Some newbie questions for an Autonomous Rover

Hi everyone! I am currently building a robotic platform, so far the mechanical part is done (4 wheels, 4x12V motors, 120RPM, each draw 1,7 A under full load), and with a Raspberry I can control it like an RC car.

But I want to make it an Autonomous Rover, and discovered Pixhawk and to be honest I am very impressed with its functionality. However I have some questions before I implement this system to my project. I will be glad if you guys can help me.

So in my project, I am not using a LiPo battery, but a 12V sealed lead-acid one. I did some research and saw people are powering their Pixhawks with SLA batteries instead of LiPos. Can you confirm that its a valid way to power the Pixhawk? Would I encounter any issue with the standard Power Module?

My second question will be about powering the Servo this time. The servo I am using is having some troubles steering with 5V power feed. However with 12V, it is working perfectly with no overheats etc. If I am not mistaken, the servo cables are connected to Pixhawk MAIN OUT 1 slot. Is it regulated with 5V? Can I just use the signal pin here and connect the power and ground cables externally to the 12V battery?

The last question is similar with the previous ones. But this time for ESC. Do you think would I encounter any problems if I use an SLA battery instead of LiPos?

Edit: I dont want to pay extra for LiPos and as an inexperienced user, LiPos seem pretty dangerous for me.

Thanks in advance,

Hi vonClausewitz

Like you I am trying to build an autonomous Rover - skid steer. I have the chassis working under RC control.

I’m using a PX4 and MissionPlanner - at this stage. I cannot seem to get the thing to work once I hook up the PX4.

I’m looking for someone that can help me understand how this all hangs together because I am obviously doing something wrong.

Do you know where I might be able to communicate with someone that can help me.


Hi Paul,

I think The Drone Dojo’s video is very well made in terms of explaining how Pixhawk and other components work. However in that video the rover was made with traditional steering, unlike yours. He mentions skid steering as well, but it wasnt explored in the video, maybe you can try to connect him via his website.

I am a newcomer as well, but since you were kind enough to reply this topic, I will try to help with your problem. I am thinking, you can build the exact setup in the video, with one difference. You are not going to connect the servo horn to tie rods, but to a mechanical switch. So when the Pixhawk wants to rover to turn one side, left for example, it will trigger the servo, and the servo will turn left. Since you dont have any kind of steering components, like tie rods, knuckles etc. it will just close a circuit mechanically and your right motor will be activated, turning the rover to left.

I dont know if I could explain my idea clearly, if not, let me know so I can draw a diagram.

Sorry this is all I can help with my current level of knowledge,

Good luck in your project,

Best regards from Turkey.

Thank you for the information.

I have the skid steer working when I’m using just the RC; it’s is a function of the transmitter. The PMW signal goes directly to my ESC - Sawtooth 2 x 12 by Dimension Engineering.

I’m getting the impression that MissionPlanner is not the easiest/simplest to set up and that a lot pf people prefer QGroundControl.

If you’re using Missionplanner it’s likely you’re in the wrong forum: Missionplanner is usually used with ArduPilot firmware. The forum for assistance with ArduPilot is

Hi Auturgy

Thanks for that, I’m trying find anyone with some experience that is willing to help a newbie and didn’t where to start.

I will try your suggestion.