Stephen Dade's Blog (18)

Pi-Connect on Indiegogo

After 6 months of research, development and testing, I've launched the Pi-Connect on Indiegogo. The Pi-Connect is an addon board (HAT) for the Raspberry Pi that provides easy and reliable integration with autonomous vehicles.

It provides:

  • 5.1V / 3.5A power supply
  • JSH-GH telemetry port for connection to a flight…

Added by Stephen Dade on September 13, 2019 at 12:30am — 2 Comments

Changes to Australian RPA Legislation

The Australian Government has recently registered an amendment to the Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment (Part 101) - concerning the regulations of Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPA's).

Some of the more interesting changes are:

4 classes of RPA, based on all-up-weight:

  • Micro RPA (0-100g)
  • Very Small RPA…

Added by Stephen Dade on March 30, 2016 at 5:00am — 14 Comments

CanberraUAV presentation to RAes

Last week CanberraUAV gave a presentation and flight demonstration to the Canberra branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAes).

This covered the history of CanberraUAV in competing in the UAV Outback Challenges in 2012 and 2014, the group's…


Added by Stephen Dade on March 12, 2016 at 12:28am — 5 Comments

Worldwide communications for your UAV - using satellites

Cobham have recently released their "Aviator 200 UAV" - a satellite datalink system specifically made for small UAV's.

Although you'll likely need deep pockets to afford one, it shows that the satellite communications industry has realised there is a market for small UAV's that require beyond-line-of-sight communications. As more manufacturers come onboard the…


Added by Stephen Dade on February 20, 2016 at 9:04pm — 10 Comments

Pixhawk (and APM) Power Consumption

For most people running electric vehicles, it has always been assumed that the motor(s) will always use far more power than the flight controller and associated control systems.

However, for those people running internal combustion engines (or gliders, balloons, etc) for long duration flights the question of power consumption of the flight controller becomes a…


Added by Stephen Dade on September 10, 2015 at 5:10am — 10 Comments

CanberraUAV's Future Plans

After our win at the 2014 UAV Outback Challenge and the many subsequent team discussions, CanberraUAV has developed a detailed set of goals for the next couple of years (see…


Added by Stephen Dade on November 1, 2014 at 10:30pm — 16 Comments

CanberraUAV UAV Outback Challenge Review

Now that we’ve returned to Canberra and taken a well-earned break, we have spent some time reviewing our performance at the OBC. The following article is a review of what we did and didn’t do well as a group at the OBC.

Winning the OBC, whilst an awesome achievement, has…


Added by Stephen Dade on October 8, 2014 at 6:16am — 5 Comments

Outback Challenge 2014

It's that time again!

With only 2 weeks until the UAV Outback Challenge (OBC) 2014, there is a record 20 teams from around the world ready to win the Challenge.

The OBC is a civilian UAV competition where teams must design, build and operate a UAV that is capable of finding a…


Added by Stephen Dade on September 9, 2014 at 6:00am — 11 Comments

Quadcopter Workshop

I recently ran a build-your-own-quadcopter workshop in Canberra (Australia), where 9 people learned how to construct, tune and fly quadcopters based on the Pixhawk flight controller.

This workshop is the second one I've run (1st workshop here). There have…


Added by Stephen Dade on February 7, 2014 at 1:30am — 13 Comments

MAVProxy Workshop and Documentation

In Canberra (Australia) we recently ran a "How to use MAVProxy" workshop at the MHV workspace. We had a dozen or so people turn up and we spent the afternoon going through the software and it's numerous modules.

For those who…


Added by Stephen Dade on November 25, 2013 at 4:01am — 4 Comments

2012 Outback Challenge Documentary

A documentary called "Robots in Flight", following the events of the 2012 UAV Outback Challenge has now been released to Youtube:

A number of teams (such as CompassUAV, TGIF and the 1st placed CanberraUAV) used the APM as the flight controller in their airframes.

Added by Stephen Dade on September 6, 2013 at 1:00am — 11 Comments

2014 UAV Challenge Outback Rules Released

The rules and dates of the 2014 UAV Outback Challenge have been released -

The aim of this challenge is to design/build/operate a UAV beyond line-of-sight to search and 2.5km area for a missing hiker and drop a bottle of water to them within…


Added by Stephen Dade on April 24, 2013 at 7:30pm — 11 Comments

Quadcopter Workshop


Over the last 4 weeks in Canberra (Australia) I've been a running a build-and-fly-your-own-quadcopter workshop, based on the APM.

We had a dozen excited people attend the workshop and all were successfully able to build their quadcopters. The flying lessons were mostly successful - we only had a 25% crash rate (mostly broken arms, easily…


Added by Stephen Dade on March 28, 2013 at 6:51pm — 11 Comments

Another Hero 3 Camera Test

The CanberraUAV team spent last Sunday playing with our new Hero 3 camera.

This is our X8 flying wing (piloted by Tridge) running through it's paces at CMAC:

Added by Stephen Dade on December 18, 2012 at 5:12am — 5 Comments

MAVProxy - Now Windows Compatible

MAVProxy is a open source minimalist and plugin-based GCS for Mavlink based autopilots (such as the APM). Until recently, it was only able to run on Linux systems. It has since been updated by Tridge and myself to include full compatibility for Windows systems.

MAVProxy can be found at and an installation and user's guide is available at…


Added by Stephen Dade on November 8, 2012 at 3:30am — 7 Comments

Using MAVLink to debug your flight (CanberraUAV style)

Following on from Tridge’s article (here), this article focuses on the bottle drop malfunction in CanberraUAV’s flight at the UAV Outback Challenge 2012.

The aim is…


Added by Stephen Dade on October 17, 2012 at 6:00am — No Comments

2012 UAV Outback Challenge Imagery

We won't be able to begin the (long) process of uploading the photos and imagery of CanberraUAV until we get back home, but I've uploaded a few of the "best of" photos taken from our UAV inflight:

(Flying over Joe)

(Passing over the Range Official's tent)

More images can…


Added by Stephen Dade on October 5, 2012 at 4:30am — 8 Comments

My First (Working) Quadcopter

After the early death of my first quadcopter (small, cheap 300mm fibreglass frame), I decided to go for a more durable frame. I decided on the Talon V2 from Hobbyking.

It's fitted with the same Props/Motors/ESC's/APM…


Added by Stephen Dade on September 16, 2012 at 1:30am — 3 Comments


Season Two of the Trust Time Trial (T3) Contest 
A list of all T3 contests is here. The current round, the Vertical Horizontal one, is here

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