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Essential Read: Know your microLiDAR™

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With over 40 years’ experience designing and manufacturing laser rangefinders, LightWare prides itself on manufacturing world-class microLiDAR™ sensors and accessories to meet your requirements. We also partner to offer exceptional service and after-sales support to ensure you get the best from your microLiDAR™ product. 

Let’s partner – we’re with you all the way!

LightWare is ready to partner with your business and help achieve your microLiDAR™ objectives. We offer a comprehensive range of microLiDAR™ sensors (in small form) that give drones, UGVs and robots the perception they need. We also offer tailored LiDAR solutions where quality, accuracy and data-compliance are paramount for your business. 

Know your microLiDAR

There’s a microLiDAR™ available for every application, so it’s important to find the ideal fit for your job from the very beginning. This will avoid expensive time delays in the future. It’s also essential to know about connecting your microLiDAR™ correctly to ensure you are informed by rich and reliable data from inception. We thus dedicate today’s edition of LiDAR Matters to answer two of the most common connection-related queries received by our partners.1. How do I connect my LightWare microLiDAR™ to Pixhawk Flight Controller?

  1. How do I connect my LightWare microLiDAR™ to Pixhawk Flight Controller?

All microLiDAR™ sensors have been designed for easy integration with flight control tools such as Pixhawk. Here’s how to connect your microLiDAR™ to Pixhawk:

  • Step 1Setup LightWare Studio

Available for Mac, Windows and Linux, LightWare Studio is a computer-based application specifically designed to collect, configure and visualize data for your microLiDAR™ sensor. The Studio also allows for seamless firmware updates and houses the latest release notes to ensure you have the latest data collection tools for your microLiDAR™

Click to download LightWare Studio

Click for a short video overview of Lightware Studio

Tip*: Using an SF20, LW20, SF000 or SF40 microLiDAR™ sensor?We recommend using a USB to FTDI converter to connect to your computer.

We’re happy to help

Need help to set up LightWare Studio? Contact us on info@lightwarelidar.com and we’ll have you set up quickly.

  • Step 2Connecting your microLiDAR™ to Pixhawk

Now that you’re all setup with LightWare Studio, it’s time to connect your microLiDAR™ to Pixhawk. To demonstrate, we will use the SF000/B microLiDAR™ with the SF000 Breakout Board as an example. 

Depending on your preference, the SF000 can be connected through the serial interface or I2C interface. 

When using the serial interface to connect your SF000 microLiDAR™ to Pixhawk, ensure that you connect:

  • the GND and 5V lines to the Pixhawk
  • the RX line of the Pixhawk to the TX line of your microLiDAR™
  • the TX line of the Pixhawk to the RX line of your microLiDAR™

SF000 Serial interface to Pixhawk

When connecting through the I2C interface, ensure you connect the SDA line of your SF000 microLiDAR™ to the SDA line of the I2C port on the Pixhawk device, followed by the SCL line of the microLiDAR™ to the SCL line of the I2C port. Next, connect the GND and 5V lines.

SF000 I2C interface to Pixhawk 
  • Step 3: Configuring the ArduPilot parameters 

The last step to set up your microLiDAR™ to Pixhawk is to set the parameters for the ArduPilot open-source drone software. This can be done through the serial interface or I2C interface.

Here’s how to setup the Serial/UART parameters:


SERIAL1_PROTOCOL
9 (LiDAR)
SERIAL1_BAUD115 (115200)
RNG_MAX_CM5000 (for SF11B/SF20B/LW20B), 1000 (for SF20C/LW20C) and 12000 (for SF11C). Distance in cm that the rangefinder can reliably in. 
RNG_MIN_CM5
RNGFND1_GNDCLEAR10 (Distance of LiDAR to ground in cm when vehicle is on the ground)
RNGFND_SCALING1 (I2C, Serial/UART)
RNGFND_TYPE8 (Serial)

Here’s how to setup the I2C parameters:

RNGFND_ADDR102 decimal – Default
RNG_MAX_CM5000 (for SF11B/SF20B/LW20B), 1000 (for SF20C/LW20C) and 12000 (for SF11C). Distance in cm that the rangefinder can reliably in.
RNG_MIN_CM5
RNGFND1_GNDCLEAR10 (Distance of LiDAR to ground in cm when vehicle is on the ground)
RNGFND_SCALING1 (I2C, Serial/UART)
RNGFND_TYPE7 (LightWare I2C)

And you’re all set! 

