Is there any scope in these competitions for automated systems (I'm talking about a system that goes between the receiver and the ESC), and does the rules allow it? We're looking for someone UK based at the moment since it would be difficult for us to collaborate with a US team.
Anyway, back to your issue on hacking speed controllers. The info helps a lot, I think I may be able to advise you on this. A lot of ESCs are driven by flash-based microcontrollers, and it it looks like to me, Hotwire can completely reprogram the microcontroller on the ESC with new versions of the firmware, as well as send configuration data.Mandatory disclaimer:
I am advising you the following based on your previous post that I am taking as statement that your intent is completely legal, and to provide proof of concept demonstrating the flaws in the system, and not to actively circumventing rules, or for any other illegal activity.
What is most likely to be the case is that standard non-locked-down firmware would be able to receive configuration settings from Hotwire - timings and whatever, that the user can set via the program.
However, the ROAR approved, firmware that includes the non-changeable timings and flashing LEDs, would most likely be locked-down and have the timing values hard-coded into the firmware itself. Which means there is no way to change those settings via Hotwire or any other method.
If that is the case, then yes, there would be no way to cheat the software.
Unfortunately for Tekin, if they've done things as I have described (and I've made a lot of assumptions up to this point, so it may not be so), then anyone who really wants to cheat would simply replace the software with one that does allow cheating. Load a custom firmware onto the ESC that flashed the LEDs in the same way that the ROAR approved firmware does, but also allows custom timings.
I think Tekin are assuming that nobody except their own engineers have access to the original source code that they use to develop and compile these firmwares, so it would be difficult for anyone else to make their own firmware. But this is untrue, the firmware can be decompiled and edited. It would be hard, yes, and you'd need to be an expert in assembly code, but I'd say there are plenty of people in the world who can do that given time and motive.
UAVs? So, UAirLtd, sounds like you've been working w/the boys over at Wright-Patterson. Very interesting.
No, independent company. UK-based. We make UAV products for hobbyists.