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Old 11-01-2012, 10:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default BLHeli-Setup for BLHeli - Q&A / Discussion

First it should be mentioned: The always latest revision of BLHeli-Setup can be found in my Blog.

So why this thread?
Although a lot of people are using BLHeli-Setup, I got really few bug reports, ideas or questions.

So here should be a place for questions, bug reports, comments, new ideas, likes or dislikes, wishes... about BLHeli-Setup as an application for flashing and configuring BESC with BLHeli firmware.
Also here should be room to discuss all about the BLHeli-Setup serial interface solutions (Toolstick substitutes and/or standalone Brogramming Boxes).

Please keep in mind, that there is another thread here "BLHeli for SiLabs ESCs", where all the other questions, reports and statements about BLHeli firmware and the parameters should go.

I know there is a lack of tutorials and How-to's around the project. All my time goes into the work inside the software, and I must admit, I am not a good writer and I'm getting tired, when I'm think over doing a written manual.

So, if You have made a tutorial about the usage of BLHeli-Setup, please feel free to post it here.

(may be someone can make this thread a sticky...)
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Last edited by 4712; 11-03-2012 at 03:46 AM..
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Old 11-01-2012, 03:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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BlHeli-Setup 9.0 released.

Quote:
About BlHeli-Setup 9.0:

BLHeli-Setup is a comprehensive, though straightforward, Interface solution for BLHeli for Silabs based BESC's.
For Q&A, discussions, reports ... about this BLHeli-Setup Application and the serial interface solutions, pease go to BLHeli-Setup discussion thread here at HeliFreak.

The main discussion Thread for the BLHeli firmware project can be found here at Helifreak. Here is written, what it is all about.
The source code of BLHeli fimrware is available at: GitHub.

BLHeli-Setup supports flashing and re-flashing of all supported BESC's and allows fast and comfortable parameter configuration.
Configuration can be saved to and reloaded from Ini-Files.Even Drag&Drop for Ini-Files and firmware Hex-files is supported (I'm sure nobody tried it...).

BLHeli-Setup carries all original Firmware files for any supported BESC on board (since rev 2.4), so no other downloads are needed to easily "switch" between different firmware revisions.

Different types of Interfaces for BLHeli supported by BLHeli-Setup.

1. All Silabs Toolstick based solutions:
  • modified Silabs ToolstickBA (Base Adapter)
  • Silabs ToolstickBA + ToolstickDA (Debug Adapter)
  • USB Debug Adapter for C8051Fxxx MCUs
  • HAWK STICK (Silabs USB Debug Adapter clone)
  • Oversky "Flash stick tool" available at several shops. (Silabs USB Debug Adapter clone)
2. Toolstick substitute solutions with code for AVR ATMega/Arduino Boards.
  • A Plain ATMega8 chip (8 Mhz internal clock) with RS232 connection (USB/Serial converter). No additional components needed, cheap, straightforward. If one time a bootloader is flashed, BLHeli-Setup can flash a new firmware without the use auf ISP Interface.
  • Arduino Nano 3.0 with Atmega 328P/16Mhz or 8Mhz. Extremely easy to flash and handle with BLHeli-Setup. Flashing will be done with the help of Avrdude. The Arduino Bootloader will stay fully intact! Other Boards as Arduino UNO R3 use the same code. Arduino Pro Mini and other boards should work but need to be tested by user.
All this alternative solutions use the Atmega pin
PB3 = C2CK (RED)
PB4 = C2D (WHITE)
GND = GND (BLACK)


3. Standalone Programming Boxes with Dual-Mode. C2Interface Mode = Toolstick substitute solutions with code for AVR ATMega/Arduino Boards. BlHeli-Setup-Box Mode = standalone Box for simple outdoor parameter changing/programming.
  • The RBBX-Box (known as Robbe Box) + USB/Serial converter.
    (Please consider the manual for the "How-To-Build".) (My favourite !!!)
  • The TDLX-Box (Turnigy dlux Programming Box) + USB/Serial converter.
    (Please consider the manual for the "How-To-Build".)
  • Arduino Uno R3 + Arduino LCD Keypad Shield (ATMega 328P/16Mhz).
    (Atmega pin PB3 for C2CK and PB4 for C2D)
The Toolstick substitute solutions for BLHeli-Setup are quite fast. A complete flashing of a BESC is done in ~3.2 sec (with Silabs Toolstick ~1.8 sec).
BTW: One advantage against the original Toolstick, is the very uncritical cable length for the connection to the BESC. I tried successfully length over 0.5 meter. Whereas The length for the Toolstick to BESC should be as short as possible. BTW: One advantage against the original Toolstick, is the very uncritical cable length for the connection to the BESC. I tried successfully length over 0.5 meter. Whereas The length for the Toolstick to BESC should be as short as possible.

