Hello, this is probably a dumb question but I'm new to this and can not seem to figure it out. How do you provide power to the drone cell and the APM from one power source? I saw on the instructions that a ESC BEC will not suffice and I need to buy a separate BEC. If I do this what is the wiring like? Will the ESC BEC connect to the BEC which will power the drone cell and then have wires from the drone cell to the APM to power it? If someone could give me an example of a correct wiring schematic it would be greatly appreciated.
I cannot give you an example for the wiring but I can give you the following advice:
About 1 Year ago I have been toying around with the DroneCell and it behaved strangely. I could connect and I got a prompt via Serial console. However, when the DroneCell was connecting to the mobile network (i think it was after providing the PIN code) i got brown outs. Eric, the developer from narobo.com, advised me to supply >= 1A to the DroneCell. this fixed the problem.
You would probably need a separate power converter of some sort if you want to power it directly from your batteries. but what you need depends on your batteries (how many cells?) and what the DroneCell expects (sorry I don't have time to go through the DroneCell data sheet right now).
How do you power your Drone cell? Is it possible to power the drone cell from its own battery connected to its own BEC?
While testing, I have been powering it from an old laptop power supply (i think it was 12V). I never built it into a plane, therefore i didn't bother to use batteries.
A BEC (AKA UBEC)
Just hooks up to your battery (12v) and the other end puts out 5 volts.a very clean 5v at that. Very Simple, I picked up a 5amp model from HK for about $5 and It works great. There are a bunch to choose from, and most of them will run from 5volts to 23v input.
Hell they even have one that has 2 BEC's so that in case of a burnout it switches to the backup!
The one that I chose should work great for your needs.
Thanks so much I was very lost. Sorry to ask more questions but my current setup includes a ESC with a built in BEC could I just use that to power the drone cell? How do I power the APM? If I get another external BEC how do I connect it to the drone cell? Do I cut the wire and put the red cable in the power and black wire in the ground but what about the white?
Ok, your current ESC's all have a 3 wire plug that goes to the APM "output" rail. The 3 wires are Power (+5v) Ground, and Signal. 3DR Recommends only using one of the ESC's to power the APM, and it will get that from the power wire from 1 of the ESC's. So on the first ESC, leave all the wires on the plug that goes to the APM hooked up. On the rest Unhook the power wire from the plug and leave the other wires alone. you will now have an extra power wire coming from 3 the ESC's. Tie them off and make sure they cat short out on anything.
The BEC has 2 wires that go to the battery,(power and ground) So soldering them to your power distribution board is a good place to tie in. there will be 2 wires left from the BEC (the output) that will provide 5V to the phone drone. (a power and a ground) and that should be it.
Although you could power the phone drone from one of the ESC's, Youll get cleaner power, and a full 5 amps (if you choose the same one I did) VS the 2-3 amps that come from Most ESC's.
Thank you guys so much there is no way I would have found this out from the manual. Just to summarize I'm taking my ESC and plugging that into my APM 2 like i normally would. Right now I don't plan to change this wire at all some people say disable the power wire but I don't understand how to power the APM if I do this. Then I plan to use the external BEC that was recommended to me and connect that to the same battery as the ESC using a parallel type setup. Then to power the Drone cell take the Red and black output cables from the BEC and run two cables back to the APM. If there is anything wrong with this setup please let me know. Thanks again guys.
That's fine, but I would hook it into the battery at the power distribution board.
As for the ESC's, the common thing to do is to disable the power wire on all but one of the ESC's where they connect to the APM.
Does a plane have a power distribution board? Again sorry I'm new to this. As for the power wire I'm only running one ESC BEC to power the APM and one external UBEC to power the drone cell so would I need to disable the red wire? I thought that was only a problem if you are connecting more than one ESC to your receiver.
Sorry, I just assumed you had a quad. But especially since you have servos and what not, it's a good thing your running a BEC. So leave the ESC alone and hook it up like normal.
The BEC should get power at the same place as the ESC, in parallel.
This is what I was thinking you had:
So now that we've got you squared away, do you mind telling me a bit about your plane, and how the phone drone works? I just bought a bixler, and I can't wait for it to get here.... But I'm not the best pilot, and Im going to have it doing lawnmower patterns over crops so distance may be an issue.
Plus I don't know if I will be able to use a Go Pro on it.
I'm so sorry I never scrolled down past the picture. If you still want to know anything about my plane let me know. I actually am using a bixler as well, very nice platform for a FPV. Having cellular telemetry opened a whole new door for me in terms of performance as I can fly very long distances.