Guide: Flight Controller CLI Commands

What is CLI ?

CLI  is abbreviation of the a Command Line Interface. It is special configuration mode where commands are given insted of the dedicated setting controls and inputs. Every flight controllers firmware configurator (Cleanflight, Betaflight, Butterflight, iNav, etc)  has this mode. It is useful for more specific change of settings and detailed configuration the Flight Controller. It is also usefur for dumping the whole flight controller configuration, backuping and restoring the settings in the easy way. Read more about it below.

How to use CLI?

In order to start using CLI you have to connect to your flight controller with configurator software (See here how to install the standalone configurator software). Click on the “CLI” tab – this will enable flight controllers CLI mode. Write the command in the input field and hit the [Enter] to execute it. 

You need to execute save command if you want all the commands and changes to be saved into Flight Controllers memory. Saving will reboot the flight controller. Close the CLI tab or send the exit command to exit the CLI mode without saving.

CLI Dump or Diff?

dump command dumps all the setting of the flight controller. This can be quite a long list
diff command was introduced in the BetaFlight version 3.0 and it dumps only the settings that are different from the defaults. 
diff all command dumps only differencies from the defaults but also dumps all the PID profiles.

It is highly recommended to use diff instead of the dump as it results in the significant smaller settings list and only the ones that were changed or differ from the defaults.


How to Backup/Restore the settings using CLI?

Sometimes it is usefull to save the Flight Controller settings and restore them in case you need. These cases include FC firmware upgrade, restoring the FC to the point where it worked and etc. Backuping and restoring is very simple task.

Backup: Go to CLI, enter diff (or diff all if you have multiple PID profiles) and copy the provided text to anywhere just to save it for later use.

Restore: Go to CLI, paste the saved settings text to the command input field, hit [Enter]. Your FC settings are restored. Don’t forget to save the settings.

CLI commands list


Command Description
1wire <esc> passthrough 1wire to the specified esc
adjrange show/set adjustment ranges settings
aux show/set aux settings
color configure colors
defaults reset controller to defaults and reboot
dump print configurable settings in a pastable form
diff dump only the settings that are different from the defaults. Includes only the current PID profile.
diff all dump only the settings that are different from the defaults. Includes ALL PID profiles.
exit exit without saving
feature list or -val or val
get get the value of the specified variable
gpspassthrough passthrough gps to serial
help lists all commands
led configure leds
map mapping of rc channel order
mixer mixer name or list
mode_color configure mode colors
motor get/set motor output value
play_sound index, or none for next
profile index (0 to 2)
rateprofile index (0 to 2)
rxrange configure rx channel ranges (end-points)
rxfail show/set rx failsafe settings
save save settings and reboot
serialpassthrough serial passthrough mode, reset board to exit
set set the the given value to the variable. (name=value or blank or * for list)
status show system status
version show version
serial configure serial ports
servo configure servos
sd_info sdcard info
tasks show task stats
mmix design custom motor mixer
smix design custom servo mixer

Note that specific command list depends on the type of the firmware (BetaFlight, Butterflight, iNav) and firmware version you are using. For exact list of the commands type help in CLI mode.


Usefull CLI commands

bl or dfu command to enter the DFU mode without pushing the button. Reboots the FC board in bootloader mode.

set small_angle = 180 – sets any angle your quadcopter will be able to arm. Usefull when you land unexpectedly severely angled and you are unable to re-arm.

set ledstrip_visual_beeper = ON – When set to on, and the LEDLOW mode is active (i.e. LED strip off), blink the LED strip in synch with beeping, as a visual indicator in cases where the craft is too far away for the beeper to be heard / multiple craft are flying.  Values available: [ON,OFF (default)]

Binding with integrated Receivers (connected via SPI):

For Betaflight 4.x – command bind_rx_spi
For Betaflight 3.x: – command frsky_bind
Don’t forget to issue save command after the sucessfull bind.

2018-05-23 – article created
2019-02-13 – Usefull CLI commands updated
2019-07-01 – Usefull CLI commands updated

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