Review: Illuminati 32 flight controller

Finally I received my new Cleanflight flight controller with integrated OSD – the Illuminati 32. Sadly HobbyKing didn’t provided any information about the board. There is no manual included, just a product specification from Quanum. Here are some of the hardware specifications, that I can confirm:

Specifications:

  • Hard case size: 38.45×38.45x11mm
  • Board only: 35x35mm
  • Weight: 12.2g with case / 5.6 without
  • STM32 F103 MCU
  • Invensense MPU6050 Acc/Gyro
  • MS5611 barometer
  • Atmega Mega 328P for the OSD
  • NO compass as advertised on HobbyKing!

The STM32 F103 and the MPU6050 are the same as on the Naze32. The MS5611 barometer is pretty standard too. I would not use the board without the hard case, because the mounting holes quality is not good in my opinion. Check the pictures below and decide for yourself. The hard case has a good quality and doesn’t look cheap.

Front

You have a maximum of 6 PWM outputs and all of the connectors are the same as on the OpenPilot CC3D board. It could be a problem for beginners to connect the board to the copter ESCs. Almost all ESC have 3-pin servo connector and you can connect that one straight away to the flight controller. You will need to modify and solder the included cable sets as well as the cables of your ESC.  If you want to connect a GPS over the I2C bus, connect to the connector with the SDA & SCL markup. And wrong name on the back 🙂

Back

The board came preloaded with the Cleanflight 1.8.1 version. You cant connect the flight controller to Cleanflight Configurator when the board is in “normal mode”. To either update the firmware or setup the FC you need to use the dip switch: 5, 6 ON and 1, 2, 3, 4 OFF. Personally I don’t like to always change these for “only” connecting the board to Cleanflight Configurator.

For updating the firmware to the latest Cleanflight, select the firmware for the Naze32.

I haven’t managed to test the KV OSD yet, cause I have always used MinimOSD, but you can find firmware and GUI here. Not sure if its possible to flash the MinimOSD firmware on it.

Conclusion: I like the integrated OSD and the additional barometer. What I don’t like are the mounting holes and that in “normal mode” I can’t directly configure the board. I can’t recommend the board for beginners because of the non-standard PWM-out connector. If you think the Illuminati 32 is not for you, check out my Cleanflight Best Flight Controllers article.

Leave a Reply

59 Comments

  1. Wolfgang

    Well it´s a bit easyer to connect then you think – for IN you can use 3 wires PPM and all the data is already at the FC (Elegant solution if you ask me) and for OUT you can plug in the servos into the RX (For power ) and cut the signal wire – the end that goes to the RX you tape and the end that goes to the servo you connect to the corresponding OUT of the FC and most of the wiring is done .I cannot imagine why the whole thing is NON standard (ins and outs same plugs as servos) but we have to deal with it .All thats left to do is connecting + and ground to an empty port on the RX (who is getting his power from the ESC´s) and you can start configurating.I am working weeks with this thing and finally found out that my board was a bad flash – it never armed (whatever i did) and motors where running either on full power or not at all.I flashed it once and many problems vanished. To connect the OSD you can cut the (Normally) yellow wire comming from the camera going to the VTX and connect the yellow comming from the camera to the video IN and the yellow going to VTX to the video OUT of the board.

    • Sergey

      Thanks for your comment Wolfgang. The PWM/PPM Sum port for the receiver is not a problem connecting. I only talked about the PWM out port. The problems is they put the same 3-wire connectors like on the ESCs, instead of the “female” 3-wire plug so you don’t need to do all the modifications or soldering. Good that you managed to fix yours 🙂

    • pedro

      Hello Wolfgang, I´m new with drones, and I have bought this FC, but not sure about how to connect FC with ESC and receiver (with a Flysky ) could you please send a photo just to see how to. Thanks in advance because i´m not sure if I can broke the FC if wrong operation

      • Sergey

        Hello Pedro, not sure if Wolfgang got your comment. Are you trying to build a quadcopter or a plane like him? Regards, Sergey

        • pedro

          a quadcopter, I bought a tarot frame 270 and the engines and esc,s. now with the FC I would like to connect with a pen receiver. thanks

      • Wolfgang

        Sorry i was not home for a while – No because nothing is standard with that flight controller that my installation is a real mess and a photo will not help you and we are still all waiting for a manual ! Sergey wrote a nice answer how to connect that thing and because mine is a wing it will not help you (2 servos 2 motors ) Good luck and keep us posted !

