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Version: ROS 2 Humble

Ridgeback Maintenance

Battery Replacement

If Ridgeback's batteries need replacement, they are accessible by removing the top-plate and the insulator cover. Before performing any service or maintenance to the robot, the battery pack must be fully disconnected. The batteries weigh approximately 33 kg (73 lbs) each, so use care and caution when lifting the batteries out of the chassis. Please contact Clearpath Robotics regarding replacement batteries.

It may also be necessary to remove the antenna cables carefully prior to removing the batteries.

Long-term storage

When storing Ridgeback for long periods of time, its important to properly maintain the batteries to fully maximize their life. Consider one of the following two procedures when placing Ridgeback in long-term storage:

  • Fully charge Ridgeback, turn it off and put it into storage. Once a week, connect power to the charger and allow the charger to top up the battery for an hour or so.
  • Fully charge Ridgeback, turn it off and put it into storage, but leave the charger connected and powered the entire time Ridgeback is in storage via a wall timer that turns off for one hour every 24-hour cycle. The charger will monitor the battery and will automatically charge it up as needed. Note that the wall timer is needed since the charger times out and turns off otherwise.

Please contact Clearpath Robotics for additional information about Ridgeback's batteries.

Software Maintenance

Getting New Packages


If you are upgrading your robot from an older version of ROS, please refer to our upgrade instructions for upgrading to Melodic, Noetic and ROS 2 Humble.

Clearpath Robotics robots are always being improved, both its own software and the many community ROS packages upon which it depends! You can use the apt package management system to receive new versions all software running on the platform.

Each robot leaves the factory already configured to pull packages from as well as To update your package and download new package versions, simply run:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

MCU Firmware Update

When you update packages, there is periodically a new version of Ridgeback's firmware available. You will know this is the case in one of two ways:

  1. The firmware and Onboard Computer are unable to connect to each other, which will be apparent if the body lights remain solid red after system bootup.
  2. If the firmware version number in the /status message does not match the package version output by dpkg -s ros-noetic-ridgeback-firmware. In the future there will be an automated check for this which outputs a diagnostics warning when a firmware update is available to be applied.

If new firmware is available, follow the below procedure to flash it to Ridgeback's MCU:

  1. Place Ridgeback up on blocks. Firmware loading does not usually result in unintended motion, but it's safest when off the ground.
  2. Ensure that Ridgeback is on and open.
  3. Connect the MCU to the Ridgeback's Onboard Computer using a mini-USB cable connected to the port shown below:
Ridgeback MCU mini-USB port
  1. In the middle of the MCU is a two-position switch labelled PWR MODE. Move the switch from the default NORM position to the AUX position.
  2. Press the M_RST button. The MCU is now in boot-loader mode, ready to receive new firmware.
Ridgeback MCU mode switch and reset button

The Ridgeback's MCU is normally rotated 90 degrees when it is installed in the robot; the NORM position is typically towards the top of the robot's chassis and the AUX position is normally towards the bottom.

Now, from Ridgeback's Onboard Computer (connected via SSH or screen/keyboard), execute:

rosrun ridgeback_firmware upload

You should see about 20 seconds worth of lines output beginning with "Download from image ...".

When the upload is complete, move the PWR MODE switch back to the NORM position and immediately press the M_RST button.


You must press the M_RST button immediately after changing the mode back to NORM. If you take too long the Ridgeback may power off. If this happens, simply ensure the switch is in the NORM position and power the robot back on normally. Losing power in this situation is inconvenient, but not harmful.

After resetting the MCU back in NORM mode, ensure the MCU is using the new version of the firmware by running

rostopic echo /status

and verifying that the MCU firmware version is correct.


Clearpath is committed to your success. Please get in touch with us and we will do our best to get you rolling again quickly:

To get in touch with a salesperson regarding Clearpath Robotics products, please email

If you have an issue that is specifically about ROS and is something which may be of interest to the broader community, consider asking it on If you do not get a satisfactory response, please ping us and include a link to your question as posted there. If appropriate, we will answer in the ROS Answers context for the benefit of the community.