Got a successful comm between Arduino Mega 2560 and Hokuyo URG-04LX-UG01 LiDAR using a Vinculum VDIP1 USB host controller.........

The code sends VV command to Hokuyo LiDAR, and receives response @ 9600 baud. Other commands can be implemented in similar fashion. Advantages over USB Host Shield from Circuits@Home with SPI interface:

1) Much simpler hardware and firmware complexity for interfacing USB slave devices like Hokuyo LiDAR

2) No clashes with any existing or new devices using SPI interface

3) FTDI chip takes of additional drivers for USB host control mode....saves lot of arduino processing as compared to SPI interface drivers.....

Arduino sketch: hokuyo.ino

Hardware Interfacing: interface.jpg

VDIP Operation Mode: Command Mode

Other useful docs: 

- VDIP1 Vinculum VNC1L Module Datasheet

- Vinculum Firmware User Manual

Useful pins on VDIP1 module:

- Power Pins ( Vcc (5V), GND)

- CTS Pin (AD3)

- RTS Pin (AD2)

- RX Pin (AD1)

- TX Pin (AD0)



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  • Good morning, I'm using the same components you (arduino Mega2560, VDP1 and URG laser 04lx UG01) but despite getting the response VDIP1 with "D: \" to send the command "VV" get as return information Bad Command. Beyond what was stated is necessary to make some extra configuration? You know why the VDIP1 not recognize the laser?
    thank you
    Alexandre M Bernardo

  • Hi Anant and all,

    I have a Hokuyo LASER scanner URG 04LX with a slightly shorter range but higher resolution than your UG01.

    I have looked at your project pages and they are a wealth of information regarding interfacing this and I am thinking of going through an external SBC too although I may try PX4 by itself first and Vinculum would still seem a good way to go.

    I know you have now interfaced direct from Hokuyo to APM.


    It doesn't seem like there is enough available memory to do anything of significance.

    Did you experience functional problems with the Hokuyo during flights (crashes, vibration, etc) other than ambient sunlight?

    I would have thought that the continuous maneuvering based airframe tilting might have caused difficulty interpreting the Hokuyo data and am thinking of devoting the APMs auto camera stabilization and a few servos to compensating for this.

    I am also considering an underslung location for mounting the LASER scanner so I could purposely pitch it down and back to acquire multiple vertically displaced scan lines (very low res 3D image) for object detection and avoidance and possibly simplified SLAM for navigation.

    I would very much appreciate your thoughts on these ideas.

  • @Gary,

    Glad to hear you got it working!

    SLAM would be interesting indoors, but for a rover I'm thinking that I'd just use it to assess the difficulty of various paths (obstacles).  But I'm not there yet.

    Be sure you have a hood over the Hokuyo, or at least test for the ambient light, it can drown out the image.

    Alan  KM6VV

  • @ Gary  

    Yeah, I know what you mean! Expensive little part. Did you "meter" between both power pins and wires? Maybe they're just tied together? My mini-ITX has "high-power" USB sockets. But I've seen the "doubler" used on things like external USB drives. Alan KM6VV
  • @Gary,

    You give it power via the RS-232 wires.  You might be able to install a second USB connector and get additional power that way. 

    Is that what you're asking?

    Alan  KM6VV

  • Hi All,

    I've got a URG 04LX, the one with RS232 and USB interface.

    I am currently trying to bring it up on my PC prior to seeing what I can do with it on the PX4.

    I tried powering it straight through the USB interface using a USB power doubler, but have acheived no communication at all.

    I have seen at least one Hokuyo reference stating that power should not be supplied via the USB port.

    I would rather use USB  so is it OK / reasonable to use the + 5 volt power and ground lines in the same connector as the RS232 signals and still use the USB port.

    If you know anything about this I would greatly appreciate your thoughts.

    By the way, none of the links you show in your article seem to be attached.

  • Hello friend, I wonder what firmware you used the VNC1L, even if it was VDPS (Vinculum Disk And Peripheral Interface). I wonder too if you had to make any changes in the specific firmware.
    thank you

  • I can always toss the case, just wondering if contributed much to the price.  Amazon can be high at times.

    Does it come with an OS?  I've heard I can put the OS on a thumb drive.  Just haven't tried it.  Our local robotics club has several members running ROS.  I just need to research a bit!  Rather buy it from Compulab, They say as low as $195, does that get you much?


  • Developer

    Nice. The new ARM based Arduino Due that is going to be released soon, comes with USB host and should be better suited for your needs.

    Oh, and please send me the LiDAR when you have finished playing with it. :)

  • Hay, that's great!  Just what I was looking for!

    How much data work have you done on the Mega?  Can you examine a full scan, and say, determine obstacles?



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