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HomeAircraftHelicopterAerial Photography and Video › Arduino,Ardupilot anyone using it?
01-14-2010 02:45 AM  8 years agoPost 1
switch26

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San Jose

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hey guys,i've been doing some research about Ardupilot,it seems like a good unit,it is cheap and seems like theres alot of planker pilots using it,anyone have any iformation on how this really works and how to install everything?

they sell the ardupilot for around $25 but you have to buy all the sensors separately and they also have a GPS unit that you can plug into it,seems interesting,i am not familiar with it but im very intersted,you can buy the ardupilot and all other related items here

http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/pr...roducts_id=8785

Watch at YouTube

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Take offs are optional,landings are mandatory

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01-14-2010 07:44 PM  8 years agoPost 2
switch26

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San Jose

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100 views and no replys!!!c'mon guys share the love,anyone using the ardupilot chime in will you?

Take offs are optional,landings are mandatory

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01-15-2010 01:12 AM  8 years agoPost 3
KarbonBird

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Australia

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This is really not a heli product so that may explain the lack of responses here ...

I have been involved in a UAV (fixed wing) project for a few years now and was an approved entrant in the UAV Outback Challenge 2009.

During my preparations I researched a number of autopilot systems and the Arduino/Ardu was one of them. Whilst this product has a strong following, it is more suited to those who like to tinker with settings and outcomes than a ready to use, off the shelf product.

I opted to go for a product that costed a bit more but was proven in the field. I flew a number of successful missions during the R & D phase ahead of the Outback Challenge and found that I could focus on the programming and fine tuning of the product rather than "developing" its software.

There is another forum that has an active UAV community - pop over there. Take your bulletproof vest and hard hat and prepare yourself for some "secrecy". This is not your average harmonious forum...

Rossco

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01-17-2010 06:37 AM  8 years agoPost 4
switch26

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San Jose

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KarbonBird

so whats the best autopilot for a plank in your experience?im just itching to try the ardupilot but as you said it is an entrant unit that i would probably end up tinkering with alot rather than a more robust and ready to fly unit,i wouldnt mind the ardupilot but if there is a better unit that compares to the ardu in price that would be great

Take offs are optional,landings are mandatory

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01-17-2010 09:47 AM  8 years agoPost 5
KarbonBird

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Australia

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Picopilot (UNAV) and Attopilot (there is a new IMU version coming out soon). The former (which I use) is well tested in the field and does not use IR sensors like the others on the market. It allows you to program about 40 waypoints via your PC and on completion of the mission it returns to the activation point and circles at a fixed altitude (it has alt hold). Some of the big glider guys use it to bring their planes down if sucked up by thermals too so it has other uses.

The picopilot is ideally suited for slow motor gliders (I have 3 x Miss 2 planes that work great with this autopilot). If you do a search for picopilot videos you will find a fair bit of footage - guys flying 20 - 40 minute missions with this autopilot. I have got a new easystar which I am busy converting to do some testing. That is also a great plane to use for the picopilot.

This is a great diversion from the usual heli stuff (which I have cut back on quite a bit now). It makes for a nice relaxing fly (logged via GPS).

Good luck.

Rossco

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01-17-2010 12:37 PM  8 years agoPost 6
thtoyman

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Gone ,Flying.

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Will it work on a heli?

Some one should try it on a heli

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01-17-2010 10:05 PM  8 years agoPost 7
switch26

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San Jose

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KarbonBird

thanks for all the info,i too have an easy star that i just got from tower hobbies,i just dont know what to put in it and i dont want to start the build till i figure out what motor and speed control to put in it,im gonna modifie it with ailerons and make a biger rudder for it as well,are you talking about the autopilot that rabgevideo sells?i will do a search,this is pretty much what i want to do to rest alittle from the helis for a little while,

thtoyman

it would definetly be nice if it was mounted on a heli but im not sure it would work till they do some testing on them,im sure we'll hear about it if they do when they do

Take offs are optional,landings are mandatory

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01-18-2010 12:25 AM  8 years agoPost 8
KarbonBird

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Australia

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My original easystar was a stock setup and in my view doesn't need any mods initially - particularly if you are using an autopilot. Autopilots like slow adjustments to ALT and direction so stock is perfect. You can always mod later. The is plenty of suggested setups for the easystar - I saw a whole build thread on another forum dedicated to this exercise.

The nice thing about the autopilot is that you can just program the waypoints in via the laptop and off you go. I use Garmin Mapsource (or Google Earth) to plot the mission and just connects straight to the autopilot memory. Some of the higher specced autopilots have downlinks allowing to modify the route when the UAV is in the air. Get ready to spend big if you want the best!!!

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01-18-2010 02:22 AM  8 years agoPost 9
switch26

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San Jose

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Get ready to spend big if you want the best!!!
thats the one thing i dont want to do,im only doing this for fun and dont really want to get serious with it,i've already researched the picopilot and is too expensive but im sure is worth it,i'll wait till they comeup with the one that includes the altitude control,

that should be a nice one to have,as far as the easy star,you might be right,the only thing that keeps me from building it right now is the motor,since it gets glued on i dont want the stock motor inthere so i already ordered a brushless one,other than that,i pretty much have everything but i would like to at least ad ailerons and a biger rudder to it,is an easy mod so shouldn't take long

Take offs are optional,landings are mandatory

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01-18-2010 04:29 AM  8 years agoPost 10
KarbonBird

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Australia

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If you don't want to spend $600 on a Picopilot (NA has ALT hold) then you will have to make do with are Ardu (or maybe the Paparazi - think it's called that). Those are at the bottom end of the cost scale so be prepared to do a lot of fiddling. I think the Ardu is around the $300 mark with all the bits. Good luck!

