Antenna tracker with BeagleBoneBlue

I’m trying to build an antenna tracker system with Ardupilot (Arducopter) and a BeagleBoneBlue but I don’t know where to start.
For now, I’ve copied the following github : on my SD card with a basic Linux Debian for BeagleBoneBlue.
I guess now I have to :

  1. Configurate my BeagleBoneBlue to run automatically Ardupilot
  2. Plug my servos and my GPS (USB) on my card
  3. Configurate my servos (degrees of positioning on the tilt axe for example)
  4. Configurate my telemetry link
    If you can explain how and where to do this so I can have a fully functional antenna tracker system and try to explain in detail because I’m not very aware of BeagleBone cards.
    I may have forgot some configuration so do not hesitate to complete my list.
    Thank you in advance for your help !

Please i need some help !

You do realise you have to compile the code for the Tracker from the GitHub repository?

Just downloading it does not do the job.
It would have to be compiled for the particular board you want to use.
I am no expert and tend to shy away from this job wherever a binary is already available.

Have you gone through the Wiki pages for the Antenna Tracker and followed the instructions on installation?
Antenna Tracker

I don’t believe Tracker has been ported to Linux. Looking at the BBBmini documentation will give you an idea of what it takes to get Arducopter on Beagle Bone.

Christophe, I dont know your level of expertise but thats a pretty good challenge.
I would recommend you start by building arducopter from source from Bbbmini using blue as platform
Look at Mike link above

Next step is to port Tracker, this requires some advanced work , I will ask @mirkix if he is willing to do it

Yes i do and i checked the wiki pages :wink:

Thank you for that, i found some other website but it was not as detailed as this one !

I hope i’ll manage to do this with some help. I’m use to programation but i’m not use to work with beaglebone or arduino card.

Next step is to port Tracker, this requires some advanced work , I will ask @mirkix if he is willing to do it

Thanks a lot, that’s the part where i’m not confident in my abilities ! If @mirkix does not want to do this, i’ll be gratefull if i can have some guidance. But for now i have still a few things to setup.

Again, thank you everyone for your time and help, and sorry if my english isn’t perfect !

@Eogrim Hi Christophe, you can compile Antenna Tracker for the Blue, I don’t think that there is anything to port. Do you have a Linux PC with Ubuntu installed?

Best regards

Hello Mirko,

I can see the BBBMINI on tracker, but not the Blue ?

@ppoirier You are right with for the AntennaTracker-release branch, but you can go with the master branch to build AntennaTracker for the Blue.

OK Thanks @mirkix , that makes this project quite easy then :slight_smile:

So basically , compile the code, configure the pins for PRU (as per BBBlue Instructions) and enable power on rails if we use the servos (as explained in the BBBlue Forum)
/bin/echo 1 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio80/value

@ppoirier Yes, that should do it.


I dont have time to test that right now, i’ll do it this week end or next week.

I’ll keep you inform about how i’m doing !

@Eogrim Than you can follow this instruction to build Antenna Tracker.

Just change to:
git checkout master
./waf configure --board=blue


As a side note, we really should do another official release of Antenna Tracker at some point over the next few months. The current stable release is >1 year old and a lot has changed in ArduPilot including new hardware support.

I’m thinking we will do another release once we build “3rd order follow-me” into Copter. That feature will likely share some code with antenna tracker because both require tracking another vehicle’s position.

@mirkix Thank you, from today i will be 100% focus on this project for the next two week.

I’ll keep you inform.

So, my beaglebone is ready. Now i just need to plug my usb gps (BU-353S4). I read i had to find “/dev/ttyUSB” or something like that in the /dev repository but i kinda lost !

One more thing, how do i know where to plug my servos, and what determine the value of serial_baud and serial_protocol ?

Thank you in advance,

Hello Christophe

For USB port you can do ls /dev/tty* and check the list , connect the USB Serial device and type ls /dev/tty* again to compare and fin the new tty device

I dont see a reference that the BU-353S4 is compatible with ArduPilot ?

For servos , you connect them in the headers pins according to documentation and you can supply the rail with this command:
echo 1 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio80/value
Providing you have powered the BLUE with a 2S Battery using the battery monitoring connector

The serial port speed is controlled by ArduPilot serial ports paramaters, you have to assign the phisical ports to the mapped SERIAL as per this table
start parameter ArduPilot serial port

For example: If there is a GPS connected to LOGICAL SERIAL3 (generally defaulted to GPS) and connected to BLUE ttyO5 == add -B /dev/ttyO5.

Is there a place I can look at what is going on with Antenna Tracker development?

The problem is there is no new tty*, maybe because as you said BU-353S4 may not be compatible :confused:
I tried to use the command dmesg to see what’s happening but i can’t really find what’s the problem.

Load usbtools and do lsusb
sudo apt-get install usbutils