PID Tuning for Quadcopters

PID Tuning for Quadcopters

Initially, I felt that constructing a multirotor from scratch was going to be really hard. Then I went for PID tuning for Quadcopters. I believe that tuning can be quite complex since it is objective and subjective simultaneously. It is objective since it is related to mathematics. It is subjective since every pilot or drone enthusiast perceives it differently. It was one of the most difficult things for me to get a grasp on and to be honest, I still feel that I have a long way to go. I have been able to get a general idea of it, though, as I am able to tinker a little with my aircraft to improve my flight excursions. However, I am still quite far from getting my device perfectly tuned. Fortunately enough for most of us, there are plenty of PID tuning resources out there on the internet that has been placed there some of the most expert pilots from amongst us. I have gone through them in detail and this has helped me to fiddle with my aircraft.

The effect of PDI tuning for Quadcopters

This one is the best video that I have come across on PID tuning for Quadcopters. In this video, Alex Greve a.k.a. IBCrazy, elaborates in simple English about PIDs and the impact of high configurations on the quadcopter.

He also discusses the range of PID values that can be configured. I believe this one to be the handiest video that I have ever come across about PID tuning for Quadcopters. Alex, in this video, showcases flight footage with P, I and D values set at extremes and then appropriate values. This is an excellent resource for getting to know the quadcopter’s behavior in First Person View. The only downside of this video is that Alex uses CC3D flight controller on this multirotor and the value ranges are disparate from what you are accustomed to seeing on CleanFlight. So, in addition to getting to know of how the quadcopter performs, it might be a little difficult to determine how much of a tuning is required to get it right.

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This video is a little old but Korey does well in about three minutes as he explains the fundamental behavior of a quadcopter when different values are configured.

Step by Step Guides

These guides are useful for tuning both Line of Sight and First Person View flights.

Boris B’s PID Tuning Guide from Betaflight Wiki

Boris elaborately explains the values that you should be prioritizing and provides a succinct account of getting to the appropriate PID values.

John Case’s PID tuning guide from OpenTX university

This is a detailed guide and discusses PID theory, the various factors involved and a step by step PID tuning guide.

Oscar Liang’s PID tuning guide

This guy brings to you some really informative content on his blog and you can find his PID tuning guide there as well. Oscar uses simple and easy to understand language. He also provides detailed information about values for acrobatic and smooth flights.

The Propwashed In-flight tuning guide

This is a comprehensive guide that discusses adjustments related to Cleanflight and Betaflight using the Taranis X9D transmitter. You can increase each value using this approach mid-air and observe the ensuing behavior of the quadcopter while the values change. This is an exceptional guide if you want to get the settings right for a smooth flight.

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iFlyQuad’s PID tuning guide

This guide elaborates P, I and D values in simple language and also introduces a step by step tuning guide. The guide is quite brief and the extra sections on TPA and yaw PIDs are of great advantage as you will not be able to get lots of information about them from elsewhere.

PID tuning in FPV for Cleanflight and Betaflight

Joshua Bardwell comes up with this three part video series that is one of the most practical and comprehensive guides you will find on the world wide web. As a matter of fact, I learnt a lot from the first part and implemented the learning to get my Shrieker flying smoothly in the air.

This is one of the best single video tuning processes you will get to see. Kevin, also known as Stingersswarm does well in discussing a repeatable process that can be utilized on both KISS and BetaFlight.

This does not mean that the other guides that we have discussed here are not great. Had I not been able to get the requisite information from the other videos and resources, this video would not have been easy to comprehend.

Tuning using Blackbox

The Blackbox feature is an advanced tuning mode available in CleanFlight and BetaFlight. If your quadcopter contains a flash memory chip that is either separate or integrated in the flight controller, the flight data can be logged to a file and opened up in Cleanflight’s Blackbox Explorer. If you are not cognizant of the data on display, it will not mean a lot to you. Joshua Bardwell has carried out extensive analyses of Blackbox data on his channel. These tutorials can be really handy in understanding all this important data.

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Final Verdict

You are continuously learning PID tuning. You can try the default settings in BetaFlight and get a decent enough flight experience but tuning will ensure that you get the most out of your flying machine. Once you are able to fly a well-tuned quadcopter, you will never go for the default configurations for PID values.

The resources that I have shared with you are the very best that I discovered on the internet. There will certainly be a lot of other helpful resources out there. If you know of any one of them, do not hesitate to share with us in the comments section below.

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