Iris firmware upgrade to Copter 3.6 reliable?

Was wondering if anyone with an Iris quadcopter has updated the factory Iris firmware Copter 3.2.1 to Copter 3.6 and used it successfully? (Iris hardware is PIXHAWK 1.) I had read that there was an issue updating Solo to any version past Copter 3.5 without first updating the PIXHAWK 2 hardware to a PIXHAWK Cube. Not sure if Iris has any similar limitations.

Also - as a secondary question, I’m a little confused as to which Build Variant to choose when looking at the firmware download site ( I’ve spent a while trying to look up information on this but can’t seem to find a good explanation on how to know which variant to use. I’m assuming it would be PIXHAWK1, PIXHAWK4, or PX4 (PX4 has sub-options) for the Iris’s PIXHAWK 1. Any advice on which one to choose, or where to find explanations of all of these variants?


See here:

Connect your Pixhawk1 to Mission Planner. Select beta firmware. Mission Planner will detect the board and load the right build variant.
After running the update, go to the configuration menu an select full parameter list. Press Reset all parameters and then load the Iris default parameters from the drop down list. You also need to do a compass and level calibration.

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You have been able to update Iris with the Pixhawk v1 since day one. If you never have done this you will benefit from many years of updates to the system. If your worried about using beta software hold off for a little bit for the 3.6 to become final, which will be very soon. You can always update to the latest stable, follow the above advice and links from @mtbsteve.

Solo has nothing to do with Iris. There was a hardware problem that was fixed in software in Solo and there were alot of other reasons…(3DR abandonment) Solo couldn’t update. Solo can now update to Opensolo for old (black) and new (green) hardware because 3DR Open sourced the software limiting it from updating.

Also PX4 is another open source software stack similar but different then Ardupilot they did make the original Pixhawk v1 and partnered with 3DR for the IRIS. …Pixhawk4 is a newer autopilot system but shouldn’t be confused with …a lot of company’s use Pix and Pixhawk now in their names for hardware and it can be confusing.


Thanks mtbsteve and aircool00 for the replies! That’s a lot of really helpful info. I know my questions are newbie questions so I appreciate your time.

About downloading the firmware, I should’ve mentioned - I’m in a situation where I’m unable to connect my system to internet, so I have to download the firmware from internet (using a separate computer) and then do the “upload as custom firmware” option in MP on my system. I’m having trouble figuring out where/which build variant to download manually. Where is MP getting its downloads from, for the stable and the beta versions of copter?

I believe the following is the correct website, and assuming I’m willing to try the beta version, the three that seem most likely are:


Any advice on which to download for the Iris?

(I’m guessing from aircool00’s message that option 2 may be out, but not quite sure. Still a little confused as to when PIXHAWKxx is referring to software vs hardware, ie. does the software match with the PIXHAWK 1 hardware, and so I should choose option 1?)



I still have a few IRISs and I regularly fly them with Copter-3.6 so it should work fine. We have a standard parameter file for the IRIS but I think it won’t be necessary for you to use it. I think any parameter conversions required when moving from 3.2.1 to 3.5 or 3.6 should be done automatically. Certainly a compass and accel calibration will be required.

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@Jamie, Questions are questions if you don’t understand something ask. There are tons of people on here of all levels and that is what makes Ardupilot great. Make sure you do take a spin through the Wiki page for Arducopter. To get to know things a little better
If Randy says the beta is good to go, I would load that. Try the beta out he is a developer of the software. I haven’t put it on my iris yet as it has been an art piece for a few months with other projects I have going on.

3.5.7 Stable.
3.6.0-rc9 Beta

This is the wiki page that helps let you know what the files are. It is in the developers section of the wiki as Loading “custom” firmware is not something you need to worry about when using Mission Planner…unless you have a situation like your own of no internet.

And I forgot to confuse you more by saying also made a board called PX4



Awesome, thanks all! I’ll put 3.6 on the Iris.

(I had sort of inherited an in-the-box model, hence why it hasn’t been updated till now. I’ve written a python-dronekit script to do a few things and got it working with the sitl, but wanted the firmware update as a base step before trying my software on an actual copter.)

Also the websites are really helpful. Thanks for pointing out the exact version/variant.


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Oh and thanks for the parameter list, in case I need it - I hadn’t seen that before!

Hi Jamie, Were you able to upgrade the firmware? I am buying this drone with a plan to upload it with our customized ardupilot firmware.

I had an old Iris (non plus model) which I just updated from 3.2.1 to the latest stable 3.6.
Flashing yellow afterwards. Did a compass and accel calibration and was able to fly it.
The HUD shows EKF in red always I think, and I periodically get an AHRS error.
When I tried to fly in altitude hold mode it was very squirrely. Barely got it on the ground in one piece. Wondering if I should debug this or upgrade to the latest 4.x so I’m at least current, but I thought it would be safer to start with 3.6.

One thing is that the canned parameter list is for the Iris+ and not the original Iris. As I recall there were some differences. The original Iris had longer propellers I think with a different pitch. I have both types and saved both originals, so maybe I’ll take a look at the differences in case that matters. A long time ago mission planner did have both I think. Is it safe to load the Iris+ defaults into the Iris?