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.



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  • @robert - i'm going to fly the one that is loaded via MP. which ever that is..generally its the most stable.

    Sonar problem, i have just tested mine via MP, its works really well against a tape measure.

    Oh turned out it was the red board at fault, luckily i had a spare one here, changed it out and it booted straight away.

    Typical, well at least i have a complete spare APM. :)

  • I should point out that the first one was a failure from new, and martin from BYOD, tested it and exchanged it straight away. The last time i used the heli, everything was fine and i only store my helicopters in the spare bedroom, so you can rule out corrosion. The APM is mounted on gyro pads (futaba) and the heli is well balanced, I use matched blades (SAB) for the main and tail rotors. Its probably just a bad joint. it'll be ok for testing code on the bench, but i'm not flying with it.

    I'm surprised your tail boom shakes, Trex 600 are a good heli, i have flown a T500 and it was balanced perfectly. It might be worth checking your blades, paddles, Tracking etc. 

    I'm off to martin tomorrow, hopefully he will have an oil pan in stock.

    I will be flying on sunday.

  • Back on with the build tonight as the weather is really warm for this time of year. 

    I still have an issue though with the movement of the servos. 

    While running through the setup of the cyclic servos, i have to lower the movement values in "heli setup". 

    This makes my TX sticks at half way, fully travel the servos, so there is hardly any resolution. The only way of countering this and making the heli fly smoothly is to lower the output value in the TX. 

    Is there a way of lowering the output value in the software so it does not drive the servo so far.

    Does the new purple board fly the Traditional Heli?

    Hi all sorry or the delay, but its been cold here and not very good for flying. Glad to see that loads of people are flying traditional heli's with the ARDU :)

  • Just came back from flying 1 pack at lunch.  I forgot my laptop, so it was actually nice, I didn't think about tuning, I just flew it, mostly in Stabilize.  Man, it flies really really really nice.  Just like a Blade CX, but doesn't have a problem with 20km/h wind. ;)


    I didn't see the little yaw twitch I had before (that was a VERY minor issue). I didn't have any big problem with the lean to the right I experienced last time, but I just remembered I think I left the trim all the way to the left....  Hmmm....  I did try to some pitch pumps and the tail comes out a bit as expected, I'll probably play with the "revo mixing" function that Randy added a while ago.


    It was really nice to just fly the heli and get a feel for it instead of worrying about programming so much.  I tried some Alt_Hold, mostly just to collect data.  (hopefully the logs worked this time!)  And did some Loiter until it wandered off too far.  PI's need tuning on those for sure.


    I was just really impressed by how good of a training system it is!  Just makes the heli so easy to fly. 



  • Just got back from flying 2 packs (~30 min) with 2.0.1r8 Spec V Type R Special Edition ;)  downloaded from download section on my Heli.

    Went pretty well.  I had some trouble with the yaw control, but that was a mixture of a mechanical setup problem and tuning.  Once I sorted that it was much better.  I have noticed something with the yaw, where, if I have it hovering, hands off the rudder, it's rock solid, dialed in.  As soon as I touch the rudder to move the nose, there's a quick jump of the nose, real slow, and then it stops.  When I release the rudder, it seems like it takes a second to stabilize.  Do you guys see this with the quads?  I'm not sure you would as it's really quick and you don't have as much yaw authority.  I think what might be happening is the Nav I term resets to zero as soon as you touch the rudder stick?  So the built up I term disappears and the servo moves until the Rate PI system catches it.

    Need to check that.

    I tried Alt_Hold, much better than I've had before (the last I used was 2.0.55).  No more jumping up and down.  It did wander quite a bit, but I think that's just a tuning issue.

    I tried Loiter briefly, but I just don't have the nerve to let it wander around and see what it does yet.  Once I have more confidence I'll work on that.  Well it would help if the Alt_Hold was solid so that I would know it's not going to crash into the ground.

    Anyway, quite successful I'd say.

