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Firmware for Pilot Display

The firmware of Pilot Display unit comprises of two parts: bootloader and main application. Bootloader simplifies the process of main application upgrade – once the bootloader is programmed, there is no need in external programmers to do firmware upgrades. Source code of the main application is designed as a sketch for very popular Arduino platform which appeals for its rapid prototyping approach and extremely short induction time when a new member joins to a project or when it comes to knowledge transfer between a contractor and a customer. Currently Arduino IDE doesn’t have official support for ATMega1281P microprocessor but that support can be easily added to the environment. For more details about initial Arduino IDE setup please refer to this link.

The main application has three modes: test mode, configuration mode and normal mode. Test mode is initiated automatically immediately after reboot upon applying power to the unit. There is a few seconds delay after start as initially control is given to the bootloader. The bootloader has a timeout of a few seconds during which it is waiting on activity from serial port. If no requests to perform firmware updates is received then the bootloader launches the main application. Main application initialises LED drivers and switches LEDs one by one until all of the are lit up. Then all LEDs are switched off and the unit enters normal mode. At this point the unit is ready to receive commands from turbine engine ECUs.

Configuration mode is intended for changing unit’s default parameters such as baudrate for both serial ports and current through LEDs. By changing the current flowing through LEDs brightness adjustment is achieved. Brightness for red, green and orange colors is adjusted individually. To enter configuration mode disconnect ‘LEFT ENGINE’ serial port from ECU, connect it to a PC/laptop, run a terminal app like ‘Hyperterminal’ with baudrate set to 2400 bps and type ‘aaaaaa’. The unit should respond with the list of available commands and current settings. Follow the instructions to configure the unit.

The video below shows display’s LED test in progress:


1. Turbine ECU communication protocol V2.14-Vx.35 by AMT Netherlands

2. Pilot Display Bootloader Rev.1.0

3. Pilot Display Production Firmware (Arduino Sketch) Rev.1.0

4. ECU Simulator Rev.1.0