Ten dollar telemetry - Bluetooth support added to Andropilot thanks to...

... DIYDrones member Pieter

Pieter was kind enough to send me this Bluetooth adapter.  As it turns out it was trivial to add support for using this device to talk to APMs.  Instructions are included below...

So, why would you want to do such a thing:

  • You currently have no telemetry - in which case this is a definite step up (though I still think you'd be better off buying the 3dr radios)
  • You have an android device that doesn't support USB host mode (list of tested devices here).  Just attach this little bluetooth adapter to a battery and your radio.  If your device supports USB host mode (especially if it has the rocking fast USB of Android 4.2 or later) I think you are better off just plugging your 3dr radio into your tablet directly.
  • You have a XBee radio - I suspect that using XBee on Androids older than 4.2 would find that going through the bluetooth adapter to reach the tablet would be much faster.

Step 1: Send Deal Extreme $9 for this.

Step 2: Configure bluetooth adapter

These adapters come preconfigured for 9600 baud, you'll need to change them to 57600.  To do this, temporarily connect the provided cable to a FTDI serial adapter, connect to the device at 9600 baud and then paste in the following string "AT+BAUD7"<return>.  If the device responds with OK57600, you are good to go, otherwise try again.

Step 3: Connect bluetooth adapter to either a 3dr telemetry module (recommended) or directly to an APM board

To connect to the APM or a 3dr 900MHz radio, using the provided cable.  Pieter has reported 100 meter range and I tested it yesterday morning and sure enough I could remotely monitor my plane/make config changes as long as it was close.  

Step 4: Go to Android settings and pair your device with the bluetooth adapter.  The PIN is 1234.

Step 5: Fire up Andropilot 1.2.00 or later.  See our discussion group for download links etc...

Views: 7771

Comment by johnkowalsky on March 21, 2013 at 11:28pm

Why not use an android phone to receive telemetry data and send it to the internet ? Here is a little project I created that receives temperature readings over bluetooth and sends them to cosm so that it can be accessed from anywhere in the world

Comment by Gary Mortimer on March 22, 2013 at 1:42am

Brilliant guess what I will be doing this morning!

Comment by Rana on March 22, 2013 at 3:04am

Kevin, that's really great, I have bluetooth modules, the one you have mentioned and another one from sparkfun, having much larger range and can be hooked to a wifi amplifier to achieve several killometers range. Shall provide feedback after testing.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on March 22, 2013 at 5:18am

Is there somewhere showing that working Rana, it might fit the bill for what I currently need.

Comment by johnkowalsky on March 22, 2013 at 6:03am

Gary the max range for bluetooth devices is about 100 meters but you need a a class 1 bluetooth device (max power 100mA). Most bluetooth devices are class 2 so their range is limited to just 10 meters. Bluetooth - wikipedia article

Directional antenas and amplifiers can improve range a little bit but be realistic - why would anyone use expensive 3dr  transceivers if the same could be achieved with a 15$ bluetooth module

Comment by Kevin Hester on March 22, 2013 at 6:04am

@John, yep - that's definitely the plan.  I've written a little webapp called www.droneshare.com and soon Andropilot will talk to it to do just what you describe.

@Rana - thanks.  Please do!

Comment by johnkowalsky on March 22, 2013 at 6:05am

just to clarify you can get about 100 meter range with class 1 devices - but only if both of them are class 1. AFAIK all mobile phones have modules that are class 2.

Comment by johnkowalsky on March 22, 2013 at 6:31am

@Kevin well it's not as much about sharing logs as sending data from the plane to the internet in (almost) real time - so an android phone could be placed on the plane and relay telemetry through 4g/3g. Before you ask two way communication is possible too

Comment by Darren on March 22, 2013 at 6:35am

If you took two of those you could potentialy make a wireless link to a remotely mounted gps (with its own small battery pack) Although I wonder what latency there would be.


Comment by johnkowalsky on March 22, 2013 at 7:32am

Latency on the way from the arduplane to the android device will be insignificant. The rest is typical latency you experience when accessing the internet through 3g/4g network. Just ping a site where you're going to upload data and that should give you the idea.


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