Today, we want to tell you the story of David Palmer's drone.
David lives in the USA. His friends and family think of him as some kind of computer guru, but he doesn't claim to be one. Despite of have never taken a computer class of any kind, he has been able to figure out how computers work and fix them. More important, he has never been afraid to experiment with anything that involves a computer.
He owns a DJI F550 FlameWheel Drone and he came across this project by searching for a GPS tracker, because sometimes these drones lost connection with their control pad and they just take off for never be found again. Since these drone are a significant investment, he has been searching for different ways to find them if they flyaway.
One day, David saw the tutorial "Arduino Deluxe Pack: How to use XBee and GPS with Arduino UNO" and decided to give it a try. He wanted to put one together so he can track his drone in case it flew away.
He figured all he had to do is to get the parts listed in the tutorial and follow the directions to put it all together and get it up and running. The problem he ran into was when he ordered the parts and he decided to go with the Xbee 900hp's, because the 900mhz wouldn't interfere with his drones 2.4 ghz controller and the 5.6 ghz FPV unit.
He didn´t know that the code in the tutorial wasn't compatible with the Xbee 900hp's and there was very little useful information on the Internet to guide him with the 900hp's. So he had to figure it out himself (don´t forget he have never done any type of coding) and after working on this for two days, he finally got it up and working. Although the receiver info comes out with some gibberish, it still gives him the latitude and longitude that he need.
So here's what he came up with - some pictures below:
In addition to this project, you may have noticed the LED Neo-Pixels on the last picture. He has 4 Neo-Pixles strips (one on each leg of the landing gear) that are connected to the drone´s NAZA controller. These leds display and blink certain colors that tell him if it has satellite connection, how many satellites, how much battery life the drone still has and so on. He has 2 Neo-Pixel rings on the front to display green so he always knows where the front of the drone is during flight.
You can find here a video showing the leds working:
And here, another video with a short night flight, just to see the green leds in action:
If you have any idea regarding GPS tracking, don't miss our GPS Module for Arduino Tutorial or our Geolocation Tracker (GPRS + GPS) with SIM908 over Arduino and Raspberry Pi.