I purchased a Gaui330x-s a couple of months ago. It has been a constant struggle. I've replaced the frame with an Xproheli.com frame and that made a big improvement but the gyro is inconsistent and just isn't reliable enough. My goal is to have a system for shooting aerial video with my GoPro2.
A week ago that setup took a dive into a pond. It looked like the ESC's fried but the rest seemed to be fine. I replaced the ESC's and then found that the gyro is now all over the place. Basically I have 4 scorpion motors, gaui ESC's, a bad gyro and a frame. Time for a change!
Down the road I may replace the gyro but here's what I'm looking for.
I want a new multi-rotor system geared towards shooting video with a GoPro and upgradeable or including autonomous flight. There are so many options here that I'm quickly getting lost. There are many other solutions out there but those here seem to be more affordable and much more advanced. I think that this community will enable me to take this as far as I'm willing to go.
Any help or direction would be greatly appreciated. Stability and little vibration for the camera is my primary concern, but would like to be able to upgrade as far as I want to go.
Thank you in advance!
This is what I was looking at, but don't know much about the telemetry or sonar options. Also would I need the more powerful motors for the GoPro payload and what are the camera attachment options? http://www.udrones.com/product_p/acrtf2.htm
i think arducopter is a great platform, its not free from its complications but with some work you can get a really stable and vibration free platform for a light camera like a go pro.
buying a kit is probably the quickest way to get something in the air, but be aware that the electronics can fly pretty much any airframe - you could re-use your motors and/or frame if theyre in good condition. the default software setup will probably work better on a "standard" 3DR frame but with a bit of tuning im sure you get pretty much anything flying smoothly.
i always land manually and dont really have any need for sonar - if you want to use auto-land or fly FPV it would be more useful. i dont have a wireless telemetry connection and really must get one, do look at the 3DR alternative to xbee: https://store.diydrones.com/3DR_RadioTelemetry_Kit_915_Mhz_p/kt-tel... i cant use the 900mhz band here but if youre in the states its a possible solution.
autonomous flight is great fun, i dont think theres anything else that can do as much as this for the money. ive had to dedicate a few weeks to damping vibrations at my camera mount, but its been pretty straightforward and ive got a really stable platform now.
James, thank you so much for the info. I've learned a ton in the last few months but this is an entirely new level here. Just tried my existing setup again and it's losing power once it gets going and just isn't reliable at all, really never has been. I've heard complaints about Gaui but not until after my purchase of course. I'll put it down as a great trainer I guess.
So I guess the kit would be the way to go for me, I have a Futaba T8FG and will keep that transmitter. Would like to get to FPV at some point so most likely will add the sonar. One question on the telemetry connection, does that give you long range capabilities or does it allow you to make changes mid flight? I'm a bit confused as to what that is exactly. I've seen the long range antenna's, etc. but not sure if that's what this is. I am in the US.
A couple more questions:
Thanks again so much for your help! Very happy to have found this site! I live up in the mountains of Colorado with no hobby shop within 100 miles!
the wireless connection should be good for a mile of range - it gives you all the flight instruments (artificial horizon, altitude, heading, ground speed, vertical speed, etc.), map of the current position, mission scripting and access to the control parameters. its really very complete, but its a low bandwidth connection just sending and receiving data about the flight. for each wireless system you want to run youll need a seperate frequency, if your radio is on 2.4ghz and you plan to have a video stream at some point then try to choose the telemetry frequency that wont get in the way of these other bands. big, directional antennas are to boost range and if you decide to go down that road youll need an antenna for each wireless system.
be aware that in the mountains GPS can be a bit sketchy, as you move in and out of satellite coverage it has a tendency to jump about a bit.
Thanks James, yeah GPS can be a bit sketchy around here but improving all the time. I track my mountain biking with the GPS on my phone and upload that to Google Maps, amazingly very few blackouts. I would like to know what you come up with as far as a custom solution for the camera mount. Thanks again for all the helpful information!
its not so much blackouts that are a problem - arducopter will stop navigating if it loses gps fix completely, rather the sudden position jumps as you get better/worse coverage. a 50m error could send you flying straight into a cliff/tree/anything at all :)
just have to be ready to return to manual control in case things go too far off course.
