YS-X6 Alternative GCS - RC Groups
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Sep 04, 2012, 06:57 PM
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YS-X6 Alternative GCS

While the included PC GCS is functional I wanted to change a few things.
Screen layout.
Play a sound file on alerts.
Time stamped log

So I started looking at how it compared to others.
I narrowed it down to ones that I might actually be able to translate to due to having a known protocol.


After looking at them, other features I became interested in.
OSD overlay on video stream.
GCS Camera test (0 min 27 sec)

Or at least video and telemetry on one screen. (13:44m into the video)
24C3: Paparazzi - The Free Autopilot (1 hr 2 min 46 sec)

I do have a Dragon OSD v2 I was going to use.
But if all the information is already on the ground might as well use that.

Since ZeroUAV will not release their GCS protocol we have some options.

1. Reverse engineer the protocol.
2. Capture the sensor data at the source and translate to other format.
3. Install the sensor suite of the selected GCS.

1. Could be relative easy as you can decompile the APK to an extent.

Anyone else interested?

From post #33
GCS helper with voice

ys x6 GCS Helper (1 min 17 sec)

-The prompts are
System flight ready
System armed. Clear launch area
Mode position hold
Altitude decent rate high
-after landing I switch through modes
Mode manual
Mode navigation
Mode return home

-Some things it checks and logs/prompts
6+ sats and xVel's below 20 for 5 seconds
Altitude >100m
Descending too fast
DTM > 100m
Velocity too high, > 400 in X/Y/D. White light threshold
Realtime servo position, excess FC correction required.
Angle, > 25 degrees
Announce mode changes
When armed

Now if we can get rid of the 5 second delay
Come on Zero, come to the party

Program to graph csv files

Latest version
If you want to disable a voice prompt, rename the associated sound file.
Sound files need to be in c:\_ys_snd
It will play the sounds during a offline parse.
So if you have had an eventful flight you might want to disable the sounds.


Sound files, update1
Last edited by Mr_westie; Feb 27, 2013 at 05:44 PM.
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Sep 04, 2012, 08:40 PM
Registered User
fajar's Avatar
it's a shame that while YS-X6 is a very good system, the GCS leaves many things to be desired. Their company's focus is more on functionality rather than visual appearance and cosmetics. They definitely should learn from their competitor especially because zero positions their products at the premium price range.

They've been developing OSD overlay on video stream but have not been able to release the final product.

Have you been in contact with zero support? Perhaps they're willing to collaborate with you. One thing that Zero needs to learn from the forum is that multirotor people are the creative and talented sorts so they do need to pace themselves faster than what it is now. The game is constantly changing pretty fast and somewhat abruptly in the multirotor scene.
Sep 04, 2012, 08:45 PM
Down under under
I have contacted them.
They asked the boss and got a NO.
Sep 04, 2012, 08:54 PM
Registered User
fajar's Avatar
Originally Posted by Mr_westie
I have contacted them.
They asked the boss and got a NO.
I've asked them to improve the GCS for some time now. So far they've been able to iron out some bugs but they dont seem to be interested to improve its functionality and enhance the visual appearance. I would suggest that people post on this thread so they know that their GCS needs to be improved in terms of features and visual appearance.
Sep 05, 2012, 08:06 PM
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Should have the protocol mapped soon.

My workspace.

GSC to step through log.
Hex editor to watch changes.
Excel for quick number crunching.

GSC seems to ignore the first entry in the log.
Found battery voltage offset, and a few other bits.

Can't figure out the checksum so I can directly edit the file and watch the changes.
Does not matter, this way just takes a little longer.
Sep 07, 2012, 07:46 AM
Registered User
My fault having predicted that YS-X6 GCS appearence would be improved at a sooner or later time and OSD can be used indeed

But it may be achieved some time later...

ZERO-Steadi470 Quad & YS-X4 now would share some time from that...I don't know.
Sep 07, 2012, 09:36 AM
Unregistered User
Originally Posted by Mr_westie
Should have the protocol mapped soon. <snip>
Nice one. That would open up the doors for a lot of cool stuff and more creative use of the information then just plain show a dot in the GCS map.
Sep 08, 2012, 11:40 AM
Registered User
Reginak's Avatar
I'm getting good results for AP from YS-X6 but the software is UGLY and non intuitive, look at ALL the GCS above. And this is something that bothers me a lot, why can't they just hire someone to design a better looking GCS? I think when you launch a good product, you have to pay attention to EVERY detail of it, and this incluides aesthetics too...
Sep 08, 2012, 03:32 PM
Down under under
Reginak, totally agree.
But We just got to remember this is performing at a much higher price point.
For comparison I looked up some Microdrone videos.

Not the smooth landing for a $15k+ machine.
UAV microdrone md4-1000 landing (0 min 54 sec)

Would be nice if they just released the protocol.
Then we would have this done much sooner.

