Category Archives: Skywalker

Installing CHDK to a Canon Powershot SX230 SH

I got a used Canon Powershot SX230 SH for only about $70 (brand new this is about $250).. its beat up pretty good but everything works except for the lens cover which doesnt close even if its turned off.. I dont think this is a big issue at all.

A used Canon Powershot SX 230 SH
A used Canon Powershot SX 230 SH (eyes wide open!)

This will be used as the mapping component of my Skywalker rig and which needs to be updated with CHDK for added features relevant for my use.  Here’s the steps on how to do it:

1) Check out

2) Download the Automatic Camera Identifier and Downloader (ACID) to check for the camera’s installed firmware  (mine was 100c) and download the correct CHDK version (

3) UNLOCK the SD card and format it using the camera’s format function

4) remove the SD card and insert into your PC/laptop.

5) copy all the files downloaded in step 2 to the root directory of the SD card.

chdk directory
chdk directory to copy to your formatted SD card

6) Remove the SD card, LOCK it, then insert into the camera.  Don’t worry CHDK will just ignore the LOCKED state of the SC card and will still allow the camera to write to the SD card (if this is UNLOCKED, CHDK will not start on bootup after step 10).

7) Press the “PLAY” button (not the on/off).

8) Press the MENU Key and under the ‘play’ tab, look for “Firmware Update…” and press the “FUNC SET” button.  After the update, you should see a black/empty screen with “No Image” in the middle (which makes sense since we deleted everything).

Canon sx230 firmware update menu
Canon sx230 firmware update menu

9) Press the ‘PLAY’ key briefly, which is the default <ALT> key to bring up the CHDK menu and you should see the CHDK alternate menu.

chdk main menu after pressing 'play'
chdk main menu after pressing ‘play’

10) Set the SD card to autoboot to CHDK, by pressing MENU (after step 9), navigating to ‘Miscellaneous Stuff’->’SD Card’->’Make Card Bootable’ and pressing ‘FUNC SET’.  The camera will now run CHDK even after turning the camera off.

Making chdk run at startup
Making chdk run at startup


CHDK successfully set as bootable in the SDcard
CHDK successfully set as bootable in the SDcard

11)  That’s it!   If you want to see the different features of chdk check out   Suggested script to load is the KAP_UAV script available from:  Good Luck!

Note: the 230SH will ad 217.3 grams to your rig.

The HobbyKing HKPilot32 Stripdown

I decided to bite the bullet and go with the HobbyKing HKPilot32 instead of the Pixhawk for the reincarnation of my Skywalker FPV rig.  By most accounts the HKPilot32 works as advertised and why shouldnt it? it has the same design and uses the same chips as the open source Pixhawk.  Thank you open source and market forces!

Here’s the content of the packet (L to R: USB cord, Servo wire, Power Module, the HKPilo32, cables for the gps, buzzer, arming button, stickers and vibration pads, free memory card/usb adapter and extension board) and a 4MB sd card pre-installed in the device. The only major downside is it does not come with the 6-pin cable needed to connect the HKPilot to the  Quanum Lea-6H GPS.

HobbyKing HKPilot32
HobbyKing HKPilot32

What surprised me is the size of the HKPilot. it has the same dimensions as the APM 2.6 which is great.

HobbyKing HKPilot32
HobbyKing HKPilot32

I’ve heard about the poor quality of the soldering and board layout of the HKPilot.. personally, for the price, I couldnt care less  as long as it works reliably.  Anyway, out of curiosity I checked the board.

HobbyKing HKPilot32 board
HobbyKing HKPilot32 board (back)

and front:

HobbyKing HKPilot32 board
HobbyKing HKPilot32 board (memory card on the left)

In my opinion, the board design and layout is not bad, a bit dirty to be honest but not bad. The soldering while not topnotch seems to look solid  enough at any rate.. of course I’m comparing this to the usual hardware I see (computing and networking appliance’s boards).  You can judge for yourself above.

So does it work?  so far yes, I was able to load the latest ArduPlane firmware and didn’t really have an issue connecting MissionPlanner (except I had to set the connection speed to 38400)

HKPilot32 with MissionPlanner
HKPilot32 with MissionPlanner

Looking forward to setting this up for flight!