ODrive Documentation

High performance motor control

View the Project on GitHub madcowswe/ODrive

Help improve these docs: submit edits using the link in the top right.

If you need help, please search or ask the ODrive Community.

Getting Started

Table of contents

Hardware Requirements

You will need:

Wiring up the ODrive

Make sure you have a good mechanical connection between the encoder and the motor, slip can cause disasterous oscillations or runaway.

All non-power I/O is 3.3V output and 5V tolerant on input, on ODrive v3.3 and newer.

  1. Wire up the motor phases into the 3-phase screw terminals, and the power resistor to the AUX terminal. Wire up the power source to the DC terminal, make sure to pay attention to the polarity. Do not apply power just yet.

  2. Wire up the encoder(s) to J4. The A,B phases are required, and the Z (index pulse) is optional. The A,B and Z lines have 3.3k pull up resistors, for use with open-drain encoder outputs. For single ended push-pull signals with weak drive current (<4mA), you may want to desolder the pull-ups.

Image of ODrive all hooked up

Downloading and Installing Tools

Most instructions in this guide refer to a utility called odrivetool, so you should install that first.


  1. Install Python 3. We recommend the Anaconda distribution because it packs a lot of useful scientific tools, however you can also install the standalone python.
    • Anaconda: Download the installer from here. Execute the downloaded file and follow the instructions.
    • Standalone Python: Download the installer from here. Execute the downloaded file and follow the instructions.
    • If you have Python 2 installed alongside Python 3, replace pip by C:\Users\YOUR_USERNAME\AppData\Local\Programs\Python\Python36-32\Scripts\pip. If you have trouble with this step then refer to this walkthrough.
  2. Launch the command prompt.
    • Anaconda: In the start menu, type Anaconda Prompt Enter
    • Standalone Python: In the start menu, type cmd Enter
  3. Install dependencies by typing pip install pywin32==222 Enter
  4. Install the ODrive tools by typing pip install odrive Enter
  5. Plug in a USB cable into the microUSB connector on ODrive, and connect it to your PC.
  6. Use the Zadig utility to set ODrive driver to libusb-win32.
    • Check ‘List All Devices’ from the options menu, and select ‘ODrive 3.x Native Interface (Interface 2)’. With that selected in the device list choose ‘libusb-win32’ from the target driver list and then press the large ‘install driver’ button.


We are going to run the following commands for installation in Terminal.

  1. If you don’t already have it, install homebrew:
    /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"
  2. Install python:
    brew install python
  3. If you get the error: Error: python 2.7.14_2 is already installed, then upgrade to Python 3 by running:
    brew upgrade python
  4. The odrive tools uses libusb to communicate to the ODrive:
    brew install libusb
  5. Now that you have Python 3 and all the package managers, run:
    pip3 install odrive


  1. Install Python 3.
  2. Install the ODrive tools by opening a terminal and typing pip install odrive Enter
  3. Linux: set up USB permissions
     echo 'SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="1209", ATTR{idProduct}=="0d[0-9][0-9]", MODE="0666"' | sudo tee /etc/udev/rules.d/50-odrive.rules
     sudo udevadm control --reload-rules
     sudo udevadm trigger # until you reboot you may need to do this everytime you reset the ODrive

Start odrivetool

ODrive v3.4 and earlier: Your board does not come preflashed with any firmware. Follow the instructions here before you continue.

To launch the main interactive ODrive tool, type odrivetool Enter. Connect your ODrive and wait for the tool to find it. Now you can for instance type odrv0.vbus_voltage Enter to inpect the boards main supply voltage. It should look something like this:

ODrive control utility v0.4.0
Please connect your ODrive.
Type help() for help.

Connected to ODrive 306A396A3235 as odrv0
In [1]: odrv0.vbus_voltage
Out[1]: 11.97055721282959

The tool you’re looking at is a fully capable Python command prompt, so you can type any valid python code.

You can read more about the odrivetool here.

Configure M0

Read this section carefully, else you risk breaking something.
  1. Set the limits:

    Wait, how do I set these?

    In the previous step we started odrivetool. In there, you can assign variables directly by name.

