Loading Firmware

These instructions will show you how to download the latest firmware onto the autopilot using the Mission Planner ground station,which already has ArduPilot firmware installed . See Loading Firmware onto boards without existing ArduPilot firmware .

Connect autopilot to computer

Once you’ve installed a ground station on your computer, connect the autopilot using the micro USB cable as shown below. Use a direct USB port on your computer (not a USB hub).


Pixhawk USB Connection

Windows should automatically detect and install the correct driver software.

Select the COM port

If using the Mission Planner select the COM port drop-down on the upper-right corner of the screen (near the Connect button). Select AUTO or the specific port for your board. Set the Baud rate to 115200 as shown. Don’t hit Connect just yet.


Install firmware

On the Mission Planner’s Initial Setup | Install Firmware screen select the appropriate icon that matches your frame (i.e. Quad, Hexa). Answer Yes when it asks you “Are you sure?”.


Mission Planner: Install FirmwareScreen

After the GCS detects which board you are using it will ask you to unplug the board, plug it back in and then press OK within a few seconds (during this brief period the bootloader accepts requests to upload new firmware).


Mission Planner: Install FirmwarePrompt

Next you may be asked “Upload ChibiOS?”. Most users will not notice a significant difference regardless of how this is answered.

  • “Yes” will load ArduPilot using the newer ChibiOS operating system which results in a smaller and more efficient firmware but has a few missing features
  • “No” will load ArduPilot using the older NuttX operating system.

If all goes well you will see some status appear on the bottom right including the words, “erase…”, “program…”, “verify..” and “Upload Done”. The firmware has been succesfully uploaded to the board.


You can test the firmware is basically working by switching to the Mission Planner Flight Data screen and pressing the Connect button. The HUD should update as you tilt the board.

Connect Mission Planner to AutoPilot has more information on connecting to Mission Planner.