I have just bought the ArduPilot Mega 2560 Full Kit... plus the Triple Axis Magnetometer HMC5883L. I should have it built over the weekend.. then i'm off to a my mates machine shop, and i'll make the splitter plate for the lower frame onto which i am going to fit the Ardupilot. the magnetometer i'll put on the tail as suggested. I am going to use my X-cell Razor 600E. For those that dont know its around the 50 size nitro heli.

Do i need to buy any other sensors i.e. the Sonar... i can fly a helicopter all day long but this is my first time flying one with stabilisation so any tips would be gratefully appreciated.

If this works well then i am going to try and use it on my x-cell gasser. i can get up to 20 minute flights with this. But i think for the time being a battery 600 is the way to go.

i'll post some pictures when i have it all together.



Setup Instructions

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Hi Malcolm
Sound good. I also have a JR Voyager 260 GSR that I want to put an APM on. I battled quite a bit to get it to even work like a normal heli. I was trying Arducopter NG and Ardu priates. There was just too much fiddling and codes adjustments to get it working.
I must still try the Arducopter 2.0 code to see how well it works.

Keep us posted on your project.

I'll keep you posted on my work... off to the machine shop to get the plate sorted this morning.

I was going through the forums last night. Does the traditional heli have all the implemented instructions i.e. loiter, return to home etc? or will it just stabilise the heli.


     It'll do stabilisation and altitude hold for sure (if you get your PIDs right).  I have not tested the gps hold yet but hope to this weekend.  I can't see why it shouldn't work.


     You have a flybarless set-up?


     as for the mag, you can put it fairly close to the body but on the tail.  As for the gps, it can't be under the main propeller or it will have trouble getting a lock so you need to mount it waaay back beside the near prop.


     good luck.



i'll have to make a long loom for both the mag and the gps. 

The plate is now fitted to the heli, plenty of room for the apm? (arducopter).


As for the PID's i do a lot of this with heat controllers at work, thats not to say i'll get it right first time, but i do have experience with that side of things.


Now about the flybarless, i can modify the head but was hoping that i could get away with using the flybar, if not then i'll order a swash clamp.


soldering in the morning and hopefully will be programming by the afternoon and maybe testing on sunday at the field if all goes well....


Well, it will fly with the flybar but at least on the trex450, without it it is far more responsive and this greatly helps the altitude hold (which surprised me) but also horizontal maneuverability to the point that I doubt good gps position hold is really possible with a flybar.


I use the RJX head on the trex450 and they make a version for the 600 as well which I can see here but other approach may work fine..that's just the only one i've used/tested.


     hope it goes well.  love to see some pics.

The conversion to a flybarless head is no problem. £40 swash plate clamp, move a couple of ball links and its done.... i love x-cell helicopters.


I built the apm today. Great kit, had no problems soldering the parts including the mag. Downloaded the mission planner, installed the traditional heli firmware. Pulled apart my Razor600, plugged everything in did the radio setup in the CLI menu. the only problem i have had is sorting out the angles for the ccpm. i press number 1 then press "+160" but the servo's all now seem to be at position 0, which is a bit of a pain. I'll press on tomorrow, it might be the fact that i'm using my laptop and not my main pc. I also turned down my regulator so the whole heli is now run at 5.0 volts.

Well here are a couple of pics.



     Ok, you'll need a very long gps cable for that big heli.  maybe 60 or 70cm?  diydrones store doesn't stock any that are even close to that length so you'll need to chop a smaller one in half and extend it.


     Becareful about the PIDs.  They're not defaulting properly (I will fix this soon) so you need to set them manually using the mission planner as described here.


     re setting the swash position, ok, you've stubled over two problems!  1st one is that there was a mistake in the wiki (now corrected).  you need to add a "p" in there.  so it should be 1p60 to specify the 1st servo is at 60degrees (i.e. forward right).  The 2nd issue is that the "p60" bit must arrive all at once..if you use ap mission planner's terminal the keys are sent as you type them.  Could you use the arduino Serial program (or another terminal program) that sends the keys all at once until I resolve this?


     thanks and good luck.

Hi randy, had a bit of a result..... the last time i started the mission planner and went into the CLI the servo positions were in the right place. god knows how that happened. So i now have the servo's moving correctly. they judder a little bit to much for my liking.


The loom for the mag and the GPS is no problem i'll add some length in to the cable when i'm back at work next week.


I have also figured out how to change modes but cant seem to get the radio to talk directly to the servo's or even get any movement out of the servos when i move the board... i'll put it away tonight its getting late :)


I'm still way impressed though and i'm having fun putting it together.


thanks for all your help on this.... i am documenting what i have done.. it might help somone else :)




     When you're in the CLI's setup for the heli, the servos should move.  The 2560 doesn't power the right-angle-headers from the power provided by the usb port so you need to connect both a lipo battery and the usb connection.  There are some warnings on this here.



I realiSe that randy. I just couldn't get the modes switch to work, I may have done something wrong. I'm working at the moment but will try with the arduino programmer when I get home.

i think i have found the problem, 


The ABC lights on the board.


A is flashing

C is solid

But i never get a light on B


it maybe that i have a faulty board. 


i am in stabilise mode and no matter how i move the board the servos never follow. i'll call martin in the morning.


Not to worry i have sorted it.


Found un soldered pin Doh


now its working fine.... :)


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