Supported ESC's list (for further detailed info please consider Steffen's PDF at GitHub.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for all your hard work into this wonderful tool, 4712. Unfortunately, I have some issue with the setup program starting with v8 on my Asus EP121, and the issue still presents with v9. The following is a screen shot when open the setup program, once I clicked ok, it will show the interface properly, but the "connect" button is grey out.



My EP121 is running Windows 8 RTM, and I've tried it with both x86 and x64 version, the problem persists on either versions of windows. Interestingly, my desktop and notebook are also running Window 8 with no such issue.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank You!
I will investigate.
It surely has to with the USB handling.
Generally: please attach the "BLHeliSetup.elf" file here. It contains detailed info about the Error message.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4712 View Post
Thank You!
I will investigate.
It surely has to with the USB handling.
Generally: please attach the "BLHeliSetup.elf" file here. It contains detailed info about the Error message.
Here you go. Thanks for looking into this.
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks again. Seems to be a known issue in JVCL.
Please check a test version here and let me know...
(only the main exe file to replace)
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4712 View Post
Thanks again. Seems to be a known issue in JVCL.
Please check a test version here and let me know...
(only the main exe file to replace)
Just tested it, worked like a charm. Thank you so much!!!
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank You, for helping to fix a bug!
I released the fixed Rev. 9.0.01.
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Really great software thank you! I'm using blheli in my turnigy plush 25 for my trex 250. Works great! Only two little problems. First, is there anyway to adjust the speed at which the motor slows down at lvc? It dropped like a stone :eek: obviously I know I shouldn't fly that low but would be good to adjust. Also, the pinion settings can't take into account gear ratio, for helis other than the mcpx. Sorry if these are stupid questions an thanks for you software! :o
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theKaRmA View Post
is there anyway to adjust the speed at which the motor slows down at lvc? :o
I'm running V.8 on one bird and appreciate that the option to turn off lvc is included. I time all my flights but since my batts are not as strong as they were at the beginning of the season and seasonal temps are lower this lvc *off* setting allows me come down under power if I were flying more aggressive then usual when the timer beeps.

I also like the beacon (none active alarm) adjustment.

Great work 4712.

As for suggestions for improvements---I have to say--- Apple started putting little pictures, graphics,icons to display functions of a choice input--------------then after they did that Microsoft became very popular.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:47 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Hi,
I am not able to write a manual for BL Heli...
And I do not understand many of the variables that can be set on BL Heli. So I use mostly the settings given by the software for the ESCs I flash (what mostly works well).

But I would like to understand the software and programming - so I will try to ask my questions here - and post a screenshot of v 9.0 of BL heli with all the variabels labelled.

So maybe some people who know and understand could explain at least some points - I guess, this would be a help for many pilots who are not that firm in programming and understanding all those variables.



Those are the variables which can be changed in BL Heli software.
I list them and write what I know about some of them - but there are many question marks.
Answers highly appreciated.

