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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  • Just about done rebuilding the old 600.  I've purchased a scale that is accurate to 0.01 grams, and I'm trying to balance everything.  I even filed a blade grip to get them equal.  Leaving nothing to chance!  It's taken a bit, but the head feels great.  The only part that sucks is the main gear cluster is  wobbly.  Once I get this thing running without crashing every 5 minutes, I'll buy a KDE geartrain.

  • Tried the Razor last night and now i seem to be getting a really harsh tale oscillation on 2.7.1, tried with and without the external gyro (futaba gy401). Things seem to be going backwards. I'm going to compile the older code mav 0.9 code2.0.40.

  • Just got in some more parts for my 550 Stretch build.  It's starting to come together and looking really awesome.  It's basically a TRex 550 stretched to 600.  The idea is simply to benefit from the simpler mechanicals and lighter weight of the 550 chassis, mainly because of direct to swash servos with no silly linkages.

    It's being all put together with high quality aftermarket parts.  OMG Heli, RJX, Heli Option, Tarot, etc.  It'll be about half the price of a Trex 550 kit but better.

    Interestingly, a few of the parts I am getting are from the HK550GT (aluminum tail boom mounting block).  Frankly it's beautiful.  The HK550 parts seem to be from a completely different manufacturer than the HK600GT parts.  They seem to be top quality.  This continues the trend set by the HK450GT.

    But I still won't buy any more HK shafts.

    The only issue I see with this frankenstein build is the main shaft appears like it will need to be cut down.  The OMG Heli RJX Clone head (figure that one out) sits way too high.  I think it was designed for special RJX main shafts.

  • Little progress report here.

    I spent this weekend soldering on the APM 2.5 in preparation for install in the 600. Most of it went quick, but some of it was a real pain... Some notes for future users.

    1- The external compass requires the cutting of a trace between solder pads that are about 6mm inboard of the 5883L chip. It is labeled "MAG" in the Eagle files, but failed to be printed on the board.

    2- You will need the PX4 connector for the external mag as they "updated" the connector and now it has only 4 pins (THAT ARE IN A DIFFERENT ORDER THAN THEY WERE!). I pulled the connector and went through hole with my extension cable, but a heads up for others. As an amendment to 2.0 one would have thought they might have made a NOTE somewhere???

    3- If you want an Optical Flow sensor the *ONLY* way I found was to solder straight to the bits of exposed pads around the Data Flash chip. It's the only place to pull/push 3.3v SPI without wigging out the MPU-6000. If you even touch the MOSI of the 6000 with a probe the capacitance is enough to scramble the SPI. The Mega SPI/ISP (5v) pins will not work with the OF sensor, neither will the SPI/ISP (5v) for the 32-U2...

    Hopefully I am missing something with the OF sensor... can't imagine 3DR forgot to give us a (3.3v) place to plug it in AGAIN???

  • Back to the same ole issue. I guess I am just going to return this one. Argh. So much for my Drone

  • So I plugged the USB in a little angled and I'm back up. Problem now, what does disarmed on the Mission Planner mean? How do I get it to show the responses of the APM.

  • Thanks, but its not giving it a port.  It was on 8 then 9. However Windows is saying the device is unrecognized. Doesn't even show that it is a ArduMega at all. The device doesn't have an ID.  Not sure what to do.  Seems like a hardware issue.

    As for the additional sensor, I'm sure it's the I2C input. (the small connector on the opposite end of the GPS port)

  • Guys, I know there is probably a post out there somewhere but I have been up all through the night reading and an getting nowhere. So here is the problem. I received the APM 2.5 yesterday, plugged it in and was able to download the firmware and everything worked for about 5 mins. GREAT. Unplugged it, went to grab a few parts from the store and when I try to connect it to the computer now, Windows doesn't recognized the USB device.  I have tried 5 different cables as one post suggested. NO LUCK. I have check the solder joint around the USB connector. LOOKS GREAT. I have uninstalled and reinstalled the Mission planner and drivers. I have tried 5 different computers. STILL NO LUCK. What is going on? When I plug  the APM in the alive LED is on and occasionally the blue light labeled C will come on. Even the GPS will have a solid red light with a blue blinking but that's it.  When it did connect, the HUD in the Mission Planner said disarm and did not report any data.  Does anyone have any suggestions or a place to point me. I'm a little bummed that this thing is seems to be a brick.

  • Hi every one!

    I have a little question .

    Did you keep your gyro on your helicopter or you just use the apm gyro ?

    I 've bought a TREX250 and there isn't many place in.

    So if i can fly without my crappy gyro ( assan ga 250 ) i will be happy ^^

  • Just arrived at the field and about to test 2.7.1, I have adjusted the pid's in stab mode to try and recreate the same movement the swash has on my flybarless controller (CGY750), it's an idea stolen from Robert :), I have a feeling that by removing all the I and IMAX, the helicopter can't get back to level, small amounts of mechanical play in the swash plate, servos, ball links etc. It's only a hunch, and I thinks well worth trying. Also it's has made the swash movement a lot smoother on the cylic. Will report back in an hour or so.
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