Helio Spring Flight Controller
Ahh Helio Spring flight controller…I know the title will get some RaceFlight/FlightOne fans riled up but just take it easy for a sec. It’s all a matter of preference. Some people like Windows and some prefer Mac. Does it mean one is better than the other? Yes, no, maybe? Let’s find out.
There’s been some controversy surrounding the Helio and ButterFlight but I’ll leave that to the forums. I will be reviewing the Helio Spring for the board itself.
- STM32F405 F4 and STM32F301 F3 Processors
- IMU 20601 Gyro
- True 32khz processing speed without overclocking
- Supports S.Bus with inverter built in, DSM, crossfire
- Has 5v and 3.3v supplies for receivers
- FrSky Telemetry
- 5 Full UART serial ports
- Buzzer and LED outputs
- Built in dampening grommets
- Can be powered directly off the battery up to 6s (26v)
See the full specs on the product Helio Spring page.
Parts Used in this Build
- FlightClub PROton Skeleton
- Helio Spring Flight Controller
- TBS Crossfire Nano RX
- TBS Crossfire Micro TX
- Immortal T Antenna
- Tmotor F40 PRO v2 1600kv
- Aikon AK32 35A ESC
- Foxeer Arrow PRO
- TBS Unify v3 25-800mw VTX
- PROton GoPro Session Mount
I have this long range / 6s PROton build coming up next week.
The Helio Spring flight controller may be the most advanced flight controller available today. It sports an F3 and F4 dual processor flight controller that has 5 UARTS, BetaFlightOSD and runs natively on ButterFlight. According to the Helio Spring developers, the dual F3 and F4 processor is superior to just a single F7 processor. The reason is because with just a single processor board, that one processor has to do all the work, processing data from the gyro, filtering, PIDs and the peripherals connected to the UARTS. With the dual processor Helio Spring, the F3 processor is dedicated to filtering the signal from the gyro to ensure a clean signal before reaching to the F4 processor. This takes a huge load off the F4 processor.
I wont get too deep in the build on the board in this post. I will have a long range/6s PROton using the Helio next week.
I really like the layout of the board. All the solder pads are on one side of the board and it has ESC signal pads at the 4 corners. It also has an 8 pin micro JST harness that has the esc signal wires, power, ground, 5v, current wire and esc telemetry. Paired with an ESC such as the Aikon AK32 that also uses a harness, all you have to do is rearrange the wires in the harness and it’s plug and play. No need to solder the power, ground or any of the ESC signal wires. It’s so clean!
It also has 5 full UARTs so you never have to run out of ports for your peripherals. In this build I’m using UART3 for the TBS Crossfire and UART5 for the Unify Smart audio.
As far as I know, the Helio only runs on ButterFlight. BetaFlight and FlightOne doesn’t like Helio. But that’s ok, BetaFlight flies like Butter! In my testing, the Helio Spring on ButterFlight flies just as well as RaceFlight/FlightOne and KISS! The best part is, because ButterFlight is pretty much a direct fork of BetaFlight with some special filtering mojo added, the interface is super easy to use. It looks exactly like BetaFlight!
Is ButterFlight perfect? Nope. Since ButterFlight is so new, there were lots of bugs in the beginning. Until the most recent version, 3.5.1 – 1.0.6-RC9, I had a heck of hard time getting everything setup and flying correctly. The first version I used, 3.5 I think, the SmartAudio didn’t work. No matter which UART I tried the SmartAudio was non-functional. Then I flashed it with earlier versions of 3.5.1 and it fixed the SmartAudio issue but then had oscillation issues I couldn’t tune out. It seemed like they put out new releases every week. But with this current release RC9, they nailed it. Everything works on pretty much stock settings.
Performance based on 3.5.1 – 1.0.6-RC9
The Helio is tough! EnvyAstro flew my PROton on 6s right into a steel baseball field light post and dropped 40 feet. The crash broke two arms, ripped off a motor, Foxeer Predator, broke the top plate, bent all 4 standoffs including the M3x8mm screws! Quick swap of parts and the quad looks and flies like new.
Sometimes 6s can be a pain to setup. But with the Helio Spring, all I had to do was turn down the P and D slightly and it flew like a champ. There was absolutely zero prop was no matter how hard I tried. What impressed me was full throttle 180 turns were smooth as butter.
Paired with the Aikon AK32 running BLHeli-32 on DShot1200 the quad flies so smooth. I’m not smart enough to understand the filtering mojo behind the Helio and ButterFlight but it works really well!
I’ve been using the Helio Spring and Aikon AK32 in pretty much all my builds now. Of all the flight controllers I’ve been testing over the past few months, RaceFlight RevoltOSD and KISS fc v2, the Helio is my choice. It has the ease of setup like BetaFlight but flies like KISS! Try it out for yourself.
If you found this post helpful, it would be super cool if you purchased the components from my store or purchase items from my Amazon links. These posts are expensive and take a loooong time to make so the purchases make it possible for me to keep making them. Thanks in advance, I greatly appreciate it 🙂