Just to clarify - I was suggesting that you use the stock build of the EasyStar with the exception of the brushed motor. That is rubbish and should be binned immediately. I used the casing of an old inrunner to mount a brushless motor on my old EasyStar. I have got a 4700 MaH batt to give a nice long air time. There is a build which outlines where all the extra stuff goes somewhere (you need to use a few recesses not normally used I think).

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01-19-2010 06:36 AM  8 years agoPost 11
borneobear

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Hi guys. I too have been busy building up my AP fixed wing. Main objectives being long range flights and higher altitudes flights.
This ultimately will bring about the autopilot requirement. After searching, I decided to go for the less well know OSD + Autopilot called Cyclops from Foxtech (you can google it).
Cost less than 300 bucks, is waypoint programmable and a return to home function.
Haven't tried it yet, will post when i have something.

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01-19-2010 09:48 PM  8 years agoPost 12
switch26

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San Jose

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borneobear
thanks for the info,seems to be a good inexpensive unit but where did you buy the cyclops from?seems like it only sells overseas

Take offs are optional,landings are mandatory

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01-20-2010 05:07 AM  8 years agoPost 13
KarbonBird

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Australia

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I am always cautious of a product with no track record. There is a lot involved with an autopilot with redundancies, etc. I can't comment on this product as there is scant information available and certainly no rigorous field testing to support any claims made by the manufacturer. I saw somewhere that it only supports 8 waypoints which may be adequate for some but I prefer a few more myself. Is it IR based and what does it use for ALT hold?

My thinking is that if you just want to play around with an Autopilots (which is what seems to be the intention of those here), then perhaps the Arduino product is better as it has more field testing and there is quite a bit of active support in forums etc.

My suggestion would be to pop over to the "other" forum that has a section dedicated to Autopilots. Whilst it is not the friendliest of forums (you could be come a target for abuse if you mention an "unpopular" product for example), there is good info there. I learned a lot (and still am learning) from that forum.

Rossco

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01-20-2010 01:10 PM  8 years agoPost 14
chris84

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Sarmenstorf, Switzerland

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Hi KarbonBird,
very interesting your posts...
Can you say me which forum you mean?

After reading this thread I am interested as well to make my own airplane.

Do you know a system without IR Sensors an which you can attach any wireless modem to update the waypoints in flight and runs with a windows based programm as ground station?
I am electronics engineer and can assemble all hardware components myself but the firmware and windows based groundstation is not my thing
A system basted on google earth would be nice.
Would be good if the price will be less than about $1500

Thank you!

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01-20-2010 03:37 PM  8 years agoPost 15
QCJoe

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Germany

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I think he meant this forum: http://diydrones.com/

You will find all answers on your questions there...and you will have to work it out for yourself.
Unmanned flight and temetry is not easy but there are many plug and play systems which are easy to use.

Regards,
Joseph

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01-21-2010 12:12 AM  8 years agoPost 16
KarbonBird

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Australia

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I tried DIY but it seems that it is dominated by supporters of one group of autopilots which seemed to focus their energies on bashing the opposition. The RCgroup had some, but overall pretty limited information that I was looking for and I was fortunate enough to make contact with someone well versed in these matters to assist me. As mentioned before, unlike this positive group, many of the UAV people hide in the shadows and keep their activities close to the chest.

Even acquiring a UAV system if you live outside the US is a time consuming and costly exercise. With the backdrop of the Australian Outback Challenge 2009 as a driver for my activities, I built a system (proof of concept) and submitted a proposal outlining the functionality that I intended implementing as a race entrant. The proposal (and my entrance in the race) was approved but due to significant work pressures, and academic activties plus overseas travel I withdrew from the event. I may have another go this year.

This is an exciting but quite challenging aspect of RC modelling. Even if you are doing it just for fun, get something that has successfully been proven in the field as it will save you lots of frustration. It is false economy to buy something like "plastic hammer" which will let you down sooner or later. If you are semi serious - spend $600 and get something that works. Many cheapies require that you fiddle with the source code and stuff which to me is distracting - but OK if you like that sort of thing. I don't!

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02-01-2010 01:34 AM  8 years agoPost 17
borneobear

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Well, i would just like to report back on the Cyclops OSD and autopilot.

1. I got version 3.0. Should have waited for V5.0 which will be out in March.
2. The return to home and way point autopilot works well.
3. Very little tinkering. It was mostly plug and play.

That said, I don't know how well the autopilot controls elevator, as I use FMA CO-Pilot II for that. The Cyclops autopilot controls only the rudder.

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02-01-2010 11:05 AM  8 years agoPost 18
KarbonBird

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Australia

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I'm not sure we are talking about the same thing here - what I would expect from an autopilot is: alt hold, programmable waypoints, aeleron/rudder and elevator control and the return to base function is pretty much a given. Others may view the requirements differently though...

Rossco

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02-02-2010 01:06 AM  8 years agoPost 19
borneobear

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Yup. The unit does come with altitude hold, rate of climb control, safe flying altitude, etc., however my FMA Co Pilot II control of the elevator has been so fantastic (pitch angle control, pitch gain, etc.) that I decided to stick with it.
Maybe I'll play around with the altitude control part of the autopilot another day.

By the way, Version 5 of the cyclops will be released in March. It comes (amongst other things) with inertial and barometric sensors.
It never ends does it?

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02-02-2010 04:34 AM  8 years agoPost 20
KarbonBird

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Australia

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Thanks for clarifying - definitely sounds impressive.

Are there any export restrictions on the product?

What is the price of V5 and who sells this product??

Rossco

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