Clock/Time Synchronisation

The flight controller and companion computer clocks can be synchronised using MAVLink’s SYSTEM_TIME and TIMESYNC messages. This is important so that each side can blend data from the other side into its EKF.

Mavros Configuration

Mavros’s apm_config.yaml file can be modified to configure the rate of the SYSTEM_TIME and TIMESYNC messages. Below are the recommended settings.

  timesync_rate: 10.0
  system_time_rate: 1.0

  timesync_mode: MAVLINK

ArduPilot Configuration

The flight controller’s time is set from the GPS by default but can be set from one of three sources(GPS, MAVLINK, onboard HW clock) using the BRD_RTC_TYPES parameter as a bit mask for the time syncronisation source. When using mavros set BRD_RTC_TYPES = 2 to only allow the “MAVLINK_SYSTEM_TIME” source which uses the SYSTEM_TIME MAVLINK message.

If the RTT too high for timesync message is shown in the Mavros console (most commonly when using ArduRover), the SCHED_LOOP_RATE parameter should be increased. This is because Mavros ignores TIMESYNC messages if the round trip time is more than 10ms.


A MAVLink inspector (available using QGC or MissionPlanner) can be used to check that the system times are synchronised. If using Mission Planner, press Ctrl-F and push the “MAVLink Inspector” button.