How to install Benewake TF SERIES on PixHawk(Take TF01 for example)

How to install Benewake TF SERIES on PixHawk

(Take TF01 for example)

  Install TF SERIES module on your drone vertically to the ground so you can get the absolute altitude of your drone. Here is how to install our module on PixHawk. We provided two methods below.

1. How does TF SERIES work on PixHawk

Lidar’s are used in flight modes which have height control, such as....

PixHawk interface for rangefinder are I2C , Analog, Serial. Details are on

2. Serial Mode

   We recommend using Serial to send altitude signal to PixHawk.

Cautions: If you use serial, please update your firmware, make sure is newer than V 3.3.3.

2.1 Wire

Pic. 1(a) Connect TF SERIES to PixHawk via Serial


Pic. 1(b) Connect TF SERIES to PixHawk via Serial

2.2 Mission Planner

   Connect Flight Controller to MP, click CONFIG/TUNING then select Full Parameter List change parameters as below:

  • SERIAL4_PROTOCOL = 9 (Lidar)
  • SERIAL4_BAUD = 115
  • RNGFND_TYPE = 8 (LightWareSerial)
  • RNGFND_MAX_CM = 1200
  • RNGFND_GNDCLEAR = 5   unit cm, or you can use more specific value, it depends on the height TF SERIES installed.

After all your settings click Write Params

See in Pic.2 and Pic.3

Pic.2 Serial parameter configuration

Pic.3 Serial parameter configuration

If Bad Lidar Health error occurs, please check if TF SERIES LiDAR window first, see whether TF SERIES emit red LED light. If there`s no red LED light, please check power supply. (Sometimes PixHawk have Serial 4/5 power supply issue) If there is LED light, please check if you wire the Serial correctly. If you still get this error message and got no reading in sonarrange/sonarvoltage, please connect TF01 to TELEM2 (like Pic.1(b))and change the Parameter for Serial 2 as below.

  • SERIAL2_PROTOCOL = 9 (Lidar)
  • SERIAL2_BAUD = 115

3. AD mode to simulate Sonar Sensor Maxbotix


       TF SERIES data is first send to a STM32 board and data is translated into AD data then sent to PixHawk.

Caution: TF SERIES, STM32 board and PixHawk shall share a common-ground.

Pic. 4  connect TF SERIES to PixHawk

3.1 Wire

       Connect TF SERIES to input distance data using analog into PixHawk

Pic. 5 Analog input wire,

Red: 3.3V

Orange: AD analog signal

Black: GND





3.2   Mission Planner Configuration

Connect Flight controller to MP, select Full Parameter List in Config/Tuning, find and change the parameters below:

  • RNGFND_PIN = “14” for PixHawk’s ADC 3.3v pin #2 OR “0” for APM2.x
  • RNGFND_MAX_CM = “1200” (i.e. 12m max range)
  • RNGFND_SCALING = “4” (i.e. 4m / 1v)
  • RNGFND_TYPE = “1” (Analog)

STM32 DA module can output voltage between 0-3.3V. When the distance reaches 12m, the voltage sent to PixHawk is 3V. Therefore set RNGFND_SCALING to 4。

When all parameters are set, click Write Param.

After all parameters are set and written, the TF SERIES data works on Altitude Hold, Loiter and PosHold Mode. The data from the sensor will be used until you exceed RNGFND_MAX_CM,(which as our set is 12m) after that it switches to the barometer. Currently Lidar is not supported in Auto Mode。

Details are in Pic.6:

Pic. 6 Details for parameter setting

3.3   STM32 Trans Board Code

Receive and analyze the distance data from TF SERIES

// Global Variables

u16 distance = 0;

// Variables used by serial

static u8 Usart1buf[USART1_BUF_SIZE];

static u8 pointer = 0;


// Serial Port 1 Function Initialize

void USART1_Init(void)


         USART_InitTypeDef USART1_InitStructure;

         GPIO_InitTypeDef GPIO_InitStructure;

         NVIC_InitTypeDef NVIC_InitStructure;


         // GPIOA Clock

         RCC_AHB1PeriphClockCmd(RCC_AHB1Periph_GPIOA, ENABLE);

         // A9 -> TX  ,  A10 -> RX

         GPIO_InitStructure.GPIO_Pin = GPIO_Pin_9 | GPIO_Pin_10;

         GPIO_InitStructure.GPIO_Speed = GPIO_High_Speed;

         GPIO_InitStructure.GPIO_Mode = GPIO_Mode_AF;

         GPIO_InitStructure.GPIO_OType = GPIO_OType_PP;

         GPIO_InitStructure.GPIO_PuPd = GPIO_PuPd_NOPULL;



         // Alternative Function Configuration



         // USART1 clock

         RCC_APB2PeriphClockCmd(RCC_APB2Periph_USART1, ENABLE);

