The purpose of this project is to log sonar data of inland waters in order to increase the database of the GoFree Insight Genesis Social Map.

Craft Requirements:

1. Light Easy to Transport

2. Stable

3. Capable of speeds up to 10mph

4. Capable of running up to 10hrs non stop

5. Autonomous

6. Monitor progress remotely

7. Highly Visible (safety)

Project Progress:

Used the off-cuts of some old SurfSkis from a previous project to create a 2.9 meter trimaran design

Has a small enclosed console (removable for easy transport) to hold battery and electronics

Sonar logging is done with a Lowrance Elite7 CHIRP with a Airmar P66 transducer

Powered by a Yamaha 2hp 2-stroke outboard

Steering servo is via a vehicle wiper motor for torque using an old servo motor for potentiometer and output to a H-Bridge L298N.

Throttle is controlled by a heavy duty servo built  into the motor directly above the carb.

Radio - Spektrum DX6i DSM (old)

Receiver - Spektrum AR6200 with Satellite

Up to this point the craft goes pretty well while being controlled directly with the radio as can be seen in this video - 

AutoPilot Progress:

Or should I say "lack thereof" as I am now in 'unchartered territory' and the cry for "HELP!" echoes across this board for assistance.


Pixhawk PX4

Pixhawk Power module




External LED/USB

I2C extension bus

433MHZ Telemetry with 2.5DB Antenna

Receiver - Spektrum AR6200 satellite

Mission Planner (Laptop)

Pixhawk Main Outputs - #3 = rudder / #4 = throttle

Progress - 

Connected Pixhawk to Mission Planner 

Updated firmware

Calibrated Acc, Mag, Trans etc.

Completed Wizard - all green except for Arming of Autopilot

That is where I am now stuck.

Where do I go from here?

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Replies to This Discussion

John, I love the boat and it looks super sleek in the water!

I have a question for you. Were you ever able to adapt your sonar onto your pixhawk setup? I am doing the same thing, but have a pixhawk for guidance, then an arduino board for my airmar sonar. I can't for the life of me figure out a work around.


Hi Steven,

No I have not, but it would be nice as I believe the Network2000 is essentially CAN.

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