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Open-Source Firmware For Your Toy Drone 32

An anonymous reader writes: Since now you're going to either register your drone or have to be flying your [small drone] indoors anyway in the USA, you might as well celebrate the one freedom you still have: the freedom to re-flash the firmware with open source! The Eachine H8 is a typical-looking mini-quadcopter of the kind that sell for under $20. Inside, the whole show is powered by an ARM Cortex-M3 processor, with the programming pins easily visible. Who could resist? Garagedrone takes you through a step-by-step guide to re-flashing the device with a custom firmware to enable acrobatic mode, or simply to tweak the throttle-to-gyro mapping for the quad. The firmware author silverxxx from RCGroups.com even got the code up on GitHub if you're interested in taking a peek. Next step, Skynet!
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Open-Source Firmware For Your Toy Drone

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  • Err - no. (Score:5, Informative)

    by queazocotal ( 915608 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @05:11PM (#51258171)

    The above class of toy drone weighs 20 grams or so.
    In order to be required to register under the proposed new regulations, the limit is 250g.

    Mostly these are >>$100, not $20.

    • Not to mention that it is already getting set to be tested in court, since Congress wrote a law years ago stating explicitly that "model aircraft" are exempt from licensing or regulation by the FAA.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    #1: This mindset of "fuck the regulators! I'll just open source it and say "nanny-nanny boo boo" didn't work out so hot for Cody Wilson/Defcad. If the goal was to show how easily the wire inside a Radioshack Police Scanner can be cut with a pair of dykes: congratulations on the woosh. Please do continue pointing out the obvious/making bypassing compliance measures that much more difficult.

    #2: Vehicle autonomy can be thought of in layers of abstraction with vehicle inverse kinematics at a very very low level

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Obviously it shows my age to say this, but Skynet is more than just a slashdot meme. And it doesn't make sense at all here except that it has the word "sky" in it. Why do we keep coming to this website again?

    • I don't know about you, but I keep coming back in the forlorn hope that Slashdot might have recaptured its former glory.
  • Or you could start with one of the many open source drone firmwares [github.com] that run on a variety of platforms and can power anything from a car or boat all the way to a octacopter, or a variety of strange propeller configurations.

    • Or, if you want to move up the processor power food chain a little bit to ST Micros with PC/Tablet ground stations, you could choose http://www.librepilot.org/ [librepilot.org] / https://www.openpilot.org/ [openpilot.org]

      • It takes very little processing power to control a plane. Possibly counterintuitively, a lot less than driving a car. A 12hz first order control loop should stabilize anything larger than .25m span (due to dynamic response) (smaller models would require a faster control loop, but nothing excessive). 8 bits for either would be sufficient.
        • The ST Micros aren't exactly processing power barn-burners, but they do have lots and lots of ports - nice if you're going to integrate 10 axis sensors (baro, mag, gyro, accel) with GPS and other stuff like proximity sensors, etc. They're not quite up to image processing, but I think they're adequate to run control loops in floating point and handle all the route following, com traffic, etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The registration is illegal per Sec. 336 and currently facing multiple legal challenges. If you're registering, you're just consenting to their rules and giving them a vote of confidence to use against the rest of the hobby. Even the AMA is telling members to hold off unless it survives all of the challenges.

  • by gnujoshua ( 540710 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @09:38PM (#51259583) Homepage
    So cool -- I want to know more. Is anybody is selling these preflashed? Please send them our way! I would love to find out if they are good candidate for Free Software Foundation's Respect Your Freedom (RYF) computer hardware certification. Full disclosure I work with the FSF's licensing team. Josh
  • I'd love to have Open Source firmware for my DJI P3, the hardware is really nice, but the restrictions and auto upload and forced updates by DJI are starting to annoy me.
    Sure, they're the biggest target and they'll do whatever the FAA asks to keep their market share.
    "Nice business there DJI, it'd be a shame if anything happened to it"

  • please dont be cruel ........... www.ritsbd.com
  • Why are the flash instructions for Windows only? I have a few friends that get into drones, but they all use Linux, as do I. They tend to find it annoying that they have to keep an old Windows laptop around just to flash firmwares. I really hope it's also possible to flash under Linux.
  • This could be a really good way to map wireless networks: https://wigle.net/ [wigle.net]

The road to hell is paved with NAND gates. -- J. Gooding

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