Installation

Set content

SmartLink set includes everything needed to setup wireless communication for video, telemetry and control. Standard set contains:

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  • Ground module
  • Air module
  • Pair of antennas for air module
  • Pair of antennas for ground module
  • Power cable for ground module
  • Power cable for air module
  • Telemetry cable for the autopilot

Preparing Air module

First of all, attach antennas to the air module:

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It's not allowed to power up any of the modules without antennas! Powering up the modules without antennas may cause malfunction of the amplifier and permanent damage. Powering up without antennas voids warranty.

Then attach power supply cable and autopilot telemetry cable:

  • Power supply goes to 5V DC connector
  • Autopilot telemetry cable goes to UART connector

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Here it is how air module should look like with power and telemetry cables connected:

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Connect one or two microHDMI cables to microHDMI port:

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Another side goes into HDMI port of the video source (camera):

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In this example we demonstrate GoPro Hero 6 video camera with 1080p@60fps video output. SmartLink is capable of capturing the following video source types:

  • 1080p@60fps
  • 1080p@30fps
  • 720p@60fps
  • 720p@30fps

Preparing Ground module

Attach antennas to the ground module:

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By default, 8 dBi antennas comes with the set. Depending on your specific applications you might use different antennas designed for 2.4 GHz band.

Connect micro USB cable and power cable to the ground module as shown on the image:

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Power supply

Ground module supports any power supply source with the voltage in range from 10V to 50V. We recommend to use 3S or 4S LiPo battery to power the ground module. Typical current for 3S battery is around 1A at maximum power output.

Air module is 5V tolerant only. Peak current can be up to 3A, therefore, make sure to provide powerful, stable and reliable power supply to air module. We highly recommend to use SmartAP PDB 5V output port to power SmartLink. SmartAP PDB has 5V at 5A max power output which is enough for SmartLink.

AIR MODULE IS 5V ONLY TOLERANT. POWERING THE MODULE WITH HIGHER VOLTAGE MAY CAUSE PERMANENT DAMAGE TO THE SYSTEM. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO POWER FROM SMARTAP PDB 5V OUTPUT.

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Connect two power leads to SmartAP PDB 5V output. SmartAP PDB can be powered from 3S-12S LiPo battery. We power it from laboratory power supply for this demonstration (15V).

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Autopilot

SmartLink system is compatible with any autopilot which has TTL UART telemetry port. For instance, it's compatible with:

  • SmartAP Autopilot
  • Pixhawk series Autopilot
  • APM series Autopilot
  • other TTL UART telemetry port autopilots

For this demonstration we use SmartAP MAX Autopilot from Sky-Drones:

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Connect telemetry cable to Radio port of the autopilot as shown below:

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After completing the steps above you will have fully assembled air module:

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Before the first power up you have assembled air module and ground module as shown below:

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Initial power up

Power up both ground module and air module.

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It might take up to 15 seconds to both modules properly boot up and link to each other. By default, modules come pre-configured and paired. Transmission power is set to minimum.

Ground module has status LEDs which allow to identify the current status of the system. Most important are RSSI LEDs:

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  • Three RSSI LEDs blinking altogether: RF off
  • Three RSSI LEDs blinking in turn: Searching for pair
  • One, two or three LEDs solid: RSSI status, more solid LEDs equals better signal

Software

Normally you don't need to run the steps in this section since SmartLink should be recognized automatically. But the steps in this section might be useful for establishing connection unless it's done automatically.

First of all, check if SmartLink ground module has been recognized properly by your computer. You should be able to see it as Ethernet device. For instance, go to command line and type ifconfig for MacOS / Linux or ipconfig for Windows:

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You should see that one of the network adapters has IP address in the range of 192.168.168.xxx. This means that SmartLink has been successfully discovered by your computer. Alternatively, you can check the configuration with Network Manager and / or assign static IP address:

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Make sure you have configured your WiFi internet connection with the priority higher than the priority of SmartLink ethernet connection. Otherwise, your computer will loose internet connection while SmartLink ground module is connected.

Another method to check that SmartLink is properly recognized by your computer is to ping it. Open command line and type ping smartlink.local. If you are able to see the proper response in command line then it means SmartLink is discovered by your computer.

In case you're unable to ping `smartlink.local` it might be a DNS problem, in other words operating system can't find IP address corresonding the name. This might happen on some Windows platforms and is applied to all Android based platforms. Follow these steps to resolve it: Use IP addressing instead of DNS

Run Ground Station Software

Once you have everything connected and powered up you may start the ground station software. SmartLink is compatible with various popular ground control stations. In this demonstration we use SmartAP GCS by Sky-Drones. SmartLink is fully supported by SmartAP GCS. Start SmartAP GCS and go to Settings in left drawer:

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Enable the option Autoconnect to SmartLink, this will create SmartLink connection automatically.

After that, go back to the World pane and click Connections button in the top right corner. You will see SmartLink connection added. If it's not added automatically or missing you may add it manually as shown below:

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Upon clicking Open connection will be established and you should be able to see telemetry information at this step.

To set up the video click on the Settings button of the one of the video widgets and select the desired source. For this demonstration we need to select SmartLink HDMI 1 option:

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After 1-2 seconds the video feed will appear and connection status will be set to OK:

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You can easily switch between full map and full video by just tapping on the video feed:

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Finally, full setup looks as follows:

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