I'm hoping someone here can point me in the right direction. I founded a program that brings RC Aviation to at-risk youth. We're currently in various Boys & Girls Clubs. This year we're experimenting with a couple scratch build programs with the older youth who are a bit more interested in the hobby.
Here's my problem, the person I originally had who was going to help me with this program has to leave suddenly and now I'm the one who will be heading this portion of the program and I've never used or even built a multi-copter or worked with Ardu products.
I have a history flying fixed wing aircraft and have flown muti-copters "a bit" before but never have I done a build.
We're looking to use a platform which was created for us which we can easily replicate. someone we know went through a lot of trial and testing to come up with a great solid platform. it's called the H-Virus (http://flitetest.com/articles/The_H_Virus) We have two of these platforms.
We also have Scorpion and Castle sponsors for the project so we'll be using their motors and esc's.
(4) Scorpion SII-2212-960Kv (11.5 props)
(4) ICE Lite 50A ESC's with CC BEC 10A (running GoPro2 Hero, ardu, and eventually FLIR Tau 320 19mm for crop surveying (UAV)
(Fatshark Goggles to have FPV capability)
We also have (3) APM 1 Kits and Eagle Tree 2D/3D Stabilizer.
Given that we have all this, do you think this is something that is fairly straight forward? Or am I going to have to do a great deal of programing etc? I thought it was a matter of uploading firmware etc...
I don't want to start this program and get over my head if this isn't doable.
Any help would be greatly appreciated
No programming is required! Just download the Mission Planner and plug in the APMs. It's a simple point-and-click setup process. The instructions are here.
PS--the APM 1 is an older autopilot, but assuming you have the 2560 version (the one that's been made for the past couple years) you should be fine. There was an earlier one, which was discontinued in 2010, that used a 1280 chip that's no longer supported. You can tell by looking at the big chip on the red board: it should say 2560 if it's the modern one.
Be honest now Chris...
Mike the reality is that heading down the path you are about to will take quite a bit of dedication and at times being a programmer will help you out loads. Be aware at the very least that the documentation that you were just pointed at is notorious for being incomplete and behind the current revisions of the product code. I am personally a little over 2 years in now and have yet to get to the point of "trusting" my gear to go full GPS control. I've seen and read way to much at this point...
If this is your first time here Mike, poke around the forums a bit familiarize yourself with some of the common problems that people have. Make sure you are comfortable working them out. You will find that there are several people here that have gotten fairly frustrated trying to get to the point of having their APM "turn any fixed, rotary wing or multirotor vehicle (even cars and boats) into a fully autonomous vehicle; capable of performing programmed GPS missions with waypoints". This stuff isn't always plug and play, even though it may be advertised as such.
You CAN have fun... you CAN get this gear to fly. It CAN be difficult getting there. Stop by the Rants & Raves forums before you make any decisions. There are some good people here... and there are some ugly people here. Be prepared to support yourself, because simply put you won't always find the answers that you need here. If you get stuck... you are on your own. This is DIY.
As a final note, since you are working with a mentorship for kids I would gladly donate one of the APM's that I am not using to you. Please PM me an address and I will send you one to help get you on your way. My only suggestion to you is to make yourself aware of how your crafts will behave when the AutoPilot brain fails. I'd hate to see you in an unexpected situation because an AP introduces behavior that you were not familiar with. IF you have never drone'd before... please figure it out yourself before you start working with children. There are a lot of unknowns and these are NOT toys.
Thanks guys for all the advice. It's exactly what I'm looking for. Currently we have three of the newest APM 1 kits which DIY donated to our program. So I'm sure they are the "newer" ones (although not APM2) I do have to soder them.
Our goal was actually "eventually" get it to use waypoints and add on our GoPro and FLIR for crop surveying to show youth how they can use the software for practical and environmental uses. (although easier said than done and this is obviously our ultimate goal)
I'd be happy to get the thing flying and holding a GPS position.
