Hi I have a VectorNav VN100S Development kit, which has VN100 IMU unit. I want to set it up with Ubuntu 16.04 and ROS Kinetic, but unable to read anything from the VN-100.

So far I have been following official documentation but it doesn't contain any information about interfacing with Ubuntu/Linux.

Does anyone know of any good resource which might help me get started?

  • $\begingroup$ I gave parts of the user manual a quick read and it looks like there is good information starting on page 17. Regardless, can you provide a more detailed overview of what you are currently trying to do? $\endgroup$
    – koverman47
    May 5, 2019 at 0:51
  • $\begingroup$ The user manual only contains overview of all the components and its properties. The Embedded Library User manual contains some info; but my main question is how to read data from the device? How can I connect it to Ubuntu system and get data from the device? $\endgroup$
    – Deep
    May 5, 2019 at 2:57
  • $\begingroup$ Any complete OS such as Ubuntu shouldn't provide any particular challenges. If you look closely at the user manual, you will see instructions on how to query the IMU for data, or if you prefer the EKF results, how to receive those. To get a better understanding, I recommend creating a script establishing a Serial connection to the IMU and running the example queries from the manual and printing the output to your console for getting started. $\endgroup$
    – koverman47
    May 5, 2019 at 4:15

1 Answer 1


Chapter 3.5 on page 26 of the user manual says that there are 3 ways to interface with the VN100. (2 different serial types, and SPI). SPI would be useful if you were interfacing with another microcontroller, but not so much for your computer.

Serial port 1 is "regular" RS232 logic levels. Which is +-12 Volts. If your computer has a serial port, you can use that.

Serial port 2 has 3 volt logic levels. For this, you should use a FTDI cable. For example: https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/ftdi-future-technology-devices-international-ltd/TTL-232RG-VREG3V3-WE/768-1071-ND/2441361

RS232 has many control wires, but you probably only need 4: V+, GND, RX, and TX. Remember to connect the computer's RX line to the devices TX line, and vice-versa.

Then use a serial terminal emulator such as picocom or minicom to interface with your device. Here is an example:

> picocom -b 9600 /dev/ttyUSB0

(control-a, control-x to exit)

you probably have to put your user in the "dialout" or "tty" groups too.


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