How do I test my new Flight Controller? (and why it's important)

How do I test my new Flight Controller? (and why it's important)

Why you should test your FC before soldering

So, you've just received a brand new, shiny, flight controller. Awesome! You're probably eager to get it installed and get up in the air, but hold your horses there - it's always best to test your equipment before you solder or modify it in any way, because once it's been soldered or modified, it can be a lot more hassle in the unfortunate event that something goes wrong.  It's for this reason that we recommend that before you do anything else, you follow the steps below to make sure everything is A-okay and you can get on with the beastly build we're sure you have planned!

Preparation

This one is commonly forgotten about when handling electronics for models such as drones, but remember that's exactly what you're doing; Handling electronics. It's good practice to protect both yourself and your components from harm. While ESD (Electro-Static Discharge) isn't *very* likely to kill your board, it absolutely can, and it can also cause damage.

Make sure you're working on a static-free surface, and that you're appropriately grounded before handling your board. If you don't know how to do this, here's a quick-and-dirty rundown;
  1. Avoid rugs or carpet! These can generate charge.
  2. Touch a grounded metal object before you start working, or after you move around (the friction and materials on / around your feet can generate charge).
  3. Always wear an anti-static strap or wristband while working on or handling your board(s) or electronics.
  4. When moving electronic boards around, handle them by the edges only.

Step 1; The Basics

  1. The very first thing to do is to visually inspect the board. Give it a gooooood looking over. See any debris? Any misaligned components? Any damage? No? Good! Everything appears to be in place? Perfect.
  2. Once you've visually confirmed the board looks as it should, it's time to plug it in to a computer. Plug in a USB, make sure you can see LED's on your board.  This indicated the board is receiving power and is running through its startup routine. 
  3. Connect to the appropriate configurator (BetaFlight is most common for the majority of boards we sell, and remember that you may need to install drivers!)
  4. If you have an artificial horizon, 3D model or other visual representation of the board's movement or other sensors (such as graphs, for example under the "Sensors" tab in Betaflight when "Expert Mode" is enabled), check and make sure these seem to respond as you move the board around!

The above steps check the basic functions of a flight controller in terms of the MCU, and IMU working.   If you have any issues with the above tests, please feel free to get into touch with us so we can help, as sometimes issues can also be related to software configuration, ie, you cant connect to the MCU due to a driver issue, or the motion isn't correct due to incorrect gyro orientation set on the configurator. 

Step 2; The not-quite-as-basics

  1. If your FC does not seem to show any signs of life (no LED's once you power it on):
    1. This may be due to a hardware issue, please see this guide for more information - how to tell if your flight controller MCU / CPU is dead
  2. If you cannot connect your flight controller to the configurator please check the following:
    1. Make sure you have the correct drivers, cable etc.. for your flight controller
  3. If you find the sensor test does not work as it should (ie when you tilt the board upwards, nothing seems to happen:
    1. This could be due to a IMU failure, please see this guide on how to test the Gyro/IMU - How to test your IMU/Gyro in Betaflight 
    2. This could be due to the IMU orientation set on the software configuration, so please double check this according to the documentation
If you have done some testing and feel the issue is due to a hardware fault, please include your order number and a photo showing the flight controller has not been soldered so we can quickly get this resolved for you.  Otherwise if you have any questions or concerns about your flight controller please feel free to get into contact with us so we can help. 
    • Related Articles

    • How to check MCU for shorts/continuity and Pinouts for Flight Controller MCU

      If you've soldered your flight controller and you're worried you may have damaged the board, it's possible to check whether or not the processor (also known as the MCU) has been shorted. As part of a flight controller's manufacturing process, it ...
    • Flight Controller has a bad/faulty Gyro - How To Test in BetaFlight

      If you suspect that your flight controller has a bad gyro (this is usually noticed could be due to bad flight performance) most of the time we find that it is not the gyro itself that has a fault.  Most commonly the issue is caused by and not limited ...
    • How to tell if your flight controller MCU / CPU is dead, or has just been bricked

      Always check before soldering Chances are you are looking at this page because you have an issue with your flight controller, hopefully you have already followed our suggestions on what to check before you solder your FC.  As part of a flight ...
    • ExpressLRS (ERLS) Troubleshooting Guide

      This is a general troubleshooting guide on some common issued you may face when using ELRS equipment, but for the most up to date information please go to the official ExpressLRS Wiki General Troubleshooting¶ My ELRS RX and ELRS TX are bound, but FC ...
    • R/C Receiver Troubleshooting Guide

      This is a general guide to help direct you to check some of the common causes of issues customers have with their R/C receivers. Please check the information below and if you have checked the list below and still have an issue please contact us with ...
    • Recent Articles

    • Channel / Gimbal Stick Jitter on Lite Radio 3

      If you have encountered any jitter when flying, or testing the channels of your of gimbal during your using the Lite Radio3, even the value of your gimbal jumped sharply when connecting the controller to the BETAFPV configurator This issue is usually ...
    • My Order is Late, Can I Get a Shipping Refund?

      Shipping Refunds for Late Delivery We are only able to refund shipping costs if you have selected a guaranteed shipping method during checkout in accordance with the shipping terms of the selected courier.  This means that if the delivery company ...
    • How To Properly Setup And Configure A BetaFlight Quadcopter

      In our experience many problems we encounter with customers stem from incorrect configuration/setup of Betalight.  While Betaflight is an impressive flight control firmware, there are hundreds of parameters that you can tweak and play around with so ...
    • When Will My Order Be Sent?

      When will you dispatch my order? For all orders placed before 15:00 UK Time (Monday to Friday) so you get your goods fast. We don’t sent orders out over the weekend, or during national holidays There may also be special situations where we have ...
    • Motor & Propeller Orientation & Position (Drone won't take off, Flips out or throttles up on arming)

      Introduction Motor and propeller issues are some of the most common problems we see with drones, and are the most common "brick wall" new drone operators run into. Luckily, there's a multitude of simple issues which can cause this - which also means ...