Does a drone have a brain?

Drone Term of the Week – FC – Flight Controller

A FPV Drone Flight Controller, or FC, is the “brain” of a UAV and controls most onboard electrical components with the assistance on an arduino-like microprocessor and is connected to a number of sensors.

Flight controllers are continuously evolving with their processors becoming faster to keep up with evolving flight controller softwares. Flight controllers are usually titled to include the main microprocessor’s (usually an STM electronics, 32-bit microprocessor) model as this gives the pilot a basic idea of the flight controllers capabilities. The most common microprocessor models used are the STM32 F1, F3, F4 and F7 chips. Essentially, the higher the number after the ‘F’, the faster the microprocessor will be and the more functionality it will have. For any pilot purchasing a flight controller, it is currently recommended to purchase one with an F4 or F7 processor as they are easily fast enough to run the latest FC firmwares. Unfortunately, the F1 is becoming too slow to run the latest FC firmwares and is not recommended to purchase as it will soon become unsupported. F3 boards can currently run the latest flight controller firmwares although the microprocessor is consequently slower than an F4 to F7 at reading and responding to sensor inputs. This reading and response time is respectively known as the gyro update frequency and the PID loop frequency.

From FPV Drone Flight Controller Processors

In this video, @painless360 describes various types of Opensource flight controllers and why you might choose one over another.

The Tech Center has drone certification courses to help you operate your UAV or drone legally for work or recreation. Check out our drone courses here!

More Drone Terms – Do You Know Them All?