Maestro or Ardutracker for Antenna Tracker Servo Controller: PROS and CONS?

Greetings,

I am preparing to take advantage of the MP's antenna tracking ability and I am interested in what peoples experiences are with the two common controllers, Maestro and the Ardupilot legacy board. What are the Pros and Cons for each and why did you choose the board you did?

Also there are a few things that are unclear to me.

1) For those who are using Maestro, where did you get the source code for accepting input from the MP. Links for downloading source code would be appreciated.

2) What is the most recent version of the source code for the Ardutracker code? I have found the link in the wiki to version that reports it has been deprecated but I have found no other version available. That version is listed as ver 1.0, but I have seen posts where people make reference to a version 1.1. Links to downloading the most recent version would be appreciated.

Regards,

Nathaniel

Tags: Antennae, Ardupilot, Ardutracker, MP, Maestro, Mission, Planner, tracker

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OK After a bit more investigating on my own... I found the answer to number one appears to be that it isn't necessary to load any code as it ships pre-loaded with the necessary firmware to interpret the signals from the MP. As for number 2 I still haven;t found an answer....anybody????

From what I've read I think the Maestro is probably the better solution from what I've learned it appears that the tracker will have better resolution (movement increments) with the Maestro than the Ardupilot Legacy board. Can anyone offer a differing or supporting opinion here???

I would like to hear about anyone's experience with either of these solutions.

Anyone????

Regards,

Nathaniel

ardutracker should still work, as nothing has realy changed, but the maestro offers more features in my opinion.

Michael,

Thanks for the response and all your great work on the Mission Planner! Do you think there is any benefit to using anything other than the Micro 6 Channel? For example speed or any other considerations? I've decided that even though I've got an Ardupilot Legacy board currently not being used I think I'd rather use the Maestro and save the Ardupilot for another smaller UAV project.

Anybody else have any opinions or experiences they want to share?

Regards,

Nathaniel

OK So I have successfully built the AT using the Micro Maestro 6 channel micro-controller, connected it to the MP and am able to communicate with the AT for a full 365 degree pan and 110 degree tilt.

My only question now has to do setting up and pointing the AT. The basic instructions say to setup the AT pointing North and use the trim function to point the AT at the home location. The only problem with that is that my field is in a North-South orientation and the pilots location (and the AT) is on the west side of the runway. Therefore if I setup the AT pointing North and trim the AT to point at Home (East) I only have 90 degrees of travel to the South before the AT swivels CCW to the other end of the travel range to resume tracking at a bearing of 181 degrees.

Can I setup the AT somehow to enable equal travel North and South?

Regards,

Nathaniel ~KD2DEY

Never mind I just needed to use the correct keywords in my search! For those interested, Michael already answered this question here and yes you can. Just setup the AT pointing any direction you wish and use the trim function to point it at the plane!

Can someone confirm this fro me? If I point my AT in a given direction and click 'Find Trim Pan (3DR Radio)' as shown below will it point the AT at the Plane (Home) and set the trim automatically by finding the source of the signal?

Regards,

Nathaniel KD2DEY

Hi Nathaniel,

Looks like you have sorted out a solution. I am using the tracker primarily for my video rx. I used the ardustation for a long time and it worked well. The main downside is it only works with xbee, and you need two of them if you also want to have telemetry to a laptop. As with all the diydrones stuff, it's open source so you can add features as needed. I customized the flight data screen so I could see the key info I needed on the LCD screen.

Using an old ardupilot board is another option which I have not tried. It doesn't have the inbuilt LCD advantage of ArduStation, though.

I recently switched to the maestro method and it works well, also. Took a while to get right, but I like how it integrates with mission planner much better, and setup is also a bit easier. I am about to upgrade to the RFD900 long range radios, so the old ardustation would not have worked anymore.

The only downside of the maestro solution is that there is yet another cable (laptop USB to maestro) to manage and keep an eye on to avoid binding. The ardustation at least could be mounted on the moving part of the tracker frame.

Regards

James

James,

Thanks for your input! I also have an older Ardustation and had considered using it also, however I too like the Maestro setup.

I still haven't gotten to fly with this setup so I haven't been able to answer some of the lingering questions for myself yet. Do you know the answer to my last question about what the 'Find Trim Pan (3DR Radio)' is meant to do in the MP? Also I assume I should estimate the tilt angle and point the tracker at the plane?

Regards,

Nathaniel ~KD2DEY

Hi Nathaniel,

I don't own any 3DR radios so have not tried that button. I have too many X-Bees lying around to spend more money on another radio system. That said,  I am buying a couple of RF900 radios to try them for their longer range.

 

Regards

James

 Nathaniel the find function just scans trying to find the highest angle rssi. you can tune it manualy. using the sliders.

I have both the Ardustation & the Maestro.

I had troubles with Ardunio compiler a while back so I bought a Maestro, and if I'm using a PC with MP then I will only use the Maestro. The Ardustion is a good stand alone device.

One thing I really like about using the Maestro is that the speed of the servo & the travel range can be set independently from the the MP, making the movement a little smoother & preventing servo over-travel.

I have not tried this with a 3DR radio ,  yet..

I'm close to being finished building my tracker, and have a question.  The pan on my tracker is capable of travelling more than 360 degrees, not multi-turn, but it can probably do 400-450 degrees based on a PWM from 600-2500.  Can this be accommodated in MP?  Or is there a hard limit of 360° and 1000-2000 PWM?  Hopefully not, because 1000-2000 only gets me about 300°.

I'm planning to use a Maestro if it matters.

Robert, the mp will only use the 360 degrees in the middle. and will swing all the way around if you go past 180 + or -180 to the other extent.

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