3DR Power Module

This page explains how to set up the 3DR Power Module (PM) to measure battery voltage and current consumption. The information will also be useful for setting up other types of Power Module.

Overview

The Pixhawk and APM 2.x have a dedicated connector for attaching the 3DR Power Module (PM). This is useful because it:

  • Provides a stable 5.37V and 2.25Amp power supply which reduces the chances of a brown-out
  • Allows monitoring of the battery’s voltage and current and triggering a return-to-launch when the voltage becomes low or the total power consumed during the flight approaches the battery’s capacity
  • Allows the autopilot firmware to more accurately compensate for the interference on the compass from other components

The PM accepts a maximum input voltage of 18V (up to 4S Lipo battery) and maximum current of 90Amps. When used with an APM the full 90Amp current sensing range can be used, with the PX4/Pixhawks up to 60Amps can be measured.

There is more general information on powering in Powering the Pixhawk and Powering the APM2.

Warning

The Power Module’s maximum input voltage is 18V. This is the maximum allowed by the on-board regulator. (4 cell LiPo max).

Warning

The Power Module does not have sufficient power for servos or high current devices such as FPV transmitters.

  • The power module does provide sufficient power for the Pixhawk/APM, your receiver and a small electronic module such as a PPM encoder or 3DR telemetry radio.
  • You may “control” servos from signal pins, but the servos must be powered by a separate ESC.

Connecting the PM to a flight controller board

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The 6-pos cable plugs into the 6-pos connector on both the Power Module and Pixhawk/APM.

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Pixhawk Power Port

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APM2.x Power Port

Your battery connects to the Power Module’s male connector, and its female connector plugs into your ESC or Power Distribution Board.

Note

APM 2.x Power Module Notes:

  • You should normally remove the APM’s JP1 jumper when using the Power Module so that only your APM board and your receiver are powered from the Power Module’s on-board regulator and not from your ESCs.
    • Removing the jumper allows you to use the APM’s servo output rail to distribute power from your ESC’s BEC or separate UBEC to any servos or external equipment.
    • If you are using servos, plug an ESC BEC or stand alone UBEC power wire and ground wire into two of the power and ground pins on the APM’s servo output rail to provide a common power and ground bus for servo power.
  • You can leave the jumper present if you are using ESCs that have no BECs or if all the ESC BECs power wires are cut and you are not powering any servos from the servo out rail.
  • You can also individually power each servo from each individual ESC-BEC.
    • Simply run the power and ground from each ESC-BEC individually and directly to each servo (very handy for multicopters).

Setup through Mission Planner

Power Module Configuration in Mission Planner explains how to configure a Power Module and get low battery alerts from Mission Planner.