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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  • Developer

    Hmm - for the range to be that bad, you want want to check the antennas.  Perhaps they gave you a 2.4GHz antenna instead?  By my math a 173mm length of wire would be a quick quarter wave antenna to try...

  • How to extend the range on a 433Mhz sender?
    I'm already use an USB extension cable (2m) and the range is only 10-15 meters (up in the air) with LOS.

    As far as I understand this short range is caused of the USB port (noise) on the Ground Module since it is actually very close to the radio unit on the board.

    Could these components (USB interface & Radio) be bought separately?

    Is it a good idea to put a shielded cable (or a filter) between antenna socket and the antenna it self?

    I believe that if i set up the transmitting output from 10 to 20 mw the noise will increase as well, so maybe it's an good idea to decrease it?

  • @Gary:

    According to the Finnish Traffic Regulation Authority, the European civil aviation rules (current and coming) define a UAV as "commercially used". A recreationally used RPA legally is no UAV, even if it's the same airframe with the same capabilities. And then it depends on the local regulations for R/C aircraft again.

  • Moderator

    Data regs and approved UA frequencies are still being worked on by the World Radio Council. The UK and America look to be freeing 5gHz space up. Once the WRC ruling comes in these will be the only frequencies permitted for UA. At the end of the day hobby operators will never be legally allowed BLOS. Europe is rolling out a 75k Euro fine or one year in jail penalty system for those that think otherwise. 

  • Developer
    Stefan: i'm from the UK. You can get a Foundation License in 10Hrs of Study. Class B needs some more work, but its basic electronics that most people can undertsand. Its not ideal, but until we have regulations to permit data transfer at long range point 2 point it's the best we can do. Otherwise operators need to work with licenses Wifi modules and stay within local RC guidelines. As always it not illegal to sell the radio, only operate it without the correct license.
  • Ground to air.

  • T3

    Unfortunately, a legal, long-range solution is without a license is near impossible in that you can only go so far with the "legal" power requirements. Like you said, you're limited by the EIRP, so it doesn't really matter what you do, you're not going to get much more range than what's out there already.

    I guess you could try to get the regulations changed but that would be harder than getting a license, much more demanding, and you would likely be wasting your time anyway because that's not going to happen for a hobbyist.

    With regard to the testing you did to get 320m, did you have one in the air and one on the ground or did you only do ground testing? That would easily explain why you only get 320m if you tested them on the ground.

  • Just to let everyone know: My friend bought the RCtimer 433Mhz kit. At least one of the antennas where 2.4Ghz and not 433Mhz, so he got about 20 meters of range, instead of perhaps 1500?


  • Again, maybe in North America. A friend of mine, who has studied electronics technology in university, went to evening courses twice a week for half a year to pass the exam for the lowest license in Germany.

  • Developer

    >Maybe in North America and if you have a background somewhere in RF

    >technology. But it's surely not easy everywhere and for everyone.

    An operators license is easy to get with no background in RF. Secondary School kids can and do pass the test. A lot of the exam is more focused on what you can and cannot do

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