PX4FLOW Windows Driver Installation

After driver installation, the PX4Flow shows up as two COM ports. One of these is disabled with a small yellow ICON. Here’s the steps I found to get the PX4Flow drivers “properly” installed.

1. Use Window “Device Manager” to display the PX4 Flow. The incorrect installation should look like the following picture where the PX4Flow shows up under the “Ports (COM & LPT)” heading.

A “Composite USB Device” is a single physical USB port that can support multiple logical USB devices. There are three “USB Composite Devices” on my PC. One of these is the PX4Flow.

2. Use the Device Manager menu command “View → View by Connection” to get a different view of the above display. It shows the “USB Composite Device” for the PX4Flow. It looks like this picture below.

3. Right click on the “USB Composite Device” for the PX4 Flow and select “Update Driver Software…” from the drop down menu. I.E. select the “Composite Device” and not one of the COM ports.
4. Select “Browse my computer for driver software”.
5. Select “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”.
6. Select “Have Disk…”.
7. Browse to the folder (on my PC it is “px4fmu_driver”) containing the file “px4flow.inf”. Select “px4flow.inf”. The modified date should be “2/14/2013 8:32 PM” or later (if it is older, get the latest driver from the downloads page). Click OK.
8. The screen should look similar to the one of the two below. Sometimes the list shows two devices “USB Composite Device” and “PX4 Flow” and sometimes it shows a single device “PX4 Flow”. Make sure “PX4 Flow” is selected. Click “Next”.

9. The first time I did above the result was a single USB working USB device was installed as a COM port. When I uninstalled and repeated again I got a single COM port but with the yellow warning ICON indicating an installation error; but disconnecting and re-jacking cleared this up and it was installed as a working device. The device manage display should look like the following:

Show Output in QGroundControl

Here’s how to get PX4 Flow visible in QGroundControlversion 1.0.4 (beta)

1. Open QGroundControl with a configuration similar to following picture.

  • “Main Widget” is “Vehicle Configuration”
  • “Tool Widgets” are “Unmanned Systems”, “Onboard Parameters ”, “Heads Up Display”

2. Click on “Connect Link” in “Unmanned Systems”. This will open up a dialog titles “Settings for serial port”. Will it in as shown where the COM port is the appropriate number for the PX4 Flow. Clikc on “Connect”.

3. Hopefully the PX4 Flow will be connected and the ‘status’ of the bottom line in the “Settings” window changes. It looks like the following on my PC.

4. Note that this window remains open but can easily become lost as it gets covered up by other windows. Before I figured this out I frequently had multiple windows open for the same COM port open; only the first would connect because I guess they are opened with exclusive access – there’s no error message when this occurs. So when you close QGroundControl make sure you close all these windows as well as they appear to operate independently and are not automatically closed. 5. You can tell if the PX4 Flow is connected because the default firmware starts transmitting “MavLink” protocol messages. Open the “Communications Console” Tool Widget and you’ll get a display like the following.

The “766.9 kB/s” shows the instantaneous bandwidth used by the COM port for the MavLink message and the text box is a raw dump of them. Before I got the PX4 Flow to work the bandwidth was “0.0” and the text box was empty. 6. The “Communications Console” can also be used to check for the problem in (4) above with multiple instances of the same COM port open. The picture below shows the drop down menu of COM ports to monitor; there are two COM15 open and only one of them is connected.

7. Now that I had PX4 Flow connected, I wanted to see how it was displayed. The video from the camera is displayed in the background of the HUD display. I didn’t realize this initially because there was no change to the display as I had the PX4 Flow lying on my desk pointing downwards. But when I pointed it at my PC monitor I saw the image.

8. Make sure that “Enable Video Live Feed” is selected in the HUD drop down menu – right click anywhere in the HUD window to get this menu.

9.The Tool Widgets for “Onboard Parameters” shows a bunch of information about the PX4 Flow.

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