Is my APM 2.5 bricked?

Whenever I initially use the latest version of Mission Planner, I reflexively "upgrade" the APM 2.5 firmware. It's an instinct I've developed after working with computers for 30+ years to make sure everything is concurrent, and I've done this for the last 6 revs of the MP. I take it this is different than flashing an ordinary eprom, because reflashing something usually results in damage to the eprom. Besides, it would see that the firmware is up to date and wouldn't touch it... right?

I DL'd MP 1.2.52 did then 'upgraded' the firmware (which was already 2.9.1b, but y'know how reflexes are). Now it won't connect to the MP, nor will it arm the motors from the Tx. The usual blue and red LEDs aren't lit but the Tx/Rx LEDs are active. It's appearing in the device manager as "ArduinoMega"

The reset button on the APM doesn't seem to do anything...

I'd reformat the eeprom, but I can't connect to the MP...

Any ideas?

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  • Look at this article

    Sorry if this is a duplicate post of someone elses  -  kind of bleary eyed after solving this issue. Just wanted to notify people in case this is a  3D Robotics production programming issue that customers might find later on.

    First a question so not to get lost in my description of the problem. Is the bootloader for Ardupilot identical to the Arduino bootloader ? or is a custom bootloader needed ?

    I received a Ardupilot 2.5+ last week to upgrade my XAircraft X650 v8 frame. Because of the XAircraft ESCs, I need to modify the PWM software of the Ardupilot.  I went to install freshly compiled software and it failed to install - both with Mission Planner and with Arduino IDE. Thus being an absolute Arduino noob, the start of an all-nighter debug session.

    In a nutshell, the Mega2560 Lock Bit "BLB1" was set in the factory to "LPM_SPM_DISABLE". This prevented firmware upgrades.

    Fortunately, I anticipated that I would eventually corrupt the bootloader and ordered a Pololu USB AVR programmer. After installing AVR Studio 6, wrestling with it's major quirks, connecting to the incorrect ISP pins (I soldered on a 6 pin connector for the "other" on board CPU), fortunately figuring out the correct ISP is disguised with the accessory servo pins, I could read the fuses and lock bits settings.

    After erasing the flash memory, I could now modify the BLB1 lock bit and reinstall the bootloader via AVR Studio 6, and then use Mission Planner to upload "custom firmware". I used the Arduino 1.

    Arduino-1.0.3\hardware\arduino\bootloaders\stk500v2\stk500boot_v2_mega2560.hex bootloader. Seems to function correctly - will know shortly after putting the APM back together. But first......

    Off to desoldering the 6 pins I placed thinking the empty pad was the ISP connector. The APM cover won't fit with those newly added pins.

    Oh heck, I will mention one other possible production issue. The red-wire on the UBlox GPS to APM cable seems to be reversed. Doesn't affect operation, since the connectors are keyed, but IMHO a wee bit strange seeing the red wire aligned up with the ground pin.

    Thanks for any information on the bootloader.

    Sorry for my ramblings. Cheers


    My APM was in fact bricked. It doesn't even communicate with JTAG. No matter, I'll just get an APM 2.6 and never ever EVAR flash the firmware unless I need to, i.e. for an update. 3DR could as well include a warning about that, but they would also need to include a warning to never fly your drone underwater, or to never operate the drone while heavily medicated.

    Now I know *nods*

    • MR60


      I'm having the same issue since today, except worse : can't even see a COM port on the PC. Also have the single green led lit, nothing else.

      I just do not know how it got frustrating.

      Any ideas ?

      • Boy this sounds like the same as mine. I wound up reflashing firmware many times trying to update and configure, and not being sure of what I was doing,… Is this the cause of bricking the APM? If Dave could answer on this I would appreciate as he made reference to reloading firmware too many times, Or any one else I would like to know more about this as I had no idea this could happen.

  • Visually inspect the pcb silkscreen and notice the pins are offset closer to one edge.

    Also notice the I2C connector (next to the PM connector in your pic) has a similar offset. Here is a quick graphic to help...


    Notice that all the connectors are offset from center.

    Before applying the epoxy, dry fit a couple times to help ensure you are correctly lined up.

    Good luck!


  • So, I was unplugging/plugging my APM peripherals in various combinations when THIS happened. Aren't these things supposed to be crimped onto the board?



    They came right off with the same pressure I always use (which is very little). Too much rocking motion?

    Also, I was looking over the LED guide: ... and I cannot recall ever seeing the 'B' LED lit up. I've always seen blue and red, but never yellow. Except the Tx/Rx LEDs near the GPS, and those have always flickered on and off... even with my telemetry disconnected or when not connected to MP or my Spektrum? Hm...

    I've had this for 4 months, so it is definitely out of any implied "warranty", but could these issues be regarded as manufacturing defects? Maybe I should request an RMA from 3DR? Or is more tinkering in order? Personally, I'd rather tinker, but the dislocated ports are a bit of a bummer :\

    But to answer your question Monroe: I didn't see anything different with the LEDs than before. I have no idea what a JTAG is, but I'm eager to learn!

  • Developer
    You don't need to click connect when going to the Terminal page in MP. Before clicking on Terminal make sure you have the correct com port set and then click terminal. You should see 'com port open' message in the text pane.

    Wait for the prompt to press three times and you should be in CLI mode where you can reset to factory settings and erase the dataflash by typing 'setup' 'reset' then 'setup' 'erase'
This reply was deleted.


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