OEM Customization

ArduPilot provides several ways for an OEM to provide firmware on their products that has been customized to their specific system configuration:

  • Ability to have specific defaults for parameters to match included system components, such as gimbals, or entire systems’ peripherals, such as in ready-to-fly vehicles. This allows the user to “reset to defaults” using Mission Planner or MAVProxy in case of a problem with parameters having been accidentally changed, and only have to re-calibrate compass/IMU/and RC, at most, in order to be ready to fly.
  • Ability to provide LUA scripts in ROM for special functions without the end-user having to load them on the SD card

Customization Steps

This assumes that the OEM has setup the build environment (Building the code) and cloned the ArduPilot GitHub repo locally (Downloading the Code / Using Git), in order to build its own customized version of the firmware.

  1. Create a branch with the version of firmware you wish to base the customization upon. This will usually be the current stable version. In order to do this for ArduPlane Stable, for example, assuming you are already in the ArduPilot directory on your PC:
git fetch https://github.com/ArduPilot/ardupilot.git <version>
                       where <version> is the tag for the stable version for the
                       desired vehicle: ArduPlane-stable, ArduCopter-stable,
                       APMrover2-stable,etc.

git checkout -b <your branch name> FETCH_HEAD
git submodule update --init --recursive
  1. In the libraries/AP_HAL_ChibiOS/hwdef directory, create a new subdirectory for your customized board definitions….in this example the directory will be named OEM_MatekF405-Wing to create a derivative for that board.

  2. Create a new hwdef.dat file in this format. In this case our ready-to-fly plane will be using a MatekF405-Wing autopilot and contains only a single line:

    include ../MatekF405-Wing/hwdef.dat

  3. Now in that same directory, copy the base board’s hwdef_bl.dat bootloader file, and then include a file named defaults.parm. This file will be the parameter overrides of the standard defaults to match your systems configuration. Things like output function assignments, auxiliary RC switches, flight and tuning parameters, etc.

Warning

The defaults.parm file should be as small as possible. Some boards only allow 1024 bytes total for this file. Every ASCII byte in the file counts against this limit (except for comment lines). Use integer values where possible. Below is a simple example.

# setup for NTF LEDs on output5
SERVO5_FUNCTION 120
NTF_LED_TYPES 256

5. You can also embed LUA scripts in the ROM of the chip that will automatically be run. Since these currenly only run on autopilots with a lot of flash space, they are only restricted in total aggregate size to avilable free flash memory. Put the scripts in a sub-directory called scripts, ie …..AP_HAL_ChibiOS/hwdef/OEM_MatekF405-Wing/scripts. Files must end in .lua.

Warning

the user may also run LUA scripts off the SD card, so care should be taken in naming the embedded script files to not conflict with potential user files common names. Notification should be provided in the product documentation of the embedded script’s names for the user.

  1. Now build as normal with OEM-MatekF405-Wing as the board name in the configuration. The defaults and scripts will be embedded appropriately.