I have to honestly admit, up to the beginning of 2018 summer I was rather against 4-in-1 ESCs and flight controllers combos. The reason was quite simple: 4-in-1 were a rather new thing, had a tendency to burn without a reason and were quite expensive. Pretty much a normal state of a new technology. In comparison, FC + PDB + 4 separate ESC had more flexibility, were cheaper to replace when something puffed the magic smoke and seemed to be a reasonable choice when few extra grams of weight was not a problem. Lately, things started to change…
4-in-1 ESCs are no longer a new thing, manufacturers learned their lessons and prices went down! And that means you can get a decent quality flight controller and 4-in-1 ESC for less than $50. That's cheaper than 4 ESCs! C'mon, things ARE happening.
What to do when Matek F722-STD flight controller is not booting without connected battery and connection from Configurator is not working? Simple, power GPS and magnetometer from a different pad.
All 5V pads are powered only when external power is supplied to the flight controller. Not when power is applied via USB cable. If you connected GPS and magnetometer to 5V pad, it will not work and screw I2C bus up. To solve this problem, connect GPS to 4V5 pad instead!
Let's take a look at the new flight controller from Matek designed for airplanes: Matek F411-Wing. Comparing to its older brother (or sister or just a sibling) Matek F405-Wing it is much smaller, lighter and lacks many of the features:
Things are changing in INAV world. Different manufacturers start to realize that world does not end on racing miniquads and people might be interested in other types of flight controllers. Flight controllers that were not designed with racing in mind. And today I can finally show you prototype of such flight controller: qUark F4 Vision
What is so special about qUark F4 Vision. To be honest, not that much. Setup looks pretty standard:
MPU6000 IMU (gyroscope and accelerometer)
8 PWM outputs
pins for WS2812b RGB LEDs
Until now, nothing fancy, right? Good stuff begins when we take a look at details:
PMW outputs power rail is separated from the onboard 5V line. That means you can use high voltage servos, as well as do not worry about frying onboard 5V voltage regulator
There is no onboard 5V voltage stabilizer. 5V has to provided from external source of your choice
It is not 36x36mm with 30.5mm hole spacing. It's still 30.5mm hole spacing, but one side is longer to fit all PWM outputs
Bottom side of PCB is flat. There are no electronic components over there. And that means FC can be attached with double-sided adhesive tape. Great for foamies
There are 3 fully operational UARTs (1,2 with S.Bus inverter and 4), separate I2C port (not shared with any UART like on all Revo derivatives) and possibility to use Software Serial
Special work in progressUIB port that is specific to INAV. It does not do much now, but it might change in the future
dedicated pads for HC-SR04/US-100 sonar rangefinder (I have not seen that for a while)
Something different, right? I'm putting mine on my experimental flying wing where it will feel like at home.
Like I wrote at the beginning, this is a prototype. It can not be bought yet. But if you are interested, you might email Malcolm at [email protected]
It's been a few month since, for the last time, I presented to you the most popular flight controllers used together with INAV firmware. So, as you can suspect, it is time for the next one. This time, I've looked into last 3 months of the year 2017: October, November, and December.
Important, this is not the number of boards flashed with INAV, but rather the number of times a board was connected to Configurator!
This counts TARGET software name, not retail name. For example, all clones of Naze32 will be counted as Naze32
Q4 Share [%]
Gain/Loss comparing to Q3 [pp]
SP Racing F3
Omnibus F4 Pro
Omnibus F4 v3
Omnibus F4 v1
SP Racing Evo
Remaining 10% of market share is distributed among other targets.
As you can see, Omnibus F4 series dominates. All revisions of this board have 30,5% share when combined. Also, all F3 and F1 based flight controllers are giving ground to much more powerful STM32F4. To compare, in August 2017, all F4 boards had 25% when combined. Right now they have 39% market share when combined. And this is good!
CPU Family (TOP 10 only)
Q4 Share [%]
Gain/Loss comparing to Q3 [pp]
Another good news is that share of OSD equipped flight controllers is also growing. In August 2017, 47% of boards were equipped with OSD. Now it is 50,5%.
Since I just started to add support for "old" FrSky XSRF3O flight controller to INAV (expect this in a release after 1.8) it might be a good idea to share few words about it.
First of all, it comes in a box. Why am I mentioning this? Because none of my flight controllers, and I own at least more than a dozen, came in box. C'mon, this is huge! I'm not joking, this is really a nice touch.