The next common question we receive from partners is how to connect the SF000/B microLiDAR™ to the SF000 Breakout Board:2. How do I connect my SF000/B microLiDAR™ to the SF000 Breakout Board?

2. How do I connect my SF000/B microLiDAR™ to the SF000 Breakout Board?

Weighing only 8.8 grams, the SF000/B microLiDAR™ sensor is ultra-small and light. The SF000 Breakout Board complements this small-factor design which makes connecting your SF000 microLiDAR™ a seamless plug and play process. No soldering is required, saving you time and effort when installing, removing and reusing the board.

SF000 Breakout Board

The SF000 Breakout Board conveniently separates into 5 unique board segments that can be used for various applications. These 5 board segments each serve a particular function: 

Board 1: a 6pin connector board which allows for ease of access to the 6 pins of the SF000:

Board 2: a Pixhawk Serial interface board:

Board 3: a Pixhawk I2C interface board:

Board 4: a Servo motor interface board:

Board 5: an SF11 quick connector interface board:

Serial connection to Raspberry Pi

Important: connect the Breakout Board pins to the Raspberry Pi board as illustrated above, while considering the following connections:

  • Vin pin of Breakout Board = 5V Raspberry Pi pin
  • GND pin = Raspberry Pi GND pin
  • TX and RX pins of Breakout Board Raspberry Pi RX and TX pins respectively. 

Click here to view the sample code for integrating the SF000 to Raspberry Pi (Serial connection)

I2C connection to Raspberry Pi

Important: connect the Breakout Board pins to the Raspberry Pi board as illustrated above, while considering the following connections:

  • Vin (pin 6) of Breakout Board = 5V Raspberry Pi pin
  • GND (pin 5) = Raspberry Pi GND pin
  • SCL (pin 3), SDA (pin 2 & 4) of Breakout Board Raspberry Pi SCL and SDA pins respectively [please note that both need to be connected]

Click here to view the sample code for integrating the SF000 to Raspberry Pi (I2C connection)

Serial connection to Arduino™ Mega

The Arduino™ Mega is a microcontroller board used to connect to and communicate with the SF000/B microLiDAR™. The board can be powered by a computer via USB cable, or an external source such as a battery.   

Important: connect the Breakout Board pins to the Arduino™ board as illustrated above, while considering the following connections:

  • Vin pin of Breakout Board = 5V Arduino™ pin
  • GND pin = Arduino™ GND pin
  • TX and RX pins of Breakout Board Arduino™ RX and TX pins respectively

Click here to view the sample code for integrating the SF000 to Arduino (serial connection) 

I2C connection to Arduino™ Mega

Important: connect the Breakout Board pins to the Arduino™ board as illustrated above, while considering the following connections:

  • Vin pin of Breakout Board = 5V Arduino™ Mega pin
  • GND pin = Arduino™ Mega GND pin
  • SCL, SDA pins of Breakout Board Arduino™ SCL and SDA pins respectively

Click here to view the sample code for integrating the SF000 to Arduino (I2C connection)

Visit our FAQ section

We have the answers and are here to help. Visit our FAQ page and view other common questions we receive from partners. 

Our engineers solve challenges!

LightWare is ready to partner with your business and help achieve your microLiDAR™ objectives. We strive for great service and offer a comprehensive range of LiDAR sensors for use on UAV, UGV and IoT platforms. We also offer tailored LiDAR solutions where quality, accuracy and data-compliance are paramount for your business. 

Our experienced engineers love solving challenges!
Contact us on info@lightwarelidar.com and ask us about your microLiDAR™ requirements.

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