BetaFPV 20A AIO Flight-controller with Blackbox

I have been asking BetaFPV for quite some time for an AIO with blackbox - obviously I was not the only one.

This toothpick sized flight-controller comes with 20A ESC’s and 8MB flash for blackbox logging. But the blackbox is not its only selling point. Apart from that it also comes with three full UARTS. Since it is tootphick sized, it will unfortunately not fit into most whoop frames.


CAUTION: be aware that there is a V2 and a V3 of this board - the V2 only has a single UART and no blackbox, so make sure that you get the V3 if you want those features. On BetaFPV’s official site they only sell the V3 anymore, but your re-seller might still sell the V2 - just be aware of that.

  1. Overview
  2. UARTS
  3. Layout
  4. Motors
  5. Blackbox
  6. Improvements
  7. Conclusion

Overview

Apart from the flight-controller itself, you will find all the needed mounting hardware in the box: a couple of screws, nuts and rubber grommets. BetaFPV also provides the motor connectors, should you choose to solder them instead of directly soldering the motor wires to the flight-controller.

The flight-controller comes flashed with the rather dated Betaflight version 4.1.1 (target: BETAFPVF411) - I would highly recommend upgrading it to something more up to date.

UARTS

What do I need 3 UART’s for - you ask? Well one of them you will use for your receiver. And you can basically attach any receiver to this board, it supplies 3.3V and 5V. The recommendation for the receiver is to use UART 2 since RX 2 is available as an inverted input, that is where you would attach your SBUS compatible receiver like R-XSR, XM+ or DJI HDL to.

On an analog system you will use one additional other UART for SmartAudio.

On digital systems you can easily attach your DJI HD system to it, no matter if full sized, Caddx Vista or Nebula.

In both cases you are left with one more UART - this can be used to attach a GPS module for GPS rescue. Or any other peripheral you would like to use.

Layout

All the solder pads are on the edge of the board, which makes them easily accessible. The motor pads are nice and chunky, you can either directly solder the motors to the pads or use the included (but not pre-soldered) motor connectors instead (if you want your motors to be plug and play). The motor pads are provisioned on both sides of the board.

The rest of the pads are a bit smaller and the silk screen is a bit hard to read on some of them. Also they are only available on one side of the board.

The power connections are on the back of the board and the board comes provisioned with an XT30 pigtail which has a capacitor attached to it.

Motors

The product page states that you can use motors up to a size of 1505 with this board, but this will of course depend on your motor and prop combination, as long as you draw less than 20A per motor, you are good to go.

ESC’s

The ESC’s are BLHELI_S ESC’s with a rather low dead-time of 25. Using BB21 MCU’s you can flash JESC onto them and thus enable RPM filtering.

The exact flashed version is BLHELIS-G-H-25 (16.7).

Blackbox

The blackbox is one of the main features of this board. It comes with 8MB flash, allowing you to record the metrics of a couple of flights to analyze them later. This will massively help you in improving your tune by analyzing the logs with - for example - Blackbox Explorer.

If you are a person that is generally happy with the stock settings, this might not be interesting for you, but if you want to get the most out of your tune, you will definitely love this feature.

Improvements

I would really love to see a blackbox version of BetaFPV’s 1S flight controller, but this is not really an improvement for this product.

The silk screen is a bit hard to read, at least on some of the pads. I would also love to see conformal coating applied to those parts of the board that you do not need to solder onto.

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Conclusion

If you are interested in building a toothpick sized quadcopter or anything in that size class (2-4”) this AIO is surely a great choice: Nicely positioned, mostly spacious pads to solder onto, lots of UART’s and a blackbox.

The production quality is very high - nice soldering and placement of the components.

With a price tag of $62.99 it certainly is not your cheapest choice, but the blackbox functionality is totally worth it - at least if you are chasing the perfect tune.

Also if you want to use a GPS module and do not want to sacrifice SmartAudio for it, this flight-controller is a great choice.

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 follow him on social media:

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