[CLOSED] Testing/Maintanence Funding Proposal

Topic: Petty Cash Fund Mechanism

Proposal type: Hardware [ ] , Software [ ] , Other [ x] : _________________


As an active ArduPilot tester/developer, that is otherwise unfunded, I have been often encouraged to apply for funding for testing and maintenance items such as batteries, autopilots, cameras, peripherals (GPS, etc). But aside from a large project once or twice a year, the effort to do this for such small items has not been worth the bureaucratic red tape. I propose for a few, otherwise unfunded, regular contributors, the equivalent of a “petty cash” fund.
Such an individual would apply for a single cash prepayment every 6 months, initially $600, that could be used at their timing and discretion for items such as:

  • Flight controllers
  • Peripherals (GPS,RF, etc.)
  • Props, Motors, ESCs, Batteries, etc.
  • Building Materials (carbon rods, foam, glue, etc.)
  • Replacement kits (crashes happen unfortunately during testing)

In order to get another pre-payment, receipts totaling $600 would have to be presented in order for the next re-funding along with a simple tally of the individual receipt totals. Keep paperwork to a minimum.

Proposed Rules:

  • The individuals efforts covered by this fund must be otherwise unfunded (ie contract work, full time job, other ArduPilot funding, etc.). This would have to be on the honor system of course.
  • Transfers would ideally be made to the individual’s paypal account via friends and family (always irked me that re-embursement from our previous group was normal paypal with a 4-5% witholding)
  • The amount of an individual’s subsequent replenishment could be adjusted by the funding committee upon presentation of higher activity. $600 would be the initial amount. Re-application could be only every 6 months to keep the committees load down.

Planned amount $$ (USD): see above

Estimated time for completion: see above

btw, besides myself, @yaapu immediately comes to mind as someone who could use this also


Thanks Henry, it would sure help! I think that @andyp1per would be a candidate as well


Yes this would certainly help me. @tridge has generously kept me supplied with funding for flight controllers, but it would make more sense for this to come from ArduPilot funds.


FYI this proposal isn’t possible with the US NFP, but probably is with the Australian NFP.
Also, purchasing via the Australian NFP is now a simple and available option, so I’m hoping that we can adjust the default dev support process from “funding request then reimbursement request” to “purchase request”.
To manage expectations, whilst I strongly support the intent, I am not in support of the proposal as written. From a governance/keeping clear of the taxman perspective I’d prefer to have the NFP buy what the team needs than have to issue, track and acquit advances.
I’ll discuss with @Funding_Team. If the other two support we’ll figure out the details.

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How’s this for an idea:
Rather than an advance, each Dev gets an annual allowance ($400?) to spend on stuff from an approved list. We’d be pretty broad with the list, but anything on that list wouldn’t need to have a proposal/vote etc. Purchasing would still be via the funding team though, to keep the accounting in order.
Allowance wouldn’t roll over calendar years.
Beyond that, we provide the option for either reimbursement (preferred, to spend down the US account) or purchasing (an option we now have from the Australian account). Thoughts?
If that would work, can someone kick off a draft list?


James yes that sounds feasible plus if any of the developers needed something else to complete a project us users of the forum could chip in,eg buy a board,gps or battery by sending a payment to there pay pal or what works

Thanks @MartyMcFly thats a great offer.
FYI as part of the restructuring occurring behind the scenes, that type of support is about to become a lot easier.
We recently established a more flexible host entity for the project (mentioned here: Donating to ArduPilot project — Copter documentation)
There’ll be a detailed post before the end of the year regarding that - still a work in progress getting all the relevant things in place - but almost there.

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Thanks James, I have no problem in general with that if its the only way but its same old red tape and lead times…so not too interesting for me,personally…I could have been submitting expenses for those items for the last two years, but the paperwork, and lag times on reimbursements are major deterrents…could have even been compensated for time since when I took on the wiki there was a paid position offered…

plus all devs do not need the funding help…the majority have personal businesses, or have contracts to defray costs…my proposal was targeting the unfunded contributors specifically

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I know: and I’d expect that they’d be the majority of those who would use whatever scheme we come up with.
I’m all for reducing admin: I review every funding request, process every reimbursement, approve every timesheet. From the devs point of view a purchase request would be a single step process, same number of steps as ordering from a supplier.


I am afraid I don’t see why somebody doing some contracting on drone world would be disqualified from being funded for community improvement. Having a job isn’t the same as contributing to the project…

We’ve decided to close this proposal. It was not approved.
The @Funding_Team internally proposed and approved a modified proposal for USD$1000 to support documentation development and Ardupilot testing, and will endeavour to come up with a simplified process for getting devs necessary hardware.