Pixhawk Problem - IO Problems

I’m a high school teacher, and my students were wiring up a drone project for testing and reported hearing a popping sound followed by a smell (sorry for the vague description). When connect the Pixhawk to the computer via USB the “New IO firmware found” tone sounds after the startup sound. After this, only the FMU PWR LED lights up. No main LED, no IO LEDs, and no switch LEDs. As well, some of the electrical components near the POWER and SPI pins become quite hot.

Here is an image of the bottom side of the board. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KnATjw_qM51AR3J3K5XiU3hMACqPocam/view?usp=sharing

If you can help us troubleshoot this, that’d be awesome. Thanks!


A pop and a smell definitely sounds like a fried board. Board elements heating up excessively when powered on is also an indicator of this. I think it is likely that there will be no solution to this other than replacement.

By the way, the Drive link needs to have permissions set to allow anyone to view it.

Check all connections before plugging them back into a new Pixhawk or it will suffer the same fate - sounds like you had a power and ground wire reversed somewhere, or maybe even a full battery voltage feed connected where there should have been regulated 5 volts.

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I’m sorry about the drive. I forgot my school drive has permissions locked in. I’ll change it to my personal drive.

And yea, it’s sounding like a fried board. They used the power module that came with the pixhawk, but it’s very possible they may have accidentally plugged it in backwards. But I wanted to see if just maybe there was a fix before I resort to purchasing another.

Have you tried powering it from USB? USB is usually the safest route for booting. Double check pin arrangements and polarity of the power module before plugging it in on a new board. Some wire/cable manufacturers aren’t the most reputable.

The popping/smell is usually a sign of no return. Sorry to hear.

Yea, that’s how I’ve been trying to boot it since. And I THINK that’s what the students said they did when the problem occurred. They had it wired up and had been running tests, left for history, came back, and when they connected it via USB they heard the noise, smell, etc. They said other than the USB, only the switch and buzzer was plugged in.

If your vendor is good, you should be able to do an RMA. That behavior is unfortunate. I’ve never had that happen – I don’t think it’s a common problem.

I’m a new teacher here and I don’t know how long they’ve had that particular pixhawk, so I’m sure it’s beyond its warranty.