Companion Computer Peripherals

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).

Communication

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.

FTDI Devices

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.

Where To Buy and Features

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

Logic Level Shifters

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.

Where To Buy

Cameras

Cameras are among the most common form of data collection on a drone whether it be hobbyist, educational, or industrial use.

Stereo Cameras

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.

Where To Buy

© PX4 Dev Team. License: CC BY 4.0            Updated: 2019-01-16 22:49:13

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