I do have a EagleTree OSD Pro as well as a RUBY (ruby isn't going to help with roto aircraft at this point) but I would like to eventually get the kids to get into this trial and error work with this program. I fairly experienced with flying as well.. I also know that these AREN'T toys..
I WAS under the impression that all I had to do was upload the firmware type of multi-copter (x) and tweek settings to get this thing to work. I did not think that it was so much more intense in coding...
"I'd be happy to get the thing flying and holding a GPS position"
Sell those 3 APM's and get you a Naza with GPS upgrade! ;)
The current meme here is that IF you want to just drop it in and upload / go, then you need to own a 3dr branded frame, motors, and esc's. I would not necessarily attempt this with the "H-Virus" given your explained lack of multirotor build experience or drone experience..
I wish I could find the thread for you! There was a very recent forum conversation about end user results with stock 3drobotics branded gear vs. random off the shelf combinations. There is another conversation going on right now about using non 3dr branded ESC's and their poor electrical properties causing issues powering the board. Aka... buy 3dr branded gear if this is your first go at things.
It isn't "intense coding" per say btw... just that you may need to have an understanding of code IF things deviate from standard at all. OR if you have an odd enough issue you may be expected to come up with a fix yourself, or be told nicely "you too CAN fix this!".
Just be prepared to "participate" and not simply get hand outs with regard to stuff automagically working.
No I totally get what your saying. I don't want to sell those just yet just due to the fact that they were donated... and I think this could be a great live and learn thing for the kids and myself.
As for the gear... I hear ya. The only issue is that we're a sponsored program so the gear we're getting is free. We don't have funds at the moment to pick and choose. As well, I know it's not supported (out of the box) motors/esc's etc... but they are Scorpion and Castle so I know I'm getting superior products.. now it's all about melding it together with the software.
Although I would lik to get my hands on one of those Naza with GPS modules.. that would be a great "Plan B" :)
As far as the build goes, it's seems to be very easy, the H-Virus is already built, everything else should be fairly straight forward. I know (and nor do I want) a plug in play type of project. I want to go through various trouble shooting but I also want it to be a good experience and not just a frustrating project.
I'm doing this while also creating a fixed wing UAV using Ruby as a test program for another club so I do have my hands full... but I have good background and support for the fixed wing scratch build.
Again guys... I REALLY Appreciate all this advice! Thank you guys...
Best of luck, probability and randomness to ya sir. You sound as if your mentality is certainly in the right place. So go help those kids have fun!
Mike, I'm the one who donated the APMs (at considerable personal cost), so I sure hope you use them! The software has been much improved of late, so I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Again, programming is NOT required!
The point of the donation was to inspire kids to get interested in technology. Obviously, they'll learn a lot more from an open source autopilot, where they can see how it works if they want, than a closed source commercial one, which is just another electronics gadget made in China. My donation was to help create Makers, not just consumers ;-)
"at considerable personal cost"... you own the company. It was a tax write off at best. Nicely spun. =]
I paid for it out of my own pocket. I don't use company resources for charitable contributions.
No, I have not received a penny from the company. I'm an investor, which means I put money IN.
Why are we talking about this? Mike just wanted to get some advice for the kids he's mentoring. I wrote a check for ~$300 to help those kids, and now you're attacking me. Why?
It's cool Chris... I am just razzing you a little over the "at considerable personal cost". Given the cost of components, your founders discount and fact that they are only worth about $125 (coming from someone trying to sell about 9 of em). I just found it humorous.
You know why I am attacking you brother.... if you want to call a little razzing an attack. Just be honest with folks man.
Having been at the mercy of your poor documentation and absentee leadership style I found it funny that you tried to make the man feel bad for talking about selling them by implying that you were put out on a limb to give them to him.
In reality you donated roughly $300 bucks which really isn't "considerable personal cost". (It's a tax write off)
"An investor is someone who allocates capital with the expectation of a financial return."
Serious bro... no need to comment further. I just like helping keep you honest from time to time. ;) You can't fault me for that now can you?