Xbee for full remote control

I have quite a few zigbee modules of various powers. I've used them for serial communication of environmental data and found them perfect for that. I am looking to do some sort of UAVS but I am loath to spend hundreds of Euro on a decent radio system when I have the zigbee modules.I wonder has anyone built a full RC system for an aircraft using zigbee for comms. Components of the system would beairborne zigbee, arduino, servosground zigbee, computer , software, joystick, mouse or keyboard for controllerThe advantage is that no RC radio or receiver would be required, saving cost and weight, while extending range but of course the disadvantage is potential unreliability.

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  • Hi,

    I build the BreezeUAV project without radio system and now that the project become good enough to fly, I regret it.

    Firstable XBee are great, but sometime the communication is lost and my failsafe capability is not good enough.

    Secondly, it's always better to have two links of communication and be able to switch from one of them automatically.

    In my project, I don't control the plane directly. A joystick is used to define the pitch roll yaw and speed, those data are send to the UAV which try to achieve that attitude and speed goals.

    I'm updating data from ground station to UAV at 30 Hz, while telemetry from UAV to GS is download at 1 Hz. Using a radio, I'll be able to increase the telemetry data rate.

    It feels good to build cheap system, but when they crash ... Safety is always better :)

  • Hey any way your drone design could.maybe possably go into a hover or short range glide mode while awaiting for the latency to catch up.or your not designed to hover like copter??
  • Personally I would advise against using the pololu product for this application. I bought the exact same model when I set out to do a similar project and found out that the unit has been designed to lockup and need a hardware reset in the event of any incorrect serial data which is likely to happen at some point when using wireless products. This will certainly be a problem for an rc plane and I don't remember them mentioning this on the website. The only solution I found at the time was to build my own which simply ignored anything that wasn't valid servo data. I tend to get the plane in the air using a standard receiver then switch to Xbee and reverse for landing, latency doesn't seem to be a problem for gentle flight. GCS transmits 5 single byte servo positions every 100ms.
  • 3D Robotics
    Jack Crossfire has done some testing with them for applications like this. Latency and reliability were indeed issues. See his comments here, for example.
  • I'm also planning on building an xbee-only airborne platform next summer, with everything on a single line, incl. command uplink, telemetry and photo/video downlink. I've done a couple of trials (basically running about with an arduino that sends back 1 kB buffers it receives from a groundstation) and found out that a pair of 2 mW XBee Pro modules can maintain about 5 KB/s with decent latency (<200 ms) over 100 m (300 ft) LOS. I'm planning on using stronger ones, maybe 60 mW ones, and those are supposed to have a range over 1 km.
  • T3
    You loath to spend hundreds and want to do it by ourself?
    The reason agains xbee is latency, and when you include range CRC checking etc, it will be also bandwith.
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