Cleanflight best flight controllers

As Cleanflight firmware is getting popular among the multirotor pilots, I wanted to make a summary of the flight controllers that can use it. The question is not anymore “Naze32 vs. CC3D”.

At the end of 2015 there are more powerful flight controllers with additional features. All supported flight controllers use STM 32bit processors. Most of them, including the Naze32 and CC3D, use the STM32 F103. But there are flight controllers with F3 and F4 processor series. Some of them have integrated OSD (On Screen Display) or PDB (Power Distribution Board).

First I will list the F1 controllers, than F3 and at the end the F4 flight controllers. I will put my comments to the boards, that have some additional features, but this is just my personal opinion.

STM32 F1 72MHz Flight controllers:

  • Naze32 Acro / Naze32 Full / AfroMini 32 – data flash chip only on Naze32 Full rev5 and all Naze32 rev6 boards.
  • CC3D – data flash chip, MPU6000 on SPI and integrated SBUS inverter.
  • Flip32 Series. Sadly there are so many different Flip32 controllers on ReadyToFlyQuads website, that I simply lost my self. I should mention at least the Flip32 AIO, that have additional OSD, PDB, BEC and current sensor on board.
    I am not sure if it is a good idea to have all the current passing through your flight controller board, but can’t comment this further as I haven’t tested it yet.
  • PARIS Sirius™ Air Hero32 – MPU6500 on SPI, integrated SBUS inverter and metal case.
  • EMAX Skyline32 Acro / Skyline32 Advanced / Skyline32 Mini.
  • Illuminati 32 – Onboard OSD and barometer.
  • RCTimer OZE32 Acro / OZE32 Pro – Looks very similar to the Flip32 AIO. Have OSD, PDB, BEC and current sensor on board.
  • DragonFly32 / DragonFly32 Compact / DragonFly Mini.

STM32 F3 72MHz Flight controllers:

  • SPRacingF3 – data flash chip and SBUS inverter. By buying it from an official retailer you also support the development of the Cleanflight firmware.
  • SPRacingF3 Mini – MPU9250, but on I2C-bus. BMP280 barometer, integrated voltage regulator, MicroSD card slot and race transponder.
  • MotoLab Tornado – no data flash chip, but holes/pins for 5V Pololu voltage regulator.
  • MotoLab Cyclone – integrated 600mA voltage regulator, MPU6000 on SPI and still no data flash chip.
  • RMRC Seriously DoDo – data flash chip.
  • Lumenier LUX – MPU6500 on SPI, SBUS inverter, no data flash chip.

STM32 F4 168MHz Flight controllers:

  • Sparky2 – data flash chip, SBUS inverter, MPU9250 on SPI, built in modem and CAN bus.
  • OpenPilot Revo – data flash chip, SBUS inverter, MPU6000 on SPI and built in 433MHz modem.
  • Airbot / Flip F4 – 16MB data flash chip, SBUS, integrated 2-5S LiPo BEC.

It is good to have such a good choice of flight controllers, but it is also hard to choose the right one for you. I like the F1 flight controllers with the integrated OSD and will review the Illuminati 32 as soon as it arrives. The OZE32 seems to be a great all-in-one package too. Beside that, my favorite F1 flight controller is still the CC3D.

F3 flight controllers have a bit advantage over F1: the STM32 F3 MCU has integrated FPU (floating point unit) and because of this a better performance. I ordered a SPRacingF3 clone, as the price is one third of the official board. Note that Banggood is not giving a single penny to Dominic Clifton and his work on the Cleanflight firmware. So if you decide to order a board not from a official retailer, definitely make a donation to him.

F4 boards have some more processing power and will be good for feature firmware development. Both Sparky2 and OpenPilot Revo have great specifications. As far as I know, the OpenPilot Revo is hard to find on the official webstore and the project is shut down. Overall the Sparky2 seems to be the best flight controller for Cleanflight at the moment.

Update 05.11.2016: The new Airbot /Flip F4 flight controller is based on the Revo design and can be powered directly from the LiPo battery without additional BEC, which makes it my favourite at the moment. Also on all F4 based flight controllers you are now able to install rapidly evolving new forks of Cleanflight, like Betaflight and Raceflight.

If you have tested any of the flight controllers and want to share your experience, leave your comment. Let me know in case I forgot a flight controller or a feature.

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2 Comments

  1. great list, i would love it in a spreadsheet format, but in leu of that maybe adding prices might help people decide also?

    • Sergey

      Yes, prices could be helpful, but I wanted a “Best list” only based on the hardware specifications and features.