This section contains information about peripherals for connecting Pixhawk (PX4) to a companion computer, and peripherals that might be connected to such a companion computer (and potentially triggered/accessed by PX4).
Typical companion computer work with Pixhawk requires a companion link to transmit/receive the data between the companion computer and Pixhawk hardware (eg. Intel NUC and Pixhawk 4).
There are a few devices that allow this communication bridge such as FTDI USB breakouts and level shifters (see below).
PX4 configuration for communicating with a companion computer over MAVLink configuration is covered in MAVLink (OSD / Telemetry). Relevent topics/sections in the developer guide include: Companion Computer for Pixhawk Series, Robotics and RTPS/ROS2 Interface: PX4-FastRTPS Bridge.
The FTDI USB adapters are the most common way of communicating between companion computer and Pixhawk. They are usually plug and play as long as the IO of the adapter is set to 3.3v. In order to utilize the full capability/reliability of the serial link offered on the Pixhawk hardware, flow control is recommended.
|Device||3.3v IO (Default)||Flow Control||Tx/Rx LEDs||JST-GH|
|PixDev FTDI JST-GH Breakout||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|mRo USB FTDI Serial to JST-GH (Basic)||Capable||Capable||No||Yes|
|SparkFun FTDI Basic Breakout||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Hyperion Adapter USB-FTDI||Yes||No||Yes||No|
On occasion a companion computer may expose hardware level IO that is often run at 1.8v or 5v, while the Pixhawk hardware operates at 3.3v IO. In order to resolve this, a level shifter can be implemented to safely convert the transmitting/receiving signal voltage.
- SparkFun Logic Level Converter - Bi-Directional
- 4-channel I2C-safe Bi-directional Logic Level Converter - BSS138
Cameras are among the most common form of data collection on a drone whether it be hobbyist, educational, or industrial use.
Stereo cameras are typically used for depth perception, path planning and SLAM. They are in no way guaranteed to be plug and play with your companion computer.