    I did have the same problem others have reported where towards the end of the second pack, it was leaning quite heavily to the right.  I was using quite a bit of right stick trying to keep it level.  I tried arming and disarming a few times, that didn't help.  I rebooted and armed.  Still didn't work.  I even used the setup to relevel, and that didn't work.  I don't get it.

    When it's stooling up for takeoff on the ground it's fine.  Soon as I take off, it seems like the lean to the right works itself in.  If I land, skids flat on the ground, and release the stick, it wants to tip over.  If I hold it down for a while, it straightens out. Soon as I take off again, it starts leaning right.

    I don't get it?

    I do have fairly bad vibes, I have to look into that problem.  I wonder if it's doing something to the gyro.

  • Just flew it using the 2.1.0r hex code from APM.  The flight was kind of... meh.  I had a few struggles with hovering due to some mixes in my radio.  Eventually I figured that out.  Basically, my throttle curve goes 0/80/80/80/80 so that it is fully spooled up by 25% stick.  That's what I had before but I didn't like that it would spool down any time I used down stick.  So, this time I set up an Idle Up 1 which was 80/80/80/80/80.  So once it's spooled, you flip it to Idle Up 1 and the RPM stays steady even if you need down stick to fight the wind.

    I also set up some expo on pitch to make it easier to hover.  But I forgot to apply the same expo to Idle Up 1, and it was really touchy until I realized the mistake.  Lesson learned.

    I tried Alt_hold, and that didn't work out too well.  Same with Loiter.  But without the Xbee, it was going to be a big pain trying to tune the PID's so I didn't bother.  At one point while up high, I got in trouble because I had my back to the wind, heli in front of me, so tail was upwind.  At one point the tail weathervaned around so that it was nose in, which I'm not comfortable with.  Well, I can do it all day long on the sim, but still nervous in real life. I tried to keep my hands off the stick so as not to screw it up while I fought to get the tail around, but it just would NOT come around, as the heli drifted away and .  Eventually I ended up getting it back and swinging the tail around.

    I changed the batteries and tried it out again.

    Not too long after, I'm quite sure I had another I2C lockup.  I was only about 2 feet off the ground, and it just started drifting sideways with no control.  I was just about to throw the throttle cut switch when it suddenly sprung upright, leveled out, and touched down with the tail rotor grinding on a rock.  So, I hit throttle cut and wound it down.  Since I'd lost the tail blades, I decided enough was enough.

    I won't fly 2.1.0r with a magnetometer again.

  • I still haven't flown yet, weather and building seems to get in the way.

    Currently I'm working on a project to enable external LED lighting to be switched off of LED (A) which signals when the "motors" are "armed".  Arming is important for several reasons, it sets the RTL location and resets the Barometer for ground level.  Quads won't fly with out arming, so they have an obvious indication whether they have armed or not.  But it's a problem for helis, because most of us probably can't see the small LED's very well to tell when we're armed or disarmed.  And the heli flies with out arming.  I think all of my flying to date has been done without being armed.

    I was going to write something into the code to use the onboard relay to switch large external LEDs when armed, but Randy gave me a better idea.  I'm going to drive the external leds from the exact same source that powers the small LED. Obviously this can't be done directly.  I'm going to try and use a transistor driven by the LED circuit.  

    I looked into using a transistor, but found that the current needed to drive it will push the limits of what the ATMEGA chip can put out.  I learned that a MOSFET would be better as the current to drive it is effectively zero.  I'm just in the process of figuring out the circuit now.

  • I just stumbled upon something interesting.  My USB connection to the APM board fails if I plug in the USB cable while the large capacitor bank is connected.  I think the USB circuitry in the computer doesn't like charging up the cap bank.  

    Easy fix, just disconnect the cap bank when using a USB cable.  

  • So, what's the latest on coding from the trad. heli guys?  I hope to be able to spend the next 3 days getting my heli flying, and I'm not sure what code I should be using?

    I saw on the dev list that the I2C problem has been largely solved with a new library.  Is that in the APMP hex yet?

  • Hi! Any news with the arducopter? Left our heli at school for the display so we cant do some testing yet. 

This reply was deleted.


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