NO RC with Rover

Great project, and Im proud to be working with it!

Im working on an automated yard sentry bot, and trying to use ArduRover as the base for it’s design. I currently don’t own any RC Transmitters or Receivers, nor do I really want one adding to power consumption and design complexity. So far I have had no luck getting things configured. I cut my teeth with a ArduSub based BlueROV. While I never completed that project I did get the electronics chassis completed with Pixhawk 2.4.8, Pi, Pi camera, Pixhawk power module and esc. (And moisture sensors and gripper control also). Never at any time did I need a RC receiver/transmitter (which wouldn’t work under the water anyway).

So all that being said Ive read tons of posts, opinions and understand why this is normally a requirement for aerial vehicle. I was reading in another forum about a switch that can be used, but then in that thread it was saying that it was in an much older build.

Bottom line, is this possible? Is there a branch that supports this? At the moment I have an standard rock crawler chassis, 2x18650 cells in series (may need more power, but a good test setup), Pi4 powered off battery with dc-dc buck converter, Pi camera, Pixhawk 2.4.8 flashed with latest ardurover, GPS/Digital compass plugged into pixhawk, ultrasonic sensor (not implemented yet), brushed motor, ESC, and steering servo, plugged into Pixhawk PWM ports, and will also be using these ports for camera Pan/Tilt. Im also going to be adding solar, or wireless charging dock for it to go back automatically when battery low.

This is essentially an blueROV setup except all command and ground control will be over wifi.

If there is a thread/tutorial or faq covering how to bypass this need, I apologize, but I haven’t found anything relevant or that works. Usually just people saying NO, don’t do it.

I also understand that there are a lot of variables getting the servos and speed controllers right, but it shouldn’t be too hard, movement being 1 steering servo and 1 ESC.

Thanks for anyone who can “steer” me in the right direction :slight_smile:
If it’s not possible, Im thinking I can get a Radiolink T8S 8 (TX)/ R8EF (RX) combo. Looks like it should be directly supported and cheap.


You will need an RC system to get that vehicle running right. Just buy one. Past that point sure it’s possible.

I wouldn’t buy anything Radiolink if you are “proud to be working with” Ardupilot.

Relevant info from Ardu Wiki

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Thanks for the heads up on radiolink. I’ll look at frsky instead. Cheapest isn’t always the best policy.

Still Id like to understand. BlueROV doesn’t require a radio, why can’t it be done in other platforms? Is blueROV a fork? Also there is mention of competitions that don’t allow radios so it’s got to be possible.

Thanks. Ill probably buy one to fast track my build.

You can operate the rover without a RC - its just easier to have one when setting up and tuning the platform. A lot of the tuning steps require you to manually drive the rover around and analyze what it is doing.

An alternative is hooking a gamepad/joystick up to your laptop and using that as your “RC” over the normal telemetry radio.

Particularly since you are new to ArduPilot, I think you’ll appreciate being able to set up and tune with an RC transmitter. You can remove it later.

I use some rather expensive FrSky transmitters (X12S) and have been very happy with them. The Radiomaster TX16S provides similar features at a lesser price point and is well reviewed.

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Thanks. I tried to get it working with only a gamepad. The gamepad is recognized and controls chosen and calibrated (with qgc). Im running into issues with overrides. Still tells me I need a radio calibrated to proceed to flight modes. I use linux so mission planner isn’t directly supported. Ive tried mono to run mission-planner, but I have not yet been able to connect over UDP or TCP to the Pi.

In the end (Thanks to Yuri, Dave and Manav), I bought a Frsky QX7, and a nano receiver.

At least in Mission Planner, you can connect a joystick and proceed with radio calibration as if it were an actual RC transmitter.

I don’t use QGC except in rare cases, so I’m not sure how it’s handled there.


Yea, I have used a gamepad as a controller for a Rover just playing around. Answering someone’s question about a problem as I recall. It worked but control was very poor driving manually.

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