Extending the range of the AR Drone, 2 ways.

As I mentioned earlier, we’ve got an AR Drone to play with. One of the common mods that popped up on the internet were ways of extending the range on the AR Drone. It normally uses a local Wi-Fi connection to your phone or tablet for control and video signals. Many found this quite restrictive and have gone pretty far in extending that range.

The first and easiest was just to set up a higher power Wi-Fi Bridge where you’ll be flying. The Drone only has about 15db of wi-fi magic in it, so anything stronger than that is an improvement. There were too many variations on this to delve into the details, but as you see, there’s not much too it.

The second method is to completely replace the Wi-Fi control system with a nice R/C controller. This will greatly increase your range as well as give you extra channels for triggering different attachments (usually lights).  I’ve seen two main methods used. One is called “MacGuyver mod”. This one is a plug and play kit that doesn’t seem to have much info along with it.

The other is called “MiruMod” and the creator has shared all the information they can.  You can find a parts breakdown as well as schematics, wiring diagrams, instructions, and software. [Miru] uses an Arduino Pro Mini or an Arduino Nano as a go-between from the receiver to the serial port on the AR Drone. You can see in the wiring diagram below that it is a fairly simple install, and all [miru] asks for is that maybe you donate some beer money if you appreciate his mod.

Comments

  1. BadHaddy says:

    My ford van is setup with a 75 foot collapsible mast for ham radio operations during emergencies (I’m in ARES). One of the radios at the top is a ubiqiti 1000mw access point on a 20db sector antenna. (Before you cry foul, as a HAM, I follow the rules, I keep it tuned to within the ERP limits.) My brother has one of those little AR drones, and it exhausts its power supply before it can fly out of range of the van.

  2. Hirudinea says:

    How about a wifi extender in one drone to control another drone?

  3. Peter says:

    OMG, it went so high you could see the curvature of the earth!

    (Insert smiley here so you don’t take too seriously)

    • nikpfirsig says:

      The launch coordinates appears to be at
      47°34’39.49″N, 8°54’42.65″E and the landing location was about 1 km to the south.
      The part of Lake Constance visible in the video is about 8 km distant. A rough estimate places the drone and about 70 m above the ground

  4. TacticalNinja says:

    I didn’t know the AR Drone had “Rouge mode” LOL.

    BTW, Ain’t that suppossed to land automatically or something when the signal is lost? :O major fail right there.

  5. xtremegamer says:

    great for wardriving/flying

    with some AI at the backbone , this could be a great surveillance drone or guard. to watch your house when your gone.
    take out the trash…
    water the plants…
    and so on.

  6. laazarus says:

    Both these mods look to be the same thing. The plug and play kit looks loke the MiruMod pre assembled and offered with 2 different reciever options. you can see the arduino poking out at one end.

  7. Rollyn01 says:

    Whats the power soeca on tgis thing? I mean,can it be powered by a reasonably big solar cell?

  8. mrshko says:

    Caleb – what setup did you do for a range extender? Did you use the Wi-fi bridge with a battery pack?

  9. Cyril says:

    Pull it apart then duct tape a cheesy child’s light sabre to it YAY!

  10. minseok jeon says:

    how can i setup wifi bridge?

    you mean this?

  11. critic says:

    Great footage, but experiments on extending our range without putting an auto landing function on the vehicle for when it has lost signal and can determine it isn’t getting it back? Glad it’s a light weight vehicle….

  12. Shaun says:

    I lost mine and have been looking for it forages.

  13. Edward says:

    Ok so if I do this can I still use the two cameras on the ar drone if i fly the drone to its maximum range (1.5 to 2.5km

  14. Klaus says:

    Is it possible to connect the Ardrone 2 with a DX8 from Spektrum,
    If yes, what to take care, what is different to DX7?
    RTF modules for DX8 available?

  15. mlm747 says:

    If i use the AR Drone 2.0 with the PC software that is out now and then i buy and installe a WIFI Booster on the PC i control the Drone from.. won’t that easly extend the fly range of the Drone? please respond =)

    Best Regards

  16. Ralf says:

    Any ideas to extend the rage via replacing WiFi by a EDGE/3G connection?

    • Trisha Xuk says:

      LOL…this is almost where the pursuit of extending range, began! There was a YT video about a year ago, which was showing a 3G dongle using the USB port on the AR Drone 2.0; but I believe the video’s been disputed as being fake….but since we have some ‘real’ solutions now (that don’t involve fighting ones way into the drone hardware/firmware); I’d expect a 3G/4G, solution was achievable, be it with a few extra grams?

      Has anyone looked into adding some kind of lightweight dangling, or top mounted antenna extension, to the drone itself (or does this make the device exceed regulatory set limits for an airborne transmission from a device of this classification?)

      • Ralf says:

        I know, I know – but any progress on that?
        and in fact there was a (as usual “semi-believeable”) official parrot video (with alcatel lucent) claiming to have a prototype on 4G/LTE

        http://hexus.net/business/news/enterprise/46249-ardrone-20-flown-1km-4g-lte/

        But any progress? any out-of-the-box mod for that?

        I tried to tape my old adroid-phone on the drone which I used to control it – so the drone could never get out of wifi-coverage… ;-) then I tried to remote-control the android with an app called webkey – but unfortunately did not really work stable enough to risk an extended flight…

  17. malignant2030 says:

    Old thread… but. Why could you use the arduino and just strap a wifi hotspot to the drone. Then you could ssh into the arduino and control the drone from anywhere.

  18. Soo-Hyun says:

    Shameless plug (that you might like if you really want a quadrotor and possibly a project that will occupy you for a year or more): I’ve built my own tricopter from scratch (hardware-wise) with a Seeeduino Mega as the flight controller and motors/ESCs I bought from HobbyKing. I’ve kept up a fairly detailed log of the build on my blog.

    I’m waiting until I organize the 40 or so posts about it onto a single page before I officially submit it to HAD, but here is a glob of search results: http://iterativecode.com/blog/?s=tricopter

  19. Soo-Hyun says:

    Hm. Apparently I don’t know how to make hyperlinks.

    http://iterativecode.com/blog/?s=tricopter

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