ArduPilot Mega - Arduino Mega compatible UAV Controller

DescriptionThis is a Arduino-compatible autopilot board designed by Chris Anderson and Jordi Muñoz of DIY Drones using the ATMega328. This revision uses the ATmega2560 in place of the ATmega1280.

ArduPilot Mega is a fully programmable autopilot that requires a GPS module and sensors to create a functioning Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The autopilot handles both stabilization and navigation, eliminating the need for a separate stabilization system. It also supports a "fly-by-wire" mode that can stabilize an aircraft when flying manually under RC control, making it easier and safer to fly. The hardware and software are all open source. The board comes with all the surface-mount parts already soldered, but requires the user to solder on connectors. RC processing firmware is already loaded, but the autopilot software must be downloaded and loaded onto the board by the user. It can be programmed with the Arduino IDE.

We recommend the following items to accompany this product:

  • EM-506 GPS Receiver

    Other necessary elements, including aircraft recommendations, can be found at the project's home page.
    Note: This product is a collaboration with Jordi Munoz of 3d Robotics. A portion of each sales goes back to them for product support and continued development.


  • Controller designed to be used with autonomous aircraft, car or boat.
  • Based on a 16MHz Atmega2560 processor.
  • Built-in hardware failsafe that uses a separate circuit (multiplexer chip and ATMega328 processor) to transfer control from the RC system to the autopilot and back again. Includes ability to reboot the main processor in mid-flight
  • Dual-processor design with 32 MIPS of onboard power
  • Supports of 3D waypoints and mission commands (limited only by memory)
  • Comes with a 6-pin GPS connector (EM406 style).
  • Has 16 spare analog inputs (with ADC on each) and 40 spare digital input/outputs to add additional sensors
  • Four dedicated serial ports for two-way telemetry (using optional XBee modules) and expansion
  • Can be powered by either the RC receiver or a separate battery
  • Hardware-driven servo control, which means less processor overhead, tighter response and no jitters
  • Eight RC channels (including the autopilot on/off channel) can be processed by the autopilot.
  • LEDs for power, failsafe status, autopilot status and GPS lock
  • Full autopilot software, including IMU and groundstation/mission planning code, are available at DIY Drones. Code supports autonomous takeoff and landing.
  • 40mm x 69mm


ArduPilot Mega - Arduino Mega compatible UAV Controller Product Help and Resources

Core Skill: Soldering

This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.

2 Soldering

Skill Level: Rookie - The number of pins increases, and you will have to determine polarity of components and some of the components might be a bit trickier or close together. You might need solder wick or flux.
See all skill levels

Core Skill: Robotics

This skill concerns mechanical and robotics knowledge. You may need to know how mechanical parts interact, how motors work, or how to use motor drivers and controllers.

5 Robotics

Skill Level: Expert - In addition to having a solid foundation in robotics, you will need to know how sensors integrate with complex robotic systems. You will need to understand how to implement IMUs, UAV controllers, etc.
See all skill levels

Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

4 Programming

Skill Level: Experienced - You will require a firm understanding of programming, the programming toolchain, and may have to make decisions on programming software or language. You may need to decipher a proprietary or specialized communication protocol. A logic analyzer might be necessary.
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Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

3 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Competent - You will be required to reference a datasheet or schematic to know how to use a component. Your knowledge of a datasheet will only require basic features like power requirements, pinouts, or communications type. Also, you may need a power supply that?s greater than 12V or more than 1A worth of current.
See all skill levels


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Lewma / about 10 years ago / 2

    Kind of disappointed that I bought this board then found out it comes with no sensors, and also it's discontinued over at DIY Drones and is no longer supported :(

  • Member #336603 / about 12 years ago / 2

    can I use this as an regular arduino board, without its imu shield? I am asking because I cant. A simple blink program does not blink the led without the shield on, but it does if the led is connected to the respective pin on the shield. Crazy huh? Any help? I want to use it without the Oilpan, as a regular arduino.

  • Inky69 / about 10 years ago / 1

    I'm having trouble programming this item and since this product is no longer supported at DIY Drones, they don't have any documentation.
    1. Does it come with an Arduino bootloader (which one)? 2. Are there mods to a standard Arduino IDE to program it via the TXO-0 and RXI-0 pins?

  • cphillips / about 10 years ago / 1

    Please bring this back! The footprint is much smaller than the standard MEGAs and the 0.1" headers are much easier to work with than what the pro Mega mini has. Besides, I have these designed into a few enclosures and now I have to figure out how to get something else in there.

  • Member #500990 / about 10 years ago / 1

    When it will be avalaible again?

    • M-Short / about 10 years ago / 1

      We don't plan on carrying this any more since its a pretty old version. Check out DIYDrones for the current version (2.6 I think).

  • Yosserg / about 10 years ago / 1

    The "uBlox 5 GPS module and adapter" links in the description are dead links.

    • Sorry about that! The receiver had been retired. We've updated to a new product in the links now.

  • Australian Robotics / about 13 years ago / 1

    Will this work with ?

  • rwizard / about 13 years ago / 1

    Don't hold me to this, but I believe that in order to run the 2560 at 3.3 you have to change the crystal from 16 mhz to 8 mhz. Based on a cursory glance at the schematic, I think there is at least one 5 volt only part on the board as well (74LS157D).

  • HungryMaggot / about 13 years ago / 1

    a general question: if it works at 3.3volts will it run at 16 or 8 Mhz

  • BazDaddy / about 13 years ago / 1

    Do you have a date for when the IMU will be available? And will it be the "ArduPilot Mega IMU Shield/OilPan Rev-H V1.0"

    • TQT / about 13 years ago / 2

      Yeah, when... with the retirement of the ArduIMU+ we are running out of options to get a full solution from you :)

    • rwizard / about 13 years ago / 1

      One more inmate rattling the bars and agitating for the IMU release date.

  • BornaE / about 13 years ago / 1

    "(IMU sensor shield coming soon)"

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