In the course of my testing, I managed to completely mess up my ArduPilot. Several of the red lights would come on with power but I could no longer upload the software using the Arduino Development environment that I had used hundreds of times before. It continued to give me an avrdude error message very similar to the one you get when "Set RTS on Close" is not set correctly on your FTDI cable. Obviously, these instructions are intended for those of you who have been able to upload the firmware in the past, but all of a sudden can't get it to work anymore. Pressing the button on the ArduPilot has no effect (red lights just stay on solid) and it won't upload no matter what you try.
For this project, you're going to need an AVRISP MKII programmer. You can buy them from DigiKey or Mouser for about $35 plus shipping. Ok, so the first and most obvious question is why would I pay $35 for a programmer when I can buy a new ArduPilot for $25? Well... that's up to you. But if what you did to brick your first ArduPilot manages to brick the second one, then you're out $50 and you still can't solve the problem.
You'll also need some .1" headers. You only really need 2 rows by 3 columns (or 6 pins) for this project.
Step 1: Install AVR Studio. You can download it from the Atmel.com website. You'll need to register to download it, but the download is free. At the time of this writing, there were 2 additional service packs. It is my suggestion to install AVR...Continue Reading