Pixhawk vs Pixhawk 2?

Can someone tell me the differences between a Pixhawk and the Pixhawk 2 that 3DR is marketing as being supplied with the Solo?


I've tried searching, but only found vague references to Pixhawk 2.

Even the 3DR web site is very light with info about Pixhawk 2.

Perhaps the info is being kept quiet until the final release? If so, that's ok, just let us know.



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  • I really doubt they'll be releasing the Pixhawk2 as a standalone FC. Right now it's in the Solo, and there's an onboard "processor" that is tied to the processor in the transmitter. The only way i see it happening is if you purchase the transmitter and the FC for the bird, but with the camera/transmitter/C2 all being over the same link, it's pretty much the same as the solo. 3DR has pretty much stated before that there is no money in the DIY community, so pretty much clones and incremental improvements are done with the open source Pixhawk version 1. I believe 3DR is focused on the commercial and enterprise market so there's no real reason for them to release the pixhawk2 as a DIY component since it'd require retrofitting most of the transmitter and video/RC link. If you look at their website, i'm sure they'll continue to sell the solo as a camera platform but they're expanding into the commercial/enterprise space. I honestly see the market splitting, with the DIY community leveraging the clones with companion processors and the big guys focusing on turn-key solutions for commercial applications. With "legal" commercial applications imminent, there is alot of focus on all vendors to push towards a simple solution for platform development. Hopefully they all get along and settle on a common standard so we don't get left out of the "cool new stuff". I like the solo, but alot of my frames are either larger or smaller than the Solo and I like the flexibility of choosing my own gear/payload.

    The closest thing the community has to a pixhawk 2 is the snapdragon flight kit. It's really the best 'next gen' device that has more than just an upgraded processor/sensors and smaller footprint. I've been playing around with the Navio2, Erle Brain2 and PXFmini. But haven't been sufficiently impressed so far, too large a FC or too low compute to be worth replacing a F4 chip for a processor that'll operate both FC functions and compute/companion functions.


    Archived: Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight Kit — Copter documentation
    • @Nico D

      May I ask you what you don't like in Navio2 solution? ...or what does it lack? I'm just curious. I would like to go that direction and I'm considering either Navio2 or 4Gmetry III (IV). Qualcomm's solution is still a bit blackmagic for me..

      I would include a 3DR's solution here but we do not have a product yet! The fact that 3DR is using it doesn't mean much. And c'mon Phil!!! Negotiating with parts suppliers?!?! Didn't you negotiate with them to make your own version already??


      • The 4gmetry is nothing more than an overpriced odroid like Bill mentioned. I have one and it's nice, but i don't want a fan on on a companion board. If i were to buy a FC for a Pi3, then it'd be a Navio2. Or you can go with a PXFmini for the Pi Zero, but it pretty much loads down the Zero to the point you can barely navigate the console when it's active. At least the Navio2 has a dedicated F1 chip to handle the PWM signals so it offloads that from the processor. The navio2 also has the M8N gps, which i like. The downside is that you have to vib isolate the entire Pi3+Navio board. And the angle of the pins should be coming out the rear with ethernet/usb, not the front, but that's just my personal preference. 

        So here's my summary of the Erle Brain2, Navio2, PXFmini. Haven't flown any of them yet, but i've got a pair of each for a R&D project. They're on the bench and once i get comfortable i'll put them on my "test" frames.

        The Erle brain2 is very DIY garage style, but at least it comes ready to go. The circuit board itself is just sensors, and the case is 3D printed. Their site only offers the Neo7 GPS (bleh) and ships with Pi2. Not bad, but no "internal isolation" like they state on one of the review sites. Software wise it's pretty much comes configured but no step-by-step for those that like to tinker or add it to their existing projects. Basically means you need to use their image (jessie at least) and be careful upgrading since you'll exceed their 8GB card they provide. Which means re-flashing etc etc. They also mention if you upgrade there's a chance you'll break their "custom" image. 

