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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The DNT900 can do up to 1watt of power, at 115200 baud.   500mW at 200000 baud. A very nice radio

Is that the features are impressive. and hopefully there is a module for plug and play andAPM.

my dream is to use the dnt900 as for telemetry and video with some h264 compression, and tablet as remot controll and video monitor

if there are more people that can spend time on this i would serioly consider doing this fulltime

Now that's an ambitious dream. but not that. not develop. Ardron a similar system. but for real, not toy with a long range. would be something amazing especially for portability. to carry in the backpack and fly.

Everything comes.

That is awesome! It really opens up a LOT of possibilities!    I've already used that same USB controller chip (maxim 3421) on my ds16 - so it should really be a breeze to get it talking to the android!

((now if I only had an android "smart phone" or tablet!  hahaha))

Is there a chip that does that codec? it would be easy to integrate that in to the board at this point in time. Then the board could interface it all. It already does control and telemetry. It has the usb to integrate to the android.

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I live in France where the 900Mhz is reserved for cell phone band and i'm waiting from RFM somes infos for a DNT900 on 869Mhz band version but with 100% duty cycle, not as Xbee Pro 868 who is with a 10% duty cycle..

But i'm working on a B plan with a transceiver in 869Mhz full duty cycle with two ports inside, one RS232 port for drive and telemetry, and one RS485 port for camera drive and the live video stream H264 in back..But this module is only with a Rf data rate max at 38400Bds and it's a bit too short for the two ports in a same time...

If somebody have a best track...

Any updates on this? I am holding off on buying an Xbee in hopes of buying one of these! Any time frame? Thanks!

Hello Steven Kelley!

Thanks for your interest in my project! Hardware is ready to go, but im still working on the software. I'm also building an an air-vehicle to help me test software so that is slowing me down a little bit. I would like to have the airframe ready to test in the next month, and possibly a product release about a month ofter that? thats just a ballpark though, because of my classes.

I'll keep this forum updated!  Thanks again!

PS i would be very interested in someone with programming skills to help me integrate Android-based phones with this!

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