Switching your ArduPilot power to a separate battery

ArduPilot has a built-in power regulator, so you can power it from a separate battery at anything from 5-15v. To do this, you have switch the solder jumper from the default RC power to battery power. This means unsoldering the solder jumper that the board ships with and resoldering it on the other side. These pictures show the difference (apologies from my crappy soldering on the second one):

One thing to keep in mind if you make this change: Unlike the standard setting, if you use BATT input it will only power the ArduPilot board; it will not power your RC receiver or servos. They must have their own power supply, such as a receiver battery pack or ESC for an electric plane. This is designed for people who fly gas planes (no ESC) and want the RC system on a separate power circuit so the autopilot can't drain that battery.

If, however, you want to to power both the RC system and the ArduPilot board from the same source, leave the board in its default setting and connect the battery straight to the RC receiver; the receiver will then power the ArduPilot board.

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Comment by bcr on February 22, 2009 at 9:14pm
That's cool, but there is no voltage regulator in the schematics (v14 2008-11-18) or BOM on this or the Sparkfun site. :-( I guess the regulator is the mystery SOT23-5 near the BAT hdr? I have been wondering what that is...

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on February 22, 2009 at 9:28pm
Ah. Looks like the Eagle files on the Sparkfun site are out of date. My own post has now been updated with the current schematic/board files.
Comment by bcr on February 22, 2009 at 11:52pm
Thanks Chris, that was fast. Any chance of posting a pdf version too?
Comment by hoopty on February 23, 2009 at 7:17am
Don't worry Chris, a little isopropyl alchohol and a small soft bristle brush will clean it up nicely. [=)'

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on February 23, 2009 at 10:31am
bcr: pdf schematic now included in this post.
Comment by AeroBoy on August 27, 2010 at 7:45am
okay guys..im confused here. im using the ardupilot for my blimp and am using the xbee wireless retail to tx motor commands from a groundstation/vicon system. so in this case i can just stick to batt power for my ardupilot as the rest of the onboard the airship(cameras,motors,) can be powered by another batt source? or can i integrate the power for the motors/cameras with ardupilot itself?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on August 27, 2010 at 7:54am
ArduPilot can be powered by the same power source as the others, as long as it's between 6-11v (ideally between 6v and 7.4v) and you've switched the power solder jumper.
Comment by Ronnie Wong on May 2, 2011 at 7:11pm

Hi guys,

I recently opened my Ardupilot (original) and resoldered it to be powered by a separate battery.

After resoldering the PSEL to BATT, I powered up the unit and noticed the following:

the voltage regulator "KB50" was getting extremely hot whether I powered it with 6V or 12V or anything in between.

Is this safe or normal?

Thank you in advance for your reply.


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