Review: Strix Binary F10 Flight Controller with Helio IMU-F System

Although I do think the naming/marketing is a bit misleading, the Binary F10, nevertheless, is an interesting new flight controller. It is faster than any other existing FC on the market because it can run 32K PID loop at the lowest CPU utilization.

Want to know more about the basics of mini quad flight controller?

Get it from ReadyMadeRC: http://bit.ly/2FQqMZO

First of all, I have to make it clear that there is no such thing as “F10 chip”. So you might be wondering, what are they talking about?

Well, the Strix Binary F10 flight controller has two processors, an F7 and an F3, hence the names “Binary” – two processors, and “F10” – F7+F3.

F10 is just a ‘clever’ name they came up with, people, F10 chip doesn’t exist!

For more info about processor in flight controllers, see my article on the differences between F1, F3, F4 and F7.

Like a standard flight controller, it runs a normal flight software, such as Butterflight, on the main processor, which is the F7 in this case. The difference is that there is an F3 chip offloading the gyro filtering, leaving the F7 with more resources to do other things.

This technology is called “IMU-F system”, developed by HelioRC. When you flash Betaflight or Butterflight on a board with this feature, it will remove all the software gyro filtering, as it’s all done by the dedicated F3 chip.

The Strix Binary F10 is equipped with an ICM20601 Gyro, and you can run 32K/32K looptime on it with fairly low CPU utilization.

Other existing F4, even F7 flight controllers are beginning to struggle to run fast looptime due to the increasing amount of filtering and features added in every new version.

Most recently I’ve been flying the CL Racing F7, and with my normal config (default filters, dynamic filter enabled etc) I could only use 16K looptime without maxing out CPU utilization. I can only expect it to get worse in Betaflight 4.0.

That’s where the Strix Binary F10 comes in, it’s more future proofing if you care about running the fastest looptime possible. If you don’t care, and happy with just 8K/8K, then it really doesn’t matter to you.

Another big selling point of this FC would be the “secret” gyro filtering system using a dedicated F3″. I still can’t comment on this yet as I will have to do more intensive testing and comparison.

We don’t know because it’s closed source. It’s really a mysterious what it’s doing and if it’s any better or worse than the existing filters in Betaflight.

The F3 processor is loaded with HelioRC’s “IMU-F System” – a proprietary gyro filtering algorithm.

All we know is that the IMU-F system filters/processes the information coming out of the gyro, and then pass on the filtered gyro data to the main processor for PID calculations.

This leaves more processing power to the flight controller for running other stuff.

The Binary F10 is built on light blue PCB, and comes with purple rubber grommets for soft mounting. The layout is pretty logical, and it’s optimized for 4in1 ESC by using header connector.

There are four extruded solder pads at the corners which are the ESC signals and grounds, so it should be easy to use with separate ESC’s as well. If you don’t use them, and if they get in the way when mounting in the frame, I think you might be able to just snap them off with a wire cutter (extremely carefully).

Note that there is no dedicated ESC telemetry pin in the 4in1 ESC header.

Unfortunately, there is some residue on the solder pads (enlarge image to see), and I recommend cleaning them with rubbing alcohol before soldering to ensure a solid joint. Maybe that’s because the sample i received is an early test board? Anyway It’s not a deal breaker.

The F10 claims to have dedicated SBUS and SmartPort pads, something unnecessary in my opinion when it comes to an F7 FC, since all the UART’s can handle ‘inverted’ signals. Just makes it confusing for new comers if they aren’t Frsky users, and think they can’t use these pads?

Solder pads are only available on the top of the board, there is nothing on the bottom.

You can use the Binary F10 with Butterflight right now. I’ve been told Betaflight, iNav and FlightOne will soon support it too, but there is no exact deadline.

It’s basically an upgraded Helio Spring, from F4 to F7 as the main processor. Features and spec are similar:

  • Processors: STM32F722
  • IMU: ICM20601 Gyro with F3 filtering system
  • Supports Betaflight OSD
  • BEC: 3.3V & 5V/2.5A
  • 5 UART’s
  • 4 Motor Outputs
  • Input Voltage: up to 6S
  • Supports Camera Control via OSD pin
  • i2c ports
  • Dimensions: 40x36mm including motor tabs

It comes only with a cable to connect to a 4in1 ESC, no other accessories.

A very low profile board, the rubber grommets are short and fits normal nylon standoffs.

Here is the pinout diagram to help you with the wiring.

At the moment only Butterflight supports it. I want to try it with Betaflight so I will wait until it’s supported. My goal is to compare it to another F7 FC with the same gyro to ensure it’s fair, so it would make sense to use the same flight firmware as well to keep the number of variables to a minimum.

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