How to set up Betaflight modes

In this article you will learn how to set up your modes in Betaflight. I will also briefly explain what each mode does and how you can combine or link different modes.

Modes basically dictate which switch on your transmitter triggers a specific action within Betaflight. First make sure that your receiver is set up and bound to your transmitter.

To set up your Modes go to the Modes tab in the Betaflight Configurator. Which modes will be available depends on your version of Betaflight and the Configurator.

I am using Betaflight 4.0.3 and Betaflight configurator 10.5.1 in this article. This is the latest as of July 2019 and I will try to keep this article up to date with future improvements.

  1. Preface
  2. Recommended mode setup
    1. Recommendation for races
  3. Linking modes
  4. Modes Overview

Preface

I like to keep the mode settings the same on all my quadcopters, this just makes life easier for me - I simply know where everything is, not matter which model I am using.

The first step is to select a mode and add a range. After clicking the Add Range button you have to decide which AUX channel you want to assign to trigger the mode. You can also leave it in AUTO mode and flip the switch you want to use on your transmitter, the AUX channel is then selected automatically.

The second step is to set the range at which the mode is triggered: Flip your switch and adjust the range slider so that the indicator is covered by the range slider. Make sure that it extends a little bit to the left and right:

Flip the switch through all its positions and make sure that the range only covers the positions you actually want the mode to trigger at.

You can add as many AUX channels as you want to trigger a mode - this allows you to trigger different modes with the same AUX channel or use multiple AUX channels to trigger one mode.

More complex setups are also possible where you can link multiple AUX channels to activate modes.

If you are just starting out, those are my personal recommendations. You can use this as a starting point to find a configuration that suits your needs.

I like to keep it simple, I know other people prefer more complicated setups and I want to encourage you to play around with the mode setup so you find something that fits your needs.

As you might know, I am a big fan of the Taranis X-Lite, and I want to use it to visualize my modes setup. You can see the switches in their default positions, I also added labels so you can see which switches map to which AUX channel:

The two lower switches are two position switches, the two switches on the top are three position switches. I do not use the wheels to control modes, but if you want, you can use them too.

The only mode you really have to set up is ARM, all other modes are optional.

Arm

AUX1 is mapped to ARM. When I flip the switch down my copter is armed.

ANGLE and Acro

AUX2 is mapped to ANGLE mode. In my default switch position angle is disabled and I am in acro mode, as soon as I flip the switch down I enable angle mode. This helped me to recover from some sketchy situations.

If you are just starting out with angle mode, I would recommend setting the default of AUX2 to have angle mode active, if you want to try acro mode, you simply flip the switch.

FLIP OVER AFTER CRASH and BEEPER

AUX3 is mapped to two different Modes. In its center and top position it is mapped to enable the BEEPER. Additionally the top position is mapped to enable FLIP OVER AFTER CRASH mode.

If you want to use FLIP OVER AFTER CRASH make sure to set the angel in the configuration tab to 180 degrees. This will allow you to arm from every position - usually after flipping you are not 100% straight.

To actually flip after crash those are the steps you have to follow:

  1. Disarm copter
  2. Enable Flip over after crash switch
  3. Arm copter
  4. Roll or Pitch in the direction you want to flip to
  5. Disarm copter
  6. Disable Flip over after crash switch
  7. Arm copter - you are now ready for take off

OSD DISABLE SW

AUX4 is mapped to the OSD DISABLE SW. In its default position in is disabled, when I flip the switch to its center or top position it is enabled and will hide the OSD.

I like to use this mode on my non HD copters if I want to capture clean DVR footage without the OSD overlay

Recommendations for races

If you are participating in races I would suggest to set up the following modes:

VTX PIT MODE

Instead of using AUX2 to switch between angle and acro I would enable VTX PIT MODE by default. This way you can make sure that you don’t knock anyone out of the air when you power up your quadcopter at a race.

Your video transmitter has to support pit mode in order for this to work.

LAUNCH CONTROL

Instead of using AUX4 to disable the OSD I would set up LAUNCH CONTROL on this switch.

Launch control allows you to pitch forward and then release the sticks with the quad holding position for the race start.

The procedure is as follows:

  1. Enabled Launch Control mode
  2. Arm
  3. Leave throttle at minimum
  4. Pitch quad forward to desired angle
  5. Recenter sticks
  6. Advance throttle to launch
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Linking modes

Linking modes allows you to trigger a second mode while another mode is triggered.

This allows you to for example enable the beeper when you are in flip over after crash mode. To realize this you would simply click Add Link in the BEEPER mode box and select FLIP OVER AFTER CRASH from the drop down. Now every time you are in flip over after crash mode, your beeper will go off too.

Linking modes gives you another layer of adjustments, you can set up all kind if intricate links.

