RC, photos & tech


Betaflight update to Afroflight Naze32

Having recently become aware of Boris B's custom version of Cleanflight known as Betaflight, I decided to update my Acro Naze32   I made this decision after seeing so much positive feedback from others on rcgroups, Facebook and YouTube.

My notes here explain some of the problems I had to overcome before successfully upgrading to Betaflight. Some of the issues are really minor and might seem obvious to others but at times I was almost going to give up thinking I'd just try out Cleanflight 1.10RC3.

The first hurdle came about after somehow I managed to do an incomplete / corrupt firmware update and the Naze32 board become unresponsive (couldn't connect via the Configurator app). The good news was that I read the boot loader is stored in ROM and "the Naze32 board can't be bricked". I read plenty of posts where people explained how to just connect the two physical boot loader pads on the board and re-flash. Shorting pads on any PCB is a risk if you aren't confident which ones to do so just to be clear, owners of the Afroflight Naze32 ver 5 board here's a picture of the boot loader pads.



I found it easy to solder a lead in place rather than try and hold two pins in place while simultaneously plugging  in the micro usb connector and go through the firmware flash. Once the board has booted with the boot loader pads shorted, set a couple of options in Clenflight Configurator;

Configurator set to flash with bootloader pins connected

Configurator set to flash with bootloader pins connected

And flash to ver 1.9.

The next issue I had was trying to use the "Load Local Firmware" button in Configurator. I kept getting error messages to the effect of corrupt or invalid file and "Loaded bytes" would show zero. I hadn't followed the directions properly to download the file from GitHub. I was right clicking on the Naze Betaflight hex file to download it. The problem was I hadn't clicked through to the screen that shows the "RAW" option.

Hex files location (right click download doesn't work here).

Naze32 Hex files right location to download from. From that screen the hex file will download properly.

After finally uploading Betaflight and connecting via Configurator I could configure my board. My next big issue was that the motors would not spin up at all even though I could see the RC input tab and motors output tab showing all the right signs. If I disconnected the LiPo battery and kept the board powered by USB, I found on reconnecting the LiPo would activate the motors but with two problems 1) they wouldn't disarm ever and 2) full throttle on the input stick translated to maybe 50% output on the motors. Eventually I realised that I had BLHeli version 13.xx on the Afro 12A ESCs and Betaflight needs version 14.xx. No big deal unless like me you've soldered the signal pins directly to the board. At this point though I'd invested too much effort to be deterred. After de-soldering all the signal wires and updating BLHeli to the most current version, I'm happy to report a fully functioning board with Betaflight firmware.
I haven't had a chance to actually fly it yet so that feedback will be next.

As a side note, while I had the soldering iron out, I took the time to run a couple of wires to the VBAT pins. This lets me use the audible beeper and the programmable LED strip to warn of low voltage levels. A handy backup in case I forget to connect the LiPo alarm to the battery before each flight.

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Orangerx, OpenLRSng, Naze32 – PPM input

The Problem:

I need to activate PPM input to the Naze32 board from the Orangerx UHF running OpenLRSng. PPM input is needed so I can use RC5 pin to control some WS2812 addressable LEDs.


The solution process:

In the Cleanflight configurator, enable RX_PPM. Connect the receiver Port 6 output to the RC input pin 1 of the Naze32 board. The problem is when I do that, and switch on the transmitter (ie the PPM stream is presented to the Naze32 input), the Naze 32 seems to lag horribly. Connecting it to the configurator takes ages for the screen to refresh.

I found disabling Telemetry in the openLRSng options for the orangerx Tx module seemed to fix the problem of the Naze32 board lagging. Now I can use the RC5 pin on the Naze32 board to control the addressable LEDs (WS2812).

The only remaining issue is that appears after arming once, then disarming, I can't re-arm with completely removing power from the Naze32.



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