Here are some instructions and suggestions to assemble the ArduPilot Shield
. But remember: You can always do it your way. You can buy a complete kit here
First i recommend to solder the headers (either female of males) in the Ardupilot board, do not matters if you put the females header on the shield or in the ArduPilot board. I personally recommend to put the female headers on the active board, in this case ArduPilot. If you have male pins and you make contact with something you may cause a short circuit and toast it, otherwise with the female headers the board is "protected".
After soldering the headers on the Ardupilot board, place the opposite headers on top of it as indicated in the picture. In this way the pins will be right aligned and you will be able to remove it easily.
Then place the ArduPilot Shield on top and solder it. Be careful of not add too much soldering or the liquid solder may go to the button and you will be unable to remove the shield (happened to me once!)
Ready? Come on hurry! The result is a nice and well aligned shield. ;-)
Now you can solder the pins for the FTDI connector. Remember you can buy the official FTDI cable in our store, here
. Has a long cable and is very practical on field when you are testing.
Now get some servo extensions like in the picture. You can buy them in our store too here
Now cut them slowly and painful, no mercy please! You will use both ends later.
Now solder the female side of the servo extension to the board. This connector will go to the receiver. I recommend to cut them as short is possible to void the big ball of wires inside the airplane. I personally like to remove the Power and Ground cables to the other connectors, leaving just the signal to eliminate the "big ball of wires", or at least leave two with Power and Ground to add some redundancy.
Now turn the Ardupilot and solder a jumper wire from "digital 8" to the "mux3", in order to enable the throttle control!
The color of the wire is your choice, white looks nice with SparkFun logo. ;-)
Did you remember the redundancy thing? Well i extremely recommend to add hot glue or something to holds the wire in the bottom of the board. The everyday use will fatigue the wire and eventually will broke. I have learned this the hard way. One day the receiver rudder cable failed and i was unable to manually control it (i was flying!!!!), i was expecting to finally lost my EasyStar forever and definitely jump to Funjet and never came back, but the Autopilot was working fine, because the failure was from the receiver to the multiplexor. Anyway, i just switch to RTL mode and EasyStar was flying around me and luckily at that time i was controlling the throttle manually so i cut the throttle and ArduPilot land the EasyStar nicely. Chris once mentioned: that the human variable is the problem.
Now is time to solder the Infrared sensors. This is up to you and you can use anyway you want. In my case i developed a custom and redundant cable (locked!).
A little bit of help with the FMA sensors:
The "Only For Girls" pin is not used.
You have a picture of the complete cable here with the FMA connectors. ;-)
Now take the other end of the servo extension and cut one cm of the power line (red wire).
Solder it in digital pin 6, this will be used as the "Remove Before Flight Plug" used to set home position. You can use any bind plug like this one
or make you own (Also available soon).
And you can also add any external reset button as indicated in the green arrow. Also available soon in our store.
Now an extra precaution: Please zoom the picture and look the silver hairs at end of the connector. This is a potential threat! You must cut that little metal hairs, if not you may burn your boards! I also learned it the hard way. ;-)
You can add now the Power Divider Cable, in order to know the voltage of your battery, this cable must be connected in the positive pole of your LIPO.
And finally you can use a servo connector to plug your radio modem. That's what i did!
This way is to noisy, modems require a lot of current, it will work but can cause some problems. I suggest to feed the radio modem with a direct 5V lines not coming from the GPS ports.
Here you can get 5V for the radio modem:
[UPDATE]: The IR port labels are wrong, they suppose to be A0,A1,A2,5V,GND.
[UPDATE2]: Assembly pictures of ArduShield V2 can are here