Tag Archives: Will Sweatman

Long-range RC controllers for UAVs

Mike and his team recently decided to extend the range of a basic remote control setup for a UAV project.

Ultimately, Mike’s crew decided on a pair of Atmel-powered Arduino Mini boards and Digi Xtend 900Mhz modems to get the job done.

As HackADay’s Will Sweatman notes, the 1 watt transceivers provide a fantastic range of approximately 40 miles.

So, how did Mike do it?

“He set the transmitter up so it can plug directly into any RC controller training port, decoding the incoming signal and converting it into a serial data package for transmitting,” Sweatman explained.

“While they don’t provide the range of other RF transmitters we’ve seen, the 40 mile range of the modem’s are more than enough for most projects, including High Altitude Balloon missions.”

Interested in learning more? The code for the Arduino transmitter system is available on GitHub here, while a Wikipedia page about the project can be accessed here.

ATmega328 external serial monitoring – sans PC



Serial monitors are typically used to help Makers and engineers more easily debug their projects.

However, as HackADay’s Will Sweatman notes, traditional serial monitors require a PC or laptop loaded with a terminal program.

“Most of the time this is not an issue, because the PC is used to compile the code and program the project at hand,” Sweatman explained.

“But what if you’re in the field, with a mission of fixing a headless system and in need a serial monitor? Why lug around your PC when you can make your own external serial monitor?”

And that is precisely why ARPix designed a barebones, albeit fully functional serial monitor around Atmel’s versatile ATmega328 microcontroller (MCU) and a 102 x 64 LCD display.

Although the minimalistic platform lacks a keyboard port like some other external monitors, tact switches facilitate access to the user interface (UI) for start and stop commands. As expected, the tact switches can also be used to set the baud rate.

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official Instructables page here, which offers the relevant sketches and parts list.