APM 2.0 is the culmination of almost a year of hard work. We wanted to make it perfect and we finally have it, we are pushing the limits of AVR and Arduino. I’m sure you will love it, and it’s designed to cover all the DIY community expectations (including those that are not so DIY and are only interested for something that doesn’t require soldering skills). 


Check the product listing for availability status!


Main Features

  • Three processors--a triple-core autopilot!
  • All new state-of-the-art sensors; the first autopilot to use the Invensense 6DoF MPU-6000
  • Smaller, lighter, cheaper than APM 1.0--just $199 ready to fly, with GPS, magnetometer and dataflash included.
  • Like APM 1.0, this is the world's only Universal Autopilot. The same hardware can autonomously control planes, multicopters, regular helicopters, rovers, even boats, with just a one-click firmware change--no programming required! Best-of-breed mission planning and two-way telemetry, and soon with advanced scripting with Python for robot acrobatics and more.
  • Twice as much dataflash memory, with SD card slot
  • No soldering required
  • When using the internal sensor fusion processor of the MPU-6000, more than half of the Atmega2560 processing capacity is free for new advanced features.
  • Native USB, with all new PPM encoder software

 


New sensors

The big advance in APM 2.0 is the introduction of the Invensense MPU-6000 sensors, which have an internal Digital Motion Processor (DMP) that does advanced sensor fusion. We’ve tested it for months, including lots of flying, and it significantly outperforms the DCM used in APM 1.0. It’s your choice whether you want to  use the MPU-6000 internal sensor fusion or do it yourself in the main processor, but if you choose the DMP it frees up nearly 40% of the processing power in the Atmega 2560. This is a digital chip, so we were able to eliminate the ADC chip used in APM 1.0, lowering chip count along with cost and size.

We’ve also upgraded the barometric pressure sensor to the MEAS MS5011, which has a resolution of 10cm! This is at least twice as accurate as the pressure sensor on APM 1.0 and should give ArduCopter best-of-class altitude hold capability. Here are some of our side by side tests conducted by Jose Julio (Spain):



We joke about the color of APM 2.0, we say that is the fusion of ArduPilotMega V1.x (Red board) and the Oilpan/Sensor Shield (Blue board) and resulted to be a purple board. Well this might not be the real reason of the purple color, in fact the APM 2.0 fuses the APM 1.0 and the Oilpan/Sensor board into one, in order to save space and make it cheaper.

Micro daughterboard

But why does it have a small daughterboard with an SD slot, GPS and the magnetometer on top? Aha! The big dilemma I had for months! I was very concerned about leaving the GPS and the Compass stacked on the main board. What will happen to the compass if the board is placed near to big electromagnetic fields like a brushless motor? What will happen if the board is inside a carbon fiber frame and GPS reception is blocked? But what happen if none of those issues matters to you and you want a small board with everything on it? What can I do to solve the necessities of everybody?

So I developed a small shield that can be mounted inside the boundaries of the pins and has special connectors to keep a very low profile of the system, so if you want a small board then you have it! But this shield is optional, so you can still attach your old GPS by using the standard APM V1.0 GPS connector or the classic compass port. But because I promised no soldering I have created a special I2C port (similar to the GPS) that allows you to attach an official APM 2.0 Compass board by just plugging it (yeah just plug and play). The SD slot is there because I had no other place with easy access (underneath the main board was messy and you will be obligated to dismount and flip the entire board to remove the card, you don’t want that right?). In the other hand the daughter board will come in four flavors: GPS+MAG+SD, GPS+SD, MAG+SD and SD. For example if you want to attach only the magnetometer (Compass) externally you just buy the option GPS+SD.


SD card dataflash

The SD slot can read regular SD cards. But for the moment we don’t use them in ArduPlane or Arducopter code because writing regular FAT tables is very slow and can screw up the main loop refresh rate (We’re not using a RTOS yet, and won’t until we migrate to ARM in Q1 next year). There’s why I have created a custom SD card with dataflash on it (twice the capacity of the one in APM 1.0), plus it has the advantage of being removable so you can have multiple logs or you can easily replace it when you exceed the life of the chip. But in case you are planning to use APM 2.0 in something that doesn’t require a 200Hz loops (like a very powerful data logger or weather station) you can interface with a regular SD cards and write text files on them. The possibilities are endless!

The board itself is our first four-layer design and is smaller than APM 1.0 (believe it or not it’s just 2.6 x 1.6 inches, even smaller than the UDB) and this includes four mounting holes and rounded edges to give a nicer look and feel! Of course it’s lead free and ROHS complaint.

