Hi my APM 2.5 arrived today and I have just fitted to a new build frame, loaded new 2.7.3 and all running fine with the usb but when I try and power the board from the esc's I get the blue light flash 2 times then amber once then nothing.

If i connect the usb to the board with the battery connected all is ok and the board boot's up and then I can arm.

If i then unplug the usb with the battery still attached it remains in boot mod and I can arm.

there is a jumper on J1 I have checked and the board was fully assembled one

can some one please assist in this problem

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I didn't pick up on the part where you booted it up at 300'. I thought it was flown to 300'. I boot it up on the second floor and it works fine. I shut it down, go downstairs and it doesn't boot up. I take it back up the stairs and it boots up. I go back down stairs and it does not boot up. I go back up the stairs and it works fine. Nothing changes but the location and temperature.

So your board booted at your house.  That's one elevation.  It booted in my office.  That's a different elevation.  It booted at the field.  That's a different elevation.  It booted in the kitchen at the fridge.  That's a different elevation.  It booted at - 10F.  It booted at 0. That's a different temperature.  It booted at 40F.  That's a different temperature.  It booted at 75.  that's a different temperature.  It booted in a house.  It booted with a mouse.  It booted with the proper power supply and wiring.  :)

http://code.google.com/p/ardupilot-mega/wiki/APM2board

Alternative ways to power your board

Power Requirements Summary

Single Supply

Power Options Nominal Abs MAX JP1 status
Power on Output PWM connector 5.37V +-0.5   6V JP1 connected
Power on Input PWM connector 5.00V +-0.5   6V JP1 connected

Dual Supply

NOTE: if JP1 open, power is required on both Input PWM and Output PWM

Power Options Nominal Abs MAX JP1 status
Power on Output PWM connector 5.00V +-0.5    6V JP1 open
Power on Input PWM connector 5.00V +-0.5    6V JP1 open

The board comes from the factory setup up to be powered by your RC system, with RC input and output power shared. On the bench, you'll probably be powering the board via your USB cable while you set it up and test it. But in your aircraft, you'll need to power it with your onboard power system, which is usually your LiPo battery going through an ESC.

It's also possible to power APM 2 from two seperate sources, one powering the RC system on the input side, and the other powering the output side (servos or ESCs). This is determined by a jumper on the JP1 pins (see below). If the jumper is on, which is the factory default, the board is powered from the Output rail. If the jumper is off, the board is powered from the Input rail, but the Output rail will need its own power source. This configuration is used if you want to have two seperate power sources in your aircraft, one powering the servos and the other powering the electronics. The ideal input voltage is 5.37v +/-0.0v and may not be provided by a typical ESC.

The APM2 is designed to properly operate from a clean, well filtered power source. Be aware that the voltage specifications are different depending on which connectors are used. The reason for this is there is a schottky diode (diode D1) that prevents the USB port, when connected, from sending power to the APM2's PWM Output connector and damaging something. Consequently, when the USB is not powered and power is connected via the PWM Output connecter there is small voltage drop across this diode in normal operation and a higher input voltage is required to compensate. Therefore, power requirements are as follows: 5.0VDC +/- 0.5V supplied into the PWM input connector, jumper JP-1 removed. 5.37VDC +/- 0.5v supplied into the PWM output connector, jumper JP-1 in place

Warning: Do not exceed 6.0V DC of power supply input voltage or you will damage your board.

In some cases it may be a good idea to set the input voltage slightly above the median (but below the maximum) to account for possible voltage drops during momentary high current events.

The APM2 by itself draws relatively little current (200ma range) and a power source capable of providing 300 - 500ma will provide plenty of margin. However, if servos or other power consuming devices are being driven by the same power source you must consider the power requirements for those devices as well and provide plenty of margin to prevent disastrous "brown-outs". For instance, a single digital servo can easily draw 1-5 amps depending on it's size and performance. (Note: ESCs do not consume power from the APM) If you experience spurious resets or other odd behavior it is most likely due to noisy or insufficient power to the APM. As with all logic boards, electrical noise from the motors, servos, or other high current devices on the power source can cause unpredictable behavior. It is recommend that a power filter such as this or this be used in such conditions.

Too short or long power wires, bad or old connectors, or insufficient current capability of the APM power source can result in a "brown-out" situation resulting in unpredictable operation. This is particularly true in traditional helicopters where the collective servos can draw 3-20 amps in short bursts. The power source must be able to accommodate this without voltage droop or voltage spikes. A quality switching type BEC such as one of these or one of these can be a solution depending on overall current requirements. Many of these type of regulators are programmable so remember to program them with in the safe operating range of the APM2. Linear voltage regulators are not recommended as they are inefficient and prone to overheating and heat induced failures. APM2 should never be connected directly to a battery of any type.

Power source problems are common and can be insidious and frustrating. Be meticulous. Any autopilot or flight controller is useless and potentially dangerous without good clean power source.

What?? Read That Fabulous Manual??

What were you thinking?  :)

Steven, don't mind me, I'm not intending to be discourteous.  I'm just trying to inject a little humour here.

