Joystick Setup (PX4 only)

QGroundControl allows you to control a vehicle using a joystick or gamepad instead of an RC Transmitter.

Flying with a Joystick (or virtual thumb-sticks) is not as responsive as RC Control because joystick information is sent over MAVLink.

Joystick and Gamepad support is enabled using the cross-platform SDL2 library. Compatibility with a particular controller depends on SDL (all buttons that are exposed by that API are displayed through the QGroundControl UI). A number of common joysticks and gamepads are known to work.

Enabling PX4 Joystick Support

To enable Joystick support in PX4 you need to set the parameter COM_RC_IN_MODE to 1 - Joystick/No RC Checks. If this parameter is not set then Joystick will not be offered as a setup option.

This is enabled by default for PX4 SITL builds (see the Parameters topic for information on how to find and set a particular parameter).

Configuring the Joystick

To configure a joystick:

  1. Shut down QGroundControl
  2. Connect the Joystick or Gamepad to a USB port
  3. Start QGroundControl and connect to a vehicle
  4. Select the Gear icon (Vehicle Setup) in the top toolbar and then Joystick in the sidebar. The screen below will appear.

    Joystick setup - PlayStation

  5. Press the Calibrate button and then follow the on-screen instructions to calibrate/move the sticks.
  6. Check the Enable joystick input checkbox
  7. Make sure your joystick is selected in the Active joystick dropdown.
  8. Select the flight modes/vehicle functions activated by each joystick button. A maximum of 16 joystick button actions can be set.
  9. Test the buttons and sticks work as intended by pressing them, and viewing the result in the Axis/Button monitor.

Supported Joysticks

The following joysticks/controllers have been shown to work with relatively recent QGroundControl builds.

Sony Playstation 3/4 Controllers

These are both highly recommended. They work well "out of the box" and have many buttons that you can map to flight modes.

FrSky Taranis XD9 plus

The FrSky Taranis XD9 plus remote control can also be connected as a joystick. You will need to connect it via the USB port on the back.

The Taranis does not allow you to use button options (to be precise, you can set the options, but toggling the buttons on your transmitter does not cause them to be pressed).

The Taranis is an open system that is openly being worked on. It is possible that at time of writing there is a firmware or configuration that allows it to work effectively as a joystick.

Logitech Gamepad F310

The Logitech Gamepad F310 has been tested via USB on MacOSX "Sierra".

Logitech Extreme 3D Pro

The Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick has been tested on all platforms (Linux, Windows, Mac OSX). This is a single stick controller that can also be twisted. The main stick axes are used for pitch and roll, while the twist action is used for yaw. The throttle is mapped onto a separate wheel.

Logitech F710 Gamepad

This gamepad is great for flying a multirotor manually via QGroundControl. It works on Windows, Linux and Mac OS.

Mac OS Leopard / Lion Setup

The F710 is detected under Leopard / Lion but is not automatically configured as an input device. In order to get a working configuration, the F710 has to be recognised as Rumblepad2.

First check how it is recognised: Apple > About this Mac > Additional Information > System Report > USB. I it is detected as "Logitech Cordless RumblePad 2" then nothing further needs to be done.

If it is detected as a "Logitech Wireless 710", perform these steps:

  1. Unplug the USB receiver of the gamepad
  2. Prepare to quickly plug it into a USB port
  3. Hit the Logitech button (its silver with the Logitech Logo on it in the center of the pad)
  4. Quickly connect the USB receiver to your Mac
  5. The pad should now be detected in the system report as "Logitech Cordless RumblePad 2". If not, retry the above steps.

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