Better GPS for Cleanflight: iNav

Cleanflight is an awesome piece of software for STM32 based flight controllers. But Cleanflight has one very serious flaw that makes its usage on bigger drones at least problematic. Cleanflight sucks in GPS and barometer support. Sucks a lot. It can handle Position Hold (somehow), Return To Home (barely) and Altitude Hold (oh man, up and down, up and down) but if you at least one tried that, you should know that is not only not reliable, but also not precise and hard to tune. Personally I gave up after few tires. It was not worth it. Comparing to Pixhawk (not talking even about Naza) it might as well not exists at all. But it has changed recently….

Few months ago a brave developer nicknamed digitalentity decided to fix Cleanflight’s poor GPS support and iNav was born. What differs iNav from Cleanflight is fact that all autonomous flight modes were completely rewritten from scratch. As well as GPS, barometer and magnetometer related code. Main differences are:

  • Position and altitude estimation is not done only by GPS and barometer. Advanced inertial position estimator uses accelerometer data to compute 3D position together with other sensors
  • BARO, SONAR, GPS PH and GPS RTH flight modes are removed and replaced by NAV ALTHOLD, NAV POSHOLD and NAV RTH (Return To Home) modes
  • ANGLE and MAG modes does not have to be enabled manually. iNav enables them in background when needed
  • NAV POSHOLD mode can be configured to CRUISE submode when stick deflection controls actual speed, not drone’s attitude
  • Return To Home mode also does landing (yay!)
  • Return To Home can be configured as a failsafe behavior. That means, when RC link is broken, drone will try to return (and land) where is armed instead of just falling down from the sky
  • Failsafe can be enabled as any other flight mode
  • Waypoints! That means, drone can do missions. You program flight plan, upload it into flight controller, enable NAV WP flight mode and done. Drone will fly by itself. I’ve tried that last weekend and was really impressed
  • Almost everything works out of the box. No need to tune new modes

If you have GPS equipped Cleanflight compatible flight controller I recommend to give iNav a try. It’s worth it. Specially on bigger machines. Besides, who puts GPS on 250 or smaller racer? Currently, iNav is supported on following targets:

  • Naze32 / Flip32
  • CC3D
  • SPracingF3
  • Sparky
  • RDMO

Latest release can be downloaded from GitHub.

13 thoughts to “Better GPS for Cleanflight: iNav”

  1. HOW do you Install this? i went to Git Hub and i’m not sure how it I install this on my PC.
    thanks, in advance, for your help. I’ve been looking all over to find this out. i’m sure it’s simple.
    Russ from Coral Springs, FL, USA

    1. You have to flash your board with Cleanflight Configurator. Download hex file from GitHub for your board and flash.

      1. Dziku,
        thank you so much for getting back to me.
        I have already flashed my Naze32 (rev6) with CF and I HAVE downloaded the new Hex…
        When I go to Flash the new Hex, do I:
        ENABLE “Full Chip Erase”
        or Disable it?
        so excited to get this goin’

        thanks, again,
        Russ from Coral Springs, FL, USA

        1. Enable. It’s only erasing config. This CPU can not be bricked since bootloader is in ROM memory. In case of problems there is more complicated flashing instruction in Configurator. Works every time

  2. ok – Very excited in that i now have the Nav Hold and Nav Home Options on my Modes. will get to try this out sometime today!

    MUCH Thanks,
    Russ from Coral Springs, FL, USA

      1. I really appreaciate the headzup, and I’ll pay attention to the Mag Cal. I’ve just printed out my CLI dump & will review with what is recommended.
        that being said, I’ve JUST started – WITHOUT ANYTHING BEING CHANGED, YET. – I’m not getting a readout on the GPS Screen.
        Is this normal until i get some of the CLi Setting setup? or am I just having probs with my GPS? Power light is on on the GPS & the “fix” led is blinking.

        Russ from Coral Springs FL, USA

        1. GPS icon green? Inav reports only one sattelite. But it’s not sattelite, but hdop value. Configurator should report fix as usual. And under roof you will rather not get fix

  3. Dziku,
    I appreciate you getting me this far – the rest i believe i can work out – from here on, I have to make sure I have all setting withing specs in CLi, calibrate the Mag & EVERYTHING – from there on out, if I THEN have problems, i will create a ticket on github.

    thanks again,
    Russ from Coral Springs, Fl, USA

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