In all seriousness, the information you need is on this page but the links to the ESCs will not copy when I paste them here.

http://code.google.com/p/ardupilot-mega/wiki/APM2board

Alternative ways to power your board

Power Requirements Summary

Single Supply

Power Options Nominal Abs MAX JP1 status
Power on Output PWM connector 5.37V +-0.5      6V JP1 connected
Power on Input PWM connector 5.00V +-0.5      6V JP1 connected

Dual Supply

NOTE: if JP1 open, power is required on both Input PWM and Output PWM

Power Options Nominal Abs MAX JP1 status
Power on Output PWM connector 5.00V +-0.5    6V JP1 open
Power on Input PWM connector 5.00V +-0.5    6V JP1 open

The board comes from the factory setup up to be powered by your RC system, with RC input and output power shared. On the bench, you'll probably be powering the board via your USB cable while you set it up and test it. But in your aircraft, you'll need to power it with your onboard power system, which is usually your LiPo battery going through an ESC.

It's also possible to power APM 2 from two seperate sources, one powering the RC system on the input side, and the other powering the output side (servos or ESCs). This is determined by a jumper on the JP1 pins (see below). If the jumper is on, which is the factory default, the board is powered from the Output rail. If the jumper is off, the board is powered from the Input rail, but the Output rail will need its own power source. This configuration is used if you want to have two seperate power sources in your aircraft, one powering the servos and the other powering the electronics. The ideal input voltage is 5.37v +/-0.0v and may not be provided by a typical ESC.

The APM2 is designed to properly operate from a clean, well filtered power source. Be aware that the voltage specifications are different depending on which connectors are used. The reason for this is there is a schottky diode (diode D1) that prevents the USB port, when connected, from sending power to the APM2's PWM Output connector and damaging something. Consequently, when the USB is not powered and power is connected via the PWM Output connecter there is small voltage drop across this diode in normal operation and a higher input voltage is required to compensate. Therefore, power requirements are as follows: 5.0VDC +/- 0.5V supplied into the PWM input connector, jumper JP-1 removed. 5.37VDC +/- 0.5v supplied into the PWM output connector, jumper JP-1 in place

Warning: Do not exceed 6.0V DC of power supply input voltage or you will damage your board.

In some cases it may be a good idea to set the input voltage slightly above the median (but below the maximum) to account for possible voltage drops during momentary high current events.

The APM2 by itself draws relatively little current (200ma range) and a power source capable of providing 300 - 500ma will provide plenty of margin. However, if servos or other power consuming devices are being driven by the same power source you must consider the power requirements for those devices as well and provide plenty of margin to prevent disastrous "brown-outs". For instance, a single digital servo can easily draw 1-5 amps depending on it's size and performance. (Note: ESCs do not consume power from the APM) If you experience spurious resets or other odd behavior it is most likely due to noisy or insufficient power to the APM. As with all logic boards, electrical noise from the motors, servos, or other high current devices on the power source can cause unpredictable behavior. It is recommend that a power filter such as this or this be used in such conditions.

Too short or long power wires, bad or old connectors, or insufficient current capability of the APM power source can result in a "brown-out" situation resulting in unpredictable operation. This is particularly true in traditional helicopters where the collective servos can draw 3-20 amps in short bursts. The power source must be able to accommodate this without voltage droop or voltage spikes. A quality switching type BEC such as one of these or one of these can be a solution depending on overall current requirements. Many of these type of regulators are programmable so remember to program them with in the safe operating range of the APM2. Linear voltage regulators are not recommended as they are inefficient and prone to overheating and heat induced failures. APM2 should never be connected directly to a battery of any type.

Power source problems are common and can be insidious and frustrating. Be meticulous. Any autopilot or flight controller is useless and potentially dangerous without good clean power source.

Craig,

Thank you for taking the time to reply.

I did take offence to your response, but you have redeemed yourself.

The information you have supplied will certainly assist me and hopefully others with a definitive and hopeful solution to our issues.

I will try your recommendations and report back.

I know it must be very frustrating for you and I do appriciated your often untenable situation in supplying this kind of support when devices like this are let loose into the wild and beyond your control.

Thank you again.

let's assume that the voltage is really to low


step 1. I power the board up with just the ESC on the output rail.

step 2. The board fails to boot (only 2 blinks of leds and then it stays off)

so now if I connect let's say phone charger to the microUSB of the APM it should boot. But it's doesn't.

If I change the order, and connect the USB prior to conecting ESCs the board boots fine

can anybody confirm?

Does the phone charger output 5V?

Can we have the specs on these mystical ESC BEC's please?

Like o/p voltage and tolerances

Can't help you there, but I was curious to try this myself.  I've got an APM2.5 and a really really crappy ESC that came in a PnF airplane from HK.  Unfortunately I can't find the ESC. :(

Well just to put my penny's worth in, I too am having the same fault with my new APM2.5 "BUT" my ESC's are giving out a stable 5.6v (Turnigy plush 40A) Also with two external Becs (both profesional and adjustible from 4.8v to 6.2v) with JP1 in and out, with wired bridge and with Esc on output and Bec on input, upstairs, downstairs, hot and cold.

The same Esc's work fine with my APM1, APM2, Crius and Wii controllers.......So any ideas ? 

BTW usb output is only 4.9v @ input side without JP1 !

What`s about a start-up spike. Maybe the usb-sources have a higher protection than esc/bsc and a higher start current kills/errors the boot-part? Just an idea.

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