3D Robotics

PhoneDrone Android interface board now available


After some delays in sourcing components and setting up a good test procedure, we now have the PhoneDrone Android/RC interface board in production and available for purchase ($99). 

If you've been wanting to experiment with connecting Android phones or tablets to the world of RC vehicles, this is the board for you. It's the only Android ADK board on the market designed to work with RC equipment, and it can interface with APM (1 or 2) via serial, too.

From the product listing: 

"The board has 8 channels of RC in and out, with PWM-to-PPM conversion and multiplexing between RC and Android control. You just plug the Android's phone USB connector into the board and you have two-way communications with RC gear and any other board, such as APM.

 That means that you can switch between RC control and Android control or mix the two. An example would be "fly/drive by wire". You steer your vehicle via RC, but an Android phone does the actual control using its onboard IMU. On a car, that would allow every turn to be a high-speed controlled drift, for instance (we may show something like that at Maker Faire).

Or, with a UAV, you might have the Android phone doing high-level image processing and object tracking, sending mission commands to an autopilot board such as APM. You might also want to use the phone's long-distance wireless instead of an Xbee for two-way telemetry.

 This can either replace APM if you've got equivalent code running on Android, or compliment it with the Android device doing image processing or long-distance wireless comms.



  • 8 Input&output PWMs
  • Native USB host master (MAX3421)
  • Native USB slave (Atmega32-au)
  • Arduino Compatible
  • Atmega2560 as main controller
  • Atmega32-u2 as FTDI substitute and PPM encoder
  • Three spare serial ports to communicate with other boards (including APM)
  • Build-in 5V-2A switched power regulator (input range 6V - 36V)
  • Build-in 3.3V LDO power regulator 
  • Android TM compatible... 
  • All Atmega2560 pins exposed.
  • High quality PCB is ROHS/lead free, Gold immersed. 
  • Dimensions: 4" x 1.6"...

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  • If anyone else is having problems with FTDI I think I figured out how to get the board to recognize on Windows 7.

    I searched the web and it was recommended I either create a key called "RunOnce" under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce or delete it and recreate it if I already had one.

    The forum topic I found recommended a reboot which I neglected to do which may have fixed things, but I forgot that step and looked for alternatives.

    I uninstalled the Atmega 2560 under my device manager and then when I plugged the board back in, I right-clicked, updated driver, and instead of browsing my computer, I told it to "Search automatically for updated driver software".

    This failed but gave me the "Have Disk" option. I navigated to the "Drivers" folder of my "Arduino" folder and then used the Arduino Mega ADK R3.inf file under "Communications Ports".

    I hope this helps someone. I'm sorry if the details are vague. I'm having to go off of memory on this for fear of breaking something trying to get back to all the screens.

    My Arduino IDE now recognizes the board as a Com Port so I think it was successful. I'll update with progress.

  • demo video please...

  • when well a demo video of this product come out 

  • We need a video demo!


  • 3D Robotics

    Alex: The white color was Google's request.

  • Developer

    The simplest way to explain PhoneDrone, is to think of it as a micro controller programmable R/C and general low voltage electronics I/O interface for Android devices (phones, tablets etc). What type of calculations and algorithms you want to run on the Android in combination with the PhoneDrone is left up to you to choose. But a typical autopilot implementation would use the AVR chip on the PhoneDrone to process sensor data, and the Android device for high computational tasks like visual processing and AI based map/terrain navigation.

  • So who is going to be the first to port some AutoPilot code to an Android phone?

  • Moderator

    I was wondering when this would be in stock again after the initial pre-orders ages ago!!  I can put my android phone to some interesting use now :D

    Thanks for the update Chris!  Any reason why the boards are white and not blue anymore?  I think they looked nicer in blue, was the colour changed to distinguish this product from others?

  • Distributor

    Great stuff, looking forward to see what exciting projects the community creates with this!

    As with all the main DIYdrones products, the new PhoneDrone boards can be found at our web shop shortly  -  unmannedtechshop.co.uk, for easier shipping within UK/Europe



  • Moderator

    Now this is exciting stuff, I have recently acquired an Android phone and I can easily see it controlling a vehicle first and then taking to the skys. Hang on a minute that path sounds familiar ;-) 

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