another Android GCS

The timing of this is poor, but I figured people might want to try an alternative to the quickly developing Andropilot.  I'd like to release what I have been working on, just to get feedback and bug reports.

The development of Copter-GCS stalled quite some time ago, but I recently picked up the source and started fixing bugs and adding features.  The app still has some quirks, and the UI is pretty terrible, but the function is there:


It includes:

-A full Heads Up Display

-Mission planning, with all commands and parameters available

-Follow-Me with offset mode, Guided Mode flight

-a Command Line terminal

-built for Android 2.2 and up

-full parameter editing

-works for Arduplane and Arducopter

-text to speach announces mode changes and waypoints reached


The included mission planner needs some instructions for use. All possible options are available, so it may be a bit dangerous if you don't use them correctly.


-to set a waypoint, long press in the map view, or use the "add waypoint" button in the list view menu.

-waypoint 0 is the uav's home location. It is important to keep the elevation frame as "Mav_frame_global" this means you are using actual ground elevation

-this app will automatically set the ground elevation (from Google's API) which is why it may pause for a few seconds when the first waypoint is added.

-when you add additional waypoints, the default frame is "mav_frame_global_relative_alt", which is an altitude relative to the home elevation, which is 75 meters by default.

-you can add as many waypoints as you like, then go to the list view to edit them, change then to do_jump or whatever, add in the parameters, etc. Then go back to the map and Save to UAV. I would suggest after you get confirmation, you Load from UAV to check that everyhting is correct

-All mission commands available to Mavlink have been included in this app, but there are some options that have not been implemented by Ardupilot or Arducopter.  Not all waypoint types will work, for example, DO_SET_RELAY doesn't work for APM2 UAVs.











The app connects to your telemetry with a bluetooth to XBee/3DR radio bridge:

APM<-->XBee/3DR<------------------------->XBee/3DR<-->Bluetooth<----------->Android Phone/Tablet

The bridge consists of an XBee or 3DR radio, and a Bluetooth radio, connected by serial port. There are expensive solutions for this, but I have made a inexpensive bluetooth module that includes a power regulator, a bluetooth radio, and a plug for my xbee.  If anyone is interested, I can detail the build process, and/or offer a hardware kit (with the smd bluetooth chip already soldered). The good thing about this set up, as opposed to a usb link to the radio, is (obviously) it is wire-free, and it is possible to have a stationary antenna, and even add in antenna tracking, and it is easily switched to link with a bluetooth enabled laptop..

According to [Pieter], this [DealExtreme Link] ($8.20 w/ free shipping to USA) works almost out of the box.  Set it to 57000 baud by connecting it to your computer with an FDTI cable, RX to TX, TX to RX, power and ground.  Open your serial terminal (I use RealTerm) with 9600 baud. Make sure LED on module is blinking (DON'T pair it with anything yet) Type in transmit field AT+BAUD7 and hit send (UPPER case letters or it wont work). You should get a OK response indicating that it worked.  You'll have to power cycle the bluetooth before the change takes effect.  Then pair with your phone.

Connect to a XBee adapter like this:


Another connection option is to connect the bluetooth directly to the APM telemetry port.  Remember the bluetooth range is short, so you won't be able to control it in the air, but you can set missions and tune param while on the ground.  Instructions from Ioan:

Cheap Bluetooth serial module (CBSM):

CBSM VCC -> APM Telemetry VCC

CBSM GND -> APM Telemetry GND

CBSM TX -> APM Telemetry RX

CBSM RX -> APM Telemetry TX

and then the phone connects directly to the APM's bluetooth adapter: 

Phone <----> APM + Bluetooth

If anyone wants to test, please remember that it is still BETA software, so there are certainly bugs.  


Also, feel free to make suggestions and feature requests....

This community has been very helpful and supportive, so I feel bad requesting donations, but I have put lots of time into this application, and I'm sure Bart has as well.  If you want to buy me a beer (or a PX4), you can donate whatever you like here: PAYPAL


































































Confirmed Bugs:
-crashes without internet connection

-flight modes on arducopter do not show correctly

-auto rotation while in MAV_CMD list crashes app


Feature Suggestions:
-connect to xbee/3dr/APM2 over usb

-keep screen on (added)


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  • Hello Seth! 
    thanks for your attention!

    I really need your help!

    I need to build my own custom tool (like Mission Planner(MP) or QGroundControl(QGC) Ground station control (GCS)) to communicate with my quadcopter.

    the quadcopter that i have is:

    I'd be happy if I can build something like the Mission Planner (MP). 
    Can you guide me on how I can create the graphical interface (GUI)? 
    Also how I can send data and establish communication with the quadcopter? 
    much appreciate your help and guidance.

  • Roger, Did you manage to get The ground radio connected to The bluetooth , i HAVe The same setup, I guess that the Rx on the ground radio have to be disconnected from the pcb, am I right?, thanks
  • Hi I am trying to get this working with 3dr radio connecties to bluetooth module, I set 3dr radio and bluetooth to 57600 baudrate, connected rx to tx and tx to rx.
    I only get connection but no heartbeat, I have gcs running on my android phone.
    Is there something I need to change to get a heartbeat?
    Phone is
  • How do I disable the "centering at the place I'm at" when I want to look at the mission I've planned?

    When I want to see my mission to be, the app shows me where i'm at, but i want to see te mission witch is programmed on my pc at home and 2 km futher away.

    Every time I drag the map to that possition, the app "pulls" the screen back to the the possition I'm at........

    so I can't see my mission.

  • Hi ,

    where can i get the source code of the Android GCS , I would like to make a few changes and develop it

    if possible can i have the link of the source code ,if not can you mail it to

  • Hi.

    Great app, although I have not been able to find where it stores tlog files.  I can see the kml files but no tlog files.

    Can you point me to the save location please.

    Regards. Andy.

  • Yesterday other tests using radio modem - bluetooth - Android.

    I've done some missions planned and saved on copter using Android-GCS and they worked great and I was able to follow the complete missions on Android without the need to follow the copter as before with bluetooth only.

    Yesterday I've tried also GUIDED MODE (and FOLLOW ME) from Android but it doesn't work at all.  I put copter in LOITER and than I switch to GUIDED. Copter waits for commands. In Android-GCS I enable "Guided mode" and then I point a spot on the map. Android-GCS confirm that target has been sent...but copter do not move. GUIDED MODE works great using Mission Planner with radio modem connected to the same copter (MegaPirateNG 2.9).

    Has anybody tried this mode with Android-GCS? Any suggestion to make GUIDED MODE (and FOLLOW ME)  working with Android?


  • Tested today Android-GCS using two air module for connecting MPNG using a BT module as a bridge between radio modem and Android smartphone.

    It works great!

    Her are some slides and pict of the conventional connection and the bridge connection.

    Thank you seth for this great app.






  • Seth,

    I'll get it then. One more question, the arducopter will send telemetry to the ground using the air module and will be received by the ground module and then the signal will be transmitted by bluetooth to the android and to your application. Where do I solder the TX RX + and - of the bluetooth (HC-05) to the 3dr ground module (shown below). Do you have a diagram I can use as a guide? Thanks.


  • Seth and Pieter,

    I want to get the JY-MCU Arduino Bluetooth Wireless Serial Post module from deal extreme but it will take sometime to arrive so want to get a similar product. Do you think HC-05 ( will perform the same as the recommended product? HC-05 does not have the pins but in the schematic it indicated where the TX RX 3.3v and GRD are located. Will hooking these to the right pins on the 3dr radio be sufficient or I need to do something else. Limited background on electronics so looking forward to your valuable advise/insight. Thanks.

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