Using a Pixhawk 2.4.8 as the Autopilot

Hi there! We are currently on the process of collecting the electronics for our drone and we are quite new into building ROVs with ArduSub as well. We have seen from the documentations that the recommended board was the Pixhawk 1. However, we currently could only get a hold of a Pixhawk 2.4.8 from an online store which is more accessible to us. We have also checked the details for each of the boards and it looks like they have the same specifications installed. A previous thread also stated that it is possible, but the 2.4.6 is much more preferred. We would like to know in a little more detail if we could use this board since we really have little knowledge on the firmware and this electronic component in general. Any answers are highly appreciated. Thanks!

It’s hard for us to answer this beyond what’s already been said elsewhere on the forum. ArduSub should technically run on it, but the components are generally lower quality and the 2.4.8 is known for being somewhat troublesome to work with.

If you’re willing to take the risk of a board that’s known for having low quality then that’s your decision to make. Alternatively it should work to use the Pixhawk 2.4.6, or the Pixhawk 4, which should both be higher quality.

This previous response is relevant for understanding the context:

Unfortunately our alternative board is currently in its validation phase, so isn’t yet ready for public release. I believe it’s expected to release towards the end of the next few months, but I’m assuming you need an autopilot board before then.

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Thanks for this.

I see. We’ll check the responses of other people and look at their experiences with this Pixhawk version.

It’s really unfortunate that we won’t have the time to wait for the next board. We’ll see what we can do with the information you provided. As always, thanks so much!

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Hi, Eliot. I have checked some forum posts and it seems like the general consensus is that the 2.4.8 is simply as you said:

As a follow up, I would like to know if the 2.4.6 version that you’re referring to would be something like this? I have tried to search for the term Holybro in the forums but I haven’t seen anything of this make. If that version of 2.4.6 is compatible, I guess that we could steer into that direction since we have seen another source that could provide us with the board.

Honestly I’m not sure. I believe 2.4.8 is actually Pixhawk1 v2.4.8, as discussed here:

I would assume then that 2.4.6 should be Pixhawk1 v2.4.6, but the link you provided says it’s also known as the Pixhawk2. That being said, the whole Pixhawk numbering scheme is/was something of a mess, so it’s possible that they’re the same thing. Given BR staff on the forum have previously said that the 2.4.6 should work then I would expect that to be the case.

At the moment using the Pixhawk 4 requires using the development version of ArduSub. If the 2.4.6 is actually a type of Pixhawk 1 then the normal (stable) ArduSub firmware is probably fine, but otherwise there may be some minor integration issues that we would need to help fix, like with the Pixhawk 4.

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Thanks again, Elliot. The discussion you sent is really helpful. We’ll look deeper into the different information of Pixhawk itself.

We’ll check this firmware as well. Again, thanks so much for your time! This information will be very helpful to us. :grinning:

Hi there, Elliot. An update on the autopilot. We have recently purchased the Pixhawk 2.4.8 and it turns out that the web app recognizes it as a Pixhawk 1.

Ardusub has also been installed without any problems and it seems like it’s also recognized by QGC.

We were just wondering. As of now, it is being powered by the Raspberry Pi through a micro USB cable. Is another power source for the Pixhawk still required or would the power from the micro USB be enough? Thanks!

Assuming you want to use it control ESC’s, Servos, and the like you will need another power source that runs through the power management board. If you look at this page you can get general wiring diagrams for a number of flight controllers Pixhawk 4 Wiring Quick Start | PX4 User Guide.

I think this link will be useful just for just understanding at a high level how the pixhawk and components attached to it are powered especially if your also using servos that need to use another external power rail Powering the Pixhawk — Copter documentation

Thanks for this, @Robi_Sen! Will check the links you sent :slight_smile:

Good to hear :slight_smile:

How are you powering the Raspberry Pi? Generally it’s best for the Pixhawk to be powered in parallel to the Raspberry Pi rather than through it, so the Raspberry Pi isn’t at risk of low power due to excess draw from the Pixhawk.

Our standard setup has a single 5V 6A BEC which connects to both the Raspberry Pi power pins and the Pixhawk servo rail. The diagram is a little confusing because it shows two 5V 6A supplies, but that’s just to show the connections more cleanly.

Hi there, @EliotBR!

So far, we have initially only tried to power the Pixhawk through the Raspberry Pi. I think it’s best to follow your advice and power it separately.

Thanks once again!