Currently I have an APM2 on order. What I would like to do is just have the APM2 be an FBL controller. I have a direct drive tail (no servo) with a gyro. I would have to test it later with the APM but to see if it works I just want it to be in stabilize mode all the time. To do this should I just plug in the cyclic servos (1,2 and 3) and ail, elev, and pitch, and then set all the modes to stabilize? I know my tail gyro works to a point, I just want to keep things simple first and build up from there.
First, we've got to see your servo-less tail.
It works like a blade sr. Instead of the gyro controlling the servo it controls the esc. It's hard on both the esc and the motor but it would be just like a multicopter. Nothing special, I just don't have enough channels to work a motor and a servo on the tail and I don't have the set up for belt drive or other system to drive off of the main rotor.
Gotcha! What model are you trying it out on?
It's a mix of sorts. I'll post something when it actually hovers.
Yes, it should work. My FBL trex450 flies a-ok with just the APM2 + extrenal gyro and no other FBL controller.
The thing is that it'll fly a little differently than the other FBL controllers out there in that FBL controllers are generally "rate controllers"...so when you release the sticks the heli stops rotating but basically maintains it's current attitude. So say for example, it's leaning over at 10degrees and you release the sticks..with a regular FBL it'll maintain that 10degree lean. With the APM2 when you release the sticks it'll return to a stable(ish) hover. So, I think it's actually much easier to fly than with an FBL but .. you know..it's depends what you want I guess. The APM2 has a lot more "smarts" in it than an FBL controller but of course it's not quite so ready-to-go-out-of-the-box like a professional FBL controller is.
Thank you randy. Your experience is actually what I would like to do to start and then hopefully switch to all on the APM2. I just wasn't sure if there was a fail safe in the firmware that wouldn't allow it to fly unless everything was connected. As well as I don't know how brave I am to do the waypoint stuff after seeing the forums as well as the two videos on mygeekshow. When you talked about "stable(ish) hover" I'm assuming you're refering to the many hours/days I will be messing with the pid settings. Is there an easier way to pid tune and that won't possibly have a fatal crash? I like to mess around with that stuff, I'm just a little tired of seeing/repairing my bird especially after I thought I had a good fbl controller to help me (not talking about the APM2).
I've crashed plenty although it's happening a lot less these days.
When it comes to tuning stablize mode..I always started by getting the tail right first. I mounted my heli on a little turning plate and make sure that's working before moving onto roll/pitch.
Heli's are a lot harder than quads, that's for sure. just the additional mechanical complexity is such a drag. With a tradheli..I seriously wonder if it's possible to get an hour of flight time without some kind of mechanical failure.
I've done the plate too and it works fine but take off is another story.
I wouldn't know about quads. They look fun.
The only mechanical I had was a bent shaft and a cracked blade. Which isn't an easy fix like quads.
Randy, I think it is possible to go with much longer MTBF on helis, but you need good equipment. Not Align, and certainly not Hobby King. The problem is that it seems like with Arducopter, soon as you have a small mechanical problem, (maybe a bearing going) it can very easily lead to a really bad crash.