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Cheap Chromebook (??) for in field FC changes?

#1
Any of you guys have any suggestions for a cheap portable computer for adjustments to Betaflight/Inav in the field? I guess it would have to have a USB port and be able to run Chrome, so I assume most any Chromebook would work?

Something I can use for work on the road also, for word processing and email would be nice I guess.

Not very computer savy - I still use a desktop!! :black_eyed:


EDIT for an update: Success!! Confirmed able to save PID/Configs/etc on my F3 EVO from my Iphone with a Bluetooth module. Also uploaded a GPS flight mission, and confirmed it saved, but haven't tested it.

There is a free Iphone app called Mobile Flight. It is compatible with Inav (that I'm using). Also supposed to be Betaflight/Cleanflight compatible.

IMG_1189[1].PNG

What you do is purchase a $10 bluetooth HM-10 module (Amazon). It has 4 wires...VX/TX for signal, and VCC (5v)/Gnd. 5v connection should be obvious. VX on the module goes to TX on an unused UART on the FC, and vice versa......

IMG_1188[1].JPG

As you can see I permanently wired in the VX/TX to the board, and use a male to male connected to an unused power pin on my PWM header for 5v power to the HM-10. The HM-10 module uses a 6 pin header with only the middle 4 in use. So 2 standard three wire servo connectors with the 2 outside wires disconnected work great. Obviously you'll need to be careful about polarity on the power wire or fry something with my setup.

I have it configured to make changes then remove the Bluetooth module - simply because Bluetooth only has a very short range, so it is not useful in flight. However - There are people with long range setups that connect this, and you have a very nice HUD on your Iphone - artificial horizon, GPS tracking on a map, etc. That would be pretty cool but I don't know how to do it.

The you configure the UART for communication......I read you need to set it at 9600 baud or it overruns the Bluetooth speed.

Screenshot (13).png

As you can see my Bluetooth module is connected to UART 1 on my board with the MSP turned on at 9600.


There is a thread on RCGroups. Some folks seemed to have trouble connecting. I had zero issues, connected pretty much automatically on the first try with the above setup.

So there you go guys, a nice solution for PID tuning in the field.
 
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makattack

Pollen is coming
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#2
Since the betaflight/inav devs are moving away from the chromeapp (not sure if they're even maintained anymore) I think you'd be better off using a regular laptop. I suspect some are almost as cheap as a chromebook, and you don't need anything super powerful for betaflight config. Just a USB port.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
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#3
And if I remember correctly, Chromebooks require internet access - if you're at the field, that would mean tethering to a cell phone and using that data connection to work. Not ideal, as it will eat through your data fairly quickly if that's the case.
 

makattack

Pollen is coming
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#4
I believe you would only need the internet to initially download the chromeapp or to download any firmware updates, but I suspect it wouldn't be a great idea to do so at the field ;)
 
#5
Thanks guys. I use the chrome versions so I thought of chromebbok right away. Seems like there might be some cheaper laptops that would be more flexible anyway.

I just thought if anyone knows of a cheap option <$100 that would work. I looked at Bluetooth but EZGui doesn't appear to work with iPhone.
 

PsyBorg

Fly Angry
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#6
Tablets that run windows or chrome will also work and be cheaper. I believe there are versions of these apps written for Android as well. I have seen people on the web tuning from tablets before.
 
#8
Guys a quick update: I found out there is an Iphone app that will supposedly sync with eithr Betaflight or Inav. It's called Mobile Flight, and appears to be a free app. So I ordered a Bluetooth module and I will update when I get it and let you guys know if it syncs up.

If not a used laptop would probably be the next choice.