Woot offs are great! I am hoping to buy a recorder like the one i posted for sale the other day :)
Okay...here we go...
We're no longer loading down that poor little predator. Infact, it's role has be relegated to a training machine versus the final project. The main board has changed to something else, lower powered, but, still fun. No programming will be changed, and the basic idea of a network based remote controlled UAV will still be in that plane. The full project isn't dead, it's just been moved to staged development system. Why? Because better things are on the horizon...plus this path makes sure that everything that i have done and have bought thus far wasn't a waste.
New Programming Options
The new board is a recently procured Viper-Lite
. It is basically a DIY Pocket PC with a PXA255 200Mhz Xscale processor. It is small, 1.8Watts of power, adnd has only serial ports and a CF card slot of expansion. It is NOT IDEAL, as i was hoping it would be the regular VIPER with USB Host, but nothing that I've been playing with has been, so what else is new. This board is forcing me to buy and change a few things, which is okay. My servo controller now has to be serial based, as does my GPS. I will be going with the Lynxmotion SS322. Although it is bigger than the parallax serial servo controller, it is much much better and i can program it much more easily. I will be forced to try and constrict EVERYTHING to a 10-14MB ROM, saving at least 2MB for failsafe operations, such as return to home if power fails, GPS coordinates, and recording where home is. the 64MB flash is all going to go to program memory if i can make it so. The camera is going to still be routed through the board. However, there is only one way to do this: using the CF card. I have a LifeView Fly Grabber. It has two ports, but i can only view one at a time. This means that i will have to switch between fixed FPV and panoramic. Finally, the large camera will be removed for a smaller one that just is permenantly zoomed in with an optional 2x zoom. I am not sure if i can do video recording and streaming on this device, so there will be no real onboard recording. Finally, this board DOES have an ethernet controller, so the wifi based netwokring will have to be handled by an wireless game adatper, with converts 10/100 to 802.11b/g. My choice for that is the Linksys WGA54G. Power will still be the two batteries, but i may have to build a regulator...again...joy.
The new OS is Linux, Debian. Also, good news, Urbi has given me access to their engine to make my own. I am very happy with that news, but i wasn't able to touch it due to recent tragic events (RIP Shaf). Running linux will allow me to run the VLC.ipkg. Using that, i can stream to and record at the base station. A joint MSRS and Urbi will be running on the board, with MSRS handling the basic flight and UAV functions and URBI taking over for more complex commands. Sorry MSRS, i know C++, and C# is hard. What this means is that when the plane moves or goes to a waypoint, all instructions are handled by MS. If i move the camera, that is also handled by MS. However, the more fun things i want to play with, such as object collision avoidance, will be handled by Urbi. If MS fails me, Urbi will take over form there and that will be that.
The one thing that is upsetting is that ARCOM, the makers of the Viper, refuse to help me at all because i am a second hand buyer. All i needed was a sentence on how to make sure that Linux/CE made it into the ROM that the manual didn't answer. They suggested that i join the forums, so i will. Hopefully a kind soul will take me from there.
The final set of changes are in the base station and other gear. I have a new laptop and sold my other ones. It is an IBM T60 (yay dual core!). The transition has been rough, but i finally have the system how i want it, so now i can install/reinstall the necessary software. I'm still installing my basic stuff and it's been back form the depot for a day now. There will be another thing that i will be adding to the base station, but that is just a forethought. Also, this project needs to be done programming by November. Flying before the dead of winter. I technically have until Janurary to do the debugging. Then my feet will hopefully meet the horizon, and more fun things will happen. That and school. Finally.
Cost estimates for new supplies
Serial GPS (may have one that works already, but $40+)
Lynxmotion SSC- $40
Linksys WGA54G- $40-$50 ebay.
going with a FON router flashed with DD-WRT. I 'll make it a wireless brigde. It is cheaper than a WGA54G and it is better as i have a whole bunch more control
Total- $130. $200 is my cushion savings amount.
If anyone can help me with Debian booting from the rom, please do. i know it is a tough question, but once i get debian running, the rest is gravy.