I see what you mean! I got everything setup and calibrated yesterday and only a couple broken props in maybe 60 min. of flight time. Much better stats than I'm used to. I do see the GPS doesn't seem as accurate as I was thinking. Not really accurate, just seems to have a hard time getting back to home on the RTL mode, a slight wind can make it continue to drift. Stabilize works great but have found when you include the simple mode that can be not so simple. Simple mode has been the largest challenge and the cause for the prop damage. It seems that it starts out fine, knows where forward "North" is, but seems to change it's mind mid flight and I have to quickly adjust to understand the new config. without crashing. Those have been the only close calls.
Flying in Stabilize alone seems to be the best for what I'm used to, obviously I've only done manual stuff thus far. Want to make sure I have that somewhat mastered before sending the device on a mission that I may have to recover.
I would also now like to add the telemetry like your suggestion above. I assume that works with APM 1 or Mega and not only the APM2 board. I can now see the importance of not having a usb cable right next to the quad in the field, as well as in flight data/changes. Can that be applied to my APM1 board?
One more thing, is the new APM2 board that much better? If it is, for $199 that's a great deal considering the cost to replace my Gaui gyro controller for 250 or so.
Thank you again for your early help with a noob, and appreciate any help that you can provide down the road!
stabilize and loiter are really the main everyday flight modes, and even though you have a "standard" frame you might be able to get it flying a bit sharper with some PID tuning. this is important because the auto modes rely on this flight control just as we do when flying manually, improving the tune in manual should improve everything.
failing that you could try raising the "NAV P" -i honestly cant remember what the default is or where i have mine set- to make it try a little harder to overcome the wind.
telemetry will work on the APM 1, though i dont know how long this board will be officially supported. i do know there are a lot of people still flying the APM 1 with 1280 chip (discontinued) which is _not_ officially supported any more and have no trouble at all with the latest code.
APM2 supposedly has better sensors and the latest code is now optimized to make use of them, i cant tell you if it flys better because i only have APM 1. as you say though, for $200 its great (and ill have to get myself one soon ;))
I think you are jumping way to quickly to blame the hardware. I don't understand what you mean when you say "it just isn't reliable at all". that doesn't make sense. Gaui builds pretty quality stuff and there are no widespread complaints about quality. What does "loosing power" mean? Does that mean it won't get off the ground? What does that mean? You could have bad batteries based on that description.
Anyhow, I'm always concerned when users immediately jump in and start blaming the hardware (anybodies hardware). THis stuff is pretty complex and any number of things can cause problems - most of them user created - but the tendency is to always blame the hardware first.
Arducopter stuff is good solid stuff but what you are talking about is WAY more complex than what you have so expect to do a good amount of research and following instructions to make it work ok.
As far as equipment, for your first complex copter I suggest you go only with the stuff sold on DIYDrones. That way you'll have good support and you'll know the stuff will work together. DIYDrones has a nice little GoPro mount that works fine with the ArduPilot APM2.0/1.0.
All the best,
Thank you for the reply. A couple of examples on the Gaui that I initially struggled with were first, the stock connectors between the scorpion motors and the ESC's were no good at all. It took some time and many crashes before realizing that was the issue. I bought 3rd party connectors and that fixed it. Of course the crashes on the weak stock frame did much damage. The stock frame had break away engine mounts that would often break away mid flight. An additional issue was that the "rudder" trim had to be exactly right or it wouldn't fly at all. I actually had to subtrim +175 on my transmitter because the thumb trim couldn't go any further. Then if it was one or two clicks off, with a little power it would just flip over when trying to take off.
Just little things that had to be tweaked a bit, but I could never feel confident that it was going to perform the same way on different days when nothing had been changed. Of course there were many user errors in there as well!
There was also little support and others couldn't get them to fly at all. After the latest crash into a pond, completely my fault, I thought that only the ESC's burned out. Motors were fine, receiver, etc. But after replacing the ESC's and adding the 3rd party connectors, once it flies for a few minutes it just starts to have little shorts where it loses power, it will suddenly spin on Y axis a bit, and eventually just drops from the sky. I'm sure that the gyro needs to be replaced but not sure and don't want to gamble $250. I'd rather take this opportunity to move on to something else. I'll probably fix it down the road, but it doesn't have much room to grow as far as capabilities.
Glad to have found this place and seems to have an incredible support system, something that I couldn't find for the Gaui issues that I experienced! Looking forward to stepping it up a few notches here.
I now see the post that you read regarding power issues, if you read the first one it explains that the power issues I'm now experiencing came after a crash and total submersion into a pond! Can't believe it wasn't a total loss!