I frequently read posts where folks 'think' their vehicle was in mode X or the battery was 'probably' getting low.  And then they crash...  Please read on for how to avoid this...


So the main reason I wrote Andropilot was that I wanted an easy way to know what was happening to my vehicle out at the field.

If you can afford to spend $100 and have an Android device, I think many of us would recommend that you run (not walk) to do the following things ;-):

  • Buy this (or the version appropriate for your country) ($85) (some small assembly will be required for this kit)
  • Buy this USB adapter ($2) (correct for most Androids, if not sure ask in the forum or read our wikis)
  • Download either Andropilot or Droidplanner (free!)
  • Plug in the radio
  • Start seeing live data from your vehicle

After you do this:

  • No longer will you need to remember 6 mode switch positions.  If you change modes from the tablet or radio, a voice will tell you what happens
  • If your vehicle enters a failsafe mode, your phone will tell you
  • You will always know where your vehicle is
  • If it is running low on power or doesn't see GPS, your phone will verbally warn you
  • As you come into land your phone will talk you through each altitude
  • If you want your vehicle to go somewhere, you click on the screen and choose GOTO.  etc...
  • You can draw a practice box and if your vehicle leaves it it will recover (plane only - see wiki instructions)

Sorry to be so blunt, but <$100 is a great added safety feature even for beginners...

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  • fixed 

    $38 for these vs $80+ for those above

    Guys buy this one

    for UK

    or this one for the US

    They are half the price of the one linked above and work with Droidplanner and andropilot

    They are also a better design that use the newer small white plugs rather than the old metal pins the ones the op linked

    the small plugs can plug directly into apm small plug with the correct connector.
  • Moderator

    Both those links are dead, Jared.

  • Developer

    nice capitalization Jared. ;-)  Stay classy  ;-)

  • ...except that the RCT 433MHz USB version doesn't work properly due to RFI from the FTDI chip and those "newer small white plugs" are total crap because you can't really make cables for them yourself. The metal pins are much better if you want to make your own cables,

  • $38 for these vs $80+ for those above

    guys buy this one

    for UK

    or this one for the US

    They are half the price of the one linked above and work with Droidplanner and andropilot

    they are also a better design that use the newer small white plugs rather than the old metal pins the ones the op linked
  • There is a misconception that an amateur radio license will allow you more power to transmit from an airborne object !

    I have the UK full advanced license which allows me to transmit up to 400 watt on 433mhz and 5.8ghz but my UK license operating conditions will not allow me to put a transmitter on an airborne object, (kite or balloon are exempt but must be ground tethered)

    So I am in the same boat as any other drone pilot here in the UK as regards to the TX in the drone, my ground station setup can have higher power as long as I comply with my operating conditions.

    I have tested my air ground link using the USB radio at home and have established a link at over 10km (5 element yagi 10 db gain at 433mhz) to get the best range from your set up, the background noise coming from your drone and ground station pc and USB cables is important , it won't help if your radio can't RX the drone over the noise floor. 

    I regulatory fly my quad 500mtr+ in distance and have not had any link problems, a good RX antenna is key to this.

  • I did replace the USB ground 433MHz module with air 433 Mhz from rctimer and I did notice a huge improvement on rssi/remrssi signal. Also noise level was reduced considerabil. The connection between air 433 MHz air and MP (laptop) is using the FTDI 3DR cable. Works perfect. You need to reorder the conenction on 433 Mhz from rctimer.

  • Developer

    Another way to get a wireless bridge, is to use this little $10 adapter:

    But it sounds like something is broken in your modules if the range is only a few meters.  

  • Developer

    One of the issues that you are going to suffer from using an antenna so close to the tablet is that you will get reflect radio waves that desensitize the receiver reducing range. You need to get that antenna on a pole up 3 or more metres. It's called the Fresnel Zone see

    You can make connection to your computer or tablet easier (by avoiding ling cables) by using a "wireless bridge" ie. from WiFi to your 915MHz or 433MHz radio see for details.

  • I am in the same situation as you walthero, my 433 range is few meters.

    I did order a new 433 air module (from rctimer) to replace the USB ground module, curious how this will help.

    Also I did replace the stock 433 antennas with a wire at 164 mm on each module and this makes some range increase.

    Now I am packing in aluminum foil each module (alum need to be grounded) and see if I can have more range.

    And someone suggest to have the 433 ground module at 2-3m from ground and this would extend the range also.

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