New PPM encoder and USB interface

Along with the Atmega2560, there is an Atmega32-U2 that works as the USB (FTDI) serial programmer (Arduino Compatible) and PPM Encoder. This setup allowed us to save even more space and reduce prices by eliminating the FTDI chip in the APM 1.0 board. Best of all, you can update the Atmega32-U2 firmware without buying a SPI programmer; you can easily update via USB!

The Atmega32-U2 also features something called “Serial0 Auto Switch”. This function automatically toggles the serial port 0 from the Atmega2560 from the USB Serial programmer and the modem/OSD port. When you are about to upload a new code through the mission planner or Arduino the Atmega32-U2 will auto-route the Serial0 to the USB Com port and load the code, when is done it will automatically switch it back to the Modem or OSD port. This maximize the usage of this serial port that before was wasted the average of the time (not used while flying). On the APM 1.0 the modem won’t work when is programming and you don’t program anything while you are flying so theirs is virtually no downsides in normal operations. Anyway in case you want a dedicated UART for each you can still switch back to the old APM 1.0 configuration with some solder jumpers.

 




More I/O

APM 2.0 is also packed with 12 analog pins that can be used as digital I/O pins and three of them can be “solder jumpered” to add extra PWM output channels (for gimbal operations). Each analog/digital pins can be used to read or control special devices like current, RPM, voltage and ultrasonic sensors and output devices like cameras and relay’s. The mission planner will allow you to define in which pins you have connected a device and a drop box will give you the options to select pre-defined sensors or declare a new one (Something similar to Remzibi OSD). This sensors or output devices can be later used in missions and do actions when certain conditions are met (Not implemented yet).

APM 2.0 features 8 PWM outputs (and can be increased to 11 if you give up 3 of your 12 analogs) and 8 PWM inputs. You can also bypass one of the pins with a solder jumper to insert your own PPM signal, still you can use the other PWM inputs left to control something else (so you can have more than 8 inputs).

 
The +5V servo power is optionally separated from the rest of the board, you can join both powers by insert a regular jumpers. This saves us a lot of problem in some setups. It also features a protection diode to protect the board from reverse polarities.  Reset pins are left exposed with ground, so you can add an external reset switch if you wish.




Thanks to the incredible work of the DIY Drones Dev Team, the ArduPlane and ArduCopter code will support the APM 2.0 board when it ships. Special thanks to Pat Hickey, an embedded programmer rock-star, who led the team who ported the code to the new board. Others who worked tirelessly on this include Jose Julio, Andrew Tridgell, Doug Weibel., Randy MacKay, Jason Short, John Arne Birkeland, Olivier Adler, Sandro Benigno, Max Levine the 3DRobotics team and scores of others. It was a huge job!

Special thanks to Chris Anderson for making this possible.

 
The new code is already in the repository and supports both APM 1.0 and APM 2.0.  The Mission Planner will autodetect your board and load the appropriate code (Note: the official 3D Robotics APM 2.0 board has a unique signature and the MP will look for that. Other people can make their own APM 2.0 boards, but the official MP will probably not support them). But if you want to do it manually in Arduino just change this line in Config.h from APM1 to APM2: # define CONFIG_APM_HARDWARE APM_HARDWARE_APM1

 

APM 1.0 (back) vs APM 2.0 (front)


Price

As you can see the board is more than great! But when you discover the prices you will be double amazed:

APM 2.0 + Daughter board (with all sensors) + 1 x dataflash Card for datalogging + USB micro cable + All pre-soldered and tested for just $399… But we have a special DIYDrones promotion; if you buy it within the next 100 years you only will pay $199.95 (yeah you read it right $199 US Dollars). =P

Seriously. $199 for everything, for everyone, always.

Important note: The board is already available and tested, but with this incredible price you can expect a very high demand (even before formal announcement) so the only way you will be able to get one board soon is by pre-order at the link below. The expected waiting time is from 1 to 6 weeks. First come, first served. We expect to end this delay by February when the shortage of some sensors is over. (We’re going to limit the first batches of board to users; unfortunately we can’t allow distributor sales until customer pre-orders are filled)

 




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Tags: 2.0, apm, arduino, ardupilot, ardupilotmega, invensense, mega, mpu6000

Comments are closed for this blog post

Comment by Ockert on February 14, 2012 at 1:03am

Fully agree Brian. It is not as obvious to us as it is to everyone who has been following the development and pre-ordering.
If I read about this product on someone's blog and I want to then place an order, typically I would search for ardupilot, find a big "PRE ORDER" link posted everywhere, click on it and then get "out of stock". Only then do I look further and try to figure out. 

This forum at the bottom here is an obvious place to ask the question. And since we are on page 105 already, how is anyone suppose to know it has been asked before?