  2. Wolfgang

    Have you found out already how to reset – reflash the OSD? I wanted to get a artificial horizont and flight level on the OSD and tried KV TEAM 2.3 but without success – then i got KV TEAM OSD DEV r345 and that looked very promising but after the first SAVE my OSD is gone compleatly so anything you can help me with is highly apreciated – all i get now is my video – no more OSD – thank you !

    • Sergey

      Sadly I haven’t get my OSD working too. I was not sure if I should download the 2.3 or the r345 and what is the difference between these. Tried to install the MinimOSD firmware but without success. One idea: you got the switch back to normal after flashing?

      • pedro

        Hi I have connected every thing as Sergey told and also my video in/out and the OSD works correctly with artificial horizon and every Thing, I have not already flashed the FC.

        • Sergey

          I am glad it worked for you Pedro. Thanks for sharing that and happy flying!

  3. I have one of these that I bought from HK a few months ago. I just started using it, and when I tried to update the firmware something went wrong. It did the erase part and then stopped. Now I cant get it to do an update at all.
    I set the dip switches. It was working with configurator before the failed update.
    Are there any tricks?

    • Sergey

      Hey, dont know what could be wrong… I actually do not use the board anymore and uphraded to F3 and F4 flight controllers. You can ask on the RCGroups Thread about this problem. Best, Sergey

  4. Baptiste

    Hi your post is very helpfull but I still have a problem …
    I installed Cleanflight Configurator on my computer , but impossible for me to connect the Illuminati 32 to it.
    It says “failed to open serial port”

    I’m a beginner with quadcopter and flight controller and if an other software is better (or easyer) than cleanflight , I don’t mind of which software I must use.
    My computer run with Windows 10 I don’t know if it’s a problem.

    Can you help me ?
    And sorry for the bad English level , I’m a young french guy !

    • Sergey

      Hey Baptiste, maybe it is because of the wrong COMP Port. Open the start menu and right click on the Windows Explorer. Then select “Properties” and in the new opened windows, in the upper left corner click on Device Manager. Under COM Ports, check which one is for the Illuminati when you connect it to the PC. Then select the same port in the Cleanflight Configurator. Cleanflight is so far the best firmware for this board. Best, Sergey

      • Baptiste

        Thanks ! That was the problem, that’s very cool to have someone who can help like you.
        Have a nice day, bye !

          • Baptiste

            Hey I’m back with an other trouble …
            Sorry I’m a very very beginner.

            I flashed the firmware with the latest version of Naze
            I followed some video tutorial on youtube
            So my problem is that when I look on cleanflight the Illuminati received the radio signal, when I try the motor (with my computer)
            But now if I try it in “real” condition without computer , motors aren’t spinning
            I know that the flight controller receive the radio signal because I can see the flight mode LED statut changing when I move my 6th channel.

            Can you help me ?

          • Sergey

            Hey, when on the receiver tab in Cleanflight Configurator you see the channles move, when you move your transmitter sticks, right? The motors are not spinning when the copter is “armed” right? Please as a beginner, note that all tests must be done without propellers for your safety! When you arm the FC (with throttle stick “right down”) the motors should spin very slow. Best, Sergey

          • Baptiste

            Hi , I tried both solution , but nothing new.
            How do I know if the motor are armed or no ?

          • Sergey

            Hey, can remember well, but maybe one of the LEDs will be constantly ON. Is the quad leveled when you try to arm? You can control it only when it is armed. Have you checked in the receiver tab, that the bars are moving according to your sticks movements?

          • Baptiste

            Because it seems to be a green flashing LED when the quad is arm, and no LED when it’s disarm.
            Yep the quad is on a leveled surface, and yes I can see the bars moving according to my radio sticks.
            That’s why it’s strange the FC receive the radio signal , the it can power the motor (when I control it with the computer), but when I try it all together (without computer) : nothing …

          • Sergey

            I think it should be solid light when flashed… If its blinking it is not armed I think.

