This guy hacked his DJI Mini 2’s LEDs to add remote control payload delivery
Making things work in a way they’re not supposed to (or at least, a way they’re not designed to) is always fascinating to me. And this one is particularly ingenious. Payload delivery systems are widely available for drones, although they typically require separate radio transmission systems. That’s a pain on a tiny drone like the DJI Mini 2.
You wouldn’t think the Mini 2 could handle carrying much extra weight, but it’s thrust to weight ratio makes it pretty strong. Everett Bradford, realised that with a little modification and tinkering, he could take advantage of the Mini 2’s remotely controlled multicoloured LEDs to tie a payload delivery system directly into DJI’s own software natively. Sort of.
Everett’s solution is to basically intercept the LED colour signals and perform a task (eject or retract the payload release lever) based on what colour it was supposed to light up. It did require a little soldering and some custom electronics and programming, but it’s a very cool solution.
If you want to have a go at making your own, Everett has made the code and STL files freely available to download on GitHub.
Note: Do bear in mind that this modification (even without an extra payload attached) will likely take the Mini 2 over the 250g weight limit imposed in many countries. So, it might require you to get a permit.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.