Building for Pixhawk/PX4 using Eclipse on Windows

This article shows how you can set up Eclipse for editing ArduPilot code and building for Pixhawk/PX4 targets.


Ensure that you have Java (32-bit) installed before Eclipse can run or else you’ll get Java Error Code 13 due to 32/64-bit version mismatch. Java can be installed here.


Follow the instructions in Building for Pixhawk/PX4 on Windows with Make to download the required source code (ardupilot, PX4Firmware and PX4NuttX) and toolchain.

The PX4 toolchain includes a preconfigured version of Eclipse that has been set up for ArduPilot development.

Starting Eclipse

Start Eclipse using the PX4 Eclipse link installed with the PX4 toolchain. The link can be accessed from either:

  • The Windows Start menu (Start | All Programs | PX4 Toolchain | PX4 Eclipse), or
  • You can directly run the file C:\Pixhawk_Toolchain\toolchain\msys\1.0\px4_eclipse.bat

Creating the Project

You can set up an Eclipse project to build ArduPilot either “from scratch” or using pre-defined project files. Using the template files saves you a little work as they already include the project location and px4-v2 make target definitions for Copter and Plane.

Creating the Project from template files

The project can be created from predefined template files:

  • Rename /ardupilot/eclipse.cproject to .cproject and /ardupilot/eclipse.project to .project


    If using Windows Explorer append an additional period ”.” to

    the end of the files when renaming them - e.g. .cproject. (the additional period is not actually “saved”.)

  • Select File | Import | General | Existing Projects into Workspace

  • Check Select root directory and browse to the ardupilot directory

  • Select the ardupilot directory and press Finish


Creating the Project from scratch

Alternative to the above steps, the project can be created by doing the following:

  • Select File | New | Make Project with Existing Code
  • Fill in the Project Name and set the Existing Code Location to the Copter directory
  • Set the Toolchain to be Cross GCC” and press Finish

Use spaces instead of tabs

By default Copter, Plane and Rover use spaces in place of tabs. This can be set to the default in Eclipse by changing two settings:

  • Select Window | Preferences | General | Editors | Text Editors | Insert spaces for tabs.

  • Select Windows | Preferences | C/C++ | Code Style | Formatter and creating a new Profile (i.e. “K&R Tab”) which has the “Indentation” set to “Spaces only”


Specify build location

In the Project Explorer right-mouse-click on the ardupilot folder and select Properties. Then under C/C++ Build set the “Build location” to the Copter or Plane directory as shown below.


Specify make targets

In the Make window on the right create any of these make targets (the full list of possible targets can be found in

make px4 Build both PX4 and PixHawk firmware for a quadcopter
make px4-v2 Build the Pixhawk firmware for a quad
make px4-v2-hexa

Build the Pixhawk firmware for a hexacopter.

# Other supported suffixes include “octa”, “tri” and “heli”.

# More can be found in “mk/” under FRAMES

make clean “clean” the ardupilot directory
make px4-clean “clean” the PX4Firmware and PX4NuttX directories so the next build will completely rebuild them
make px4-v2-upload Build and upload the Pixhawk firmware for a quad (i.e. no need to do step #7 below)

For example, the image below shows how you might define a px4-v2 make target.



There is currently no option to upload frames other than quad.

Building from Eclipse

The make target can be built by pushing the green circle + hammer icon. The build progress will appear in the Console window.


The firmware will be created in the vehicle directory (e.g. ArduCopter) and have the file extension .px4.