Ok those small UAVs controlled by a phone or watch are all over the place now.
Why there is no straight forward way for someone owning a pixhawk and a phone with droid planner to control it without having a RC connection established?

When I try to arm it from the phone with the RC radio off, it doesn't want to arm (droid planner 3/ tower app)

Even 3drobotics site says for their iris that there should be someone with RC connected ready to take control at any time.
Otherwise their commercials are pretty sweet, they just don't shoot the guy on the back holding the big controller

So, what is the work around?

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  • Hi,

    I am trying to replace RC by  GPS-enabled smartphone 2 smartphone peer-2-peer data communication since RC unit is lost and no chance to get it back ( high-speed boat, 2 engines, length : 40").

    2 PWM channels controlled via IR commands sent by the receiving smartphone.

    I risk no crash in case of slow communication, as this is just the boat not the flying copter subject to grounding if RC control is lost.

    • (you are in a ArduCopter thread)

      • re: How to use our "drones" without the bulky rc radios?

        You are exactly right.

        I have responded re. subject line.

        My reply should  read:

        I have lost my RC unit, how to replace RC with GPS-enabled 3G smartphone.


        • And the answer would be... then develop a smartphone or plug in controller that has controls suitable for controlling a drone.

          Past court cases indicate that people who drive with their knee or use other obtuse methods that cause them to lose control and result in them injuring someone get enhanced charges and rather long prison sentences.  And based on the fact that you've been clearly told that it's reckless to do what you are proposing there would be a clear cut case against you should something happen.

          • Jake,

            could you provide me with legislation, court cases links, mentioned by you ?

            The issue is you don't get any better protection if operating certified vs. non-certified remote control in case of failure or crash.

            Just call FAA re. Amazon's case.

            I am living on the safer side operating smartphone controlled boat ( RC replaced by smartphone, 2 engines controlled by 2 channel PWM controllers.

            In case of private RC drones, manufacturers should implement, emergency saving equipment ( parachute ejected in case of failure, to let your drone to safely glide to the ground)

            • A boat is probably a different issue.  A cell phone is probably plenty suitable for one dimensional control like that.

              Google "reckless endangerment" for legislation and case law, although it of course extends to manslaughter also if you were to kill someone.

              A person commits the crime of reckless endangerment if the person recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person.  The accused person isn't required to intend the resulting or potential harm, but must have acted in a way that showed a disregard for the foreseeable consequences of the actions.


  • Hi,

    I have got 2 high speed boats (length 40"), 2 engines.

    Since RC remote is lost I plan to use 3G smartphone 2 smartphone, peer-2-peer

    communication ( Android tablet if you wish).

    GPS enabled smartphone should send geolocation data to control app.

    RC remote is lost so in fact I have 2 engines to control via PWM for route control, got some RGB Led PWM IR controllers (12V) and plan to run some tests today since IR is available to me and can be replaced by IR sender, inserted into speakerphone jack in my smartphone

    to get engine/s control commands sent to turn into IR codes, to be played as audio files

    via IR sender to PWM Led controller (2 channels > 2 engines).

    Pls let me know your opinion.

  • Hey Mr Pizza guy,

    It does seem possible to replace the R/C radio system with only a telemetry link using DroidPlanner. You are still using an RF link. Perhaps this works equally well using Mission Planner on a laptop, not sure.

    I think you can use DroidPlanner 2 with your tablet, first hook your 900 Mhz or 433 Mhz telemetry radio using USB to the tablet, it should ask what program to associate which will be DroidPlanner. This will then bind with the radio on the Pixihawk. You can then have on sceen joystick to fly, or do a mission from tablet no need for a transmitter. 

    If you set the Ground Control Station Failsafe to "Continue with the mission", then once you are in Auto Mode and armed, the mission will continue for distances greater than the RF link.

    I understand the frustration of asking a straight forward question. At least you got a reply. I have asked questions in the past and got nothing but that's how it goes sometimes, no problem, everyone have busy lives. Eventually you will get the right answer don't give up.

    • I think the real question is how crappy of a control system you can use before it becomes reckless endangerment, and what the appropriate prison sentence is when someone gets hurt.

  • @MFP...  You have to understand that people here are constantly asked by noobs how to do stupid things.  It gets really old.

    Having noobs controlling cheap little RTF toy drones in dangerous ways is not what this forum is about.

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