Anyone out there have any experience with connecting a cellular modem to the ArduPilot Mega? My intent is to create greater/more reliable down/uplink range. If a radio modem has the capability, it doesn't seem too much of a stretch to think that a cell modem could.


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Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on October 18, 2010 at 5:52pm

I approved your blog post, but you might want to move it to the Wireless Communication Forum as this is more of a discussion topic than a blog post.

Just a thought.

Comment by Ed Stewart on October 18, 2010 at 6:25pm
There's quite a bit mentioned about it in various posts, it seems there's a reliablity issue with dropped calls causing delays and what not is one of the biggest complaints if your looking for real time two way communication.
Comment by John Ryan on October 18, 2010 at 6:58pm
Not wanting to be limited to any specific range - I like it!

This might be of interest to you if you are familiar with the Arduino.

Here's a real time gps to google map tracker project with 1 second updates using the cellular shield.

Here's a GSM I/O controller project, also worth a read.

Those boards are sold here:-

You could build a custom hand held controller with an Arduino + cellular shield to send and receive commands from a second Arduino + cellular shield on a UAV. The baud is 9600 so it wouldn't be enough for video, but should be sufficient for gps tracking and control.

I also like the idea of cellular control but I've never liked the thought of what calls might cost. The range would be pretty cool though.
Comment by John Ryan on October 18, 2010 at 7:26pm
Comment by geir on October 18, 2010 at 11:11pm
I've seen microdrones actually have this built in there controller :)
Comment by Harris on October 19, 2010 at 1:45am
Very interesting idea.. I had almost the same plan a few weeks ago, but my budget was a little bit too low :) A arduino i/o board that supports fast HSDPA connection woud be great for (maybe) implementing wireless video. Would it be easy to connect the Sparkfun Cellular shield to the Ardupilot ?
Comment by John Ryan on October 19, 2010 at 5:11pm
I couldn't find any reference to microdrones using gprs but if they've go cellular then thats great!

I think there's probably enough literature available on the web to help throw something together. I'd probably give the Sparkfun shield its own controller and then run a twi between it and the Ardupilot. The shield has specific voltage requirements that I briefly skimmed through, but the jist I got is that it needs its own battery and a step-up for the controller. So I'd say that deal would be better off separated from the Mega with exception to a common GND, A4+A5, assuming they are available on the Ardupilot (I haven't played with one yet).

Unfortunately I've got the money but not the time, not yet anyway.


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