New Ardupilot User, connection issues

I recently came into the troubleshooting and maintenance of 2 APM’s and unsure of what version these are since there was no label on the protective case for both. Unable to load up on Mission Planner after 3 days of changing settings, going through and checking the wiring is hooked up properly and changing radios. The version of Mission Planner is 1.3.53 and even that had gone through the latest update when I started 3 days ago. The biggest concern that I have is that both of these Quadcopters are owned by someone else and assembled by a company out of Virginia. From what I was told by the owner is that the first quad crashed almost immediately after the first flight and was damaged significantly, unsure why it would go out of control immediately considering the company rep had given a demonstration prior to signing over delivery. This one seems to connect to the receiver as the landing gear retracts on command but no osd output coming from the video transmitter, almost seems like the video is out of synch and skewed. The second quad had flown successfully using the Samjsung Galaxy tablet with a data radio connection but the pilot/owner admits flying too close to the tree branches and resulted in a tumble out of the tree. The osd info and camera show up on the ground station but no response from the controller to activate the landing gear. Since I am unable to connect either module to the computer, going to assume that there is a problem with the setup even though Ive run through every baud rate listed and shows com 1 a the connection port. The other problem is that com 1 shows up even when disconnected. I tried connecting through the data radio and that is connecting to the computer just fine and updated the software immediately after connecting, comes up on com 5. Still unable to establish any kind of link, Any pointers to get this going would be useful.

Scott.

found something interesting when moving the usb to a 3.0 port, the board comes up as “Arduino Mega 2560”, and haven’t found any compatible drivers to download for this board. If anyone has any information about this particular board, could use the assistance.

I am not an expert. But, Try using an earlier version of Mission Planner.

Well, I think after all the tinkering with this, what appears to be one of the Hobbyking specials, found a place that sells a new Ardupilot 2.8 for about $84 with the entire assembly. This should get both of the RQ 550’s squared away since all it needs is a replacement controller. These older boards seem like they might work but what I would have to do might end up bricking them and make them less useful than they are now.

When I get done setting these up, I might see what I can do with a larger model like my big Ritewing Drak since the plane was originally designed for mapping. Should make a great plane to fly from my trailered Cockpit.

For the extra few dollars fit Pixhawks.Much more able and the firmware is still being developed for it.Many different price points to buy at.Have a look around.The APM 2.x.x is a venerable old timer.

For this point of time, this is just a fix to get the quads up and running with my friends tablet so he can get back to work, so the Apm is just another autopilot I’m going to dive into as part of the learning curve. The Pixhawk might be something I could try out since I’ve got an assortment of aircraft to try it out on afterwards. It’s been fun learning about this one, especially when seeing how the mission planner simulator worked with my existing Cockpit Ground Station controls as plugged into the computer. Can see this being of a great asset out in the field, pixhawk or apm. Already spent a fortune on Rvosd, Feiyu Tech, and Eagletree Vector.

APM 2.8 comes up as Arduino Mega 2560 in the COM port . So , if your boards are 'nt bricked , why buy again !
Pixhawk is the way to go. Even a china board like This.
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Pixhawk-PX4-Autopilot-PIX-2-4-8-Flight-Controller-32-Bit-ARM-PX4FMU-PX4IO-Combo-With/32827858175.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.bCNV8i

These off brand boards were installed in 2015 and have no idea where the company that built the quads had purchased them, they apparently did a lot of shady stuff when building them up in the first place. Everything that I’ve reviewed so far about the apm 2.8 has very few issues when hooking up to load up the new firmware, just like when I download logs from the Vector, very few problems. There might be some issues when the quads experienced the crashes and possibly caused board damage, still going to tinker with them for a while. But as for the apm, probably going to have one ordered to see how well it works out with the datalink, as this is for the person wanting to get one of his quads operable so he can resume doing inspections. Again, as for Pixhawk, I want to get this one down first and then try it out since I think that both systems have certain aspects to offer. The only thing holding back so far is finances since I’m paying off for a couple items for the next 3 months, outside of my regular pay.

So after the long wait to receive the new Arducopter from RcMoment, I found that the MissionPlanner wasn’t loading even that board. Took a different approach and found Ardupilot 2.0 and loaded the new planner up. Now it hooks up and was able to update the firmware to the last known release and seems to work just fine. So for just the kick of it, found the older board had no problem connecting either, updated the firmware on that board as well and good to go.
So after going through the mandatory calibration tasking, I though it would get me close to being able to install into the RQ quad and have some potential to arm up the motors without the props attached. It feels there is one or two more cal procedures left remaining since it calls out a magnetic error, even though there was sufficient satellites (8) and outside as well as the compass working correctly.
Slowly trying to work out the bugs, and found it works better when I do the APM checks through the data radio. Just for the heck of it, tried the other 1.3.55 Mission Planner and surprised to see it synch up with not only the APM 2.8, but the older board after getting the firmware flashed as well.
So one of the questions I need to ask, I’m trying to get the retractable landing gear to work and through the parameters but the headers for the landing gear do not come up on the MP1.3.55 parameter listing. So I’m unable to enable the gear through the program, is there a fix for this. Might be something simple.