Pixhawk Details #3: Digital airspeed sensor, multicolor led and USB

The above picture shows PX4 Airspeed (in fact its so new this is even a picture of a (proven) prototype), a small, digital airspeed sensor. If features a Measurement Specialties (coincidentally swiss, too) 4525DO sensor, with 1 psi measurement range (roughly up to 100 m/s or 360 km/h or 223 mp/h). Its resolution of 0.84 Pa is quite good, and delivered as 14 bit data from a 24 bit delta-sigma ADC. It also measures temperature to allow to calculate true airspeed from indicated airspeed using the MS5611 static pressure sensor on Pixhawk. As the temperature is not influenced by the heat of nearby processing components, it is much closer to the air temperature than with the previous analog sensor setup. It comes with M3 / 6-32 mounting holes. It is supported on all PX4 autopilot generation boards (and in the PX4 flight stack as well as on APM on PX4). Andrew Tridgell has intensively test flown the sensor and will share his experience soon.

This is just the fanciest peripheral, but maybe not the most popular one: The high-brightness multicolor led featured inside PX4 is also available as external option, and it is even supported by the APM 2.x boards.

Last but not least a peripheral only available for Pixhawk and simple yet convenient: An USB port extender, which allows to mount the micro USB port outside of the fuselage / shell. In contrast to normal USB extenders this one is for DF13 plugs and thus does not require the enormous radius of a normal USB cable in the fuselage.

All these peripherals are intended to improve the ease of use and robustness when working with a PX4 based system, and will be available shortly.

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Comment by Wojciech Batog on September 5, 2013 at 11:47am

What would be the cost of the airspeed sensor?

Comment by Alex Lee on September 5, 2013 at 11:50am

The external USB connector is a perfect idea. There is a long list of "now I don't have to do. xx" coming. Maybe a self contained external mount for the LED?

Comment by Chris Riccio on September 5, 2013 at 11:53am

@Alex Lee,

I'm picturing something like the latest external GPS/Compass plastic case.

Comment by Gary McCray on September 5, 2013 at 1:34pm

Great to see a number of worthwhile accessories showing up.

Really amping up the PX4 / Pixhawk systems.

You state the high brightness multicolor LED is the same as the one in the PX4, I take i you mean the FMUv2 alias Pixhawk.

But I presume it will also be available for the original PX4-FMU / PX4-IO hopefully with an appropriate cable.

That digital airspeed sensor looks very nice and should alleviate a lot of the difficulties associated with the current sensor.

I will mention these in the Pixhawk Overview in the Wiki.

Comment by Matt on September 5, 2013 at 5:01pm

Very nice! I am glad to see a plethora of options that are coming to fruition with the new Autopilot.

Comment by Simon Wunderlin on September 5, 2013 at 10:28pm

The external usb port and led are great! Having a digital connection for the airspeed sensor is going to solve some headaches for us. Thanks for this Lorenz.

Comment by Charles lakins on September 6, 2013 at 6:21am

love the airspeed sensor footprint over previous ones

Comment by Euan Ramsay on September 6, 2013 at 9:11am
Are there links to the physical specs? I'm doing the final revisions to my "gold" prototype CAD, and would be good to include mounting holes for them in this (my frame has mounts for px4flow and normal maxbotixs sonar and the optiflow).
Comment by Steven G on September 8, 2013 at 10:59am


Great! When will these items be available?

Comment by Muhammad Al-Rawi on October 22, 2013 at 6:28pm

How short is "shortly?"


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