Thinking about building a 1S brushless whoop and you are not sure which AIO flight controller to use? I want to show you a couple FC’s which I think are viable choices and explain what I am looking for in my 1S flight controllers.
Obviously there is no ONE perfect flight controller, otherwise this article would be pretty short. It depends on what you are looking for, and this might be different for everyone. I will show you what I look for and how my decision process looks like.
What to look for
My number one priority is always reliability. I crash my whoops probably more than all my other quads added together. So I need something that works reliably even after dozens of crashes.
Here I use my own data - aka: what worked for me in the past, but I also use the Hive-mind: what has been working for other people in the multitude of facebook groups I frequent and my friends in the hobby.
Meaning there will be certain brands I gravitate towards more than others.
Especially with 1S whoops, weight is super important. The lighter it can get, the better - even if I do not get all the features I wish for. For example: I will sacrifice a blackbox without hesitation if it means that the flight controller is a bit lighter.
I want as many features as possible integrated on the flight controller. I am not going for long range with my 1S whoops, so if the flight controller has an integrated SPI receiver that is a big plus for me.
Does it have a blackbox - great, I’ll take that.
Does it come with an integrated video transmitter? This might save me another couple of grams in the long run, definitely something to consider.
High integration also has its downsides, when one component breaks, you have to swap the whole board. Also the more chips you cram onto one board, the hotter it might run.
With the above in mind, I would like to present a couple of options that will fit those criteria (obviously - those are not the only options, but the ones that fit the criteria the closest).
All of the listed flight controllers are capable of pushing 5A per motor continuously. Also all of them come with built in OSD and have an F4 MCU - this is all pretty standard for 2020.
Stay away from flight controllers with an F3 processor since they are no longer supported by Betaflight and I still see them popping up from time to time.
BetaFPV F4 1S V2.2
Disclaimer: Unfortunately this flight controller has been discontinued and Betaflight is currently not offering anything that would be a drop in replacement for this great flight controller. I will leave this one here as a bench mark and will replace it as soon as I can find something that is an adequate replacement.
I have reviewed this one before. It is important that you get the latest version (V2.2) of this flight controller, since the earlier versions are lacking features (I highly doubt that you will actually find the old ones nowadays anyway).
The flight controller weighs in at just 2.7g (4.1g with PH2.0 battery lead). It comes with motor plugs soldered on, which might be a good thing if you are looking for plug and play, but might not be a good thing if you are going for minimum weight. That being said the plugs can rather easily be de-soldered.
The BetaFPV F4 1S is available with different receiver options (Flysky, Frsky, DSMX, Futaba) or even without receiver if this is what you prefer.
For me, this flight controller has been very reliable - if it has been working from the start. Unfortunately one of mine was DOA.
It comes pre-soldered with BetaFPV’s proprietary BT2.0 battery connector, but can be swapped to a regular (preferably solid pin), PH2.0 connector.
RPM filtering with JESC can be utilized on this board.
One huge positive is, that you can get most BetaFPV products on Amazon, so if you want it quickly - this is your best option
iFlight SusseX Whoop 1S
The iFlight SusseX Whoop 1S board is a very interesting option since it is flight, controller, ESC and VTX in one. Although the video transmitter is not integrated on the flight controller itself, but rather a board you plug into the flight controller.
This is also the “stack” that comes with the iFlight Alpha A65 whoop, which is how I first got into contact with this board.
Unfortunately (at least for me) this flight controller does not have an integrated receiver, so you need to provide your own.
The included VTX is switchable between 25 and 50mW - which in my opinion is more than enough for your whoop needs. The VTX is connected via a through hole pin header, minimizing the risk of pads ripping off.
This one is also capable of pushing 5A continuous to each motor. As with the BetaFPV flight controller, this one also has the motor plugs pre-soldered, so if you want to save the maximum weight you have to de-solder them yourself.
RPM filtering with JESC can be utilized on this board und mine even came with Jazz Mavericks RPM filter firmware pre-flashed.
A PH2.0 connector is included (unfortunately only with rolled pins) and you also get a linear antenna.
The whole “stack” weighs in at just 5.55g, this is flight controller, battery lead, VTX and antenna.
Eachine Superbee F4
Instead of motor plugs, this one comes with generous pads to solder the motor wires to. The rest of the pads is unfortunately not as generous, so intermediate soldering skills are required should you decide to go with this board.
This flight controller also comes with different SPI receiver options (Flysky, Frsky D8) or without receiver at all.
Same as the previous ones, this one is also capable of pushing 5A continuous to each motor.
It weighs in at 2.8g without the battery lead (3.8g with PH2.0 battery lead). The suberbee comes with 2 different battery leads - one to plug in two, 1S batteries in series and one to attach a single 1S battery - and to my surprise this one is a solid pin PH2.0 connector.
RPM filtering with JESC can be utilized on this board.
Happymodel Diamond F4
This one is one the lightest, most integrated flight controllers of them all. Flight controller, ESC, receiver and video transmitter - all on one board and weighing in at just 3.5g.
The video transmitter can output 25 or 200mW and you can get this with a Flysky or FrSky SPI receiver.
Like all the others, RPM filtering can be utilized on this board, and also has a very low deadtime thus a great potential for additional flight time gain with 48kHz firmware. The ESC’s are also capable of continuously pushing 5A to the motors
This is the same flight controller that comes with the Moblite7.
|BetaFPV F4 1S V2.2||5||Yes||No||4.1g||$39.99|
|Eachine Superbee F4||5||Yes||No||3.8g||$42.99|
|iFlight SusseX Whoop 1S||30||No||Yes||5.55g||$39.99|
|Happymodel Diamond F4||5||Yes||Yes||3.5g||$52.99|
Deadtime is ESC deadtime - lower is better and can increase flight time drastically - up to 30% when using 48kHz JESC firmware.
Weight includes the maximum weight of the board, including battery lead, and antennas where applicable.
As mentioned in the introduction, there is no one “best” flight controller, it depends on what you want and which price you are willing to pay.
If you want to run your own receiver anyway, I would highly recommend the iFlight SusseX Whoop 1S-with-VTX-for-FPV-Whoop-iFlight-Alpha-A65-p-1692596.html) flight controller - I have this combo now in two of my whoops and it has been holding up very reliably for me.
If you want a reliable 1S flight controller with integrated SPI receiver I would go with the BetaFPV F4 1S or Eachine Superbee F4-with-VTX-for-FPV-Whoop-iFlight-Alpha-A65-p-1692596.html) flight controller.
Personally I have more builds with the BetaFPV F4 1S flight controller simply because I do not care too much for direct soldering the wires, but I know people - especially running higher KV motors - feel strongly about that and tend to prefer to direct solder their wires.
If you are willing to sacrifice reliability (Happymodel has always been a bit hit or miss for me) and go with the lightest and highest integrated option, try out the Happymodel Diamond F4.
Let me know if I missed one, that you think was worth mentioning it here.
Chris is a Vienna based software developer. In his spare time he enjoys reviewing tech gear, ripping quads of all sizes and making stuff.
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