MinimOSD programming through your flight controller

OSD’s have come a long way since where I started with the MinimOSD.  They have added features and streamlined some of the interface but the problem with it was the inability to easily change a setting other than by the limited menu via stick commands or having to hook it up to a serial to USB adapter.  This was a major headache most people did not want to deal with and so OSD’s seemed to be a feature most didn’t want to bother with.

As of BetaFlight 2.4.2 a feature has been added called SerialPassthrough and this allows your flight controller to act as a bridge to anything you have connected to a UART on your flight controller. Ben Timby submitted a pull request after testing it on a modified version of BetaFlight. For those with a Micro MinimOSD or MinimOSD that means you can access and change the setting on the OSD via the USB port on the flight controller.  Now you can’t flash or update the firmware through this feature as that still requires an Arduino or USB Serial programmer but usually that’s a one time thing you do before you install it anyway.

Here’s how to do it (text version below video):

It’s actually very straight forward and simple once you understand what it’s doing.  You have 2 or 3 UART’s typically depending on the board.  UART is short for Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter (wikipedia) but basically for our use is a serial port with RX and TX pins or pads.  It’s what our flight controller uses to communicate to devices you connect (for example USB, SBUS, SmartPort Telemetry, OSD’s, GPS, etc).  What this new feature enables is it allows your built in USB to Serial adapter that you use on your flight controller to connect to things connected on the UART ports on the board using serial communication. Basically you send a command through the USB com port and it mirrors it on a UART that you specify with the command.

A few caveat’s you must know before doing this:

  1. UART 1 is typically reserved for the USB so if you have connected anything you want to access on that UART this will not work
  2. Depending on your setup you may need to power the device you are trying to connect to access it.  In my case I had to plug the battery in to give voltage to the Micro MinimOSD I had installed.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Connect your flight controller to the USB on your computer.
  2. Open Cleanflight and connect to the flight controller while noting the com port it’s using.
  3. Goto the Ports tab and verify what UART you’ve connected your device to.
  4. Goto the CLI tab and type the following:  serialpassthrough (port) (baud)  NOTE:  Betaflight labels serial ports starting from 0 not 1 yet most flight controllers label UART’s starting with 1.  So when selecting your serial port you’ll typically take whatever the UART number is and subtract 1 to get the serial port it’s asking for.
    1. Example:  You have your MinimOSD connected to UART2 that you want to connect to you’ll need to type: serialpassthrough 1 11500
  5.  Power up the device you are trying to connect to if it’s not already
  6. You will see what looks like random characters start scrolling under the command you ran if it’s working properly.
  7. Disconnect and close cleanflight but leave all the connections as they are.
  8. Open up your software you use to configure it.  In my case it was MwOSD GUI.
  9. Select the port you noted in cleanflight being used to connect to your flight controller and connect.
  10. You should have read/write access now to the device.
  11. When you’re done all you need to do is reset the flight controller via reset button or unplugging USB and battery.  This will remove the serialpassthrough so you can once again access it via cleanflight.

I have only tested this with Micro MinimOSD and the original MinimOSD but as I understand it it will work with anything connected to the UART that supports programming through the RX/TX pins like GPS.

You can find me on slack in FPVChat if you have any questions under the username drkavnger99.

First FPV with new FatShark Dominator V3’s

Been flying with the Quanum V2’s for about 8 mos now and I loved them.  The problem with them is they are bulky and cumbersome to wear due to the straps easily loosening.  I upgraded to the Dominator V3’s from FatShark recently and just did my first flight with DVR with them.  A few notes on the FatSharks vs the Quanums:

1.)  FOV.

Although on the surface the smaller FOV on the FatSharks seems to be a loss I found that I was much better able to focus on what was around me vs the Quanums.

2.)  Travel size is king.

No matter what you do there is no beating portability.  I didn’t find any real cases that fit the Quanums well and how bulky they were they were much more likely to get damaged due to it   rolling around in the car.

3.)  DVR.

Yeah being able to record video from whatever your flying directly from the FPV stream vs HD camera opens up so many more opportunities to capture your flights.

4.)  Price.

The FatSharks are overpriced but they are one of the few offerings in that form factor and in my opinion if you can afford them get them.  The Quanums are the best price to performance   package out there still and until FatShark comes out with something cheaper with DVR my opinion will remain the same.

With no further ado here’s some video footage of my first flight with the Dom V3’s.  Keep in mind it’s raw and YouTube kills the quality even further.


First Edited video

It’s been a while and I realized I hadn’t posted up my video from a few weeks back. It’s my first attempt at a edit with music. I think it came out ok for a first attempt. No further ado

Flying in High Winds

So being spring and getting warmer and all I’ve been flying every other weekend. Well with spring comes wind. I didn’t let that stop me though and have flown a few weekends with 20+ mph winds which surprisingly both the Atom and ZMR were able to handle it. Unfortunately you can’t tune it while it’s windy and both are in deep need of some tuning. I setup a new YouTube channel under the Chris Ames FPV moniker. Here’s a link to one of the videos I’ve posted First FPV compilation. I hope to get more video up soon and keep posting as weather permits to add content.

First flight on an actual course

Yesterday a few of us got together in Crystal at Lions Park and setup a small course. It was the first time I’ve flown with any semblance of a course laid out. Hitting the gates right was not as easy as I had expected and in the course of 2 hours I hit more gates then flew through. It was a learning experience. I also switched over to 4S 1.3mah batteries from 3S 1.5mah batteries. This makes a huge difference on it’s own and make my ZMR 250 much more nimble then I thought possible. I would post some video footage but during one flight I had a bad crash that ejected the SD Card from the Xiaomi Yi camera and I was unable to find it in the grass. All in all it was a lot of firsts for me: A course, 4S battery, 2hours of flying, and flying with more than one other person. I’m learning and it’s getting easier. Now on to cleaning my workspace off so I can use it again.

Flew ZMR 250 “The Buster” on Sunday

Met up with a local member of our MAV group here at the soccer complex. Neither of us got through an entire battery before having to pack it up. It seems even with waterproofing prep cold wet snow will still kill your quad. I first lost video and then lost sync with one motor causing to to barrel roll to death to the ground. Well back to the bench to figure out where the water got in at.

The Life of a Wannabe Drone Pilot

I started getting into quadcopters (AKA Drones) about a year ago. I started with a toy SkyRocket Toys X-Quad and have moved onto modding and building my own. At current I own 4 a modified version of my X-Quad, a tiny nano sized toy quad, a ZMR 250, and a RotorX Atom 122. I am by no means good at flying anything but the toy grade ones but I can keep it in the air without crashing for the most part. XQuad Stunt Quad

New Challenges 2015

Well again back after changing jobs and seeing how things are changing figured I’d put a post up.  Moving from the private financial sector to the public software developer sector.  We’ll see what kind of new things I’ll discover here.  At the previous employer it was all go no rest for the weary this place seems to be more get what you can done but we don’t expect miracles and don’t kill yourself trying.  Time will tell.

Kidney no more

Well it’s now the end of July and I can say that the last 2 years have sucked royally.  Through all my complications with kidney stones and the pain accompanying it I seem to be free of it.  It had a heavy cost though I lost my left kidney and have to be very careful of my diet to prevent any from forming in my remaining right kidney.  I missed out on my girl growing up for 2 years and don’t want to miss out on anymore.  Today I can say I’m pain free and for the most part got my energy back.  Here’s to hopefully more updates and remaining kidney pain free.