Remember, the news is spreading like wildfire and among the masses coming to this site are "not so web savvy" people.

I dont think there is an easy solution other than to please be patient with us mere mortals. I suppose it is the unfortunate result of the good position you are in at the moment. 

 

Comment by Tino Kaelin on February 14, 2012 at 4:45am

Hi there

Is it shure that something from us that will wait until last december will become a voucher ?

I never received any email about that. I think i have reading something about that in the middle of this "mega post" :-)


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on February 14, 2012 at 8:39am

Guys, I welcome your suggestions on how to do this better. As I say:

1) We give the current status on the product page. If you click on a pre-order button you will see that.

2) We link to the current status in this post

3) We give daily update on Twitter

4) We email you when your order is shipping. 

What exactly would you like me to do above and beyond this?  

Comment by Stafford Brunk on February 14, 2012 at 8:44am

My vote would be an APM2 powered drone with a loudspeaker that flies around to everyone's shipping addresses and informs them of their estimated shipping date.  For example:

(robot voice here) "Your ArduPilot Mega 2 will ship in 2.5555556 days"

Also, I would love to know how many APM2s are being produced per second.  If it isn't at least 5, I think everyone waiting on a preorder should receive a $0.10 store credit for being kept waiting.

Comment by David Baker on February 14, 2012 at 8:54am

@Chris, we appreciate the info and updates, however I think the main things everyone is looking for (including myself) is:

1) What is the last order # that will ship from the current batch for APM2 so we know if we made it in or not.

2) When will the next new batch of APM2 start being produced?

3) When will online ordering for APM2 be available again?

Provide these and most questions will go away.  Seems simple enough, but it's never been clearly provided as far as I know.

Great work by the way, looking forward to receiving my APM2!

Comment by Rod Cole on February 14, 2012 at 8:55am

Chris:

I have no complaints with the way you are providing delivery status, but then again, I follow you on Twitter. I am getting excited that I will soon have my coveted APM2 and can finish my Quad.

Comment by Stafford Brunk on February 14, 2012 at 9:01am

@David most of those have already been answered.

1) Jordi commented on Page 104 "Anyway all APM 2.0 are planned to be shipped this week, production is still on time to ship everything on Friday and worse case scenario Monday (Feb/20)... Some dudes that ordered 1-2 weeks ago may have to wait until Wednesday."  To me that reads "all orders we have will be out by next Wednesday".

2) Irrelevant since all orders are being fulfilled.  I don't see how this is relevant at all actually, they will produce as many APM2s as they have the time/parts for.  They aren't sitting around drinking brewskies waiting for a certain number of complaints.

3) It has already been stated that APM2 ordering will be reopened once the majority/all of the current orders have been filled.  They are trying to fill the current orders so that they can offer the APM2 in the various configurations.

Everyone really just needs to take a chill pill.  I understand you've been waiting for 80 years but they are pumping them out as fast as possible.

Comment by Terry Patton on February 14, 2012 at 9:02am

To be fair. I notice that cuav have changed that apm2 page with a new disclaimer.  In trying to read the babelfish translated English, apparently it is some sort of a test page. http://www.cuav.net/store/product.php?id_product=2#idTab1 Quote:  *** Not available. Do not shoot Only for the test system ****

Word certainly got back quickly, from someone or some company.

On another topic.

@jordi. Regarding your answer to my clean remark. Thanks for the reply to my comment and the action taken. I was just trying to be helpful and I hope it wasn't taken the wrong way. I assumed the flux was of the no clean required type, so I wasn't worried and I would have raised my concern to a higher level if it wasn't. They would just look better cleaned. I see, by your reply that you took it to heart and have done just that. Sorry if it added a step to the process, but it makes a beautifully made board, even prettier. ;-)

Comment by Brian Linger on February 14, 2012 at 9:14am

@Chris, you repeat yourself a lot, in the world of ones and zeroes we call this a loop.  It seems like this is what you were complaining about with your comment yesterday, not a good use of your time correct?  As this occupies a small portion of my life, I don't think it's a great use of my time to repeat mine and others requests.  I will take my small spending power and invest it elsewhere.  I wish you and DIY luck, and suggest personally that you show the gratitude you must have for customers willing to trust DIY with what to some people is a lot of money in this economy.

I follow all public information provided, and have since mid November

Comment by David Baker on February 14, 2012 at 9:15am

@Stafford, thanks for filling in.  It's hard to keep up with all the posts...that's probably part of the problem.  It would be nice to see more details like that in the current status section of the product page.  The current message gives me more questions than answers/assurances.  Everyone is chomping at the bit since delivery is just days away potentially!  It's like Christmas Eve, every day...

Ok, chill pill taken...and waiting patiently. :)

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