         // USART1 Interrupt Priority

         NVIC_InitStructure.NVIC_IRQChannel = USART1_IRQn;

         NVIC_InitStructure.NVIC_IRQChannelPreemptionPriority = 0;

         NVIC_InitStructure.NVIC_IRQChannelSubPriority = 0;

         NVIC_InitStructure.NVIC_IRQChannelCmd = ENABLE;


         // USART1 Initialize


         USART1_InitStructure.USART_BaudRate = 115200;

         USART1_InitStructure.USART_WordLength = USART_WordLength_8b;

         USART1_InitStructure.USART_StopBits = USART_StopBits_1;

         USART1_InitStructure.USART_Parity = USART_Parity_No;

         USART1_InitStructure.USART_Mode = USART_Mode_Rx|USART_Mode_Tx;

         USART1_InitStructure.USART_HardwareFlowControl = USART_HardwareFlowControl_None;






// Serial Interrupt Function

void USART1_IRQHandler(void)



         if(USART_GetITStatus(USART1, USART_IT_RXNE) != RESET

            || (USART_GetITStatus(USART1, USART_IT_ORE_RX) != RESET))


                   USART_ClearITPendingBit(USART1, USART_IT_RXNE);

                   Usart1buf[pointer++%USART1_BUF_SIZE] = USART_ReceiveData(USART1);


                   // Receive data program

                   if((pointer%USART1_BUF_SIZE >= 9))


                            // Check the head and the tail of the packet

                            // Better do a checksum, not written here

                            if(   (Usart1buf[pointer%USART1_BUF_SIZE-3]==0x59)











DAC Configuration

void DAC_Config(void)


         GPIO_InitTypeDef GPIO_InitStructure;


         RCC_AHB1PeriphClockCmd(RCC_AHB1Periph_GPIOA, ENABLE);                        

         RCC_APB1PeriphClockCmd(RCC_APB1Periph_DAC, ENABLE);


         GPIO_InitStructure.GPIO_Pin = GPIO_Pin_4;

         GPIO_InitStructure.GPIO_Mode = GPIO_Mode_AN;

         GPIO_InitStructure.GPIO_PuPd = GPIO_PuPd_NOPULL;

         GPIO_InitStructure.GPIO_Speed = GPIO_Speed_50MHz;

         GPIO_InitStructure.GPIO_OType = GPIO_OType_OD;

         GPIO_Init(GPIOA, &GPIO_InitStructure);     


         DAC_InitTypeDef  DAC_InitStructure;


         DAC_InitStructure.DAC_Trigger = DAC_Trigger_Software;

         DAC_InitStructure.DAC_WaveGeneration = DAC_WaveGeneration_None;

         DAC_InitStructure.DAC_OutputBuffer = DAC_OutputBuffer_Enable;

         DAC_Init(DAC_Channel_1, &DAC_InitStructure);







Main function:

// The test height of TE-01 ,Unit mm

float test_height;

// Height bias, Unit mm

float bias = 180;

// Analog value output

s16 analog=0;


// Main

void main(void)


         // Interrupt Group Configuration


         // Serial Initialize


         // DAC Config



         // Main Loop



                   // Remove Bias

                   test_height = distance - bias;

                   // Data Conversion, 3V corresponding to the height of 12m, therefore

                   // test_height * 3.3 * 4096/(3 * 1200)= test_height * 4096 / 1320

                   analog = (s16)(test_height*4096/1320);

                   // Range Limit

                   analog = analog < 4095 ? analog : 4095;

                   analog = analog > 0 ? analog : 0;

                   // Voltage Output






4. Data Test


In Flight Data of Mission Planner, Click Status below, find sonarrange(actual distance) and sonarvoltage(analog input voltage).

Pic 7 Distance Sensor Test (Test if the sensor gets readings correctly)

5. PID configuration

All PID configuration for PixHawk can be done on Mission Planner. See in

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Replies to This Discussion


Benewake, TFMINI LIDAR works Ardupilot, you need to:

A) Change mode to text output : The command of pix format output is 42 57 02 00 00 00 04 06

B) Modify this line on the LightWare serial driver

You have to replace '\r' with   '\n'

Very useful!

Thanks a  lot!

Patrick Poirier said:


Benewake, TFMINI LIDAR works Ardupilot, you need to:

A) Change mode to text output : The command of pix format output is 42 57 02 00 00 00 04 06

B) Modify this line on the LightWare serial driver

You have to replace '\r' with   '\n'

Please note that the actual decimal character type output (referred to as "pix Format Output"), is missing resolution.

It is just outputting x.xMeter, we need at minimum centimetric resolution = x.xxMeter to have an efficient distance estimator for the ArduPilot.

Please Benewake, add centimeter on the pix format, it should be possible because the native mode is millimetric.

New version firmware TFmini has centimetric resolution on pix format


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