New product! The 3DR Radio Telemetry System

Hi everyone, I'm very happy to announce something that 3D Robotics has been working on since late last year in cooperation with a few very talented developers. Today we are announcing the 3DR Radio telemetry system, an open-source alternative to XBee telemetry set-ups, with superior performance, great range and a much lower price (half the price of the equivalent Xbee kit).

This is a 2-way, half-duplex wireless communication system with a standard TTL UART interface, based on HopeRF's HM-TRP data link modules, and custom firmware that improves upon the module's original features and performance.

The SiK firmware includes a bootloader that permits radio firmware updates over the serial interface, and radio firmware with configurable parameters. Updates and configuration are fully supported in the APM Mission Planner (press control-A to bring up the window below), and also possible through AT commands.

From the wiki:

  • light weight (under 4 grams without antenna)
  • available in 900MHz or 433MHz variants
  • receiver sensitivity to -121 dBm
  • transmit power up to 20dBm (100mW)
  • transparent serial link
  • air data rates up to 250kbps
  • MAVLink protocol framing and status reporting
  • frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS)
  • adaptive time division multiplexing (TDM)
  • support for LBT and AFA
  • configurable duty cycle
  • builtin error correcting code (can correct up to 25% data bit errors)
  • demonstrated range of several kilometres with a small omni antenna
  • can be used with a bi-directional amplifier for even more range
  • open source firmware
  • AT commands for radio configuration
  • RT commands for remote radio configuration
  • adaptive flow control when used with APM
  • based on HM-TRP radio modules, with Si1000 8051 micro-controller and Si4432 radio module
Support for different countries and regions is documented in the wiki:
Of course, the list will keep growing, and you can help by providing links on the forums to relevant information on the applicable regulations. This is a DIY radio device, so please check your local rules carefully!

Each kit consists of an 'air' and 'ground' variant, with an FTDI-style 6-pin header and USB type-A connector, respectively. Also included are two RP-SMA antennas, APM telemetry cable, and a USB type-A extension cable for placement flexibility.

Kit price is $74.99:

Individual radios are $35.99 (USB) and $31.99 (pins):

Kits and radios are available for purchase today, and they will start shipping next week.

Coming soon: a 3DR Radio XBee footprint adapter for both frequencies, compatible with our USB XBee adapter and Sparkfun's XBee Explorer boards.

We will also be releasing a version of the radios on both frequencies with an Xbee-compatible footprint, so you already have Xbee adapters, you can use them. 

We hope you enjoy using these radios as much as we have during development, the simpler hardware and configuration tools compared to XBee provide a much smoother experience. We look forward to hearing your comments!

Huge thanks to the developers who made this happen: Team leaders Andrew Tridgell and Mike Smith along with Michael Oborne, Seppo Saario, Marco Robustini and others. 

Views: 50567

Comment by John Church on April 6, 2012 at 1:08pm

"New thing!"

Love it- We've gotta' have new "things"!!! Can't wait to have them in-hand.

For conversation's sake, can you describe any difference in operation between the 915 vs 433 mHz variants? Is this strictly an option to maintain compliance with our other radio hardware and nationalities, or are there other limits, etc. that should be pointed out between the two?

Comment by Jason Short on April 6, 2012 at 1:24pm

Congrats Tridge, Mike and the team. Well done!


Comment by Open Hardware Store on April 6, 2012 at 1:25pm

The 433mhz kits will be available asap for europe at

Comment by on April 6, 2012 at 1:58pm

Nice to hear the announcement is finnaly out.  Congrats to all the developers on the hardware and firmware!

Also We are also selling the 433Mhz 3DR telemetry kits and modules.

Comment by Andreas M. Antonopoulos on April 6, 2012 at 2:00pm

Great work team!

I wish I hadn't bought an Xbee kit last week - I guess I'll have to invest in one of these too now!

Question for the 

Comment by Cloud9Drones on April 6, 2012 at 2:06pm

Just ordered two 900 kits. Can't wait to start using these. Thanks for all the hard work!


Comment by Andreas M. Antonopoulos on April 6, 2012 at 2:11pm

I wonder if the configuration screens in the Mission Planner and the AT-command libraries could be re-used to support other AT-command modems like the DroneCell, Telit GSM modules and other GPRS/3G solutions. 

I'm gonna take a look at the firmware. Is the mission planner also open source? 

Comment by Cliff-E on April 6, 2012 at 2:18pm

Great price vs feature balance.

100mW is a good setup compared to the Xbee's.

3D Robotics
Comment by Alan Sanchez on April 6, 2012 at 2:18pm

I dont see it mentioned on the wiki or maybe I missed it, but to access the 3DR Radio config tool on the Mission Planner just hit CTRL+A

Comment by Ruwan on April 6, 2012 at 2:36pm

@Chris, is this the super secret pre-release product you've mentioned in February :)


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