New product at Hobbyking, which looks like a stripped-down autopilot (just four waypoints, and no GCS) for $159. Fixed-wing only. Does anyone have any experience with it? 

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Comment by Hunter Parris on December 16, 2012 at 1:59pm

Nope, but from the sound of it it's a waste of money.  Ardupilot - $179, unlimited waypoints, free GCS, great support, wiki user manual, fixed and copter vs. Arkbird - $159, 4 waypoints, no GCS, Chinese-based support, probably no manual or poorly translated, fixed wing only....Its a no-brainer to me.

Comment by Hunter Parris on December 16, 2012 at 2:02pm

It doesn't matter how good the product is or how "plug & play" it is, if you don't have the great support, it's not worth a dime.


Developer
Comment by Bill Bonney on December 16, 2012 at 2:30pm
Comment by Veikko Vierola on December 16, 2012 at 2:51pm

Parris, you are totally right...there is a lot of autopilots on the market but the configurability and support of those are not good. I think the Ardupilot is really way ahead compared to the other pilots because it has so much possibilities and great support...and the price is also reasonable...

Comment by Ravi on December 17, 2012 at 7:51am

APM alogorithm and code is way advance belive me. nobody can even come close to it when u restrict the price to $200. it would be very frustrating to buy a chinese autopilot and then try to configure it. ofcourse do not exepct any support.

Comment by John Sheehy on August 26, 2013 at 5:02am

Can anyone tell me what GCS is?


Developer
Comment by Bill Bonney on August 26, 2013 at 7:06am
Comment by John Sheehy on August 26, 2013 at 9:35am

Thanks Bill, I found out GCS means Ground control station but the link you put up is really helpful.

John

Comment by Michael M. on October 5, 2013 at 12:17pm

Comparing this to the Ardupilot seems like apples to oranges. This is sold as an OSD for FPV pilots not as a true auto pilot. You have the addition of having an auto pilot. built in for return to home

Comment by changosurf on October 13, 2013 at 6:04pm

I agree with @Michael, the arkbird is meant to meet a different requirement than the APM.

Its strength lies in its simplicity; It's a whole lot easier to install & get running, and it 'does its job' relatively well without having to do a bunch of tuning & configuration (as you most likely would need to do with APM in order to achieve the same goal).

In this respect, APM almost seems 'too powerful and complex for its own good'; with so much complexity and sophistication comes the overhead of a steeper learning curve and significant time investment in order to obtain an optimal setup. Not everyone can, wants, or needs to deal with this kind of complexity in order to receive a massive amount of sophisticated functionality (most of which they'll never use). I've made the claim that perhaps there's a clear need to develop an 'APM light' solution that uses the same hardware, yet that is much more limited in functional scope, is geared more toward experienced, manual (*FPV*) piloting, and which has a much higher degree of simplicity. But I digress...

Again, the main purpose of the arkbird is to serve as an OSD for FPV, while at the same time providing 'out-of-the-box' flight stabilization & RTH solutions. The main drawback seems to be the fact that its firmware is currently closed-source, and that, apparently, there have been some concerns over quality control w/ the hardware. Aside from that, it looks like a pretty good for the price range.

As soon as someone comes up with an alternative, custom firmware for the arkbird's hardware setup, it could become a pretty powerful, yet reasonably-priced tool in the FPV world.

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