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F Series [BETA]
Instructions for installing 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.

Update prerequisites

In order to install firmware onto an ESC, the following 4 items are required:
  1. 1.
    Software utilities.
  2. 2.
    Interfacing hardware.
  3. 3.
    Firmware update mode activation mechanism.

1. Software utilities

The APD Flashing Tool is used when installing beta firmware to the units. Ensure a copy of tool version 1.2 or later is running.

2. Interfacing hardware

The 200F3 can be directly updated through its Micro-USB port. Additional hardware is not required for this model.
All other F Series models are updated using a USB to UART adapter, which can be purchased from APD. Alternatively, all FTDI and SiLabs USB-UART bridges are supported and known to work.

3. Bootloader pin shorting device

A pair of metallic, fine point tweezers can be inserted into the bootloader holes to enter firmware update mode. For the ESC to enter firmware update mode, the two bootloader pads on the ESC must first be electrically connected when physically connecting the ESC to a computer.
Once the bootloader pins are connected, the USB can be connected to a computer.

Hardware

Prior to flashing, familiarisation with the following physical features of the ESCs is advised:
  • Bootloader pads.
  • UART header (All models except 200F3).
  • USB port (Only model 200F3)

Hardware diagrams

Please see the following page for annotated images of each F Series ESC model to assist in locating the physical features listed above.

Firmware update procedure

Tutorial video on flashing F Series Beta firmware

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 versions available. Select the desired firmware to install. An internet connection is required for this process.
Flashing tool in Auto mode
  • Select the COM port for the ESC (the tool will automatically detect a new ESC plugged in).
  • 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 by 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.
In connection with a compatible flight controller stack (currently Betaflight units and ArduCopter 4.1 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 the beta firmware pre-loaded upon request.
Last modified 1mo ago