Arduino Dreamshield 16 - open source flight shield for arduino mega - interfaces DNT900 radio, USB, 16 servo connections, and more!

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A Very Special thanks to the company RFM (the maker of the amazing DNT900 radio) for their support of my project!!!

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Project DREAMSHIELD - What is it?

Dreamshield is an Arduino Mega shield that will effectively replace or augment your limited hobby remote control system with a long range (DNT900P based) open source alternative. Your Remote will be augmented with a "basestation" board (attached to your arduino mega #1). If you do not have a nice remote, it will allow a PS3 (or other) controller to act as your remote. The receiver module will also be replaced with a similar "remote" board (attached to your arduino mega #2) that will interface up to 16 servo's and ESC's, up to two camera's, GPS, IMU, flight LED's and has an onboard pressure/temperature sensor.


What sort of vehicles can it be used with?

Any!  well, within reason of course! There will be an "on-the-fly" programming button that will allow the user to pick a vehicle mode (0-4). This means that you can toss this in your favorite RC car, (set it to mode 1), drive around a bit...    then pull it, place it in your quad-rotor (set it to mode 4) and take an adventurous flight around the neighborhood.

Each of these settings will re designate the servo's/esc's,  how they act, and what control sticks do what. It will give a little more versatility to the board, and open up the possibilities of what you can mod it to do! Instructions and video demo on page 5 of this forum.

((there will also be modes for X-Y camera and X-Y antenna tracking - neither, either/or, or both)) 


Now the more nitty-gritty.  BOTH the Base and Remote boards have...

- DNT900P long range telemetry radio which offers up to 40km range with proper antenna's - with a data rate of 115200k!  If you are interested in slightly less range, you can crank the baud rate up to a fast 500k!

- RGB status LED(s) for feedback

- External interface connector that allows connection to +5v, GND, Serial TX/RX (3.3v), 2 analog inputs, 2 PWM outputs, 4 digital I/O's, and one transistor/PWM driven LED output. This allows other devices (gps, imu, other sensors) to interface to the board

- Power input connection for easy interface to a BEC to power it ((5V INPUT))

- Programming button to select vehicle type, camera/antenna gimbal, and controller type. Programming instructions are on page 5



The BASE has

- USB port on it will allow for a completely new kind of control! a PS3 controller can now be used to control your long range UAV!  The PS3 is a fantastic interface because the 10 buttons on it are all pressure sensitive and will read out a value between 0-255. There are three buttons with boolean output, two triggers with pressure sensitivity, and two thumb joysticks!  There is also two adjustable output rumble motors (high/low), and 4 LED's that can be used for feedback (ie. signal strength)

With some more programming, it can also be made to recognize your preferred USB enabled RC transmitter/controller.



The REMOTE has

- 16x Servo/esc connections, each at 12-bit (4096 step) resolution.

- video switching, so up to two camera's can be interfaced with this board, and you can remotely switch which camera is being broadcast by your video system!! typically, I for-see a tilt compensated flight camera, and a camera pointed strait down for observation. Then they can be alternated via the SELECT button on the PS3 controllers!

- Pressure/Temperature monitoring on I2C

- (the external connection ports are for you to interface your own IMU and GPS to the board - everyone has their own preference!) the LED connection is a 2222 transistor driven output that should allow for some bright flight LED's (strobes, or flood lights)



There are two boards per kit - a BASE(command) and a REMOTE(uav). The boards are Identical - but are populated differently based on their desired purpose. This is a (poor) picture showing the board and where the connections are located



DIY - two boards, and all the parts to populate them

Prebuilt - Two boards built up, and ready to go!

(arduino boards not included in either kit)

A ROUGH price estimate will be between $100 ~ 315 (DIY - PreBuilt , respectively).

Things are liable to change - v1.0b is not finalized.



CODE will be open source - some of it is adapted from other open source projects, and credit is given in my code.



please let me know who's interested!



((remnants of my proof of concept))


New Boards!



** I do Not expect this shield to work with the Arduino Mega ADK due to interference of extra USB port, and possible programming shenanigans, but i can not confirm or deny this.
For the time being, Arduino Mega 1280 has been tested and 2560 should work.

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DIY would not include the dnt900 radios (the majority of the price - 2x70$), but at low board quantities, yes it will be around that. I do not have my price papers with me, but If I can do them cheaper, I will :-) I will only charge what is fair! Most of the parts are surface mount, and can be a little tricky... but in no means impossible

OK.  So roughly $250.00. DIY.  I forgot about the dnt900 itself. Dang it.  Not sure if my wife will spring a birthday present of that caliber especially with her surgery coming up but I will see what I can do.  SM soldering can be really tricky without the correct equipment so that scares me a bit.

Do you have all the parts for the boards once they come in?  I am not expert myself with the code as I mostly work in C++ or assembly.  I wouldn't mind getting my fingers dirty to see if I can help out.

I'll see what I can do to try and get a set of the dnt900 in.  I wanted to get in their eval kit but too much at the moment.

Take care and PM me if you want to discuss things more.


When I found this radio I thought it would be a great addition to the world of UAV's and was very surprised when you responded to my forum post asking if anyone has seen this or is using it.

I'm glad to see that you already have a project going. I was going to start on one but your approach looks fantastic.

I wish I knew a good programmer to help me with this!!  

It would be great to interface this with an android-based phone, to display all the flight variables to/from the UAV -    after all its just a matter of programming!  Any one interested in helping me with android integration, please PM me

almost impossible; there is no method to access the usb in 4.0

i was wrong check out

DIY Drones provides an Arduino-compatible board geared towards RC (radio controlled) and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) enthusiasts.

Hello, these radios can be used to dnt900 telemetry APM?

Awesome! Thanks for the link

Hello - 

I'm a little confused of the question. I think you are asking if they can act as the radio for the APM's?

The answer is yes - although code code still needs to be written to accept more types of controllers

Thanks for the interest!

Yes, I wonder if you can use dnt900 as a substitute for xbee radio modems. Thanks you.

If you are asking about a stand-alone dnt900 radio, It would need to be wired differently, and its is a pretty full-featured radio so some code would need to be changed. But technically yes it is possible

Because it would be a matter of study. xbee falls far short of potential for long-distanceprojects. I found reading it reaches 500mW of power. a very good alternative at 900MHz.

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