The Eachine H8 Mini is one small toy quadcopter drone, it may not be the smallest, but its size is perfect for both indoor and outdoor flying.
But this small quadcopter toy came with a surprise: you can install on an alternative firmware based on open source code to gain new flight modes. Here is step by step guide. Using a cheap ST-link V2 programming dongle and a Eachine H8 quadcopter you get the best bang for your acro buck going. Less than $20 for a small aerial platform for aerobatics and flight software development.
I’ve been piloting one for the past few weeks, and I’ve found it to be an incredibly fun device that doesn’t cost too much. But what is unique about this toy is the availability of an open source firmware that allows get the maximum flight performance, making a perfect trainer before moving to larger quadcopter.
Most toy drone out of the box will fly stabilize mode. Stabilize mode also know as level mode allows you to fly your vehicle manually, but self-levels the roll and pitch axis. Pilot’s roll and pitch input control the lean angle of the copter. When the pilot releases the roll and pitch sticks the vehicle automatically levels itself. Pilot will need to regularly input roll and pitch commands to keep the vehicle in place as it is pushed around by the wind. More advanced and expensive drone like DJI Phantom or Cheerson CX20 will feature also GPS autopilot holding the drone in place for you.
However, experts pilots use other modes of flight controllers as MultiWii or ArduPilot APM. Acro mode (Rate mode) uses the RC sticks to control the angular velocity of the copter. Release the sticks and the vehicle will maintain its current attitude and will not return to level. Acro mode is useful for aerobatics such as flips or rolls, or FPV when smooth and fast control is desired.
Thanks to John rcgroups member silverxxx can now enjoy dual mode acro / level with H8. Silverxxx wrote a completely new Acro firmware for the Eachine H8 programming. The firmware Source code can be found here on Github.
The installation of the new firmware involves various obstacles for beginners, we try to support you when burning the Flash with a step by step guide.
What you need
- Eachine H8 Mini quad
- A Flasher, i have used the cheap ST Link V2 / alternative version ST Link V2
- soldering iron, solder and some cables
- Patience and some skill
- ST-Link V2 driver http://www.st.com/web/en/catalog/tools/PF260219
- Quadcopter MDK -> http://www2.keil.com/mdk5/legacy/ (Version 5.15)
- GigaDevice GD32F130 CPU Support Pack for Quadcopter support https://app.box.com/s/h5d51zr9x4dfqsu4p96bk9wi46l1adk9
- Keil uVision http://www.keil.com/uvision/
- Download ZIP file for Acro Firmware or Dual Mode Level/Acro Firmware
This part is simple , you just need to install the files provided in the links. If in doubt, consult the original thread on rc-groups forum.
Now we come to the slightly trickier part, you need to connect the quad with the ST-Link to upload a new firmware.
For this course, the quadcopter first has to be opened. Before we do this, we first remove the battery and the rotors. (Order of the rotors noted)
Now we turn the quadcopter upside down and loosen the 8 screws, the motors can be very easily removed from its position.
There are 6 solder pads on the backside of the PCB, In this mod only need 3 namely GND, DAT and CLK.
The pinout are very simple
- CLK SWCLK
- DAT SWDIO
- GND GND
I installed a small connector in the front of quad to facilitate future updates, but temporary connections can also be used.
Pay attention to heat only very briefly the solder joints! Otherwise we could damage the quad.
To get the new firmware to the quadcopter, we open uVision and load the project “Project.uvprojx” (Acro firmware).
Ensure the ST-Link is selected as the flasher. Is this under “Flash> Configure” and again in “Flash Tools> Debug” and checked the settings.
Now we choose our destination device, as well as go to “Project> Device for Target” and set the target to gigadevice GD32F130G6.
If all goes well, we can go to “Project> Build” and hope that there are no errors.
Everything looks good? Connect the battery to the PCB board and connect the st-link ( in any order).
Attention, at this point we have to warn you. The original firmware is lost during this process! There is no way to restore the original firmware! Fortunately there is also a dual mode firmware acro/level, so this will not be a problem if you find that the acro mode is too demanding for you.
Click now on “Flash> Erase” to the Flash to be reset write lock and simultaneously delete the old firmware. This process needs to be done only once.
If you get an error message appear, ignore. The quadcopter was nevertheless resetet correctly.
The final step is now only “Flash -> Download” to push the new firmware to the h8 quad.
After flashing the firmware it will work great both with the stock transmitter and devo 7e (deviation with bayang protocol).
Now with your completely revamped H8 you can quickly become an expert pilot drone. Of course then you ‘ll want more . Want to know the open source big brother of the H8 able to perform professional aerial video, FPV, autonomous flights and much more , check out my page on Cheerson CX20 drone.