I have just bought the ArduPilot Mega 2560 Full Kit... plus the Triple Axis Magnetometer HMC5883L. I should have it built over the weekend.. then i'm off to a my mates machine shop, and i'll make the splitter plate for the lower frame onto which i am going to fit the Ardupilot. the magnetometer i'll put on the tail as suggested. I am going to use my X-cell Razor 600E. For those that dont know its around the 50 size nitro heli.

Do i need to buy any other sensors i.e. the Sonar... i can fly a helicopter all day long but this is my first time flying one with stabilisation so any tips would be gratefully appreciated.

If this works well then i am going to try and use it on my x-cell gasser. i can get up to 20 minute flights with this. But i think for the time being a battery 600 is the way to go.

i'll post some pictures when i have it all together.



Setup Instructions

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Hi Ravi, have you loaded the code directly from MP? or is it one you have loaded with Arduino

I use APM1.4 i dont have any experience with APM2 yet.

When you go through the setup process in CLI through MP have you setup up the HELI, can you see the servos moving?

hi malcolm, i have loaded code through mission planner and have done the setting through misison planner. i have selected heli NOT through CLI but through Heli tab of setup. no, servoes are not moving even after arming and in status tab there is no PWM  OUT on servo channels. where as the PWM IN is dispalyed correctly in the misison planner according to the movement of sticks. i have also selected swash as CCPM. i think since full setup is given in mission planner so CLI mode is not required. but i do not know. this is my first setup with heli using APM2. i never tried it on APM1.

Go into the CLI in MP, Type "setup" then Type "heli", the servos should be working here with no input from the Stabilise functions, they are directly from your Transmitter. Give it a go. 

If any of you guys have video of your heli tests then please post as there are so few.....

I think the Trad Heli would gain more interest if we could get some media..blog posts etc :)

Huh, looking at the code and my setup again, I just realized, I didn't make a mistake with the mag orientation.  I did have it correct, and my compass problem had nothing to do with that.

Now I'm back in my basement, and the compass looks perfectly aligned.  But when I was at the airfield last weekend, first time I've been there, it was a complete mess.  I have no idea what's going on now???  Is it the vibrations, or does that field have a Bermuda Triangle effect?  The heli yaw was a complete cluster-f&%$ and I noticed in the planner that the compass headings were all messed up.  But I've changed nothing, and now it's perfect.

I need to check the tracking again since I had to replace the blade grip links, so I'll watch the MP HUD and see what it does when the motor is turning.

Well, FWIW, I just did a test in the basement and looked at the logs.  My heli has a single 100A speed controller, running 33.6V and an 880kV motor, located about 8" from the aluminum cased APM.  With engines off, it seems like there is a +/- 0.5° oscillation on the yaw output from the T-Log that is on a long period, about 5-10 seconds.  I'm not sure if that is normal or not.

Anyway, at full power strapped to a bench, I see a high frequency noise on the yaw output, about +/-0.5° again, which is on top of the slow frequency error resulting in a total error of +/-1°.
I don't think this is a problem in any way?
Heck, maybe the high frequency noise is actually the heli moving a bit on the bench.  It's certainly possible.  Half a degree isn't much.
Anyway, I'll try going to fly again, see what happens.  I've got genuine Align head dampers in it now, hopefully that helps the in-flight shake I had in the rotor disk.  It's amazing to me just how soft the Hobby King dampers are compared to the softest available from Align.  Like night and day.  
The yaw problem at the airfield remains a mystery...

Just flew out the pack in front of the house.  MUCH better rotor disk stability!!!  Now I'm happy.  Vibes were WAY down.

Were the vides due to the blade grips, that sounds pretty dangerous, what head speed you running?

No, not the blade grips, but the links.  They were fine, but I broke one because I had a minor tipover and blade strike due to the compass issues I was having.  Anyway, I've got genuine Align links too.

I think the vibes were due to the head dampers, not the links or the grips.  I'm not sure why the problem cropped up suddenly as I had used them for a while with no problem.  My guess is I was flying with CF blades which are stiff, and maybe worked ok with the soft dampers.  But lately I've been using FG blades, less stiff, so maybe the dampers need to be harder to work.  I'm not sure.

I also added the Align feathering shaft sleeve which should help.

It's slowly becoming an Align heli, and some may ask why not start with Align in the first place.  Well, first I didn't want the Align electrics that they force you to buy, and second, most of the heli is still HK.  Their aluminum parts are decent and very affordable.  It's mostly just a few little things that aren't great, mostly the plastic parts (tail drive shaft, links, dampers, landing gear).

I think my head speed is around 1600-1800, a bit lowish, but I prefer to keep it down for efficiency sake, as long as I can maintain a good flight stability.  Now it seems good.

I've been having mag trouble for quite some time now robert, i'm going to see martin At buildyourowndrone and get him to test mine next to a new one, its pretty handy for me to have him, only 25mins away.

I'll tell you how i get on.

What kind of trouble?

I Skyped with Randy last night because I can't figure out what's going on.  The compass looks fine.  But last night I had to hold in a bunch of right rudder to keep it from spinning.  I don't know why, as I was using the same settings I used previously which had worked.  I don't get it.  The only thing that has changed is now my vibes are quite a bit lower.  But it doesn't make any sense that that would cause the yaw system to get WORSE???

But, spring has arrived, and I'm going to be basking in the +10°C weather today!  I'm going to try and fly with the latest from GIT, see what happens.

Mine does not spin Robert, its just off by a around 15 degrees north, turn it east/west and its off by 45 degrees, it may well be the mag, i hope so.  


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