How to Flash BLHeli_32 ESCs
There are a number of key differences between flashing new BLHeli_32 ESCs and the old BLHeli or BLHeli_S ones, so I’m going to try to highlight how to do so without wasting your time.
How to flash BLHeli_32 ESCs
First off, you need a BLHeli_32 ESC, these new ESC’s have new 32bit processors compared to the current 8bit BLheli_S ones, so no, your old ESCs will not be compatible with BLHeli_32.
Second, you need the new version 32 of BLHeli suite, you can find links in the description below as well as on the written version of this guide. This is a new suite built from the ground up and does not have support for any of the old hardware in it. So most likely you will now need to keep both the latest version of 16.* and 32.* when working with multiple ESCs.
Finally, to do the pass-through flashing method I am going to show you today you will need a flight controller running Betaflight 3.2 or later. This will likely change later on and I will update it in the written version of this guide. Currently version 3.2 is still in Beta so we will start there by going over how to flash a beta version of Betaflight. Good to know when you want the bleeding edge of bleeding edge code.
Beta version of Betaflight
At the time of writing, only Borris B’s beta version of betaflight actually supports pass through flashing of BLHeli_32 ESCs so we will need to download that from his website.
Once done downloading, extract the package to a folder so you can access all the build files for each flight controller.
Next open up your Beatflight configurator, and go to the firmware flashing settings. Set all the appropriate options for flashing your flight controller, go to load firmware local, then pick the build file for your specific flight controller from the folder you extracted earlier.
Once that is done go ahead and flash your flight controller and reboot. You can continue to setup your flight controller If you like then continue on.
Next we need to download version 32 of BLHeli suite if we have not already, this is separate from version 16 that is used for all of the old BLHeli and BLHeli_S Hardware. Once downloaded extract the file and open the BLHeli suite application. Again Betaflight should not be open while running the BLHeli suite so if it is close it now.
Specify the proper com port in the lower left then press check to try to connect to the ESCs through the flight controller pass-through. Hopefully everything works correctly and you can now read the setup from your ESC’s and see what they are currently set to.
And that is it, if you are having problems connecting the first thing I would recommend is making sure you have the proper drivers installed from the Betaflight or Cleanflight welcome page, make sure that you have your ESC’s powered when connecting, and that all of your hardware is properly setup as well. Those are the three general faults to look for. Finally if you are getting a Unable to establish server connection error, that is because your computer is not connected to the internet and the new BLHeli suite checks to make sure your ESC’s are genuine upon connection, so you will need internet access.
For more information about BLHeli_32 look for my video specifically on the subject coming soon.