When adding multiple links you also have to set the relation of a link, this allows you to decide if both conditions have to be true, or one of them has to be true to trigger the mode.

Modes overview

In this section I want to briefly explain what each mode is used for. You will most likely not use most of them, but it is good to know which options you have available.

Some modes are only available if specific settings are made in the configuration tab or if specific sensors are available.

ACRO TRAINER

Limit angle in acro mode. This allows you to get slowly used to acro mode by limiting the angle you can pitch/roll.

AIR MODE

Enable airmode. Airmode makes sure that you do not fall out of the sky, even if you completely lower your throttle while you are in the air. It sometimes makes it hard to land, that is why some people prefer to have it on a switch.

Only available if air-mode is not permanently enabled in the Configuration tab.

ANGLE

Enables stabilized mode, with no stick input, the quadcopter returns to its neutral position and should simply hover, given that there is the right amount of throttle input.

ANTI GRAVITY

Enable anti gravity.

Only available if ANTI_GRAVITY is not permanently enabled in the Configuration tab.

ARM (Mandatory)

Arms the quadcopter by enabling the motors so that it is ready for take off. This is actually the only mode you need to have set up in order to fly your quadcopter.

BEEPER

Enables the on board buzzer or DSHOT beacon if enabled in the Configuration tab. Helps you with locating your crashed quadcopter. Especially useful when you are flying over high grass where your crashed quadcopter can not easily be seen.

BEEP GPS SATELLITE COUNT

Use a number of beeps to indicate the number of GPS satellites found.

Only available when GPS module is present and configured properly.

BLACKBOX

Activate blackbox logging. This is useful if you have limit space in your blackbox and only want to log specific flights.

BLACKBOX ERASE

Erase all saved blackbox logs, this can take quite some time.

CALIB

Start in flight accelerometer calibration.

Only available if INFLIGHT_ACC_CAL is enabled in the Configuration tab.

CAMERA CONTROL 1-3

Control function 1 through 3 of the FPV camera if supported by camera.

CAMSTAB

Enable camera stabilization. This is only useful if you have a gimbal on board for your HD camera.

Only available if SERVO_TILT is enabled in the Configuratoin tab.

DISABLE VTX CONTROL

In case you want to set your VTX settings via button on the transmitter instead of the Smart Audio settings being applied.

DISABLE / SWITCH 3D

Disables 3D mode.

Only available if 3D mode is enabled in the Configuration Tab.

FAILSAFE

Manually enter failsafe stage 2. This can be help testing your fail-safe settings.

FLIP OVER AFTER CRASH

Allows you to flip over after a crash.

This option is only available when one of the DSHOT protocols or PROSHOT is set as Motor protocol in the Configuration tab.

FPV ANGLE MIX

Apply yaw rotation relative to a FPV camera mounted at a preset angle.

GPS RESCUE

Also called return to home, only available when a GPS module is present. Quadcopter will attempt to return to the GPS coordinates it started from.

Only available if GPS module is present and configured properly.

HEADADJ

Sets a new yaw origin - this is used together with Headfree mode.

HEADFREE

When enabled, yaw has no effect on pitch and roll, this is sometimes used by line of sight pilots.

HORIZON

Horizon mode is stabilized mode but the quadcopter will perform like in Rate mode when the sticks reach the end of their travel.

I would not recommend using this mode at all, since it

LAUNCH CONTROL

Adds a race start assistance system that allows you to pitch forward and then release the sticks with the quad holding position for the race start.

The procedure is as follows:

  1. Enabled Launch Control mode
  2. Arm
  3. Leave throttle at minimum
  4. Pitch quad forward to desired angle
  5. Recenter sticks
  6. Advance throttle to launch

LEDLOW

Disable LED strip.

Only available when LED_STRIP feature is enabled in the Configuration tab.

MAG

Enables heading lock by locking your flying direction to the direction you are currently moving in.

Only available when the flight controller has a magnetometer.

OSD DISABLE SW

Disables the OSD (On Screen Display). Great if you want to have clean DVR footage.

PARALYZE

Disable the quadcopter until it is power-cycled. This will prevent the copter from arming again or doing anything for that matter. You need to power cycle the quadcopter to disable this mode.

PREARM

Also sometimes called two stage arm. This mode has to be enabled before you can actually arm the copter. Some people prefer having to flip two switches before the copter is actually armed.

TELEMETRY

Enables telemetry transmission to the receiver.

Only available if telemetry is not permanently enabled in the Configuration tab.

VTX PIT MODE

If your video transmitter supports this function and is set up properly, this mode will enable pit mode and thus disable video transmission. Great for races.

Sources:

Chris is a Vienna based software developer. In his spare time he enjoys reviewing tech gear, ripping quads of all sizes and making stuff.

Learn more about Chris, the gear he uses and follom him on social media:

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