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Top 5 Best Flight Controllers – June 2016

Almost 6 month after our original Top 5 Best Flight Controllers 2016 back in January, we have finally updated this list. Before you guys go mad on the comments section we have tried to make this one more well rounded taking into account other features bar just brute force CPU power, especially as the argument still rages on the internet whether there is actually a noticeable difference between F1 and F3 let alone F4.

Once again this list is was compiled from:

  • Personal experience with the flight Controllers
  • Months of reasearch
  • Pages and pages of feed back from readers and others throughout the community.
  • There are no Micro JST FCs on this list, for good reason.

If you disagree with our list feel free to comment below, we are always editing and changing them.

Disclaimer: We also did not put the LUX on here due to the fact the MPU6500 gyro has had some noise issues for certain users.

KISS FC – 32bit Flight Controller

kiss flight controllerRetaining top spot on our list is the notorious Kiss flight controller. Flyduino have done an incredible job. It’s simple and does everything you need it to do. In true Kiss fashion it comes with its’ own custom firmware making it easy to use and it is guaranteed to be ahead of the game for a least a year. In Flyduino’s own words ‘The software setup side is reduced as far we can, many things are already taken in to account for you, if you bring some solid soldering skills you should be able to build your quad pretty quick.’  To put it bluntly there is a reason why almost every top pilot flies with the Kiss (unless they are sponsored by Lumenier), it has proven to be simply ahead of the competition, and if their ESCs are anything to go by it could be a while before anything comes close to knocking the Kiss off of its top spot.


20160429163001-9288F303 Racer

The XRacer F303 is one of our favourite flight controllers at Drone Insider and we are currently in the midst of reviewing one, so stay tuned. We love it for a number of reasons, firstly it has the faster F3 processor, as well as a large 128Mb flash storage on board for black box logging. Meaning you can easily eliminate issues with your tuning and tune to a finer detail than it possible with solely visual tuning. Also you can put all of your stick movements on and loops overlain with your video if you are into that. Perhaps the greatest drawing point is the price, at only $27 its very affordable and even cheaper than a Naze32 Rev6! In addition there are no fidley connectors; instead all the connection ports have pins. In earlier revisions there was no VBat pin( just why?!), however they have no fixed this with later revisions.

DTFc-top-800x600DTFc

The Community has been shouting for it for what seems like forever, A PDB and FC in one, we have had FC and OSD together but as of yet never a PDB with an FC. Finally however the good folks at DTF UHF have answered our call. As Rotorgeeks say Combine the latest FC tech with a high-current capable PDB and you get DTFc, the new heart of your minicopter. Connect all ESC and battery leads directly to this one small board to clean up your wiring, increase build speed, and reduce size, weight, and part count. This kind of board is absolutely perfect for smaller quads such as the Atom where not only are you tight for space but you also have the low standoffs making it hard to stack a PDB and an FC. This solves the issue by simply having one board, making it perfect for micros which traditionally are far tighter. For those you running 250s and racers, the DTFc seems to be an easy and efficient way to save weight.

Check out our review of the DTFc here.

55819_1_mNaze32 Rev 5

Now before you take to the comments section to crucify us, hear us out. The Naze Rev 5 can be thought of as a true workhorse, the Ford Transit van of flight controllers if you like. Yes I know many of you will be pointing out that the Rev 5 isn’t even the latest Naze, however it is still the best. The Naze Rev 6 isn’t F3 nor is does it have BLHeli pass through (unless it is the 6a). You can pick up a Rev 5 for as little as $15 which makes it perfect for beginners. They work a treat and fly brilliantly. There are hundreds of guides, and tutorials all over the internet meaning that if you get stuck you can almost guarantee there is someone out there who has already posted the solution. We must about 9 or 10 lying around at Drone Insider and we use them on our Community project, because they are so good to teach with and they are very forgiving to solder and build. You can also purchase this board with presoldered pins, making it good for beginners, we ordered one over a year ago now and it still works as if it was brand new!!! The Naze rev5 is truly a great in terms of Flight controllers.

