How to Fix Bricked Flight Controller

It’s possible that you can brick your flight controllers due to human error (where FC doesn’t talk to computer anymore, just timeout or says connection fail). You might still be able to fly using that FC as normal, but there is no way you can connect the board to Cleanflight or Betaflight configurator.

Reasons for Bricked FC

Actually the word “brick” is a wrong choice, you can’t technically brick a flight controller. The issues we have are more like “locking ourselves out”.

95% of the causes are:

  • Flashed wrong firmware target to the flight controller, e.g. flash CC3D firmware to a Naze32 board
  • On some boards where USB port is shared with UART1, and if you disabled MSP Data on UART1, you won’t be able to connect to the computer using USB again; Most modern FC has resolved this issue by separating USB and UART’s by using “USB VCP – virtual com port”

How to Recover Locked Flight Controllers

Solution is simple, short the bootloader pins and re-flash firmware. If it was a Data port settings that causes the flight controller to stop talking to Betaflight/Cleanflight, you will have to erase all settings on the board too.

Some boards might have a “boot” button, some have solder pads, it depends. For example, here are the bootloader pins on the Naze32 you need to short before flashing firmware.


And here are the settings in Betaflight or Cleanflight Firmware Flasher. Here are the steps:

  • Load the correct firmware online
  • Select “Flash on Connect”, if you have trouble with flashing: your FC board will be flashed automatically when you connect it to your computer
  • Select “Full Chip Erase” to erase – it will restore the MSP setting for UART1


After the flash you should be able to connect it to the configurator again.

If you have trouble flashing firmware, play around with the settings, maybe the baud rate is wrong (some boards need 256000), maybe it’s a driver issue.

If this method doesn’t work for you, check with the seller or manufacturer for support. That’s what you are paying them for after all :) Happy flying.

Cannot flash FC?

If you are having problem flashing firmware on your flight controller, it could be a driver issue. Here is how to fix FC driver issues.

Edit History

  • Aug 2015 – Article created
  • May 2017 – Generalized for all FC’s

14 thoughts on “How to Fix Bricked Flight Controller

  1. Sergio Nayar

    After all is done, I still can’t connect, no activity light even when I power it up with a battery connected normally. I only see one steady light, no flashes.

  2. Jackson


    I tried this several times on both PC and MAC. I was about to toss my hands up when all of a sudden it worked.

    I had tried this several times before but this is what I did:

    Naze32 Rev6 (Afroflight .32)
    CLFL_v2.4.0 – NAZE – 07-08-2018 08:24 (stable)
    No reboot sequence
    Flash on connect
    Full chip erase
    Manual baud rate – 115200

    I held my tweezers down on the boot pads while I plugged the usb cable in. I looked over at cleanflight and saw progress. I took my tweezers off and after the flash finished I restarted clean flight and reloaded the same firmware with every option disabled.

    I kept reflashing the software with the flash-on-connect option enabled and I noticed that only SOME software would result in a blinking GREEN light. Only when I saw that light could I connect. Something still seems off with this board but at least I can use it again.

  3. Cristian Gutierrez

    Dear Oscar and friendas
    I have the flight controller matek f722 … I assigned by softserial the pad pwm for smart port telemetry. Then in ports I gave him save and reboot and after that the controller card is not recognized by the pc. I have reinstalled the drivers multiple times without success. In the device manager, it appears as an unknown serial device and the controller card turns on, initially turns on a red LED, then blinks the blue and red LED and ends up with the red led on permanently without recognizing the controller PC. What do I have to do to restore the controller or for the PC to recognize it? Many thanks. Best regards

  4. Michael E Hoffman

    Sprf3 connects, saves changes, allows for the Blheli passthrough, etc yet I have no activity lights whatsoever

  5. Ben

    Another option if you’re having problems with the COM port is to flash the firmware using an ST-LINK USB adapter. If your controller has a connector called SWM, that’s an option. It’ll have 4 pins – 3v 3, ground, SWMIO, and SWCLK.

    You also don’t have to touch the boot pads, which is handy when they aren’t easily accessible.

    With the ST-LINK software, you just need to feed it the .hex file for your particular board.

  6. George

    Hi i have a tarrot
    130 i am a newbie and i have disabled the communications port so my board will not talk to clean flight i would be grateful if you have any ideas about the bootloader pins for the button because i can’t find one hope you can help thanks george

  7. yann

    hi , i have the same issue with the change of MSP port … but now when i try to flash . my board is not detected by my computer and there is no com port for it.
    need help :(

    1. [email protected]

      Hi Oscar

      I had to do this today. There is a special order to make it work.

      Firstly, disconnect the USB from your PC but leave connected to the Naze32. Then short the bootloader pins.

      Whilst keeping the pins shorted, plug the USB into the PC.

      Still with the bootloader pins shorted, in Cleanflight,
      Check the box for no reboot sequence and full chip erase.

      Hold the short on the pins until it has flashed. After, remove the short and disconnect the Naxe32.

      The connect and your board will be OK.

      II had to do this after trying for hours following the incorrect instructions of just shorting the bootloader pins on startup.

      1. Matt Hauer

        I did the same on a Naze32 board (Eachine) and it flashed successfully after about 50 tries. In the one “lucky” try, it was when I pulled the USB cable from one physical port to another. It didn’t work (wouldn’t connect) anyway, and I tried for another hour.

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