Intro to FPV - Flight Controllers
The flight controller (or FC or sometimes even just “board”) is the brain of the quad. It carries the sensors and processor that make all this possible.
Using data from a gyro and an accelerometer (just like the ones in your smartphone) along with input from the radio control link it knows what the quad is *actually* doing & what it *should* be doing. The firmware running on the FC (usually either Betaflight, FlightOne or Kiss) keeps the quad stable by speeding up or slowing down the individual motors.
While we are on the topic of firmware, not all firmware can run all boards. Betaflight is open source and has been adapted to run on pretty much anything, including Kiss and FlightOne boards. Kiss and FlightOne however are proprietary ad will only run on their own hardware.
All boards have F-number associated with them, it denotes the main processor - higher is faster. F7 boards are the fastest & just starting to arrive. F4 boards are the norm. F3 boards are still a sound option but won’t run some of the latest features at full pelt. F1 chips are now obsolete so steer clear.
Other features include All-In-One boards (AIO) that handle the power distribution for your quad, On-screen Displays (OSD) that overlay useful info onto your FPV feed & SD card slots that record logs that help with tuning.
Something to be aware of are cloned boards. If you see a well known board (usually on a Chinese website) for a price that seems too good to be true, it very probably is. It’s an inferior copy made with lower quality components to a lower quality control standards. Save yourself some pain (and support the original designers) by paying a little more and getting the original.