RMRC Seriously Dodo Flight Controller – Rev 3

9df933a031fe375225eba36b2a16459e.image.608x550This flight controller from Ready Made RC is a good solid F3 chip featuring 8 input channels, 3 UARTs (GPS, Telemetry, S.bus), 2-6s input power, 5v output0.5A Max, this makes it very useful for powering RX and small cameras without having to worry about a second Vreg. Now we know that many of you will be saying that the DODO can’t do 8KHz Gyro Sync, but in all honesty is this really a necessary feature, for the majority of fliers. If you want a solid board which will last you for a while and F3 capabilities then the DODO is not a bad choice A nice touch from RCMC is they donate some money to the clean flight project with every board they sell in order to keep the hobby going. Lets hope that this little gem doesn’t go extinct!

 

We do not usually do this but due to popular demand we are adding on the MotoLabs Cyclone as many people cannot decide which is better between the DODO and Cyclone

MotoLabs Cyclone

0000507_motolab-cyclone-stm32f3-flight-controllerOn our last list we had the Tornado FC by MotoMoto but now Motolabs have upgraded, with the MotoLab Cyclone. It is a well-designed flight controller from  Indeed the Dodo and Cyclone are both optimized for different tasks. With the Cyclone having the SPI Interface for the gyro, but the Dodo having the inbuilt Blackbox but the worse I2c interface. The cyclone is a direct upgrade from the Tornado, as it has removed the buffered ESC outputs (meaning that BLHeli pass through works). As well as the fact it removes the slot designated for a pololu, instead there is a 5V 600A Switch VReg. This is perfect if you are aiming for 8KHz loop times.

Race Flight

If you are looking for even higher loop times than 8KHz then you should go for Race flight. We recommend you get either a BlueJay F4 or a CC3D Revo for ultimate Raceflight performance. However, do be warned this is recommended for advanced pilots only due to the current experimental nature of Race Flight.

 

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11 comments

  1. The raceflight team is sad to see no f4 controllers on the list. Raceflight + f4 makes quite a difference. How do we get it considered for the next go round?

    • Hey Race flight,

      We did consider putting a Raceflight compatible controller on this list, especially with new FCs such as the Bluejay coming out, but we decided not to in the end. Because although we like that the development of Raceflight is continuing to make great progress, we felt that adding such experimental hardware to the list could be problematic due to the fact that it is predominantly beginner to intimidate pilots who look at our lists (which is why we included the Naze rev5), for the simple reason that advanced pilots already know which FC to purchase. In our last list we did include the Sparky 2.0, but we found that most people didn’t think it should be there due to it’s high expense and complexities. As F4 boards begin to become more common and Raceflight less experimental, we have no doubt that we will see the REvo, Blujay or Falcon on the list.

      Hope this answers everything

      • Then your title is wrong, it should be “Top 5 Best Flight Controllers for BEGINNERS”. The AirbotF4 is $12 on myrcmart, just saying.

        • Hi Joe,

          This list is not just for beginners. At the time of writing Raceflight was highly experimental firmware and therefore we could not recommend it to anyone who does not know what they are doing. In addition Betaflight flied as good as/ if not better than Raceflight at the time.

          Thanks

  2. no FC from Dominic? SPRacing F3 Evo, Acro, Deluxe, Mini?

  3. The naze v6 10dof is great. I’m glad you mentioned it and not the cc3d.. but I think that the v6 is one of the better ones to use and setup as it gives you both the complex use virtual serial ports etc ando the eas for beginners. The lack with the naze is on the clean flight side since it does not have a simple wizard as Libre has. Thanks for the list.

    • The CC3d is superior to the naze, it uses SPI communication to the gyro, so you can get 4K gyro reads, and much lower latency. It took a dev to find out that for years the gyro read code has a speed bug, so it was not reading at the highest speed for years.

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