I got most of it.
To figure out the rest I will check the data at each interface point on the AP.
AP > Wifi

offset hex value Notes
0 0
1 1
2 2
3 3
4 4 lat float 3
5 5 lat float 2
6 6 lat float 1
7 7 lat float 0
8 8 long float 3
9 9 long float 2
10 A long float 1
11 B long float 0
12 C long float 3 Appares when auto mode is enabled
13 D long float 2
14 E long float 1
15 F long float 0
16 10 lat float 3 Appares when auto mode is enabled
17 11 lat float 2
18 12 lat float 1
19 13 lat float 0
20 14
21 15
22 16
23 17
24 18 Sats
25 19 ?
26 1A ?
27 1B ?
28 1C ?
29 1D ?
30 1E ?
31 1F
32 20 Manual servo. Rud
33 21 Man. Ail
34 22 Man Ele
35 23 Man. Thro 90=6e
36 24 RT. Rud L1=95
37 25 RealT.Servo Ail mp=96, L1=95
38 26 RT. Ele D4=92
39 27 RT. Thro 7=c7
40 28 ?
41 29 velx
42 2A ?
43 2B ?
44 2C
45 2D
46 2E
47 2F
48 30
49 31
50 32 gps velx cm signed short -2 = FFFE
51 33 gps velx cm 9 = 9
52 34 DT. Base
53 35
54 36 Shake
55 37
56 38 vib U-D0=c8 , L-R0=64
57 39
58 3A
59 3B
60 3C
61 3D
62 3E ?
63 3F
64 40
65 41
66 42 Ai angle R/L
67 43 ?
68 44 ?
69 45 ?
70 46 Batt V.
71 47
72 48
73 49
74 4A
75 4B
76 4C mAh
77 4D
78 4E
79 4F Ai angle U/D
80 50
81 51
82 52
83 53 ?
84 54
85 55
86 56 veld?
87 57 veld?
88 58 veld?
89 59 veld
90 5A ?
91 5B ?
92 5C Amps
93 5D vely
94 5E gps velx cm signed short -2 = FFFE
95 5F gps velx cm 9 = 9
96 60
97 61
98 62
99 63
Sep 09, 2012, 07:57 PM
Registered User

GCS REALLY needs a GUI face lift!!

I agree with everyone else. The graphical user interface (GUI, pronounced gooey)
looks terrible. The artificial horizon and the Altimeter should be much BIGGER, and better yet the size of it and all other interface elements should be adjustable so the user can customize his GCS interface to how HE wants it to look.

I would even be willing to finance the graphic artist (GUI designer) to work with the message boards and ZERO to come up with the BEST looking GCS user interface on the market!!

Just let me know.

Can you hear us ZERO?
Sep 13, 2012, 11:04 PM
Down under under
I use this program to read the YS file.
Used this to locate some of the values

With two monitors I can stretch it out so each block of data is on it's own line.
Easy to see changes between data points.

Only the AP <> Wifi interface is rs232.

The other two are most likely SPI.

Will whip out the logic analyser and see.
Sep 14, 2012, 04:10 AM
Unregistered User
Originally Posted by Mr_westie
I use this program to read the YS file.
Used this to locate some of the values

With two monitors I can stretch it out so each block of data is on it's own line.
Easy to see changes between data points.

Only the AP <> Wifi interface is rs232.

The other two are most likely SPI.

Will whip out the logic analyser and see.
Communication between units are most likely SPI/I2C as you say, but ZeroUAV has experience from serious industrial applications, so they might have gone all the way and use the more robust CAN bus protocol.. At least one can hope..
Sep 20, 2012, 08:41 PM
Down under under
Probed the pins.

Looks like a direct connection to each device.
3v3, I2C and TTL serial.

Serial format was not NEMA. 4hz update rate.

This one wasn't as straight forward.
One pin looked like a clock. 2khz, 2us pulse width.
That is the lower reference in each of these traces.

The best place to intercept the data onboard is COM3 (wifi).
Some byte slicing will get what you want.

Last edited by Mr_westie; Jun 08, 2013 at 04:41 PM.
Sep 21, 2012, 12:02 AM
Down under under
What I should have done from the beginning.
Decompile the Android app.

To view source code

Any java programmers that can assist?

Will have a crack at it over the weekend.
Sep 22, 2012, 04:15 PM
Down under under
Had a peak at the iOS app too.

Shed more light on the data format.

From the Android/Java App we can see the commands sent to the AP to make it do things.

We should now have enough info to make a full independent GCS.
Anyone want to band together for a generous donation to HK in the hopes he might consider supporting this protocol natively.

Option 2.
Write a translator program to sit between the I/O stream and a known protocol.

Option 3.
Write the translator into a Micro processor (AVR/PIC) and put it onboard.
Attach your choice of data downlink.

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