Wireless Digital Video:Radio control with joysticks

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Radio control with joysticks

Safety warning: Please remove all propellers when you are configuring your joystick's axis and buttons.

Introduction

  • Joysticks are only supported on WiDV Professional version, check the comparison table for more details.
  • With WiDV is now possible to use any USB joystick to remotely control servos and send actions to WiDV transmitter, like for example zoom, start/stop recording, ... You can use any joystick, flight yoke, steering wheel, gamepad, ... or any combination of those. Each WiDV receiver supports up to 3 USB joysticks at the same time. This is useful to connect a flight yoke and pedals at the same time.

The following video is a demonstration of all the joystick settings available:

Requirements

  • A WiDV Professional receiver.
  • An USB joystick.
  • An APM or Pixhawk flight controller with APM flight stack.

Joystick configuration

  • WiDV receiver does not require any configuration to enable joystick support, by simply connecting the joystick to WiDV receiver you can start configuring the axis and buttons from the joystick.
  • WiDV transmitter requires to enable the joystick option. Enabling it will allow the transmitter to talk to you flight controller so it can move all the servos and detect failsafe states.

To enable the joystick on the transmitter, edit the joystick section on the transmitter's configuration file and add the following entries:

[joystick]
enable = 1
  • Note: if you see a semicolon ";" in front of the line, you have to remove it.
  • WiDV transmitter uses its serial port to connect to your flight controller. It is important that the baudrate of WiDV transmitter and your flight controller match. You can easily change WiDV serial's port baudrate using the configuration file. By default APM uses a baudrate of 57600 on its telemetry port.
  • You need to connect the WiDV rx unit to a PC with APM Mission planner, with a FTDI cable, and connect the mission planner to APM. If Mission planner doesn't connect to APM, change the baudrates as explained.
  • You can move up to 8 servos with any axis from your joystick, you can also assign actions to your joystick's buttons: Start/Stop recording, zoom, channel change, change flight mode, arm/disarm engines, trim your axis, increase/decrease camera brightness and contrast, ...
  • You can connect up to 3 joysticks at once, for example one used for navigation, other used for camera gimbal, and another used for pedals.
  • Unassigned channels are still controlled by your RC radio receiver. For example you can fly with your RC radio receiver at the same time that you can move a gimbal with the joystick.
Figure 1 - Configuring flight modes on APM Planner

Configuring Flight Modes

  • You can switch between different flight modes using the joystick's buttons:
    • 1) Check your current configuration on APM Planner ( figure 1 ).
    • 2) Using WiDV Settings menu, configure your joystick's buttons to select any of the 6 flight modes available. Check the video at the top of this page for more details on the Settings menu.
    • 3) Using WiDV Settings menu, select the "Flight mode selector" on channel:
      • Channel 5 if you are using Arducopter.
      • Channel 8 if you are using Arduplane.
Figure 2 - Enabling throttle failsafe on APM Planner

Configuring Failsafe

Throttle / Radio Failsafe

  • We recommend to enable Throttle Failsafe option on APM and Pixhawk. When joystick commands are not being received from the ground, WiDV transmitter will configure channel 3 ( throttle ) with a value of 930 PWM. If you have enabled throttle Failsafe ( figure 2 ), your flight controller will automatically enter into failsafe mode.
  • You can test that your failsafe is working by unlinking WiDV transmitter and receiver. Remember to remove any propellers before testing. More information about linking modes can be found here.

GCS Failsafe

  • In addition to the Throttle Failsafe, it is also possible to enable GCS Failsafe on APM and Pixhawk. By enabling GCS Failsafe your autopilot will enter on Failsafe mode if a total failure of the WiDV transmitter happens.
  • To enable GCS Failsafe set APM parameter FS_GCS_ENABLE = 1

More information about failsafe configuration:

  • For Arduplane flight stack can be found here.
  • For Arducopter flight stack can be found here

Please refer to APM and Pixhawk manuals for more details on this setting.

Joystick axis and buttons

  • It is possible to trim, reverse, limit the range and add exponential control to each axis individually.
  • For each button you can assign any of these options:
    • Star/Stop recording
    • Zoom
    • Change channel
    • Arm/Disarm engines
    • Change flight mode
    • Trim any axis
    • Change camera brightness and contrast

Using a traditonal RC transmitter with WiDV

  • In order to use a RC transmitter with WiDV, you will need a flight simulator cable like this one.
  • If your RC transmitter does not present any buttons due to the simulator cable, you can emulate buttons by using the axis, this can be configured under the WiDV Joystick settings menu.

Tested joysticks