          • Baptiste

            So I must arm the motor first ?
            And to arm the quad I need to put the throttle stick down right (I fly with mode 1)

          • Sergey

            Oh, that is the problem. If your Transmitter is Mode 1, then you need to arm the compter using your Right (Throttle) Stick by holding it down right for more than 2-3 sec.

          • Baptiste

            Yes I did it but nothing more.

          • Baptiste

            Okay I’ll try tomorrow, and again , thanks for your help !

          • Baptiste

            Hi , thanks for the link it was very helpfull.
            I saw that the number of LED flashes give the reason why the FC can’t be arm.
            I have a green blinking LED but I don’t know what it mean :
            Green-Fast double Green-Green-Green-Green-Green.
            I saw the position of the stick to arm the Quad and I did it but nothing more than before.
            I saw that LOW=1000 CENTER=1500 HIGH=2000
            but with my futaba it’s 1100-1520-1910
            I modified the value in “configuration” according to it but it don’t know if it can be the problem.

          • Sergey

            Hey, have you modified the minimum command or min throttle in the Configuration?

          • Baptiste

            Yes I set the minimum command at 1105 according to the Throttle signal in “receiver” and I set minimum throttle a bit higher at 1150

          • Sergey

            Minimum throttle should be a bit higher than the point, at which the motors start to spin. Go to Motors Tab and check at which point your motors start to spin reliable. Then set min throttle to to be that point. Minimum command should be actually ok, you can try with 1120. Middle point should be 1520.

          • Baptiste

            Hey, thanks for your help !
            I trimed my throttle as down as possible and the motor were arm !

        • SteveMac

          Hey Baptiste.
          The dip switches just change the connection from the USB plug to the different processors inside the FC.
          If you can control the motors from your receiver see your OSD with the port switched so you can use the configurator, then you don’t need to switch back to “normal” mode on the dipswitches.
          Just run it like that.

          • Baptiste

            I can’t contol the FC from my receiver, with my computer only, but thanks for your help.

          • SteveMac

            You can check your arming controls in configurator as the lock symbol at the top should turn on/off as you arm/disarm the FC.
            Once that is working with the computer connected, it should also work without it connected.
            If the FC getting good power without the computer?
            The computer can power the FC through the USB port when it is connected.

          • Baptiste

            Okay thanks ! So my quad was disarm cause the lock symbole was off.

            Is there any other software for the Quanum Illuminati ? Just to try if it works with an other , or if the problem come from the FC itself

  5. john

    Cleanflight does not recognize the additional barometer. Are you sure that it is included?

    • Sergey

      Hey John, yes it is included. Look at the first picture on the right of the switch, there is a electronic component, that looks metalic – that is the barometer. Are you sure you haven’t disabled it through the CLI command or installed Betaflight? Best, Sergey

      • john

        Hi Sergey, totally true, i must have overseen it.
        One more question: The board is so tiny, currently i have placed in on two pieces of foam: http://imagizer.imageshack.us/a/img922/7984/99PDxC.jpg

        I think that it does not lie 100% flat as my quad doesnt get perfectly balanced in stable mode. (Even though i have calibrated it several times)

        Do you know any better methode to place this tiny board onto the frame and also compensate the vibrations during flight?

        Best regards,
        John

        • Sergey

          Hey John, you can mount it directly on the frame with plastic spacers if possible. Are you sure you dont have problems with the center of gravity. Possible is fluctuations of your transmitter input. Please check the article about Cleanflight and deadband here on the blog. Best, Sergey

  6. Pierre

    Hey, maybe you can also help a beginner like me. I try to build a hexacopter with this FC. I have a power distribution board and my ESC dont have BEC (if iam not mistakin, its red and black cabel for power and a 2 cable pin connector with black and white cable). So if iam thinking correctly i need to connect GND and +5V from the FC left side (where also M1 to M6 is is located) to the +5V and GND output on the power distribution board, correct?