        The Navio2 is my favorite so far. The build quality and silkscreen is excellent and integrated GPS is awesome(M8N) so you just need to mount a gps antenna somewhere away from the body (i have it on the inside of my canopy). Software wise, you have to download and install each component, but it's fairly straight forward if you follow the instructions and are semi familiar with linux. It has no case, but i have a maker lab, so i just printed a case with isolation dampeners. Since i can run a Pi3 on it (make sure you disable the internal wireless card and ble, it's useless in flight) there's plenty of headroom for additional compute and it seems to be less "taxed" than the Brain2 (but it's also Pi2 vs Pi3, and Navio offloads the PWM to the F1). But it's more DIY, so it'll be more work getting a bird in the air.

        The PXFmini was the most exciting one for me, but slightly dissapointed that it crushes the Zero in terms of utilization, sure you can put it on the Pi3 but it kinda defeats the purpose of the small footprint. Hopefully a Zero2 is in the works that'll be a little better. 

        Weight wise, both the Brain2 and Navio2 come in at a chunky 110-ish grams. The navio2 and brain2 are in a printed case, the pxfmini without case is around 40 grams.

        Right now my dev platforms are running the Pixhawk Lite and AUAV-X2q chips, both run the F4 so "reliable" and my companion is the edison/ or Pi3. I've have the Nvidia TX1, but it's pretty large even with the smaller carrier boards. Once i get more comfortable running code on a the same processor as the FC, but i'll be waiting on the Pix2 when it comes out :P

        • 3D Robotics

          Nico: Great summary. I've got most of those, too, and I'm leaning towards the same conclusion as you (Navio2). I haven't tried them with the Pi3 yet, but may do so once I start playing around with the Pi camera options. 

          The only vote in the Brain2's favor is the built-in ROS2,  but to be honest I haven't had a chance to really use it. It requires anther Linux computer on the ground talking to and I'm trying to get away from the need to have laptops in the loop. Have you played around with ROS at all?

          • Hey Chris! Big fan, you met my counterpart (Biren G) the other day. Just for context ;P 

            Haven't played with ROS2 much either, looked at it but most of my work has been on DroneKit/Mavlink based companions. So i'll get around to it when i'm not insanely busy. 

            I've really only gotten the Navio2 and PXFmini operational. The navio2 streams UDP directly to mission planner, but also works on mobile devices which doesn't require a laptop. If you have an LTE module, you can stream directly to your mobile phone ;P I've been focusing on the Navio2 at the momement because the Erle build of jessie breaks alot of my dependencies, and building stuff from source on a Zero is beyond painful. The Zero has crashed on me several times, (even with a 2A P/S), so need to troubleshoot that a bit and probably revert to the original image they provided. I'll post more info when i actually get them in the air. I'm going to be running a MUX on the motor inputs so i can flip to a redundant parallel controller if the primary crashes.

            Careful on the Rpi3, the internal wifi is only 2.4ghz which can interfere with any receiver. I'm using UHF to avoid the interference. the camera module (version 1) is super noisy, so shielding it is essential(gps, compass, etc). I'm using an external USB camera, less noise and i can gimbal mount it.

      • Developer

        Buy the ODROID-XU4 direct... you'll get everything, and more, than the 4Gmetry III for $200 less.

        see http://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G14345...

        ODROID-XU4 $74.00

        The 4Gmetry is just a rebadge ODROID-XU4, the $3 case an FTDI cable. (all available from HardKernel).

        The case and other bits here http://www.hardkernel.com/main/shop/good_list.php?lang=en

    • Developer
      I assure you the Pixhawk 2 is coming out soon.


      • Guauu!!! that's the gps on one side?

        • Developer
          This GPS is a UBloxM8N with a 60mm ground plane.
          • philip

            we are so many to wait the next official pix 2 from dev team!!i hope we could get one during this summers...do you have an idea about the price range

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