OK, there is a lot of discussion about this topic. There are also some solutions (dronecell, phonedrone: http://store.diydrones.com/PhoneDrone_Board_p/br-phonedrone.htm ) but for me these solutions did not satisfy my expectations. So I started to develop a more simple set up. But there are still some points for improvement.

1) The philosophic question, should the drone act as server or client?

Thinking a lot, I believe the drone should act as server, so the login procedure is done on the ground. There are other arguments as well.

2) The Protocols TCP or UDP:

In theory the best way is to use UDP. For now, I decided to go with TCP since the components are ready.

3) The Parts:

APM, Bluetooth Modul, Android mobile/handset (xperia / nexus) and a Notebook with Mission Planner and a Browser. That’s all.

4) The Telemetry over 3G Setup:

4.1. Connection between APM and Android:

These problems drove me nuts (the phonedrone board is cool, but for me too expensive). So I decided to use a serial connection with the help of one of these 7$ HC-06 (S) Bluetooth moduls (https://www.google.at/search?q=HC-06+bluetooth).

HC-06 comes in two styles: master or slave. I think the client one fits better. There is a HC-05 as well that could act as Client and as Server (http://cxem.net/arduino/download/HC%20Serial%20Bluetooth%20Products...)

Hooking up HC-06 with the APM I is similar to the xbee connection (http://code.google.com/p/ardupilot-mega/wiki/APM2Wireless). The HC-06 needs a 3,3V input so you have to ad a 1K resistor here (RX, TX, Grnd works without). There is also a mysterious HC-06 v1.04 which should accept the 5V input-power of the APM without resistor as well.

4.2. Android Mobile/Handset:

For my testing I used a sony xperia. A nexus would be better. In the long run it is easier to change the kernel (settings and so on). For Video transmission the camera of the handset is important as well.

4.3. Data Plan:

If the Drone is acting as the Server, a data SIM with open ports is needed (else you has to set up your drone as client). This is difficult to find. In my country 3G internet is common. It is a standard option (big thanks to drei.at). For video you should also use a flat rate SIM.

4.4. Connection APM – Xperia – Internet – Mission Planner:

At first I wanted to write the code myself … but you know:

4.4.1 Bluetooth SSP – android – tcp/ip connection:

I found two APPs in the Android Google Playstore:

GetBlue Demo: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tecit.datareader....
or http://www.tec-it.com/en/download/data-acquisition/getblue/Download...

Connection Terminal:

The setup of GetBlue was easier but it is a Demo version and you just can use it for free for 90 days but it should work longer … great piece of software, btw.

Connection Terminal:
a) Configuration/Bluetooth (Pair devices, Connect Automatically)
b) Configuration/Network/TCP server (Port, Integrate with Bluetooth)
Then start server and you are all set. Now you have to figure out the IP address of your handset. You could see it as Local IP on the Dynamic DNS Client.

Dynamic DNS Client:

4.4.2 Optional: Use Dynamic DNS Client to give your handset/drone a Domain Name:

Use one of the common DNS services (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DynDNS eg. http://dyn.com/dns/)

eg.: mydrone.dyndns.com

I also use Dynamic DNS Client:

… Start your APM
… Start Dynamic DNS Client
… Get your IP address  
… Start GetBlue or Connection Terminal

4.4.3 Mission Planner:

a) So your PC/Notebook should be connected with the internet.
b) Then you should check if the TCP Port (which you use in GetBlue or Connection Terminal) of your PC/Notebook is open. If not, you have to check your firewall and/or router.
c) Ping your Mobile/Drone IP or Domain Name.
d) Start Mission Planner, connect over TCP (add the IP and the PORT of your Mobile/Drone) and …
… you should see your MAVLINK over IP data coming in.

5) The Video over 3G Setup:

For Video I also use the Cam-Modul of my Android Handset and an APP of the playstore.

IP Webcam (free):

IPCam Pro (1,49$):

a) Start IP Webcam
b) Start Browser on your PC/Notebook
c) Add your IP and Video Port: e.g. http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:8080 or http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:8000, and …
… you should see the VIDEO of your android mobile/handset coming in.

(Using IPCom on 3g/HSDPA with VLC I have a delay of 1-2 sec but with Browser and building Videocodec only 0.2 - 1.0 sec !!!)

6) Future:

Using UDP and/or Client setup.

… that is it. Hopefully we will see more androids in the sky. best .cj.

christian joachim gruber
[meta]contemporary art/s

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Cjg... since a small, light android device is the optimal on board unit, do you think this 67 gram unit would run the software on the aircraft?


Was looking for best VPN services online and how to install a VPN network on android. Got great info from your thread. Found great and positive expressvpn review online and got to know about its fast internet speed and supreme security. Going to take yearly plan for this VPN.

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