Aurora 9 advanced telemetry - RC Groups
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Feb 14, 2011, 05:30 PM
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Aurora 9 advanced telemetry

After seeing the discussions in the Aurora 9 thread, I wanted to put a post out and see how many people might be interested in and have the skills to assist in 'unlocking' the telemetry data sent out by the Optima receivers. Once unlocked so many thigns can be done with it.

The stated goals are:
  1. Get the data stream out of an A9 transmitter (transceiver to be more exact) or the USB PC receiver (or both)
  2. Decode the data so we know what it all means
  3. Create a PC .dll library that programmers can use to easily write apps that use the telemetry data, make custom displays, custom alerts, repeat the data over blue tooth
  4. Create a hardware device that could be inserted into the A9 Transmitter that would output industry standard data protocol (like RS232) so that stand alone devices like cell phones could display the data with custom apps

Anyone interested in the results of this? Much more importantly anyone interested in helping out? PC programmers, microcontroller coders, and circuit geeks would all be helpful. I've got a digital o-scope, years of PC programming experience, hobbyist level programming experience in microcontrollers and a degree in electronics, but don't really think I can (or would) go it alone.

If no one is interested in this, I am very keen on starting an open source RC control system project so if this project doesn't happen, I may go in that direction.

UPDATE: Here are some key links within this thread:

HTS-SS Sensor Station connector pinouts & all data protocol formats:

Real time altitude sensor for Spektrum DX8 and Hitec A9 (available now from third party vendor):

Use an STK500 Atmel development kit to provide RS232 output from Aurora 9 Spectra module:
Last edited by swinn; Mar 09, 2011 at 04:37 PM. Reason: Update links
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Feb 14, 2011, 06:24 PM
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Interested mostly as a spectator; I'm mostly a web/unix developer and wouldn't have much to add and to be honest aside from one day wanting a variometer / altimeter feedback mechanism, telemetry doesn't excite me too much. I wouldn't mind being able to shut off telemetry with the HPP-22 when it makes sense.

That said I saw the discussion of this in the other thread and just wanted to say I am supportive of lobbying Hitec to open up their telemetry protocol. Data wants to be free, liberate it!

A maker with a popular product that does this first and makes a commitment to being open stands a chance of creating an ecosystem that further reinforces their product. The ecosystem doesn't have to be dominated by other manufacturers to be useful to Hitec and users; even if what exploits the data is primarily user-driven software and/or third party software which levers the data provided, a competitive win for Hitec is still achieved.

Increasingly the difference between makers is going to come down to software if we are not already at that point today. A software defined radio should allow numerous opportunities for integration with other bits of software... and ultimately these integration points should be more than just reporting.
Feb 14, 2011, 06:41 PM
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I talked to Hitec USA on the phone. They stated that the system design and the information is in Korea and that they have no plans to make any operational or data information available. I had always thought that Hitec was a U.S. company, had no idea they were based out of Korea, pretty dissapointing. Sounds like the U.S. arm is not much more than an importer/distributor. I don't think that lobbying the Hitec USA will get very far, sounds like it's the Korean headquarters that would need to be lobbied.
Feb 14, 2011, 07:12 PM
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Buzzkill2's Avatar
Ill help any way I can either way you go. I don't think most people realize the enormous potential this has.

Your probably better off starting from scratch. Would be less painful.
Feb 14, 2011, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by swinn
Sounds like the U.S. arm is not much more than an importer/distributor. I don't think that lobbying the Hitec USA will get very far, sounds like it's the Korean headquarters that would need to be lobbied.
Distributors, especially distributors in important markets, can have significant influence with the factory so I wouldn't discount this avenue until it is tried.

Failing that, let the reverse engineering engine roll... protocol capture on full, phasers on stun!
Feb 14, 2011, 10:56 PM
The truth will prevail
skyrock's Avatar
Maybe JD from XPS could help, because they did already the reverse engineering when developing their module for the A9. As the brand new XPS module for the A9 displays XPS telemetry data on the screen of the A9, XPS should have completed a full reverse engineering of telemetry data flow from the Optima RX's to the Spectra module.

Feb 15, 2011, 12:23 AM
Fast and low...
aa78's Avatar
Feb 15, 2011, 12:57 AM
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Buzzkill2's Avatar
Jim already stated he would not release the data.
Feb 16, 2011, 01:17 AM
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Buzzkill2's Avatar
Anyone know how to get in touch with the Hitec guys in Korea?
Feb 16, 2011, 06:56 AM
The truth will prevail
skyrock's Avatar
Originally Posted by Buzzkill2
Anyone know how to get in touch with the Hitec guys in Korea?
Go to :

- then click on support and then on A/S !

Feb 16, 2011, 10:59 AM
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Would be nice if they would just release the info, but its been a popular thing to ask for even on this forum, go look at the 'wish list' thread, I don't think it is going to happen. I've got my Aurora now but no sensor station yet. I'm doing some initial poking around and I'll post some details later today. Does anyone here know about microcontrollers, I2C, etc... Would be helpful to bounce ideas off of someone.
Feb 16, 2011, 05:35 PM
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Alright boys and girls, Here is all the technical dive into trying to get telemetry data OUT of the hitec system so we can use it however we want. I want the data OUT on the ground so I can hook it up to my own custom hardware (like an Android phone).

I am starting by investigating the link between the Spectra 2.4 module and the HPP-22 because I know that the telemetry data is being sent over that link.

To start off I identified the hardware I'm dealing with at each end.

The HPP-22 is powered by a microcontroller (single chip computer). It uses a PIC18F2550 running at 20MHz. That microcontroller has USB built into it so that's what is talking to the PC. The port that plugs into the Spectra (P1) has three pins, Ground (black wire), and then the yellow and red wires. The Yellow wire connects to pin 21 of the CPU and the red wire connects to pin 22 of the CPU.

The spectra module side is using an Atmel MEGA168-10 processor. The 'data' port of the spectra module is connected red wire to pin 27 and yellow wire to Pin 28. I didn't take the time to locate it's clock crystal but that CPU can run at 10 Mhz.

Now after looking up the datasheets for these CPUs I looked for something common between the two pins on the two CPU's. I quickly noticed that these were the hardware pins for an industry standard data transfer protocol called I2C.

I2C is used to communicate data between processors and is built into the hardware of many microcontrollers (CPUs) to make it easy to communicate between devices. Now that I've identified the potential that it is I2C, it was time to put it on the Logic analyzer and get some data packets. to be continued...
Feb 16, 2011, 05:42 PM
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Buzzkill2's Avatar
Very cool.
Feb 16, 2011, 05:48 PM
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So, armed with the thought that I might be dealing with I2C I set my logic analyzer up to grab some data. You'll need to click the image and view the original size to see anything useful. Here is an initial sample:

This capture pretty much show that it does look like I2C. Unfortunately I'm not an I2C expert. I have used it before but only from a high level, never tried to decode it from the bus, always let the hardware do all that for me. In my next post I'll decode what I think I know so far.
Feb 16, 2011, 06:23 PM
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Buzzkill2's Avatar
Boy I hope this works!

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