    For instance, to set the current limit of M0 to 10A you would type: odrv0.axis0.motor.config.current_lim = 10 Enter

    • The current limit: odrv0.axis0.motor.config.current_lim [A]. The default current limit, for safety reasons, is set to 10A. This is quite weak, and good for making sure the drive is stable. Once you have tuned the drive, you can increase this to 75A to get some performance. Note that above 75A, you must change the current amplifier gains.
      • Note: The motor current and the current drawn from the power supply is not the same in general. You should not look at the power supply current to see what is going on with the motor current.
        Ok so tell me how it actually works then…

        The current in the motor is only connected to the current in the power supply sometimes and other times it just cycles out of one phase and back in the other. This is what the modulation magnitude is (sometimes people call this duty cycle, but that’s a bit confusing because we use SVM not straight PWM). When the modulation magnitude is 0, the average voltage seen across the motor phases is 0, and the motor current is never connected to the power supply. When the magnitude is 100%, it is always connected, and at 50% it’s connected half the time, and cycled in just the motor half the time.

        The largest effect on modulation magnitude is speed. There are other smaller factors, but in general: if the motor is still it’s not unreasonable to have 50A in the motor from 5A on the power supply. When the motor is spinning close to top speed, the power supply current and the motor current will be somewhat close to each other.

    • The velocity limit: odrv0.axis0.controller.config.vel_limit [counts/s]. The motor will be limited to this speed; again the default value is quite slow.
    • You can change odrv0.axis0.motor.config.calibration_current [A] to the largest value you feel comfortable leaving running through the motor continously when the motor is stationary.
  2. Set other hardware parameters:

    • odrv0.config.brake_resistance [Ohm]: This is the resistance of the brake resistor. If you are not using it, you may set it to 0.
    • odrv0.axis0.motor.config.pole_pairs: This is the number of magnet poles in the rotor, divided by two. You can simply count the number of permanent magnets in the rotor, if you can see them. Note: this is not the same as the number of coils in the stator.
    • odrv0.axis0.motor.config.motor_type: This is the type of motor being used. Currently two types of motors are supported: High-current motors (MOTOR_TYPE_HIGH_CURRENT) and Gimbal motors (MOTOR_TYPE_GIMBAL).

      Which motor_type to choose?

      If you’re using a regular hobby brushless motor like this one, you should set motor_mode to MOTOR_TYPE_HIGH_CURRENT. For low-current gimbal motors like this one, you should choose MOTOR_TYPE_GIMBAL. Do not use MOTOR_TYPE_GIMBAL on a motor that is not a gimbal motor, as it may overheat the motor or the ODrive.

      Further detail: If 100’s of mA of current noise is “small” for you, you can choose MOTOR_TYPE_HIGH_CURRENT. If 100’s of mA of current noise is “large” for you, and you do not intend to spin the motor very fast (omega * L « R), and the motor is fairly large resistance (1 ohm or larger), you can chose MOTOR_TYPE_GIMBAL. If 100’s of mA current noise is “large” for you, and you intend to spin the motor fast, then you need to replace the shunt resistors on the ODrive.

    • odrv0.axis0.encoder.config.cpr: Encoder Count Per Revolution (CPR). This is 4x the Pulse Per Revolution (PPR) value. Usually this is indicated in the datasheet of your encoder.
  3. Save configuration. You can save all .config parameters to persistent memory such that the ODrive remembers them between power cycles.

    • odrv0.save_configuration() Enter

Position control of M0

Let’s get motor 0 up and running. The procedure for motor 1 is exactly the same, so feel free to replace read “axis1” wherever it says “axis0”.

  1. Type odrv0.axis0.requested_state = AXIS_STATE_FULL_CALIBRATION_SEQUENCE Enter. After about 2 seconds should hear a beep. Then the motor will turn slowly in one direction for a few seconds, then back in the other direction.

    What’s the point of this?

    This procedure first measures your motor’s electrical properties (namely phase resistance and phase inductance) and then the offset between the motor’s electrical phase and the encoder position.

    The startup procedure is demonstrated here.

    Note: the rotor must be allowed to rotate without any biased load during startup. That means mass and weak friction loads are fine, but gravity or spring loads are not okay. Also note that in the video, the motors spin after initalisation, but in the current software the default behaviour is not like that.

    My motor doesn’t beep or doesn’t turn

    Make sure the motor wires are connected firmly. Check the value of odrv0.axis0.error and then refer to the error code documentation for details.

    Once you have understood the error and fixed its cause, you may clear the error state (odrv0.axis0.error = 0 Enter) and retry. You may also need to clear the error state of other subcomponents (e.g. odrv0.axis0.motor.error).

  1. Type odrv0.axis0.requested_state = AXIS_STATE_CLOSED_LOOP_CONTROL Enter. From now on the ODrive will try to hold the motor’s position. If you try to turn it by hand, it will fight you gently. That is unless you bump up odrv0.axis0.motor.config.current_lim, in which case it will fight you more fiercely.

What’s next?

You can now:

If you have any issues or any questions please get in touch. The ODrive Community warmly welcomes you.