Hi. Everytime I use the Mission Planner I see stuff like this (random ASCII characters). Is this considered normal. My speed, I believe, is correct, and I am able to successfully program and configure my APM2, but I can't do things such as 'clear the logs' because of the garbage connection. I've tried different ports, different computers, and different USB cables. The result is always the same.
Yes, this is normal. What you are seeing is the MAVLink protocol. It is transmitted continuously on the console from just after boot time. The MAVLink packets all start with the same character. For MAVLink0.9, that is "U", for MAVLink1.0 that is "Q". I can see from the photo, that you are running MAVLink1.0, which is why you see that "Q". That is the first character of the MAVLink packet.
The Mission Planner uses MAVLink (those characters) for everything you see (the moving horizon, gauges, location, heartbeat... everything).
It does not affect the log retrieval or recording. If you are experiencing log problems, it is unrelated to those characters on the screen.
Thank you Andreas