Configuring Visual Studio Code

VSCode is the recommended IDE for working with the ODrive codebase. It is a light-weight text editor with Git integration and GDB debugging functionality.

Before doing the VSCode setup, make sure you’ve installed all of your prerequisites.

Setup Procedure

  1. Clone the ODrive repository

  2. Download VSCode

  3. Open VSCode

  4. Install extensions. This can be done directly from VSCode (Ctrl + Shift + X)

    • Required extensions:
      • C/C++ ext install ms-vscode.cpptools

      • Cortex-Debug ext install marus25.cortex-debug

      • Cortex-Debug: Device Support Pack - STM32F4 ext install marus25.cortex-debug-dp-stm32f4

    • Recommended Extensions:
      • Include Autocomplete

      • Path Autocomplete

      • Auto Comment Blocks

  5. Create an environment variable named ARM_GCC_ROOT whose value is the location of the GNU Arm Embedded Toolchain (.e.g C:Program Files (x86)GNU Tools Arm Embedded7 2018-q2-update) that you installed in the prerequisites section of the developer’s guide. This is not strictly needed for Linux or Mac, and you can alternatively use the Cortex-debug: Arm Toolchain Path setting in VSCode extension settings.

  6. Relaunch VSCode

  7. Open the VSCode Workspace file, which is located in the root of the ODrive repository. It is called ODrive_Workspace.code-workspace. The first time you open it, VSCode will install some dependencies. If it fails, you may need to change your proxy settings.

You should now be ready to compile and test the ODrive project.

Building the Firmware

  • Terminal -> Run Build Task (Ctrl1 + Shift + B)

A terminal window will open with your native shell. VSCode is configured to run the command make -j4 in this terminal.

Flashing the Firmware

  • Terminal -> Run Task -> flash

A terminal window will open with your native shell. VSCode is configured to run the command make flash in this terminal.

If the flashing worked, you can connect to the board using the odrivetool.


An extension called Cortex-Debug has recently been released which is designed specifically for debugging ARM Cortex projects. You can read more on Cortex-Debug here.

Note: If developing on Windows, you should have arm-none-eabi-gdb and openOCD on your PATH.

  • Make sure you have the Firmware folder as your active folder

  • Set CONFIG_DEBUG=true in the tup.config file

  • Flash the board with the newest code (starting debug session doesn’t do this)

  • In the Run tab (Ctrl + Shift + D), select “Debug ODrive (Firmware)”

  • Press Start Debugging (or press F5)

  • The processor will reset and halt.

  • Set your breakpoints. Note: you can only set breakpoints when the processor is halted, if you set them during run mode, they won’t get applied.

  • Continue (press F5)

  • Stepping over/in/out, restarting, and changing breakpoints can be done by first pressing the “pause” (F6) button at the top the screen.

  • When done debugging, simply stop (Shift + F5) the debugger. It will kill your openOCD process too.

Cleaning the Build

This sometimes needs to be done if you change branches.

  • Open a terminal (View -> Integrated Terminal) and enter make clean