3D Robotics

Open source firmware for toy drones

3689677166?profile=originalVery cool hack in the classic DIY spirit from Hackaday:

Since you’re going to have to be flying your “drones” indoors anyway in the USA, at least in the US Capitol region, you might as well celebrate the one freedom you still have — the freedom to re-flash the firmware!

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 acrobatics, or simply to tweak the throttle-to-engine-speed mapping for the quad. We had no idea folks were doing this.

Spoiler alert: re-flashing the firmware is trivial. Hook up an ARM SWD programmer (like the ST-Link V2) and you’re done. Wow. All you need is firmware.

The firmware comes from [silverxxx], and he’s written all about it on the forum at RCGroups.com. He’s even got thecode up on GitHub if you’re interested in taking a peek. It looks like it’d be fun to start playing around with the control algorithms. Next step, Skynet!

Reading the forum post, it looks like you’ll have to be a little careful to get the right model quad, so look before you leap. But for the price, you can also afford to mess up once. Heck, at that price you could throw away the motors and you’d have a tricked-out ARM dev kit.

And if you insist on hacking everything, you can probably re-purpose a wireless mouse controller to control the thing. Write your own code for the controller and you’ve got an end-to-end open firmware quadcopter for a pittance.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • Thanks to Goebish  from: 


    I got a brand new ''Doctor Brown'' Futaba 6 Channel Radio Control retrofitted to fly all sorts of Quads !!

    Look at the pics, you can see the arduino nano doing Analog to PPM... yeah kids reals pots even on trims...... and the nrf24_multipro, driven by an arduino pro mini

    Boy it's good to get back to the future !!!



  • Just uploaded code, great introduction to STM 32 development environment this is pure  F-U-N !!!


  • For those interested. Note, I have no connection with this website, and cannot vouch for their prices, service, or anything else. I get no commission from sales on their site, or free stuff from them. It was just the first site that popped up when I searched.

  • I have been hacking around with these little toys for a few years. People dismiss these as toys, and honestly they are, but the complexity of these toys is amazing, and the fact that we all have cheap and easy access to hardware that would have seemed like sci-fi tech just a few decades ago still amazes me some days. For example, I just read about a nano-FPV flyer the other day similar in size and design to the CX10. That technology is now becoming quite common,and played with by millions, but would have been the stuff only available to very rich countries not that long ago, and whose purposes would not have been for mere entertainment.
  • I’ve been able to reflash the CX-10 with a similar method.

    Firmware for the CX-10 is made by Samuel Powell and is available on github:

  • Moderator

    Somehow this seems back to the future. Most excellent.

This reply was deleted.