Pixhawk Details #2: Multicolor led and connector demo

Due to popular request, this post features a video of the multicolor led in action, and a second video how to single-handedly unplug DF13 connectors.

This tutorial page again summarizes how to unplug and shows an alternative strategy in slow-motion that does not require pulling on the wires. We hope that these videos illustrate well that users do not need to be afraid of higher-density connectors.

We would be very interested in feedback on the multicolor led. There are a few considerations to add:

  • We know the DJI pattern, and believe it is too complex. We would be looking for something simpler
  • It would be beneficial to limit the number of blink patterns and colors to a minimum
  • It will be impossible to map all system states, so the core and important points need to be prioritized and indicated

We are looking for feedback in particular on these aspects:

  • What are the system properties you would like to see visualized (arming status, low battery, gps lock, mode, etc)
  • What do you consider suitable blinking patterns and how many different ones? (e.g. breathe, steady on, fast blink)
  • How should patterns and colors be assigned to things to show? (e.g. one breathe for disarmed, steady on for armed and color for something else? Or yellow disarmed, green armed and pattern for something else?)
  • Any other ideas / considerations?

We will not be able to suit everybody's needs. But we want to hear from the community what matters and see if we can pick up some new good ideas to get this 'right'. We're looking forward to lots of feedback (and opinions).

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  • Oi oi ... flashing LEDs are very hard to comprehend (except for those who implemented them, they typically can't see any problem), especially in a stressful situation.

    A small LCD or matrix LED display would not be all that bad to have. Even if as a separate module. Copter wouldn't arm? Plug the display. Ah, undervoltage :)



  • B/E on pixhawk means what?

  • Developer

    @Tim The RGB Led driver has not been built for light strips. But we are looking into a convenient offer for those as well, but more in the direction of a peripheral to control them.

  • There were some questions on the external multicolor led here, we have put up a post with more details on it here:


  • Could we link the led flashes etc from the FC to light strips such as these ones? 


  • I agree with Oliver, wherever possible, make it user configurable, it isn't our job to protect the users from themselves, it is our job to give them all the options and then inform them of how to make good decisions (eg the Wiki).

    This is not a consumer oriented corporation building for consumers, we are the bleeding edge, a little leakage goes with the territory.

    People are here because they want to be in front, not to be mollycoddled.

  • I guess it would be impractical or too much to ask to provide the ability to us peasants of configuring the display ourselves via MP? So for example we could pick, say, up to five items from a list of, say, twenty and assign an LED action to each from another list? Everyone is going to want or care about something different, and this would allow each pilot to set up the LEDs for whatever is important to him/her.  I thought one of the big advantages of the PX over APM was going to be increased processing power and this doesn't seem like it would require much...

    On a related note, more and more of the established r/c players are jumping into the inexpensive GPS-capable turnkey hobby/semi-pro market. Some of these now seem to feature things that have been the subject of  much work here, like RTL, etc. It seems to me that the single thing that continues to make sticking with the stuff here worthwhile as opposed to just buying one of the readymades is the ability to customize so many aspects. So I'm always happy to see more things that we can tune and change.

  • Never in a million years will my DF13's pop off like that...

  • You've seen most of my thoughts on this on the devlist already.  But just to make one point public, I think that using different colours or patterns to indicate flight modes is unnecessary confirmation.  We MUST avoid over complicating this so that we don't require a "decoder card" like DJI does.  You should be flying, not counting flashes.  The system should be simple so that it can convey mission critical information simply and quickly. 

    The only modes which should be indicated by the LED should be Failsafe RTL and Land.

    You should know if you're in Alt Hold or Stabilize based on your switch position.  If you want confirmation, use a GCS.  The two Android apps are perfect for this.

    Friends don't let friends fly UAV's with out Ground Control.

  • Developer

    @RGB Colors: We did a survey a while back which is consistent with the individual comments here:

    - Breathe: Standby, ok, safe, not taking off

    - Fast blink: Error

    - Steady: Ready / on / armed


    I'm not too sure about the hex display. I think it won't be readable from a distance, and when going for a display, why not using a real LCD? It would cost only a couple of bucks more, and would be much less cryptic.

    The feedback on colors here is mixed - any updated / new proposals?

    Autopilot Flight Status Indication Survey
    This short (1 minute) survey tries to collect community feedback on best practices for autopilot-to-user feedback via onboard LEDs and speakers/buzze…
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