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Low-Level Protocol

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  • A lot of collaborative effort has taken place via these forums to decode the low-level protocol that the Tello uses to communicate with its native app.

    We will try to gather the information that has been obtained together on these pages.

    The Tello communicates with its controller via Wifi on a default port number 8889 using UDP messages. Most of these messages consist of a structured packet of data in the following general format:

    Tello General UDP Packet Structure
    0HeaderAlways 0xCC
    1-2Packet Size13-bit total packet size
    3CRC-8CRC from Header to Packet Size
    4Packet Type InfoBits are: F|T|TYP|SUB - See below
    5-6Message IDLittle-endian - See below
    7-8Sequence No.Little-endian - Either 0 for some types, or ascending for others
    9...PayloadOptional, varies by Packet Type
    End-1, EndCRC16CRC from Header to end of Payload

    The Packet Size is in a strange little-endian format where the lower (first) byte is normal, but the upper (second) byte is shifted 3 bits to the left. So decoding the size looks something like this: size = buffer[1] + ((buffer[2]<<8)>>3)

    Packet Type Info Format
    Bit012 - 45 - 7
    Meaning1 if From Drone1 if To Drone3-bit Packet Type3-bit Packet Subtype

    The Packet Type dictates the structure of the Payload (if there is one). Subtype seems to be always zero.

    Packet Types
    1Get Info
    2Data 1
    4Data 2
    5Set Info
    (3 & 7)Unknown

    Here are the currently known message IDs. Click on the function for further details.
    Tello Message IDs and Meanings
    ID (Hex) Tello Function Dir Comments
    0x0001 Connect Pseudo-command sent as plain-text
    0x0002 Connected Pseudo-command received as plain-text
    0x0011 Query SSID
    0x0012 Set SSID
    0x0013 Query SSID Password
    0x0014 Set SSID Password
    0x0015 Query Wifi Region
    0x0016 Set Wifi Region
    0x001a Wifi Strength Seems to max. out at 90%
    0x0020 Set Video Bit-Rate
    0x0021 Set Video Dyn. Adj. Rate
    0x0024 Set EIS
    0x0025 Request Video Start
    0x0028 Query Video Bit-Rate (Unverified)
    0x0030 Take Picture Can also be a response
    0x0031 Set Video Aspect
    0x0032 Start Recording
    0x0034 Exposure Values
    0x0035 Light Strength Sent by drone approx every 2 secs
    0x0037 Query JPEG Quality
    0x0043 Error 1
    0x0044 Error 2
    0x0045 Query Version
    0x0046 Set Date & Time
    0x0047 Query Activation Time
    0x0049 Query Loader Version
    0x0050 Set Sticks Tello needs these regularly as a 'heartbeat'
    0x0054 Take Off Normal take-off and climb to approx. 1.8m agl
    0x0055 Land
    0x0056 Flight Status Not all fields are set
    0x0058 Set Height Limit
    0x005c Flip
    0x005d Throw Take Off
    0x005e Palm Land
    0x0062 File Size eg. for chunk of photo
    0x0063 File Data eg. chunk of photo
    0x0064 File Done a.k.a. EOF. eg. end of photo data
    0x0080 Start Smart Video
    0x0081 Smart Video Status
    0x1050 Log Header
    0x1051 Log Data
    0x1052 Log Config.
    0x1053 Bounce Toggles the Bounce flight mode
    0x1054 Calibration Payload (1 byte): 0 to calibrate IMU, 1 to calibrate Center of Gravity (should be hovering)
    0x1055 Set Low Battery Threshold Certain commands are ignored below the threshold
    0x1056 Query Height Limit
    0x1057 Query Low Battery Threshold
    0x1058 Query Attitude (Limit?)
    0x1059 Set Attitude (Limit?)

    PinguSoft has made a wireshark dissector which can be used to analyze the packets getting sent between the tello and your app.

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