Enabling governor on 230 S V2 via BLHeli

Disclaimer: I take no liability for any damage you cause to your equipment, yourself, or others. Expect that any attempt to follow the information here will void your Horizon Hobby warranty.

The stock Blade 230 S V2 ESC runs BLHeli!

Introduction

The ESC that comes stock on the Blade 230 S V2 runs the BLHeli firmware, which means if you have the means to a BLHeli ESC, you can modify any of the 230 S V2 ESC settings. This includes enabling the governor!

Thank you to ridge-runner at HeliFreak.com for showing me how to do this! Credit goes to him.

What you need:

  • ESC from your Blade 230 S V2
  • Compatible 3S battery (Storage charge is fine; no need to fully charge)
  • An Arduino or other means to connect your PC to the ESC’s JR plugs
    • A popular option is the Arduino Uno. I happened to use old Arduino Duemilanove I had, but the instructions should be the similar if not identical.
    • Another option may be a dedicated BLHeli adapter. But I have no experience using those.

Step 1: Get the software and hardware ready

You need to download the program BLHeliSuite (Not BLHeli-32!) I happened to download it from this link and it worked for me.

Next you need to connect your PC to your Arduino or other BLHeli connector. Read the documentation for your connector. For me, I needed an old-school USB connector for my Duemilanove.

Arduino and Arduino-ESC connectors

If you’re using an Arduino like me, you’ll also need some way to connect the Arduino pins to the JR-style pins on the ESC. I used the wires you see in the photo above.

From here on I’ll just assume you’re using an Arduino since I only have experience in using that.

Step 2: Upload the BLHeliSuite 4-way interface to the Arduino

The Arduino will facilitate communication between the BLHeli program on your computer and the ESC. To start, you need to flash the BLHeliSuite 4-way interface on your Arduino. You don’t need any Arduino IDE for this; it’s all done in BLHeli.

Fire up the BLHeliSuite program and click the Make Interfaces tab. Every thing you’ll do will be on the far-right side. Click the Arduino Board drop-down box and select your model.

Select the Arduino Board that you are using. I happen to be using an old Duemilanove.

In the bottom left of the program window is a Port dropdown box. Select the port that corresponds to your Arduino. Which one? A new serial port probably appears when you plug in your Arduino and disappears when you unplug it.

With the correct Port seleceted, cow click the bottom-right button that says Arduino 4way-interface. You’ll see 4 options pop up (BD23) which together indicate the 4 different functions that your Arduino is able to do. More on that shortly.

Click on Arduino 4way-interface

You should get a screen asking you to select the correct firmware file. We’re not doing multi rotors so click the other one as shown in the next screenshot.

Click Open, then Yes, and sit back and wait a few seconds. If all goes well you’ll get a success message. Click OK/Continue to proceed. Your Arduino is now ready.

Step 3: Connect Arduino to ESC

Disclaimer: I take no liability for any damage you cause to your equipment, yourself, or others. Expect that any attempt to follow the information here will void your Horizon Hobby warranty.Disclaimer: I take no liability for any damage you cause to your equipment. Expect that any attempt to follow the information here to void your Horizon Hobby warranty.

Find the 4-wire cable that is coming out of your ESC. Those 4 wires split into a 3-wire JR plug (FBL power & main motor signal) and a 1-wire JR plug (tail rotor signal). Unplug the 3-wire plug from your FBL unit, noting carefully its original location and orientation so you can reconnect it later.

Next, read every single piece of documentation that came with BLHeliSuite. Done? Good. You probably noticed that the important part was in the file called BLHeliSuite4w-if_interfaces_pinout.pdf.

The stock 230 S V2 ESC is an “SiLabs” type ESC, so I needed to scroll to the “Arduino and ATMega for SiLabs C2 Interface” page. I think it’s page 1 actually.

Find the type of Arduino you have and note carefully the pins. For my particular Arduino, I only need to use the GND and D11 pins. Yours may be different.

I’m using a Duemilnove with ATMEGA328. For some reason I think that means I should use the top-left table.

Again, make sure you look at the right table or you could damage your ESC or Arduino.

Now that you know what 2 pins you need, we’re ready for the actual physical connection between your Arduino and ESC. First, make sure you don’t have any battery connected to your ESC. You should have black, red, and orange wires to your JR plug. Connect the GND Arduino pin of your Arduino to the black ground wire of your ESC. Then connect the other Arduino pin of interest to the outer orange (NOT RED) pin. Do not connect anything to the middle red pin of your ESC since this is the +5.4 volt pin and may damage your Arduino or your ESC. You’ve been warned.

Do not connect anything to the center pin.

At this point, you should have a physical connection from your computer to Arduino and from your Arduino to your ESC. Now we’ll use the PC program BLHeliSuite again to actually do something useful.

Step 4: Open and modify ESC BLHeli settings

Disclaimer: I take no liability for any damage you cause to your equipment, yourself, or others. Expect that any attempt to follow the information here will void your Horizon Hobby warranty.

Using BLHeliSuite on your PC, select the first tab (not the Make Interfaces tab). From the Menu Bar click Select ATMEL/SILABS Interface. Click Option D—SILABS BLHeli Bootloader (4way-if).

Option D is what you want.

If necessary, make sure the correct Port is selected in the bottom left.

For safety, you should disconnect the motor wires from your ESC, noting carefully which wire goes where so that you don’t have a counter-clockwise heli when you’re done.

Time for business! Connect your LiPo battery to the usual battery connector of your ESC, just like you’re going for a flight.

Battery connected.

Here’s where the magic happens. Click Connect at the bottom of the program.

Click Connect, then Read Setup.

Now click Read Setup. You should get a pop-up window confirming that ESC#1 was read successfully. All the values of the BLHeli firmware will change to their current setup.. Woohoo!

You’re in!

First, take a screenshot or somehow save the original settings to a file on your computer incase you change something that you shouldn’t.

Feel free to re-name your ESC to whatever you want. Here are the values that I am currently using for my governor and other fields. Read the BLHeli instruction manuals for more info on what each does. If you want to turn the governor on, do it!

My current 230 S V2 BLHeli ESC values

Warning! Don’t touch the PPM Min or Max throttle settings! Doing so may cause your heli to spin up even with Throttle Hold on. If you’ve ever set up an MSH Brain/iKon or any other FBL unit from scratch, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Also don’t let the 3.2 volt/cell scare you. During flight, the voltage across the terminals of your battery go well below the voltage you’d read when your heli lands and stops spinning. Under load, battery voltages go low and return to higher values when not under load.

Step 5: Save your settings and test it out.

Very important here! When you’re done, you must click Write Setup. to save your settings. You should get a confirmation pop-up window.

You must click Write Setup to save your values.

To disconnect everything, my first step is hitting Disconnect on the BLHeliSuite program, then unplug the battery, then disconnect the other physical wires. This way I don’t accidentally strike the live center pin of the JR connector with my Arduino.

Reconnect the JR connector to your FBL and the ESC-motor wires.

Have fun and be safe.