Looks like this flight controller uses the same components, and it's just $34


Both have:

Atmel's ATMEGA2560

MPU6050 6 axis gyro
HMC5883L 3-axis digital magnetometer
MS5611-01BA01 Barometric pressure sensor

Can someone explain to me the price difference? Even the software was ported so you can have same version on both boards. Why should I pay $180 for APM 2.5?


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These are FLYING ROBOTS; We are living in THE FUTURE! $180 doesn't seem so bad, especially if you compare it to buying all of the elements as Arduino-compatible modules (9 DoF IMU, GPS, Mega 2560, etc)

3DR probably has a lot of overhead: Accountants, lawyers, marketing/PR/website, facilities, certifications, product liability insurance, and of course R&D. And they make a quality product, which takes more time (therefore cost) per item.

HK is able to take 3DR's open source board and use it as a reference design for a cheaper version, skipping part (or most) of the R&D. HK sells a LOT of stuff, so their overhead is easier to recover. Also, because of their location, they probably have less overhead. And as others have noted, HK seems to have some quality control or design issues: quality control can be a huge cost.

As Ive said before,  I think it's priced pretty reasonably.....And has come down almost $50 from the APM 2, and another $50 from the APM1.

Now compare that to the Naza, which is $399 W/ GPS and does not even do waypoints.

But a more fair compairson would be to the Wookong M $1159

with 900mhz Telemetry your looking at                           $1679

Now if you want that system, only with 5 waypoints you have to add $900 to the total cost.

If that's not enough, you can move to the 50 Waypoint system. But that will cost you an extra $1100 on top of the $1679 for the hardware.

You can check it out for yourself here:

Or you can go for an APM 2.5 for $144.99 (unlimited waypoints)

Adding a GPS and Power module will bring it up to $179.99

Or for all of the above plus telemetry your looking at $259.99

You can check that out here:

Given the price of it's nearest competitor, and the trend of every dropping prices that we have seen so far. I think it's priced quite reasonably.

I posted a link to Joe's discussion about the Manufacturing Defect on page 1 of this discussion here.

Apparently it got missed.


Nathaniel ~KD2DEY

Waypoints are not unlimited on the APM.  The number is large but not unlimited.  The APM is, in my opinion, the best autopilot for the money.  The best I've flown for sure.

Will, don't forget the grand-daddy of them all.  A DJI Ace One helicopter system, fully loaded with multi-waypoint is $13,000.  Yes, you read that right!  I simply cannot believe they sell at that price.

Since I started just 15 months ago, I think the APM price has been cut to 1/3rd the original price.  When I started in October 2011, the APM1.4 with Oilpan was I think $250.  Then the GPS was $50, and $40 for a magnetometer.  For telemetry, the only option was a $200 Xbee.  And most of us were using sonar to try and get Alt Hold, which is another $40.  Total price: 


So yeah, prices has been cut by more than half.  Pretty great, IMO.

I still doubt if HK would do such stupid decision, that will break their future.

How can you make sure they are manufacturing fault or not user's wrong operation?

"I wonder how open hardware companies can..."

Here, fixed it for you.

Great Value agreed...

Open Source, means Build it yourself, Or pay a small fee for someone else to build QA and distribute.

In general (Not attacking anyone at all,  except the whiners who want everything for nothing, but have never gotten off their behinds and done anything useful....)  Of course it is fair to ask a question and listen to the reply, remember, 3DR are a business, they are in the business of making money, it just happens that their money comes from people buying assembled open source gear, the Code which is developed across the community is free, and support (as it is) is free, isn't that a pretty good deal.:

The High Priced Commercial Autopilot boards are sold as turnkey solutions, open source "beta" products have no warranty (that they will operate safely), Little Liability (make sure your insurance is paid up and you use it in a responsible and lawful manner), provides the user the ability to alter the code, insert your own controller (Simple PID control is crap, which is why the standard Ardupilot may not perform properly, and even if properly tuned will only work "well" around the setpoint at which you tuned the controller. If you don't understand that then maybe you aren't really a control person at all..  However PID control is the most complex controller that the average person is ever likely to master (Without extensive research and experimentation on more advanced control laws.) )

Systems Like Micropilot, meet ISO (9001:2008) standards, and are able to be authorised for use in much wider airspace than hobby grade systems because the company building it controls the code and hardware and accepts liability of the muck hits the fan....

Accept the limitations, or get involved...    Buy the cheap Chinese copy, as obviously you (the one willing to take the risk) are a keyed-in person in the area of autopilot development, and have the ability to re-write the code to make it do what you want it to do....

Or, get the APM and use it as-is to learn how it works (or in some cases doesn't, then improve on it and upload your improvements for the development team and the community will love you...

There is a reason why the Military and NASA spend millions of dollars improving system reliability and robustness.....   AND THEY STILL CRASH.  (note: one GOOD MEMS sensor costs many times what you/we are willing to pay for your/our entire 'airborne PLUS ground' system...)

BTW, don't you think the Real players in the commercial world hate what the Open Source community has done, making available this type of system for pennies while they are asking a minimum of $1500 (up to > $10k) ....CA must be on everyone's hit list.

I meant what I said "I wonder how Open Hardware can survive". If the clones don't supplement future development, there will be nothing to clone or maybe it will just slow innovation as companies come and go more rapidly, none with a viable business model. I want open hardware to be a reality, since I would normally not have access to the details as a consumer without being an employee in such an tech area.

Bill.   The clones still allow software development (unless they are using proprietary ASM language and not allowing access to the source, after all the hardware is just sticking chips on a board (prefer someone else to do it and validate that it works before loading code), the magic happens when the software brings it all together.

The OpenSource phenomenon means that dedicated enthusiasts get stuff working. With or without corporate support.  A PseudoSocialist Closed system won't allow the development, and people will be back to etching their own boards and spending long nights soldering components. (Also if the Numbers aren't there, HK et al won't continue selling internationally.)

It will only take a few disasters with clones for the community to see if there is any value in the lower-cost alternatives.  If the clones are closed, then developers won't even touch them (unless it is to hack the code and open them up.)


You get what you pay for.

Apple products are overpriced for what they are.  An equivalent windows box can be had for half the cost and a linux box can be had for even less still.  Apple was recently hailed as the most valuable company ever.

Engineering and future products don't buy loyalty they deliver to the consumer.  Does the HobbyKing MulitWii deliver, ask the people on RC Groups...

Wait for APM 3.0 and you can get more functionality for the same price.

Apple? Now you've gone too far! LMAO


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