Using Ping2 without Ping Viewer


We have recently purchased a Ping 2 unit. We plan to connect it directly to our navigator board, via the serial header pin connection described in the guide for this product.

We would like to use the sensor without Ping Viewer and recover the distance measurement through the relevant MAVLink message instead, which i have read about on some other posts. With the above in mind, I’m wondering about the following:

  1. Without the use of Ping Viewer, do we need to initialize the Ping 2 somehow, or will it start functioning as soon as power is provided to the Navigator board and start generating MAVLink messages?

  2. If the Ping does start as soon as the Navigator is powered on, is there any harm in having our Ping 2 unit transmit in air? If so, how long could we reasonably expect to run the Ping 2 in air before risk of damage to the sensor might occur?



Hi @bsnow,

Assuming you have the MAVLink Distances turned on for your sensor in the Ping Sonar Devices page of BlueOS it should operate without needing some other kind of initialisation. The available initialisation options from the protocol are just set to defaults, and are currently not configurable through BlueOS.

I’m not aware of any harm with running it in air, and we do a fair amount of on desk testing with those sensors. The main concern would be the electronics overheating, but the metal body dissipates heat quite well, so that would mainly be a risk if you surround it in some kind of thermally insulating material, or if it’s a quite hot day (the specified operating temperature range of the device, per the Technical Details, is 0-30℃).

I wouldn’t recommend leaving it running inside a hot car in the sun, for example, but that also applies to the other vehicle electronics, and they’re more likely to overheat first, especially if they’re in an acrylic enclosure.

As a side note on the naming front:

  1. the Ping2 Sonar is our second generation Ping Sonar device
  2. ping1d is the name of the message set for 1-dimensional devices (e.g. rangefinders/echosounders) that use the ping-protocol to communicate
  3. accordingly, ping2d would be some other kind of sonar device, like perhaps a multibeam or sidescan

Hi @EliotBR,

Thanks for confirming all that information; that’s great to know about the support in the latest BlueOS version!

Our ambient air temps these days are about 5C, so if we leave the Ping2 running for a few minutes in air while we prep the rest of the vehicle for a dive, sounds like we should be OK.



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