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Cleanflight, BlHeli and Oneshot for Dummies

Cleanflight, BlHeli and Oneshot

What the heck is this stuff? I first heard about it a while back and chose to ignore it. Quadcopter technology is advancing so fast I thought it was just a fad that will soon fade away. But it’s hard to ignore now, it’s everywhere. I’ve been using it for a few months and it’s awesome!

I did some research and I’ll try to explain in simple terms for even a dummy like me can understand.


Cleanflight is an alternate configurator software/firmware to Baseflight (default firmware on Naze32). Both of these software is what’s used to program and configure flight controllers like the Naze32. Cleanflight is known as the clean-code version of Baseflight which is suppose to be more reliable and easier for future development. Basically both software do the same thing except Cleanflight has features Baseflight doesn’t have.

Features Cleanflight has that Baseflight doesn’t have:
  • Supports much more flight controllers including the CC3D.
  • Oneshot. (at this time Baseflight has oneshot but hasn’t been tested)
  • Multi-color RGB LED support
  • Supports more than 8 channels (such as the FrSky X8R 16ch)
  • In-flight PID tuning
  • Multiple PID controllers

To use Cleanflight

  1. Download and install Google Chrome
  2. Install/Add Cleanflight
  3. Download and install the correct CP210X USB to UART Bridge VCP driver for your computer system.
  4. Connect the flight controller to the computer
  5. In Cleanflight in the “Firmware Flasher”, select the most current stable firmware for your flight controller in the drop down menu.
  6. Select “Load Firmware Online” and hit “Flash Firmware”
  7. Sometimes the firmware fails to load online you can download the firmware here. Then select “Load Firmware Local”

cleanflight files


BlHeli and SimonK are ESC (electronic speed controller) firmware. Basically a set of instructions that tells the ESC how to process the info coming from the flight controller. The best part about BlHeli is that it’s highly customizable AFTER it’s been flashed. You can’t do that with SimonK. The biggest advantage of BlHeli over SimonK is Dampened Light and Active free wheel. This is when the ESCs send a signal to slow down the motor while speeding up the motor on the other side. Without Damping Light, the motors will slow down by themselves with the drag of the props. Damping light is like electronic brakes on the motor. This makes the quad much more responsive. In my experience it greatly reduces oscillations while decelerating and dropping altitude. It makes the quad more responsive and have a more locked in feeling also.

BlHeli Hightlights
  • Oneshot autodetect
  • Programmable with BLHeliSuite after it’s been flashed.
  • Beacon. ESC’s can be configured to sound a beacon if they sit idle for 10min (or whatever you set it to).
  • Damping Light

How to flash BlHeli

flashing blheli
Flashing BlHeli firmware
    1. Get the correct CP210x USB drivers for your system from Silicon Labs and install it.
    2. Download and install the software BlHeliSuite
    3. Once in the BlHeliSuite, select the programming tool you are using from the top drop down menu “ATMEL/SILABS”. In my case it’s the Turnigy USB Linker
    4. Select your com port where your USB programming tool is connected and baud rate 9600.
    5. Plug in the USB programming tool into your computer and connect the ESC to the programming tool using ONLY the signal and ground wire.
    6. Power the ESC
    7. Click “Connect” on the BlHeliSuite.
    8. Click “Read Setup”
    9. Yes to “Do you wan to flash it to BlHeli Firmware”
    10. Select your ESC model, hit ok and you’re done.
    11. In BlHeliSuite I change the Motor


Oneshot (Oneshot125) simply put is a feature that lets your flight controller communicate with your ESCs faster. To use Oneshot you have to have ESCs flashed with BlHeli and Oneshot enabled on your flight controller.

So that’s the quick and dirty explanation of BlHeli and Oneshot. It might sound and look confusing but it’s actually really easy to set up. Try it and let me know in the comments below how much better your quad flies now.

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