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Jackal Maintenance

Software Maintenance


If you are upgrading your robot from an older version of ROS, please refer to our upgrade instructions here and here.

Getting New Packages

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


Jackal's MCU is mounted to the rear inside wall of the robot. To access it, open the lid, keeping the computer tray secured to the underside of the lid.

Jackal's MCU
  1. The M_RST button, used to reset the MCU.
  2. The MCU mode switch. Left is NORM or normal mode, right is ALT used for flashing the firmware.
  3. The mini-USB port used for transmitting data. This should be connected to Jackal's PC for both normal operation and firmware flashing.

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

  1. The firmware and PC are unable to connect to each other, which will be apparent if the two-arrow comms indicator fails to come on after system bootup.
  2. The firmware version number in the /status message does not match the package version output by dpkg -s ros-noetic-jackal-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 procedure below to flash it to Jackal's MCU:

  1. Place Jackal up on blocks. Firmware loading does not usually result in unintended motion, but it's safest when off the ground.
  2. Ensure that Jackal is powered-on. Open the lid of the robot to expose the MCU.
  3. Make sure the mini-USB cable (3 in the image above) is connected to Jackal's PC.
  4. Move the mode switch (2 in the image above) to ALT (right).
  5. Press M_RST (1 in the image above) to enter boot loader mode.
  6. The MCU is now in bootloader mode, ready to receive new firmware.

Now, from Jackal's PC (connected via SSH or screen/keyboard), execute:

rosrun jackal_firmware upload

You should see about 20 seconds worth of lines output beginning with Download from image .... When this is complete perform the following steps to restore normal operation:

  1. Move the mode switch back to NORM (left).
  2. Press M_RST. You must perform this step within a few seconds of changing the mode switch. If you take too long Jackal may power down. This is fine and won't harm the robot, but can be annoying.

If the robot powers down, ensure the mode switch is in the NORM position and power the robot back on.

Jackal will now be using the new firmware you installed.


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.