  1. Name: You can give the ESC an individual Name and save the settings as a file.
  2. BESC: Name/type of the BESC connected to BL Heli.
  3. Motor/Gear Setup: Enter kv of motor, pole-number and number of teeth of the pinion. Questions: for what - what will be changed by entering those variables? Its for governer speed calculation? Where are the results? How many poles does an inrunner BL motor have? I opened one today, there is one center magnet... but I guess, "pole" means number of magnets inside the outrunner motor? So i.e. a HP03s has 6 poles? Or does it have 12 poles (6 magnets inside x 2 magnet poles)? Has an inrunner BL motor 1 or two poles (1 pole cant be set in BL heli anyway).
  4. Main Governor P-Gain: ??? Can be set from 1 = 0.13 to 13 = 8
  5. Main Governer I-Gain: ??? Can be set from 1 = 0.13 to 13 = 8
  6. Main Governer Mode: ??? TX, Arm, Setup, Off
  7. Low Voltage Limiter: Off - 3.4 V / cell - Value for low voltage cutoff of ESC (?)
  8. Startup Method: Stepped or Direct - what's the difference, when use what?
  9. Startup Power: ??? x 0.25 - x 1.5 - tried with a tiny inrunner, that had starting problems - could not find changes (even later, when the IR was working). What is this for?
  10. PWM Frequency: High - Low - Damped Light - high is mCP x v1? Does mCP x v2 board not run with "high"? Tried Nano CPx board with high and low, did not yet see any differences, run v1 mCP x boards with given (low) settings (forgot to change) - did not have problems.
  11. Motor Direction: Normal - Reversed; I guess, I can change motor direction with this button instead of changing two of the three plugs from motor to ESC or (more important) if direct soldering of motor to ESC do not have to desolder/solder again.
  12. Input Polarity: Positive - Negative: If I change this, can I damage the ESC? I will probably damage the board, if board gets power from ESC - and I change those settings, will i?
  13. Damping Force: ??? Very low - High
  14. Starting RPM: ??? x 0.67 - x 1.5
  15. Startup Acceleration: ??? x 0.4 - x 2.3
  16. Demag Compensation: ??? Off - 7.5/15
  17. Motor Timing: ??? Low - High
  18. Governor Setup Target: ??? =% = 7122 rpm - 100% = 26042 rpm; do not understand - changes in 3 (motor and gear setup) do not seem to have any effect on those values.
  19. Governor Range: ??? High - Low
  20. Throttle Change Rate: ??? 2 - 255
  21. PPM Min Throttle: ??? 1 - 1.312 mx
  22. PPM Max Throttle: ??? 1.520 - 2 ms
  23. Beep Strenght: ??? 1 - 255
  24. Beacon Strength: ??? 1 - 255
  25. Beacon Delay: ??? 30 s - infinite
  26. Re Arming every Start: ???
  27. Programming by TX: ? Possible and Not possible - if i use this function, I can also program the ESC by tx, as usual - what's the disadvantage of this function, or why is there the possibility not to use this function?




I really hope some of you can answer some of my questions and explain some of the points - or at least give some links to sources explaining all those values.




Thank you,


Walter
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
 

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I've always thought a little pop up explaining what each variable is when one hovers over the variable name for a second, would be so helpful.

But good start Walter. Perhaps the accepted explanation for each variable will make it back into BLHeli-Setup.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:24 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theKaRmA View Post
Really great software thank you! I'm using blheli in my turnigy plush 25 for my trex 250. Works great! Only two little problems. First, is there anyway to adjust the speed at which the motor slows down at lvc? It dropped like a stone :eek: obviously I know I shouldn't fly that low but would be good to adjust.
The Setup Application can't do anything here, may be, You ask this question in the BLHeli Firmware Thread.
Quote:
Also, the pinion settings can't take into account gear ratio, for helis other than the mcpx. Sorry if these are stupid questions an thanks for you software! :o
I will do it on my list. Any suggestions about the Min and Max for Pinion and main gear?
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:28 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heli+yeah View Post
As for suggestions for improvements---I have to say--- Apple started putting little pictures, graphics,icons to display functions of a choice input--------------then after they did that Microsoft became very popular.
Do You want or not want pictures?
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:32 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daryoon View Post
I've always thought a little pop up explaining what each variable is when one hovers over the variable name for a second, would be so helpful.

But good start Walter. Perhaps the accepted explanation for each variable will make it back into BLHeli-Setup.
Yes, a good start and sure, I could add this as a help file or as part of the hint windows, or both!
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:51 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Walter, have you read the TX programming manual as Achim suggested? That explains quite well for me but perhaps because I am an engineer and I'm very mechanical/electrical/computer inclined, but I still think that manual explains quite well on what you need to know about setting various BLHeli parameters. The parameters that are hard to understand from reading the manual are probably not to be messed with anyways.

I'll try to elaborate using less technical terms. These are not intended to be used "popup help" bubbles. For that, the text in the TX programming manual will do, but then in that case why not just read the manual.

3. This is just a calculator for your convenience. The #s won't go into the ESC. If you punch in the #s correctly, it'll tell you whether your motor will top out at the throttle percentage value you set in 18 (black or red), and what headspeed will correspond to the throttle percentage.

4. and 5. P and I gains are part of the PID controller algorithm. In layman terms, think of you catching a bus. You determine how fast you need to run depending on how far you're away from the bus. That's your P gain. You also determine how fast you need to run depending on whether the bus is stopping to pick up passengers or if the bus is about to leave. That's your I gain. BLHeli doesn't use D gain which will be even 1 step further ahead of predicting not just what the bus will do but what the trend of what the bus is about to do.

