Installation

Installing the V2 Beta configuration firmware, along with the utilisation of the tools.

F Series Installation

The following instructions apply to the range of F Series ESCs. Production firmware is available, along with bleeding-edge Beta releases for testing of new upcoming features.

Production Firmware

Installing production firmware instructions. This firmware should be used for all non-testing purposes where reliability is critical. This is the firmware that is shipped with units from the factory.

Note: All APD ESCs supplied in black satchel bag type packaging contain combined DShot + PWM firmware, and will no longer require flashing to switch.

The ESCs are updated through a USB to UART bridge using APD supplied firmware from our Shop Page. Each ESC has the firmware versions available for download under the Firmware tab (downloads require an account to be created through the site). A USB to UART adapter can be purchased from APD.

All FTDI and SiLabs bridges are supported and known to work. The 200F3 ESCs have a Micro USB port, so a UART bridge is not necessary. The UART PADS are located at the bottom edge of the PCB, along with the boot loader short points.

To flash firmware onto the ESC, ST's flasher tool is used. The steps to flash new firmware onto the ESC are as follows:

  • First, connect the boot loader pins together, which are either next to the UART pins or the USB port (ESC model dependent).

The F Series ESCs have different UART pin-outs, see the below images for reference.

Pin-out for 40F3 ESC
Pin-out for 80F3[X] ESC
Pin-out for 100F3[X] ESC
Pin-out for 120F3[X] ESC
Pin-out for 200F3[X] ESC
  • Once the pins are connected, connect the ESC to your computer.

  • Startup ST Flasher, and make sure the correct COM port is connected. If your COM port does not appear here, make sure all the device drivers are installed.

First Menu on ST Flasher
  • Click Next and wait for a connection to be established. If the program times out, check the boot loader pins are connected, re-plug the ESC to the PC and try again.

Second Menu on ST Flasher
  • The Target readable screen occurs when the connection was successful, click Next.

  • Click Next on the following screen too, no further changes need to be made.

Third Menu on ST Flasher
  • Once the following screen is reached, make sure you click the Download to Device option, and select the firmware file that was previously downloaded. Don't change any other options here.

Do not click global erase as this will completely erase your ESC and require APD re-flashing.

  • Click Next, and once the Flash has been completed, the ESC can be disconnected. The connected boot loader pins can now be disconnected.

Beta Configurable Firmware

Beta firmware should be used with Caution! APD takes great care in testing and releasing production firmware, Beta firmware has been internally tested but real world validation is not yet complete.

Tutorial video on flashing F Series Beta firmware

To ease the installation of F_Series firmware, APD has designed a purpose-built flasher for ESC firmware and bootloader files for the Beta and firmware moving forward. This is used with all F Series devices however, units will still require a USB to UART adapter in some cases. A USB to UART adapter can be purchased from APD.

The pinout of the ESCs can be found here, it is important to note that the 200F3 does not require a USB to UART adapter.

Flashing instructions

  • Disconnect external power sources to ESC, the USB-UART adapter will supply the required power for flashing and configuration.

  • Connect the ESC to the PC using the USB-UART adapter or Micro-USB cable. Ensure the two bootloader pins are connected together, this can be performed using a pair of tweezers or a small wire. Once connected, the LED on the ESC should be very dimly lit.

  • When running the APD Flashing Tool in Auto mode, the tool will automatically fetch the latest firmware to be installed on the ESC. An internet connection is required for this process.

  • Select the COM port for the ESC (the tool will automatically detect a new ESC plugged in).

Main screen for the APD flashing tool
  • Select the correct model for the ESC that is being flashed. Ensure the correct model is selected, as the wrong model will result in an ESC that will not boot.

  • Click Flash and wait for the process to complete. Once completed, the ESC can be directly connected to the config tool. Ensure the boot pins are no longer connected.

Once flashed, there are two methods in which an ESC can be connected to the V2 configuration tool. The USB to UART adapter can be used to directly connect to an ESC to edit its configuration settings. The ESC will signal that it is in configuration mode with a high-frequency LED blink.

Direct UART configuration is not supported on the 40F3. To configure these units, passthrough must be used. UART configuration will be introduced in a future update of the firmware.

In connection with a compatible flight controller stack (currently Betaflight units have been tested, others TBA), the ESCs can be modified using the FC passthrough method.

The 120F3 requires a component to be removed when using passthrough, see the image below.

Component requiring removal on the 120F3 for passthrough capability.

In the case of any issues or if assistance is required, the team can be reached with the options found here. Units that are purchased from APD directly can have this beta firmware pre-loaded upon request.

UHV and HV Pro Installation

To install the firmware to the HV Pro and UHV units, the configuration tool and STM DFUSE are required.

STM DFUSE: Download‚Äč

When using Windows 10, the default drivers can be used once DFUSE is installed (located at Program Files (x86)\STMicroelectronics\Software\DfuSe v3.0.6\Bin\Driver\Win10). In most cases, manual driver installation is not required.

Older Firmware Upgrades

When using the APD configuration tool, upon connection older firmware versions will return the following pop-up to indicate an update is available:

Pop-up when attempting connection using v2 config tool and older firmware

If this pop-up occurs for a specific ESC, a firmware update is required to use this tool. Click OK and follow the following instructions. If the ESC connects successfully with no pop-up, skip to the next section.

  1. To flash the firmware, open DFUSE (Sometimes called DFuSeDemo), and there will be an STM device in DFU picked up. If no device appears, the aforementioned driver must be installed manually to continue.

  2. Under the upgrade section (Button 1), choose the firmware file that was downloaded.

  3. Press Upgrade (Button 2) to begin the install.

  4. Once the ESC has completed the update, disconnect it from the PC and reconnect it.

  5. Connect to the configuration tool (if the tool's port is set to Auto, it will pick up any new COM port that connects while it is running).

  6. Configure as required. Make sure logs are deleted when an update has completed, as newer firmware may contain changes resulting in strange data outputs.

Update Firmware in Config Tool

If the ESC connects to the configuration tool with no pop-ups, this indicates version 2 firmware is installed to the unit. Under the Firmware tab, versions can be selected and installed as required.