    If can provide images on the products i used if you want. Would be very thankful for your help as iam a beginner and this stuff is confusing the hell out of me 😀

    • Sergey

      Hey Pierre, I do not have this board any more, but will try to help you. The black and red cables on your ESCs are the power cables. You connect every one of these to the power distribution board (PDB). Because your ESC dont have a BEC, you will need to use the integrated BEC of your PDB. You are correct, you connect GND and 5V+ from your PDB to the pins GND and 5V on M1. Hope it is clear now. Best, Sergey

      • Pierre

        Hey Sergey,

        thank you for your super fast answer. Only to get it right and dont blow stuff up. It should be like in this super editing pretty image: https://pl.vc/1emvei

        cheers

        • Sergey

          Hey Pierre, if this is the 5V+ pin on the PDB (cant see it very good), then the answer is yes. Cheers

          • Pierre

            Hey Sergey,
            yes couldnt find a better picture of this PDB. Thank you for your help. I will probably come back more often and checkout your content. 🙂

            cheers

          • Sergey

            You are welcome, Pierre! Cheers

          • Pierre

            One last question x)
            How about the GND wires from the ESCs? Do they have no function then or in other words: do they need to be connect to somewhere or is it not necessary?

            cheers

          • Sergey

            Yes, it is advised to connect the GND from the ESC too. I had quads in the past only with the signal wire connected without any problems, but as said it is better to connect. Cheers

  7. Santiago

    I have 4 450 and 500 quads…They fly great..All I do is aerial film Rivers Landscape etc….LOVE to have ALT HOLD…dont care for gps…Can this ILLUMINATI 32 give me alt hold as is?…I know later I might like gps and for what I read I can add it later..Thanks Mr Andrade.

    • Sergey

      Hey, every flight controller with barometer can provide alt hold. Right now there are many more Cleanflight/Betaflight flight controllers, that are more advanced and much cheaper. Best, Sergey

      • Santiago

        Thanks SERGEY, at 20 dollars seems cheap enough,,,BUT can I have ALT HOLD without GPS?

        • Sergey

          Hey Santiago, yes you can have Alt Hold without GPS. As said just look for a flight controller with barometer, like the MS5611. Best, Sergey

  8. Kris

    Hi Sergy,

    I have been reading through the comments and have found nothing relating to what i am looking for exactly.

    I am looking to add both GPS and Compass to this board as i would like to use GPS position hold, i know the Ublox M8N GPS has a built in compass in order for me do what i am looking for.

    Now, i know the board only has one I2C port but have had a chat with a hobbyking product specialist and he reckons that i can add a second port via some soldering. He could not find the relevant documents on their website due to it being upgraded.
    I was wondering if you know anything about this or how to do it?

    I understand if anything were to go wrong it would be my fault and would not hold anyone responsible for my mistake.

    Any help you may be able to offer would be amazing!

    Thanks

    Kris

    • Sergey

      Hey Kris, if your are looking for position hold with a GPS I would not recommend that flight controller. Although it is possible to have a decent GPS hold with Cleanflight firmware, the better choice would be a Pixhawk based flight controller. Check out my video, that I made more than 1 year ago using Pixhawk and the Ublox M8N. The firmware of Pixhawk – ArduCopter – would be better for your need. You can also check my article for Pixhawk. There are also some advanced Pixhawk based boards, like the Pixhack or Pixracer. Cheers, Sergey

      • Kris

        Thanks for the speedy reply Sergey, I have been looking at the pixhawk range and it will definitely be a FC that i shall build a craft around at some point but my only problem at present is… budget!ha

        I have scratch built myself my self a tricopter based off the rcexplorer model design(but a different power setup) and this was the flight controller i put on it due to affordability/value for money, that and having used it on another 2 of my 250 sized quads.

        I have a funny feeling that the two pads next to the STM32 chip would be where i would solder on too but i am not quite as slick as some others at this game and would not know how to test to find out if this is where i would need to attach too.

        If you do not know that is fair enough, but any ideas you may have would be great.

        Either way i do appreciate the discussion.

        Cheers

        Kris

        • Sergey

          Hey Kris, I don´t know and I do not have the Illuminati 32 board anymore to check. Have you checked the Pixhawk clones on Banggood for about 60$?

          Cheers, Sergey