6. See TX programming manual. It's pretty clear what each parameter does

7. Yes

8. Starting up a brushless motor is more complicated than starting up a brushed motor. With brushed motor, you just give it direct voltage and thus direct current and it'll start. Starting up a brushless motor is like starting up a car engine. Until lately, a combustion engine needs to be started by an external power source like a electrical starter motor. When a combustion engine is stopped it may not stop at a good position for a power stroke to start it up next time, plus the engine computer cannot accurately read the crank position when stopped (i.e. when should the computer fire at which cylinder). When a brushless motor is stopped, ESC doesn't know which of the 3 phases to fire to start it up and cannot accurately detect the phases even after motor starts to turn slowly. Stepper motor mode is like starting up a car engine with a starter. ESC does it by running the brushless motor as a stepper motor which is similar to a servo where the ESC has precise control of how many degrees to move in each time slot. Because of that, motor spoolup doesn't need a lot of power and success rate is much much higher. Problem with stepper motor mode is that it doesn't care how fast the motor (with all the inertia from the main rotor) can spool up because ESC uses it's own pre-programmed ramp-up rate (i.e. the speed up rate of the motor) and that means terminal speed when exiting stepper motor mode upon finishing spoolup may not match current throttle value, like when your car engine wakes up and go "vrooom".You need to experiment with different parameter values for the stepper motor mode to achieve smoothest transition. Works best when you combine with stock soft-start which has a fixed ramp-up sequence for consistent throttle value at any given time after throttle up.

9. In stepper mode it tells how much power should be provided to the stepper motor. In direct mode, ESC needs to give more power than throttle signal provides to spin up the motor or else the motor will just "shake". Set start power to something that'll start every time. Setting start power too high will waste battery charge. Start power can be set much lower in stepper mode than direct mode.

10. PWM frequency refers to power output not signal input. This setting refers to how power to the motor is modulated. In general power is sent out as pulses at full strength to reduce loss. ESC doesn't send out half power at any given time. It's all of nothing. If it sends out half power, that means the other half of the power will have to be absorbed by some "middleman" as a waste. Read TX programming manual on the pros and cons of high/low settings.

12. PWM input signal is like PWM output mentioned in 10 in terms of modulation for throttling but this setting is for input signal. The amount of throttle sent to brushed motor is determined by how long full power pulses are sent as opposed to how long zero power pulses are sent. Most ESCs run neg-ground which means pos voltage refers to ON. Some ESCs run pos-ground which means zero voltage refers to ON. If you have this setting wrong, zero throttle will be interpreted as 100% throttle and vice verse and everything in between. It won't kill the ESC.

13. Damping mode is like "auto-brake" in video games. When throttle is off, ESC applies brakes to slow down motor for quicker motor speed change for tail motor and fixed pitch applications. This setting sets how strong auto-brake should be.

14. Applies to stepper mode, analogous to how fast you want your car starter to spin the engine.

15. Refers to stepper motor mode. Like suggested before, stepper motor is like a servo, but unlike servo usage where it can start/stop instantly (or as fast as you can), you don't want to change heli motor speed instantly on spoolup.

16. In simple words, this is like fiddling with power-stroke timing analogous to fiddling with the exact timing when your foot presses hard on your bicycle pedal to give the most efficient power. You don't want to press the pedals when they are traveling up. This setting basically tries to minimize that occurrence.

17. How soon you press your foot on your bicycle pedal. If you don't start thinking to press on the pedal until the crank is at the point where you could yield the most efficient power storke then by the time you press on it at speed you'll have passed the most efficient point. So you need to think ahead. How much ahead depends on a lot of factors so that's why you need to experiment with it. In reality 99% of the time mid-timing will work just fine for most motors.

18. Slider sets the throttle value to be used in Gov Setup mode if you choose to run this mode. Headspeed is just a suggestive value calculated from 3. This field is shown in black if motor kV can reach speed governed by the set throttle value, red if not. And that's assuming 1S operation. Half the value in the kV field if you run 2S but I find it not very accurate for 2S operation.

19. Sets the range of how often motor phases can change. Like a car engine with more cylinders, a brushless motor with more poles will change phases more often. When BLHeli 1st came out it was not designed to work with 2-pole motors. As you can imagine a 2-pole motor will change phases less often and thus require a lower range setting. I find this setting has no effect on my 7600kV 6-pole motor.

20. Fine tune on how quick ESC can change throttle to the motor. In certain cases, changing throttle too quick will result in hesitation. Don't change this unless you know exactly what you're doing.

