Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Lander Avionics, out with the old...

 I started working on the avionics for the lander over a year ago. I started off with a professional embedded approach, where I employed STM32F446 devices with their own supporting circuitry and used a traditional firmware development approach. It was a stacked sandwich set of boards where one micro did all the sensing related tasks: GPS, IMU, analog channels... and the other micro did all the actuation sets of tasks: interface with the valve driver, UART ports for the throttle valve motor controller and TVC actuator controllers. I realized this was silly.. first of all I split things up into two boards with two sets of firmware. Second, I was using a microcontroller that I wasn't super familiar with and writing firmware for ended up being a colossal pain in the ass. Most of the toolchains/tools I used for doing development were pretty much a nightmare to get started with and I realized that If I abstracted some of the systems to a  USB interface with the flight computer and the others to a Teensy, I could probably write the firmware for it in a couple days tops.

Regardless, I'll share what this old system looked like.. as it at least didn't look too ugly.


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