Software initialization#

What you will need

  • A computer (a.k.a. “base station”) with an internet connection

  • Balena Etcher or similar program

  • A micro SD card (32GB, U3, Class 10), e.g., that from your Duckiebox

  • A micro SD card reader, e.g., that from your Duckiebox

What you will get

  • A DD24 initialized and customized micro SD card

Flashing the SD card#

In this section you will install the Duckiedrone software on the microSD card.

  1. If you have not already, on a base station, download the image flashing tool Etcher.

  2. If you have not already, on a base station, download the latest drone image:

    DD24 system image

  3. Connect the micro SD card to the base station. Use the micro SD to USB card reader if the base station does not have a micro SD port.

    ../_images/microSD_reader.png

    Fig. 10 Micro SD Card adapter#

  4. Open Etcher and select the downloaded drone image. Then select the micro SD card as the drive to flash. Finally, click the "Flash" button.

Watch this video to see how the process looks like.

Warning

Double check that the “drive” is your micro SD card.

You may be prompted to enter the base station password to proceed. This is normal: flashing an SD card deletes everything that is on it, so Etcher is making sure this process is OK with you.

Note

Flashing will take 10 - 15 min. In the meantime, you can move on to the next section.

Customizing the Duckiedrone hostname and client network settings#

Warning

This step is particularly important.

Skipping it means having to re-flash the SD card.

Changing the Duckiedrone hostname (also known as the “robot name”) is needed to prevent conflicts when multiple Duckiedrones are operating in the same environment. If you intend to operate the drone in isolation from other Duckiedrones (e.g., at home), you can maintain the default settings.

Warning

The hostname can only be changed at this stage in the process. It cannot be changed later.

Attention

The hostname must start with a lower case letter and can contain only lower case letters (of the latin alphabet) and numbers:

Using special characters will break things and require re-flashing

Examples:

  • argo

  • mydrone01

  • mydrone_01

  • My Drone

  • Argo

Attention

If you are in an environment where multiple drones are operating at the same time, make sure your hostname is unique!

  1. To change your robot’s hostname navigate to the newly flashed SD card.

    • You will have to unplug it from your base station first and plug it back in as Balena Etcher dismounts the drive after finishing the flashing process.

    • If the flashing is successful, you will see that it has one partition named boot, with many files inside and overlays folder. Do not manually alter these files.

      ../_images/boot_partition.png

      Fig. 11 boot partition, do not alter!#

  2. There will be a second partition called config. Open this partition. You will find two files inside:

    • hostname

    • wpa_supplicant.conf

    ../_images/config_partition.png

    Fig. 12 config partition content#

  3. Open the hostname file with any text editor program (e.g., Notepad on Windows) and replace the default robot name, amelia, with one of your choosing.

    Warning

    Make sure to follow the naming guidelines in the attention box above.

    A wrong hostname will mean having to reflash the SD card and start from step 1.

    Attention

    Save the file before closing it.

  4. Open the wpa_supplicant.conf with a text editor of your choice and either edit the default connection settings or duplicate them to add a new network. These parameters will be used only when booting the Duckiedrone in client-network mode, i.e. connecting to an existing Wi-Fi access point.

    ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
    update_config=1
    country=US
    
    # NOTE: the following block is a template, use it to define connection to custom wifi networks
    network={
      id_str="network_1"
      ssid="duckietown"
      psk="quackquack"
      key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
    }
    
    • country: change it if you are not in the US (e.g., CH for Switzerland, CA for Canada; full list of country codes)

    • id_str: an identifier for the network; change it if adding a new one;

    • SSID: name of the Wi-Fi you want the Duckiedrone to connect to;

    • psk: password for the above Wi-Fi;

    You can add as many Wi-Fi settings as you want, e.g., for home, school, office, etc., by copying and pasting the first block.

    Note

    This file can be edited after the first boot as well if you want to add other networks.

    ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
    update_config=1
    country=US
    
    # NOTE: the following block is a template, use it to define connection to custom wifi networks
    network={
      id_str="network_1"
      ssid="duckietown"
      psk="quackquack"
      key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
    }
    
    network={
      id_str="network_2"
      ssid="example-second-network"
      psk="quackquack2"
      key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
    }
    
    network={
      id_str="network_3"
      ssid="example-third-network"
      psk="quackquack3"
      key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
    }
    

Eject your SD card safely.

Do not just unplug the SD crad from the base station

../_images/eject_sd.png

You are now ready for the first boot.

Troubleshooting#

Troubleshooting

SYMPTOM

I’m using a Mac and the Flashing step fails for lack of permissions.

RESOLUTION

Go to your computer’s System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Files and Folders and enable access to Removable Volumes