How to add GPS to a miniquad with Betaflight 3.2

With the 3.2 release, Betaflight finally has decent GPS support. Here are some of the navigation features you can have on Betaflight OSD:

  • Latitude
  •  Longitude
  • Distance to home
  • Speed
  • Arrow pointing home

Even better: if you have a telemetry-enabled receiver such as the X4R or XSR, you can send your location to the Taranis in real time. The Taranis will log your position, and keep the last known position available in case of a crash. This means it could save you time and maybe money in the long run.

Interested? Let’s do it.

The first thing you need is an integrated GPS receiver / antenna that’s small enough to fit on a miniquad. The one I have been using is the Micro Ublox M8N that you can buy at RTFQ for $16. It weighs only 6 grams, which is negligible for most miniquads capable of going relatively far.

Ublox M8N gps unit

This unit comes preconfigured and ready to wire to a flight controller. However, if you want to mess with the settings you can configure it via a serial UART and u-center for Windows. This video is still mostly relevant if you need to do that.

Wiring the gps unit is easy: just connect it to a free UART on your flight controller. Make sure that the wires are long enough that you can mount the gps on top of your quad.  If you are running a bottom mounted battery, the top of your HD camera mount is the best spot. I run a top mount, so I prefer heat shrinking the gps to a battery strap so I can have it on top of the battery.

Once wired, configuring the gps is easy.  On the ports tab of Betaflight, select gps as a peripheral for the UART to which it’s wired. In this case I used UART 3.

Then in the configuration tab:

And if everything is wired correctly, when you restart betaflight you should see the GPS indicator light up at the top of the screen.

Now there are two things you can do. If you have Betaflight OSD, you probably want to enable gps coordinates, distance to home and direction to home. I also like having the satellite count and gps speed, even though it’s not very accurate. My screen looks like this:

The home arrow indicates that I’m flying mostly away from myself and 145 meters away. The GPS coordinates show that I am in… [left as an exercise for the reader].

The second thing you could do is set up your Taranis to log gps coordinates (assuming your receiver has telemetry, won’t work with an xm+). I won’t cover that now because this is enough for one post, I’ll save it for a future one. Happy flying and hope this saves you from losing a quad or two!


14 Replies to “How to add GPS to a miniquad with Betaflight 3.2”

  1. Very informative – and clever to post this diego. Will result in significantly less annoying questions from me when I finally decide to try this.

  2. Awesome post, Diego! I’ll have to see if I can find this GPS on eBay, I don’t think RTFQ will ship to India!

    Having a GPS arrow pointing to where the quadcopter is can be a lifesaver!

      1. How do you connect the gps unit to the computer for U-Center adjustments? Will the gps link through betaflight when attached to a F/C or do I need to make some kind of usb cable adapter.

  3. For all F3 people out there: the GPS function was removed in 3.2 for F3 boards due to flash space limitations.

    Just if you get as annoyed with this as i am -.-

  4. The GPS you are using doesn’t seem to have a mag. Does distance to home and direction to home work without a magnetometer?

  5. Thanks for the guide! I managed to get my compass working, but not the build-in compass on the GPS. Just wondering does the home direction and distance function in the OSD require compass to work? Or will they work with just a 3D Fix-ed GPS?

  6. A lot of GPS devices come with a pole to mount the GPS a few inches above the quad. Do you see a benefit? It looks like you strap it down on top of the quad…

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