I'm extremely new to this but I've been looking for a new autopilot system for my sailboat and when I came across this I thought it might be a fun project but I'm confused on some items so I thought I'd write and try to clear some things up.
First, I've searched the forum and seem to have found a few people trying to do the same things I am and it seems like I should only need to buy the following items.
ArduPilot - Arduino Compatible UAV Controller w/ ATMega328
FTDI Basic Breakout - 5V (I have a mini-usb - usb cable)
Interface Cable for EM406
plus it looks as if I have to get the Arduino Duemilanove 2009 AVR ATmega328P-PU USB board to contact the PC (are there any other options for this?)
If I read correctly, this would be what I would need to buy if I wanted to use a PC to plan my navigation. This would be ok but along with sailing, I'm also a pilot and have a couple extra GPS units laying around and from what I understand, I might be able to use one of these GPS units instead of the EM406. I understand my GPS is able to transmit a NMEA code which the ArduPilot can use. I guess what I'm getting at is would it be possible to program a waypoint in my gps and have the ArduPilot navigate to that waypoint without having to use the computer? I know the GPS is able to put out some kind of autopilot code (apb) through the NMEA port, so would this work?
Also, the autopilot on my sailboat now uses a linear actuator that controls the tiller. The website shows that the ArduPilot is made to handle 5 - 15 volts and my sailboat uses a 12 volt car battery for power. I know the ArduPilot is mostly used for RC stuff so I guess what I'm asking is would the ArduPilot handle that kind of power supply or would I have to reduce the amperage?
I'm sorry if these are dumb questions but I am really interested in this project and I just want to make sure I'm clear on what the device can do.