No matter what type of multirotor drone you fly, it needs help to stay in the air. The flight control board, or FC, is mission critical to achieve flight and there are many flight controllers available ranging from simple gyro only boards to fully autonomous systems with more sensors and tech than your car probably has. The primary job of the flight board is to collect data and output data. It reads data from the sensors, usually a 3 axis gyro and accelerometer, and detects uncommanded movements which it then calculates and sends an output to the ESC's to tell the motors to increase or decrease speed to correct the movement. This all happens thousands of times a second and is what allows our drones to remain so stable and level in the air. There's obviously a lot more than just that, but this article is really about discussing the best or most commonly used flight boards today. If you are building a drone, you'll likely want to choose one of these flight boards to be the brains of your aircraft.
There's a lot to like about the EagleTree Systems Vector and Micro Vector. They are extremely reliable and come packed with features and sensors. They handle multirotor drones as well as airplanes with features like Loiter, Return to Home, waypoints, virtual gates, stabilization and more. They have a killer color customizable OSD built in and you can program the flight board using the OSD and your remote control without needing to connect the board to a PC. It makes changing parameters and tuning quads so simple and easy you'll wonder how you ever tuned without it.
DJI is the most well known drone supplier in the world and for good reason. They were one of the first companies to provide an incredibly stable, easy to use flight board called the Naza and they now have the lion's share of the consumer drone market with innovative products like the Phantom and Mavic drones. The Naza-M V2 is the latest version of their hobby level flight board and it includes GPS for features like super accurate position hold, return to home, and more. It works great with other DJI products like their line of Zenmuse gimbals, iOSD, and Ground Station.
The DJI A3 flight board is a system designed for professional applications like cinematography and industrial use drones. It's can be equipped with 3 IMU's and GNSS units for amazing reliability. If it detects a fault in one of the components, it switches seamlessly to keep things running smoothly. If you are building a heavy lifter or other serious duty drone, the DJI A3 is worth a look.
The KISS FC is primarily designed for freestyle and racing mini quads. There are a ton of flight controllers in this category, but the KISS FC's get our pick. They are simple (duh!) and just work with little to no tuning required to get a nice flying quad that feels great in the air. It features gyro and accelerometer sensors only with no GPS or autonomous functions. It does have auto level and you'll need to have some soldering skills to wire up this board so keep that in mind.
The 3DR Pixhawk Mini flight board is another fully functional unit that features a 32 bit processor and has GPS and software to provide autonomous flight options. There are a range of accessories available to add functionality to the board too. The Pixhawk Mini is designed around the PX4 open-hardware project.
I guess that Naze32 should be mentioned, since it, with Baseflight, was the one that really opened the world for racing drones. Kiss is an evolution of the same idea, and Cleanflight and Betaflight, further develop Baseflight's capabilities, as it originally did with MultiWii and Arducopter.
CCD3 and OpenPilot still have some competitive offering, and are also important pieces of the history of the multi-rotor scene.
I also miss DJI's N3, since everything points to Naza having been discontinued for some months now.
Still I find the idea of this post quite useful and interesting for all.
You guys do a great job!
The Brain FPV re1 is a great FC, but it does have a limitation in that the gyro is locked in at 3.2khz, which in turn means that the PID loop is also stuck at 3.2khz.
I myself would like to also suggest these three FC's as they have all served me well:
1. Omnibus F4 Pro - http://www.readytoflyquads.com/flip-...omnibus-v2-pro
2. DTFc - http://rotorgeeks.com/index.php?rout...product_id=555
3. HGLRC F4 V5PRO - http://www.banggood.com/F4-V5PRO-Fli...p-1136342.html
That last one is rather nifty with the built in OSD & VTX
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