Pros and cons of the Ardupilot Configuration Utility

I first started flying with Ardupilot before the configuration utility (CU) was created. At the field, I’d pull up the Arduino IDE on my lap top, make the changes I wanted in the code (waypoints, altitude, tuning parameters, etc.), upload to my Ardupilot, then fly. After seeing how the flight was affected, I’d go back to the IDE make another change and fly again.
Then the CU was created and it looked cool but, at the field, it just created another step to go through before flying. I now had to also pull up the CU program to enter my waypoints, altitude and other parameters and upload to the board, then open the IDE, make my changes and upload a second time.
Now, for a lot of us, the CU is the single break in the chain that is keeping us from flying. We have the Sparkfun FTDI cable that works fine with the old and new versions of Ardupilot for uploading code and it works with the old version for reading and writing from the CU. The problem is that the CU doesn’t allow you to use this cable with the current Ardupilot and there is no other way to upload waypoints.
As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of the Configuration Utility! Since an .h file was created as an interface between user and code, couldn’t this same file be used for entering waypoints? This sounds more user friendly since you wouldn’t have another program (CU) to open, make changes to, and upload. Also, the current problem with Sparkfun FTDI’s wouldn’t exist!

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Comment by Damon Pipenberg on June 30, 2009 at 8:51am
I have both a TTL-3V3 cable and the 3.3V Sparkfun breakout. I had lots of trouble with the TTL-3V3 one - it would usually cause Arduino to lock up for awhile and never program the ArduPilot. I've had better success with the Sparkfun breakout, it usually works, but occasionally has the same problem.

On a possibly related note, I've been playing around with Sparkfun's 6DOF V4 IMU. I also use the FTDI cables for that, and have been having problems with corrupted data showing up on the PC. I haven't narrowed down the source of these problems, so I don't know if it is related or not.
Comment by Damon Pipenberg on June 30, 2009 at 10:57am
Actually, I take back what I just said - I actually have the 5V Sparkfun board. This works fine with Arduino and the cfg utility. I just tried the TTL-3V3 cable with the cfg utility, and it does not seem to work for that. It read from the board correctly, but after I tried writing, it stopped working at all.
Comment by Nick Sargeant on June 30, 2009 at 11:48am
Damon, what OS are you using?
I just reinstalled Win7 and had a go getting things to work.
Using the 3.3v sparkfun adapter it read then, like you, i tried to write data and now i cant get it to work. I have tried running the utility as admin and in XP compatibility mode with no luck. I did have this setup working on my XP desktop however...
Comment by Damon Pipenberg on June 30, 2009 at 12:11pm
Another update - using the TTL-232R-3V3 cable, which is supposed to be the official ArduPilot cable, reading and writing with the cfg utility does not work. However, if I remove the RST pin (pin 6, green) from the connector, and connect the cable to the AP, press read, then reset the board when the progress indicator is around 100%, it will read successfully. This also works for writing to the board.

I figured this out by noticing that the 5V Sparkfun breakout automatically resets the board (using DTR) when the progress indicator is around 100%. Pin 6 (green) on the Sparkfun breakout is DTR, while on the TTL-232R cable, it is RTS. I don't know how the config utility or the arduino works exactly, so I'm not sure where the problem lies. It seems like it may be an issue with Windows or the FTDI driver rather than the adapters.
Comment by Damon Pipenberg on June 30, 2009 at 12:13pm
This computer has XP SP3. I'll try it on some other computers when I have a chance and see if anything changes.
Comment by Damon Pipenberg on June 30, 2009 at 12:27pm
One more bit of info - using the Sparkfun 5V FTDI, when I have the shield connected and do a write, it will say "Something is wrong" at the end, however the write still seems to work (the data is saved and can be recalled using a read). Without the shield connected, it will say "Write successful". With the TTL-232R cable, I cannot get successful writes with the shield on or off, unless I disconnect the green wire and reset the board manually.
Comment by Reto on June 30, 2009 at 2:33pm
No chance with XP SP2 and Sparkfun 3.3v FTDI basic breakout. I tried 2 pieces of the FTDI, none worked with or without shield.
Comment by viky on July 21, 2009 at 5:14am
hi jordi i would like to change the waypoints in my program. i just checked what arduino is saving in its internal eeprom and it showed me latitude and longitude in this format:
Alt: 7208
Lat: 163651952
Lon: 147480304
IR Cal: 27

PLease tell me how this value of latitude and longitude comes. and its in which format.
FYI I m using 2.0 version

3D Robotics
Comment by Jordi Muñoz on July 21, 2009 at 11:34am
Viky,

The code 2.0 is not compatible with the Utility. You must try the last 2.2 verison

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