Need help with firmware for PXFmini and Pi3

I am in the final stages of my custom built ROV. Unfortunately, I have left the software part for the end because I am much more comfortable with the physical construction portion.
I started this journey naively thinking I could build the entire thing. I have stand alone depth, temperature, IMU, and ADC parts to custom build sensors for a HUD.
Like they always do, my project stalled due to a feeling of being overwhelmed. I decided to forego the electronics part of the build and started looking at autopilots. I couldn’t find any good source of Pixhawk that wasn’t a copy. I read bad things about some of them. I settled on a PXFmini, and I had it connected through QGC. It was giving me fits because the firmware was way out of date.
I flashed a different SD card with the BlueRobotics firmware, and I love what you are doing with the browser based updates! Please let me know if there is an easy way to put the stable version of the PXFmini firmware onboard. I would happily settle for a hard way, as long as the instructions are moderately clear.

If I can get this thing running, I will be posting pictures and information about the build and dives!


It might be difficult to set this up. Erle has their own (proprietary) OS image for operating the pxfmini, so you will need to use that. Our companion software is currently not easy to set up on an existing image, there is an issue in the github repository to resolve that. The companion software also makes the assumption that there is an external autopilot plugged in, so that would need to be resolved as well.

You should be able to run with most functionality by setting up a simple script to run the video stream at boot on top of the erle image. When the issue of companion installation in existing systems is resolved, you can install it and have the full functionality of the web interface we use.

I recommend you use the image from erle, update the ardusub program running on the image, and then set up a script to launch the video stream (we can help when you get there).


That is basically what I thought was the case.

Since I made the post, I got the new firmware from @Lander working by renaming it, and changing the permissions. That one was the latest (developer) version. Still had some issues, so I downloaded the stable version from ArduPilot. Everything seems to be working now, but I am still very interested in further customization.

I am using the BlueRobotics version of QGC, and it seems to work well.

I am using SSH to start a video stream, and I would like to have some joystick buttons assigned to the Pi3 GPIO pins to work on board relays for lights and a future ballast system.

I have done some rudimentary python programming, and I have had good luck modifying existing functions to suit my needs.

Thanks for taking the time to give me some things to consider.



Thanks for your offer of help.
I have made a successful first dive! I was able to start the video feed with SSH, and it recorded easily using the BR version of QGC. Things are looking good. I have a few items to tweak with the custom ROV physical setup, but everything worked as anticipated on the communication and control side of things.

I didn’t have a JST-GH connector for the I2C bus, so I wasn’t able to connect my depth sensor. :frowning:

Some of the changes I want to make are to setup the auto video launch that you talked about, get some control of GPIO connected relays, and have leak detection connected to a GPIO input. Any help you can give on this kind of setup will get me going in the right direction for future upgrades.

I plan on posting a build and update log on the forums later this week.