21. and 22. PPM signal is servo signal which is never "zero". Set these like you set zero/full throttle endpoints with the old "converter" setup or ESCs for bigger helis. Applies to servo signal (130X). Doesn't apply to brushed motor PWM signal (e.g. mCPx, nCPx). You can set these parameters following TX program mode activation in the TX programming manual.

23. How loud the beeps sound on battery plug-in, arming sequence, TX program mode acknowledgement.

24. How loud the beeps sound when lost beacon is activated.

25. How long ESC should wait for no throttle signal before it triggers lost beacon.

26. Sets whether it triggers the famous (or infamous) throttle down/up/down arming sequence every time after zero throttle

27. One reason to disable this is for tail motor application. Some people seem to activate full tail throttle on spool up which would trigger TX program mode.
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:59 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theKaRmA View Post
Really great software thank you! I'm using blheli in my turnigy plush 25 for my trex 250. Works great! Only two little problems. First, is there anyway to adjust the speed at which the motor slows down at lvc? It dropped like a stone :eek: obviously I know I shouldn't fly that low but would be good to adjust.
Actually, what's happening there is that your main board is hitting LVC before the ESC and cuts the throttle. If you're running governor set mode, the ESC tries to keep the same speed no matter what the the throttle position is in except zero throttle. The main board was actually bringing the throttle down slowly to zero but the ESC don't care until it actually hits zero.

What you need to do is raise the Low Voltage Limiter up a notch in the software so that the ESC hits LVC before the main board, that way it will reduce the power to the motor instead of shutting down completely.

This may not apply to the Trex 250 though not sure as I don't know if your reciever has a cut off voltage. I would still try to up the cut off voltage though cause it should reduce speed before you lose power all together.
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Old 11-02-2012, 04:16 AM   #18 (permalink)
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That should only happen to Governor Arm or Governor Setup mode. With Governor TX mode or Throttle mode, ESC should respond to LVC as soon as it kicks in. Governor Arm or Setup mode should only be used with heli running tail motor and require tail pre-compensation (e.g. mCPx, nCPx). Besides, T250 should be running PPM signal which won't allow Governor Arm mode anyways. I wonder if the cause is something other than governed headspeed staying constant at onset of LVC.
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:17 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Thanks to Canada for all the explanations.

I will have to read your answer several times to try to understand all this stuff - be sure, there will come more answers.

Anyway, I hope more pilots will ask simple or stupid questions (for the profs) like I do and we could probably elaborate a how to setup all this stuff.
I know, that I am not the only one who does not understand quite a big part of all those settings.
But anyway, because the settings given by BL Heli software (by Steffen?) work very well with the specific ESCs, so thats probably the reason for quite few questions (I also do not ask how my WLAN router works or stuff like this - I use it, and thats ok for me ).

Understanding would be fine, anyway...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleCH View Post

3. This is just a calculator for your convenience. The #s won't go into the ESC. If you punch in the #s correctly, it'll tell you whether your motor will top out at the throttle percentage value you set in 18 (black or red), and what headspeed will correspond to the throttle percentage.

.
Whats with an Inrunner?
There is no answer in Wiki, but there is also written, there is no magnet inside the IR motor; I have disassembled a small inrunner recently (Turnigy 1015), and there is a very strong magnet inside on the axis...

How many poles does an outrunner with 6 magnets have? 6 or 12?
From Wikipedia:
The number of permanent magnets in the rotor does not match the number of stator poles
So "12" is the correct answer, is it?


Thanks,

Walter
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:38 AM   #20 (permalink)
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How about predefined settings for certain motors? What I mean is if you have a hp05 motor then you should be able to choose that motor from a drop down list. Also there could be another section that will say economy,mild,wild or something like that. So you can change the performance depending on skill level and or battery life. If you want to fly it indoors then choose economy or you could have dual rates setup in your transmitter. I dont know, I am just throwing out ideas. I am also looking at it from a noob perspective. I am sure that half the people that use blheli have no idea what settings to choose and what not to. There may be a ton of people that are hindering performance because of wrong settings.
I dont think it would be hard to add predefined settings by motor preference. I would love to be able to choose "Black Dragon" or "hp06v2" in a motor list and "Mini cp" or "Mcpx" in the helicopter list. Then an automatic pop-up will occur asking how many teeth is on the pinion you are using. Another pop up will occur if using the Mini cp asking which maingear you are using, either a mini cp or genius. There may be other pop-ups too, but I cannot think of anymore. I want a simple interface that helps the user. I also want a video showing how to program blheli from a transmitter!!! I looked at the pdf and I cannot understand it.

Well I hope you take my ideas into consideration.
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