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Hi, I am building a cellular controlled drone with raspberry pi and I am wondering what is the best flight controller to use. I found some pixhawk versions, whats the best one for a regular user with a simple cellular controller? 

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Kind of depends on the application and where your located.

Pixhawk was 3DR's version of the open source implementation of the hardware for the open source software Ardupilot. 

Some companies like Hex66 began manufacturing the Pixhawk2, which is now known as the Cube.  Many commercial UAV companies choose to manufacture there own closed source hardware in support of PX4/Ardupilot. 

There are several reason for this:

  1. The Pixhawk2 on which the Cube is developed was old before it ever went into production - research the history of 3DR.
  2. You don't fly a $100K LiDAR on a UAV made with cheap hobby grade or Chinese components.
  3. If you want to sell or service US enterprise customers or the US Federal government then your prohibited from using Chinese components.

You may want to check out the flight controllers on this website, none of them are manufactured in China and Jordy was one of the founders of 3DR.

https://store.mrobotics.io/category-s/107.htm

There are already several flight controllers available using RaspberryPI's, something people started developing a couple of years ago.  

      

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Hello @bhhagai and welcome to this forum. I assume that you are using the RPi as a companion computer connected via a serial connection to the flight controller.

http://ardupilot.org/dev/docs/raspberry-pi-via-mavlink.html

I imagine that the cellular modem would be connected to the RPi to provide command, telemetry and possibly a video stream from a camera connected to the PI.

I don't have one of these but you may want to check into this CubePilot (Pixhawk 2.1) carrier board 

https://dronee.aero/pages/lychee

I like the idea of being able to replace not only the Cube Flight Controller but also the Raspberry Pi module while keeping the carrier board. This is of course important when it comes to upgrading either of these modules. There is already a  number of Cube flight controller available including the Blue one which is made in the USA

https://docs.cubepilot.org/user-guides/autopilot/the-cube-module-overview

Edited by Spitfire76
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There has been a DoD ban on Chinese manufactured drones in the US military since May 2018 and that ban is being expanded by congress to include all federally funded projects. The trouble with the cube is that ALL cubes originated in China, validating the claim that one is manufactured in the US will be very difficult.   It’s not simply an issue that the manufacturer is locate in the US. 

Unfortunatley that well has been poisoned.

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@Spitfire76 the Cube is a good flight controller but it’s not as advertised.  That “H” logo on every Cube is a Chinese manufacturer. They can claim that the Blue Cube is made in the USA but in the long run it will probably not pass muster with the DoD.  Doesn’t make it a bad controller, but depending on the application, provenance might make a difference so people should be aware.  

Thats generally a good video that explains the differences between Cube’s but it’s a bit of revisionist history.  3DR is not out of business.  Phillip Rowse was one of the developers at 3DR but like I mentioned earlier by the time the SOLO was released the Pixhawk2 was already old news.  Again, doesn’t make it a bad controller, it’s just that if your going to make development decisions you should be aware that there are already controllers out there that have been using the 32-bit STM32F777 Cortex M4 core with FPU rev. 3 which is much faster with better components than the yellow Cube has been flying for some time.  

One of those controllers is available here: https://store.mrobotics.io/mRo-Control-Zero-F7-p/mro-ctrl-zero-f7.htm.  I don’t care if people purchase this flight controller, but if we’re going to have a discussion about the best non-Chinese manufactured controllers then it should at least be a consideration.  Also, although Phillip Rowse gets a lot of  well deserved credit for the Cube, it was developed at 3DR, the link I provided is to mRobotics,  Jordy Munoz the founder of 3DR.  He’s not exactly chopped liver.  

Phillip has gone on to fix many of the short comings of the original SOLO controller, which is great, but there are more capable controllers available that would make a better choice for developing commercial UAVs.  

 

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On 9/29/2019 at 10:38 AM, Av8Chuck said:

the Cube is a good flight controller but it’s not as advertised.  That “H” logo on every Cube is a Chinese manufacturer. They can claim that the Blue Cube is made in the USA but in the long run it will probably not pass muster with the DoD.

@Av8Chuck, I don't see in @bhhagai original post a need for an USA manufactured flight controller so this maybe a non-issue for this thread but I am interested in what you say about the cube. What I understood is that the Blue Cube is identical to the black cube but is manufactured in California's bay area instead of Taiwan and due to the higher labor costs is double the price ($500) of the black cube. Are you saying that this is false ?

383335449_ScreenShot2019-10-01at8_33_36AM.thumb.png.4df3c4134628c92bfe5ca14e34e8aa8c.png

Edited by Spitfire76

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