Warning

This documention is in the process of being updated for ODrive Pro

ODrive Communication Protocol

Communicating with an ODrive consists of a series of endpoint operations. An endpoint can theoretically be any kind data serialized in any way. There is a default serialization implementation for POD types; for custom types you must (de)serialize yourself. In the future we may provide a default serializer for structs. The available endpoints can be enumerated by reading the JSON from endpoint 0 and can theoretically be different for each communication interface (they are not in practice).

Each endpoint operation can send bytes to one endpoint (referenced by its ID) and at the same time receive bytes from the same endpoint. The semantics of these payloads are specific to each endpoint’s type, the name of which is indicated in the JSON.

For instance an int32 endpoint’s input and output is a 4 byte little endian representation. In general the convention for combined read/write requests is exchange, i.e. the returned value is the old value. Custom endpoint handlers may be non-compliant.

There is a packet based version and a stream based variant of the protocol. Each variant is employed as appropriate. For instance USB runs the packet based variant by default while UART runs the stream based variant.

Packet Format

We will call the ODrive “server” and the PC “client”. A request is a message from the PC to the ODrive and a response is a message from the ODrive to the PC.

Each request-response transaction corresponds to a single endpoint operation.

Request

  • Bytes 0, 1 Sequence number, MSB = 0
    • Currently the server does not care about ordering and does not filter resent messages.

  • Bytes 2, 3 Endpoint ID
    • The IDs of all endpoints can be obtained from the JSON definition. The JSON definition can be obtained by reading from endpoint 0. If (and only if) the MSB is set to 1 the client expects a response for this request.

  • Bytes 4, 5 Expected response size
    • The number of bytes that should be returned to the client. If the client doesn’t need any response data, it can set this value to 0. The operation will still be acknowledged if the MSB in EndpointID is set.

  • Bytes 6 to N-3 Payload
    • The length of the payload is determined by the total packet size. The format of the payload depends on the endpoint type. The endpoint type can be obtained from the JSON definition.

  • Bytes N-2, N-1
    • For endpoint 0: Protocol version (currently 1). A server shall ignore packets with other values.

    • For all other endpoints: The CRC16 calculated over the JSON definition using the algorithm described below, except that the initial value is set to the protocol version (currently 1). A server shall ignore packets that set this field incorrectly.

Response

  • Bytes 0, 1 Sequence number, MSB = 1
    • The sequence number of the request to which this is the response.

  • Bytes 2, 3 Payload
    • The length of the payload tends to be equal to the number of expected bytes as indicated in the request. The server must not expect the client to accept more bytes than it requested.

Stream Format

The stream based format is just a wrapper for the packet format.

  • Byte 0 Sync byte 0xAA

  • Byte 1 Packet length
    • Currently both parties shall only emit and accept values of 0 through 127.

  • Byte 2 CRC8 of bytes 0 and 1 (see below for details)

  • Bytes 3 to N-3 Packet

  • Bytes N-2, N-1 CRC16 (see below for details)

CRC Algorithms

CRC8

  • Polynomial: 0x37

  • Initial value: 0x42

  • No input reflection, no result reflection, no final XOR operation

  • Examples: * 0x01, 0x02, 0x03, 0x04 => 0x61 * 0x05, 0x04, 0x03, 0x02, 0x01 => 0x64

CRC16

  • Polynomial: 0x3d65

  • Initial value: 0x1337 (or 0x0001 for the JSON CRC)

  • No input reflection, no result reflection, no final XOR operation

  • Examples: * 0x01, 0x02, 0x03, 0x04 => 0x672E * 0x05, 0x04, 0x03, 0x02, 0x01 => 0xE251

You can use this online calculator to verify your implementation.