Transmit photos while in air

I'm working on a project where I want an arducopter to recieve waypoints from a pin dropped in an android app, go to that location, snap a picture, and transmit the image once it has been taken to a server accessible by the app. My question is: what is the best way to link camera and transmission of the image. I have considered Eye-fi cards, potentially a wifi shield for the ardupilot, perhaps a very crude and mcguyvered radio transmission (like for FPV), drone cell, or perhaps some other suggestion from those of you out there.Essentially -- I need to get the image on a camera to a network, preferrably while the copter is still in the air (it will be in an area with great wifi accessibility, if it helps.)

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  • Sorry but important things first. While in your head, it may seem logical to power everything from the main battery, Don't do this! Even a good engineer who fully understands all of the electrical problems would see that the risk involved from any fault will likely result in a crash. In other words, people have enough problems just adding a current sensor and messing up the magnetometer and other issues, let alone EMI RFI noise, interference, and possibly control problems. Keep your flight system separate from your other gadgets as much as possible, to include power source. This is the single biggest mistake most people make as they introduce ground loops and other fault paths by combining the systems. No tradeofff is worth a crash where everything is destroyed or even worse, lost in a flyaway.

    Not trying to knock the idea down, just give you some solid proven guidance on implementation. If something happens with the camera and cell or WiFi, no big deal, you still land safely, but if tied together, likely the cause of the crash and the destruction of even more expensive gear.

  • If I go the route of hooking up an arduino with an ad breakout board, the ttl camera, and Dronecell, all of which I have, alonel with a quad kit from 3dr, how can I power the setup involving the arduino camera and Dronecell , preferably from the distribution board, an esc, or even the apm 2.5? Sorry, not the best electrical engineer!
  • If you're going the DIY arduino route, Adafruit's TTL Serial Camera is probably your best bet. They have a great library and tutorial for this: http://learn.adafruit.com/ttl-serial-camera/overview

    It shouldn't be too difficult to pair it with say an Arduino Pro Mini that is programmed to respond to an APM's camera shutter PWM signal. On receiving a shutter command, the Pro Mini could trigger the TTL camera to take a 640x480 JPEG and transfer it to the Arduino. The Arduino could then store it onto an SD card. If you're also using a Wifi shield, I think you could have the Arduino then POST the pics from the SD card to a receiving script on your webserver, though you're either gonna have to know what you're doing for how to write that or find a library/tutorial that breaks that down. Check: http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/WiFiWebServer

  • Probably not the level of automation your looking for but Sony's wifi remote app can snap pictures using their latest NEX-5R and NEX-6 cameras. A 2MP copy is sent back to the control device (iOS/Android/PC). I think the GoPro's app is able to do something similar. This is of course call manual.

  • Distributor

    I think best way would be with 3g or 4g but Wifi might be easier if u don't plan on going far

  • I'm starting on a project to do something similar. Although not far advanced yet, my intention is to put an android device with a cellular connection on my plane. The onboard app will contact a server as connection allows for commands and then upload the photos.

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