
  • Mixer preset: “Quad X”.

Inav Configurator 7.1 Setup Fpv Drone Mixer

If you want to run reverse motor direction (props out), select “Reversed motor direction / Props-out configuration”.

Click Save and Reboot.

Outputs Tab

This tab functions similarly to the Motors tab in Betaflight.

Note that motor outputs are disabled by default in iNav, a safety feature that differs from Betaflight. Motors WILL NOT work until you manually enable the “Enable motor and servo output” option.

Inav Configurator 7.1 Setup Fpv Drone Outputs

In the Outputs tab, select DShot300 as the ESC protocol.

I personally set a lower Motor Idle Power % for 5-inch quads to match my Betaflight settings, e.g., 5%. The default in iNav is a bit too high, which is more suited for smaller drones with lower power.

Click Save and Reboot. Power cycle the FC by unplugging both the USB cable and battery.

Warning: Ensure to remove propellers before proceeding to the next step.

Now, test the motors using the sliders in the Outputs tab to check if they spin, and if they spin in the correct direction.

Inav Configurator 7.1 Setup Fpv Drone Outputs Test Motors

Troubleshoot: What if the motor order is wrong?

Unlike Betaflight, iNav does not support resource remapping. To change motor order, you can adjust settings in the Mixer tab. Remember, after making changes, just hit Save and Reboot—there’s no need to click LOAD and APPLY. After changing the motor order in the Mixer, it won’t reflect in the outputs tab, but you should conduct a test hover to make sure it works correctly.

Ports Tab

Setting up ports in iNav should feel familiar to those used to Betaflight. If you’ve taken screenshots from Betaflight, you can simply replicate the setup here.

Inav Configurator 7.1 Setup Fpv Drone Ports Uart Serial

A slight inconvenience in iNav is that if you provide an invalid configuration, it resets your entire ports tab without telling you what’s causing the issue. If this happens, you may need to troubleshoot each UART individually. A notable difference from Betaflight is that you must disable MSP data when you have MSP DisplayPort selected.

In the example screenshot above, I set up the following peripherals:

  • Serial RX (ExpressLRS receiver)
  • GPS
  • MSP Display Port for DJI/Walksnail VTX (you must disable MSP Data)

Configuration Tab

In the Configuration tab, you can select the sensors connected to the flight controller, such as GPS, compass, barometer, optical flow sensor, etc.

Here, you can also calibrate the current/voltage sensor.

Receiver Tab

For ExpressLRS or Crossfire receivers, select SERIAL as the receiver type, and CRSF as the receiver provider. Click Save and Reboot.

Now, you can test the radio link to ensure the channel values correctly respond to your radio stick movements. If the channel order is wrong, try a different channel map (what’s channel map?).

Inav Configurator 7.1 Setup Fpv Drone Receiver

I recommend setting “Use automatic RC smoothing” to ON, then adjusting the auto smoothing factor to fine-tune response to stick movements. This is particularly beneficial for radio links with dynamic refresh rates, such as ExpressLRS and Crossfire.

To adjust the feel, increase the auto smoothing factor value for smoother control (ideal for cruising and cinematic flying), or decrease it for a more direct feeling (ideal for racing). A factor of 30 strikes a good balance between smoothness and responsiveness.

With new filtering in place, the default RC deadband can be safely reduced. I suggest setting this value to 2 for both RC and Yaw deadbands. While setting it to zero offers the most direct response, I generally don’t recommend this as some jitters are inevitable, whether from the hardware or shaky human hands. For old and jittery gimbals, you might prefer to stick with the default value of 5.

GPS Tab

Coming soon.

Inav Configurator 7.1 Setup Fpv Drone Gps

Failsafe Tab

Coming soon.

PID Tuning Tab

Detailed PID and filter tuning will be addressed in a separate tutorial as I want to keep this tutorial as simple as possible just focusing on the transition from Betaflight to iNav. For now, we can leave PID settings at their default.

However, we will adjust the Rates to our preference.

Inav Configurator 7.1 Setup Fpv Drone Rates

The default Rates in iNav seem designed for cruising and long-range drones, like 7-inch models, as I found them somewhat slow for freestyle flying. If unsure, try the stock settings first and go from there. It would be convenient if iNav adopted a similar Rates system to Betaflight, but for now, it’s a matter of trial and error.

Max roll/pitch angles are limits used in GPS Navigation mode and Angle/Horizon modes; they determine how fast the drone can move. The default setting should be fine, but you can increase it to 45 degrees for flying faster (to counter wind) in these modes. If unsure, leave them at default; you can always adjust later.

Advanced Tuning Tab

Like PID tuning, this deserves a separate blog post. For the time being, we will stick with default settings.

Modes Tab

The Modes tab in iNav closely resembles that of Betaflight, but it uses CH5, CH6, etc., instead of AUX1, AUX2. It’s all quite straightforward.

Inav Configurator 7.1 Setup Fpv Drone Modes

If using ExpressLRS receiver, be sure to assign CH5 to ARM, as this is the default channel for arming.

Useful modes in iNav for an FPV drone include Angle mode, Turtle mode, Beeper. And if your drone is equipped with GPS, Nav Position Hold and Nav Return to Home are also very important.

OSD

Under Video Format, select your preferred video system. Enable any elements you desire and arrange them as in Betaflight.

Inav Configurator 7.1 Setup Fpv Drone Osd

Conclusion

Converting a Betaflight FPV drone to iNav is straightforward but requires thorough preparation and an understanding of your configuration and drone setup. The default value in iNav offer a solid foundation, needing only a few personal adjustments before you can take the drone for its first flight. I am working on a few more tutorials on iNav, including its GPS features and PID/Filter tuning, stay tuned.

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4 comments

Vladimir 29th April 2024 - 5:08 pm

help with engine settings. are not shown in outputs. All the time when I reassign the engine is changed between 2 -4 and 1 -3.

Reply
Tom Ferguson 10th April 2024 - 12:39 am

I have the same issue that Mark commented on. I have the motor order correct but some have the wrong direction. INAV 7 Axisflying7pro.

Reply
Mark 8th April 2024 - 11:20 am

Just setting up inav for the first time.. first self buid too thanks to your guide. The motor order is correct but the direction is wrong in all cases. Is there a way to change motor direction without physical change connections?
Thanks

Reply
Oscar 9th April 2024 - 4:34 pm

Yes you can do that in BLHeliSuite or swap two of the 3 motor wires: https://oscarliang.com/change-motor-spin-direction-quadcopter/

Reply