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: 51287

Comment by John Moore on April 6, 2012 at 2:47pm

Can someone make a comparison between these ant the XBees?

Comment by Sam Kelly on April 6, 2012 at 2:55pm

@Ruwan: No, you are imagining things.

Comment by Ruwan on April 6, 2012 at 3:05pm

@Sam Kelly: I'm not imagining anything. Just referred a question I asked from Chris about a similar product. Wondered whether this is the product he mentioned. I used exactly same words he used. Just have a look at the comment he made in that thread!

3D Robotics
Comment by Alan Sanchez on April 6, 2012 at 3:06pm

Ruwan:  Sam was kidding :)

Comment by Ruwan on April 6, 2012 at 3:07pm

Alan: That is good to hear :)

Comment by Jordi Muñoz on April 6, 2012 at 3:11pm

LOL guys. Thanks God nobody can hear all our in-house jokes. Congrats Sam and everybody for the release! 

Comment by Cool Dude on April 6, 2012 at 3:21pm

Aw some!. I was wondering if it is possible to release the eagle files of these boards. This will improve our understanding of  how it works.

Comment by Martint on April 6, 2012 at 3:28pm

Great news and congrat's to Andrew Tridgell, Mike Smith, Michael Oborne, Seppo Saario, Marco Robustini and others on the team, now that the new 3DR radio is ready to buy, however do you have plans to make a radio which will work in the UK? I have sent a few emails in to 3DR about these radio units and there use in the UK, it appears that they are not allowed and they clash on the 433 Mhz band allocations already in place :(

I would love for someone to show or tell me how to use these in the UK without the issues I have concerns about, I don't want to sell items that might not work here in the UK, until then I will stay with the tried and tested 2.4 GHz Telemetry Kits.


It would be great to hear from the other stores how they have got on with the units or from the Dev team on the which parts are "most" of Europe ......... before I carry stock of the new radios.





Comment by Andrew Tridgell on April 6, 2012 at 3:43pm

Hi Martin,

The reason we added features like LBT and DUTY_CYCLE is to make it possible to use these radios in places like the UK. I believe it should be within UK rules to setup these radios under the European 433 band in the UK.

For example, I believe you could run them at 10mW with a 10% duty cycle in the 433.05 to 434.79 band under the SRD (short range devices) rules. See the comments on duty cycle in the wiki page.

See this document on page 17

Cheers, Tridge

Comment by Gabriel on April 6, 2012 at 4:03pm

Any idea when your other distributors like Jdrones will start selling these ? 


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