Overheating Issues with the Seeker - Looking for Guidance

  • We've been working with the seeker for about a month and a half and often run into overheating issues with the seeker drone. The use-case we are targeting requires 1080p video streaming from the drone, in an indoor use-case.

    We've set up our vision pipeline to take advantage of voxl-streamer - and the hardware acceleration for encoding - to reduce the stress on the CPU so that we don't hit the thermal limits as quickly. In general though, this only ends up delaying the inevitable. The software load we run on the drone doesn't take more than 50-60% of the CPU, so it's a climb up to the thermal limits where throttling starts to happen. I think part of the problem here is we're using 1080p resolution and higher, when the defaults for the seeker are VGA resolution

    Are there any options from modal ai for improving the thermal management on the Seeker? There's no active cooling on the platform, and the heat-sink doesn't expose much surface area to really cool the platform. Maybe a different heat-sink design - a little bigger would be okay, we're willing to sacrifice some flight time if it means the drone stays in the air and doesn't run off due to overheating.

  • Dev Team

    Does this happen in flight? The Seeker can get warm on the ground, but once the propellers start going it should be fine even at full utilization. We often use a little fan when developing on the ground.

  • Yes, it has even happened when it is in air. Before we started using voxl-streamer to get the video off the platform, we had been using our own fork of mpa_to_ros running in a container and that had been causing much worse overheating problems, possibly because of the image compression happening (we were using the turbojpeg to create the ros image_transport/compressed topic on a large resolution.

    Anyway, that was a less efficient than how we are doing it now, but we'd still like to reduce the heating risk further.

    Have you had any issues streaming 1080p, 2k, or 4k video with voxl-streamer while the drone is in flight and seen temperatures spike to over 70 C?

    Also, it seems like qvio can run off when the thermal throttling happens; have you ever observed this?

  • Dev Team

    ROS is really challenging for thermal. There is a ton of unnecessary communications overhead. If you can avoid using ROS on target, it will help significantly.

  • @Chad-Sweet Thanks; any comment on what temperatures you or the team have seen trying to stream higher than vga resolution through voxl-streamer? Interested if you are seeing the same using 1080p or the full resolution of the sensor, for example.

Log in to reply