What are my "expansion camera" options for Voxl Flight Deck?



  • We're using the VOXL1 Flight Deck and we need one more camera. I've been looking at USB cameras, but I'd like to know if there are any other options. For example, is there any unused parallel bus or MIPI/CSI bus that can be used?


  • Dev Team

    @Ed-Sutter Hi Ed,
    Are you familiar with our docs page for that?
    https://docs.modalai.com/flight-deck/
    Flight deck does use up all the MIPI ports on the Voxl.
    So our recommendation is a USB based one. USB devices in our ecosystem really work very well.
    If the device needs more than 500mA as allowed by USB spec, you may need a custom "y-cable" off the power module, or use a self-powered version.
    Hope this helps.
    Thanks!



  • @Vinny Thanks for responding! Yep, I've been to that page. My question was a little deeper than what that page provides... I'm already hooked up to the USB port on the B2B connector using the LTE add-on board. My initial testing wasn't real encouraging (see this post if interested); so I wanted to make sure that all other options were exhausted. For example... could J2 (CSI0) or J4 (CSI2) be configured to run two cameras similar to what J3 (CSI1) is doing?


  • Dev Team

    Hi @Ed-Sutter ,
    Unfortunaly, no. The 821 chipset only supports up to 4 concurrent (updated to add "MIPI CSI") image sensors. So, on the Voxl Flight Deck, we've exhausted that option already for you.
    If you have Eric's ear already, you are in the BEST HANDS possible... he is a PRO and will guide you correctly.... much better than I can for anything SW related. I'm just the HW guy 😉

    If you need the images to go directly to the companion computer, USB is the best option.
    Second to that would be your own external custom design where you use something like Lattice's crosslink to interlace or mux multiple MIPI CSI sensors into a single stream.
    https://www.latticesemi.com/Products/FPGAandCPLD/CrossLink

    But, that takes some FPGA know-how and when we tried that many years ago, we were not impressed. Voxl essentially needed to be re-designed to support cross-link cleanly. Maybe now the support is better for that as an external OTS (off the shelf) product that just looks like 1 sensor, but I think it's a gamble. If you needed help designing a custom flex for this, let us know. We will help! But, USB is still much cleaner!!

    Hope that helps.



  • @Vinny Ok, good information. Thanks for the detail!


  • Dev Team

    @Ed-Sutter There are SPI cameras available. Not sure what specs you need on the camera.



  • @Eric-Katzfey Yea... good thought... I'll look into that... Thx


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