Telemetry Bridge using Mavcell-Alpha android app

Hi Folks,

I have been trying out a telemetry bridge setup. The main aim is to be able to use Droid Planner/Andropilot on android or even mission planner without the telemetry module hanging around the tablet or PC.


My setup is as follows:

AIRBORNE: APM with 3dr telemetry module

BRIDGE: Android Device that supports USB host. In my case, I used a tablet called ODYS running 4.2 jellybean. I installed an app called MAVCELL. Link to playstore. 

The app relays seria MAVLINK traffic from an FTDI device via a USB OTG cable through a TCP/IP connection. Includes an internal TCP/IP server or can connect as a client. Allows bi-directional communication. Developed specifically for passing MAVLink UAV traffic from the DIYDrones/3dRobotics APM2.0/2.5 drone controller telemetry through the cellular network to a Ground Control Station (GCS) such as Mission Planner.

In my trial, i set up the android tablet as a portable hotspot.

DROID PLANNER: I ran droid planner on a samsung galaxy camera. The galaxy is connected to the tablets wifi network.

In droid planner, i set up the connection type to TCP, and set up the IP address to the tablets IP address. In my case, I set the port number to 8080. This is the port number assigned by MAVLINK.

I tested the setup on ground and I was able to get good telemetry data on the galaxy. I havent tested the wifi range, battery time on the devices, reliability etc. When i get to fly again, I will test the setup.

I also connected my laptop to the tablets wifi and connected to APM using mission planner through TCP. Same address and port number. This also worked like a charm! Infact, i had both the droid planner and mission planner connected at the same time. I got telemetry data on both devices.

Later, I want to try to set up a dynamic DNS client app on the tablet (Bridge). This might enable remote connection to the APM from anywhere on the internet.

In theory, all this should work. It would be nice if more guys try out this setup to find out whether it would be reliable. I see this as a cheap way of setting up a telemetry bridge as lots of us have spare android devices lying around.

Best regards from Kenya.

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  • Yeah, been thinking about exactly the same route myself - and using the same gprs module - sim900. Neat and cheap. In fact I think that such setups will be quite common in the future

  • initially I was considering using a GSM / GPRS Shield Module

    much like this one, but much smaller & a more compact version

  • Developer

    Or you could do the same with a WiFi to 915Mhz, set it up as a client then use Tethering to connect it to your phone. You can then connect over 3G


  • Thanks John. Checking them out.

  • Chris, since security is your aim, the items on this page may also be useful.

  • Hi Chris, you may find similar or other ideas to consider on this page or this page.

  • The main reason why I thought of TCP over Bluetooth is this...

    I'm developing a community policing plan for my hood. That's about 4 square kilometers. I'm thinking of having a multi rotor that would always be on standby to assist security guards on the ground when necessary. With the android bridge, it might be possible to coonfgure dynamic DNS such that all ground teams could make use of the follow me mode among other capabilities. 

    Any simpler ideas are welcomed.

  • When I tested, the latency wasn't much. I got imu data almost instantly. This setup might not work for rc control for manual flight but it might be a good setup for someone looking to have multiple telemetry connections to one drone.

  • people have used similar setups and latency was supposedly acceptable

  • my only concern would be added lag of the telemetry data being produced from the extra transmission step

    would it suffice for the needed application for accuracy required

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